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Montreal restaurant recommendations (vegan-friendly)

g
gtbaum May 15, 2010 07:15 AM

Hello!

A few of my friends are heading up to Montreal for a long weekend in July to visit a former co-worker...and they're looking for some restaurant recommendations!

One of them is a vegan, so preferably there are some vegan-friendly options. Nothing extravagant price wise (let's say $40-50 a person or so with a drink or two), but we're native to the mid-Atlantic and know very little about the Montreal food scene. All diners are adventurous and flexible as to the type of cuisine.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

-G

  1. m
    Maximilien May 15, 2010 07:59 AM

    There are not that many non vegan restaraurant that are vegan friendly;vegetarian friendly yes, but vegan friendly no.

    For a good vegan place, I like "Aux Vivres", but no booze; and very hipster hippie-ish.

    1. h
      heliotrope May 15, 2010 01:06 PM

      Montreal has a huge number of restaurants per capita. There are many kinds of cuisines. It's a great eating-out town. And though I'd probably argue that the quintessential Montreal food experience is unfortunately NOT vegan-friendly, likely not all that vegetarian friendly even.....there are still some vegan/vegetarian places available.

      This site lists them:
      http://www.happycow.net/north_america...

      From that list, I've been to Aux Vivres, Crudessence, Chuch, Chuchai, Casa del Popolo, Le Cagibi, Le Commensal, Lola Rosa, and Yuan.

      If you still want the experience of a drink or two with a bit of a fine dining feel, I'd put Chuch as the priority out of that list. Or, for the bring your own wine experience, and it's a more casual feel, Chuchai (I tend to go for Chuchai over Chuch myself. It's just a better deal).

      Other than Chuch, the places are very casual, some no alcohol available. The web site outlines the details about alcohol. Casa del popolo is more a bar that has a lot of bands playing there, a nice hang out spot, I usually go there for that rather than the food, but the food is fine and fresh, too, just a limited menu, which is understandable.

      2 Replies
      1. re: heliotrope
        l
        lagatta May 15, 2010 04:40 PM

        heliotrope, if I'm not mistaken, Chuch is the more casual byow, Chuchai the fancier restaurant (same kitchen). I prefer the more casual byow place - you can get wine splits nowadays so you don't have to drink a full 750ml bottle. Aux Vivres annoys me to no end with their no booze policy,not that i'd ever go to such a place to get plastered, but because it is pretentious and precious.

        Yes, very limited menu at Casa del Popolo (mostly salads, soups, sandwiches) but what they have is fine, and cheap.

        The same management rune La Sala Rosa - under La Sala Rossa ( a concert venue). It is a Spanish restaurant, but because of the mangement there is an unusually large number of vegetarian tapas. Some must be vegan.

        Also check out one of our favourites, Le Petit Alep. They have a great vegetarian plate, falafel etc.

        -----
        Casa del Popolo
        4871 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2T1R6, CA

        Aux Vivres
        4631 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2T1R2, CA

        1. re: lagatta
          w
          wilmagrace May 16, 2010 04:04 AM

          if you are in downtown area and just need a quick pickmeup while wanting to stay in central shopping area i would go to commensal as you have a nice view of ste catherine street (2nd floor restaurant entrance on mcgill college just below ste catherine) and if you choose lighter items such as salads (price goes by weight; bread included in meal price) the bill is reasonable. You are also close to chinatown in downtown area so could have veggie dishes at vip or other restaurants recommended in previous threads. On the other hand if you want to experience the montreal scene i would choose a restaurant with a terrace......

      2. s
        Shattered May 16, 2010 06:15 PM

        Vegan does NOT = "All diners are adventurous" LOL

        1. k
          Kebab May 17, 2010 05:48 AM

          You can bring them to any place that serves oysters!
          Why?
          http://www.slate.com/id/2248998/?from...

          Very interesting article explaining why even strict vegans should feel comfortable eating oysters.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kebab
            w
            wilmagrace May 17, 2010 07:38 PM

            if you are coming first weekend in july the montreal jazz festival is on and one of the best places to listen to musicians on outdoor stages and enjoy nibbling is at the wine and cheese outdoor booth on terrace at place des arts, they have products from quebec

          2. Peaches to Poutine Mar 10, 2011 09:55 AM

            Bumping this up!

            Long story short: hubby and I trying veganism for Lent. Are there any new places to eat in Montreal in this vein?

            13 Replies
            1. re: Peaches to Poutine
              TheSnowpea Mar 10, 2011 03:00 PM

              Crudessence on Mackay has a tasty vegan menu. I've been a few times and I always enjoy it.
              Aux Vivres will have vegan options and Lola Rosa may have vegan options (it's vegetarian).

              -----
              Aux Vivres
              4631 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2T1R2, CA

              Lola Rosa Cafe
              545 Rue Milton, Montreal, QC H2X1W5, CA

              1. re: TheSnowpea
                k
                klagirl Mar 11, 2011 07:16 PM

                Ehhhhhhh Crudessence just pisses me off. you pay 20$+tip for raw lettuce on a dried out almond pattie or whatever. their om burger is pretty good but at 14$..it's just frustrating. the raw vegan 'sushi' is kind of interesting but kind of bland and pasty. DONT GET the crepes type thing--it is seriously worse than anything you could make at home but for 15$. and you willbe starving and the smoothies are like 8$ or something ridiculous.

                I like Aux Vivres, though! I LIKE vegan food. it's just crudessence..urgh
                Aux Vivres..get the rice bowl, or the vietnamese-type sandwich:)
                lots of indian restaurants (south indian) do vegan well too.

                lola rossa is terrible TBH. overpriced homestyle food that is pretty boring and just..could be better. and although they;re vegetarian ive heard of MANY people with bad experiences trying to get something vegan

                -----
                Aux Vivres
                4631 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2T1R2, CA

                1. re: klagirl
                  TheSnowpea Mar 12, 2011 08:14 AM

                  LOL! I admit it's expensive, but I figure the thing about that type of raw food cuisine s that it's crazy work intensive. Which is an oxymoron. :) The lunch special suited me however.

                  I had okay meals at Lola Rosa. I was expecting terrible food from reviews here. I found the food wasn't fancy, but certainly filling. Nice enough service, very casual. But I never tried to go vegan there. And the little drawers at the tables filled with bits of paper scribbled with notes was an amusing discovery.

                  I guess one's mileage may vary :)

                  1. re: TheSnowpea
                    l
                    lagatta Mar 13, 2011 02:20 PM

                    I have NOT had good experiences with raw foodist/crudivore cuisine. Better to just leave it at that.

                    1. re: lagatta
                      p
                      Plateaumaman Mar 13, 2011 03:14 PM

                      Me either. I didn't like my meal at Crudessence when I went to their restaurant but I must admit they have some raw food cooking workshops that allowed my son and his class to produce some rather fabulous food. They made almond milk, avocado/coconut parfait, quinoa salad. I would avoid Yuan, and I do like Chuch, and also Zero8, an allergy free place that probably has a lot of dishes that qualify, and which no one has mentioned here.

                    2. re: TheSnowpea
                      k
                      klagirl Mar 13, 2011 09:55 PM

                      Lola Rossa has so much potential. it's adorable, those little notes, the decor, good location, you want it to be good! but then it's not . And they won't do anything about it because it's packed with university students/hipsters that have more disposable income than you'd think, and some employees of the university. they get line-ups. to be fair the place is small..but I shake my head every time.

                      1. re: TheSnowpea
                        k
                        klagirl Mar 13, 2011 09:56 PM

                        and you're right,the lunch special at crudessence seems like an OK deal. just don't sit in the place on mackay in the evening, pay full price, in an empty dining room with too many tables.

                  2. re: Peaches to Poutine
                    l
                    looosia Mar 13, 2011 06:38 PM

                    I'd say the best place for vegan food in this town is Aux Vivres. I haven't been to Chuchai (and never Chuch) in years but that would be a fancier alternative where you can also get alcohol.

                    I'd only do Crudessence when I am in the mood for something quite different and super filling, and Lola Rosa for their nachos but otherwise I find their food pretty bland. And never to Le Commensal--that place gives vegetarian food a bad name.

                    As Montréal isn't the most vegan-friendly town (nor a vegetarian-friendly town, though it's do-able), I'd say other ideas would be to go for ethnic restos and order carefully. My favs: Le Petit Alep and Kaza Maza for Syrian, Kam Fung for Chinese, Atti for Korean, Gandhi for Indian, Tri-Express for sushi. Otherwise, in the Mile End, there's two small takeout places that do veg/vegan stuff: Depanneur Le Pickup and Green Panther.

                    I was going to give up all animal products and go vegan for Lent, but then I've decided to give up Lent for St. Patrick's Day. So that's that. ;)

                    -----
                    Aux Vivres
                    4631 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2T1R2, CA

                    Lola Rosa Cafe
                    545 Rue Milton, Montreal, QC H2X1W5, CA

                    Green Panther
                    66 Rue Saint Viateur Ouest, Montreal, QC H2T 2K9, CA

                    1. re: looosia
                      t
                      torontrealais Mar 14, 2011 04:07 PM

                      I second what looosia says. There are good options for vegan meals in the city, but I'm sure you'll find that those options get old quickly, especially if you're going full out vegan for 40 days. I like going to Aux Vivres and Chuchai for inspiration to cook at home though. Vegan food can be mighty tasty!

                      -----
                      Aux Vivres
                      4631 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2T1R2, CA

                      1. re: torontrealais
                        Peaches to Poutine Mar 15, 2011 07:08 AM

                        Believe me there options in Montreal (where I spend the weekends) are much better than here in the Townships.

                        1. re: Peaches to Poutine
                          Peaches to Poutine Mar 16, 2011 11:41 AM

                          Sorry to bump this up again, but I have a question: Is Chuchai BYOW? I see on the website they offer wine, but I thought I heard that you could bring your own.

                          Thanks! And sorry once again!

                          1. re: Peaches to Poutine
                            kpzoo Mar 16, 2011 11:46 AM

                            The more casual sister resto "Chuch" next door is BYOB. Note that Chuch doesn't take reservations.

                            1. re: kpzoo
                              Peaches to Poutine Mar 16, 2011 01:19 PM

                              Thanks so much!

                  3. Chocolatesa Mar 16, 2011 02:32 PM

                    I've heard of a place called Bonnie's that serves vegetarian/vegan food http://www.bonnys.ca/home.htm never been there though.

                    1. TheSnowpea Mar 21, 2011 01:29 PM

                      I went to Green Panther on Mackay on Friday. (it's just a door down from Crudessence.)

                      I had the falafel sandwich plus the ABC fruit+veg juice combo. One friend at the BBQ tofu sandwich plus veggie combo salad, and the other friend had the seitan sandwich. The soup was a chunky dahl, quite delish.

                      Conclusion: Cheap and filling (I had trouble finishing my sammich), pretty tasty and reasonably priced. It's student food. Not a fancy kind of place (you go pick up your food at the counter when they holler it's ready).

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: TheSnowpea
                        b
                        bakersdelight Mar 21, 2011 01:56 PM

                        sounds good, Snowpea!
                        I've been to Bonny's, Chocolatesa, and found it really good. She's interesting, Bonny--trained in France. Takes a lot of care with her food. Vegetarian and vegan-friendly options, nice laid-back place, family-friendly.

                      2. d
                        deborahm May 19, 2011 03:09 PM

                        I'm not a vegetarian and I'm back in Montreal & I just went to Aux Vivres and the food was great! Lots of Vegan options. They also have a legend in their menu that specifies which dishes are gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free, which is great for people with intolerances. I had the very spicy tonic ginger drink (very spicy!), which is worth a try. Aux Vivres isn't cheap, but definitely within the price range you mention (2 people around 45 bucks--two mains, one salad and appetizer, smoothy each). Also, I should say that I've heard the service isn't always, well, stellar! I didn't have a problem and the staff were actually friendly but it's definitely laid back! Crudessence (I haven't been there) has a good reputation with two locations. Also, a recent Montreal article said that they host community events (like vegan potlucks). Worth checking their website.

                        -----
                        Aux Vivres
                        4631 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2T1R2, CA

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: deborahm
                          d
                          deborahm May 19, 2011 04:12 PM

                          Oops--I forgot to mention I agree with other post that CHUCH CHAI is definitely a priority for more "upscale" or evening dining (which I believe someone else mentioned) on Saint-Denis. It's a Thai vegetarian place. I love it there, particularly the fried, sweet spinach as an appetizer/as a side to the main dish and sticky rice! And also, if you're coming from out of town their terrasse on St-Denis is great in the summer. One of the advantages is that it's all cooked, hot food that is very flavourful and spicy (but not ridiculously spicy: lots of chilis, coconut curry, lemongrass, garlic). There is a lot of soy (tofu) on the menu although they do have lot of vegetable stir fries and really nice dumplings. It is bring your own wine, too, which makes the price very reasonable, as it's a bit more expensive than your standard fare but very reasonable for the quality you get. Good in a group to share main dishes together.

                          1. re: deborahm
                            Peaches to Poutine May 19, 2011 04:37 PM

                            I often get invited to the vegan potlucks. But dammit, they're always on weeknights!

                            1. re: Peaches to Poutine
                              d
                              deborahm Jul 1, 2011 08:09 PM

                              Just got back from ChuChai--the finer dining place rather than the bistro (they are next door to each other). This was actually my first time at the finer dining/restaurant, which is higher end and more expensive. Don't get me wrong, I love the bistro: the food is great and it is economical given it is bring your own wine. So I would still recommend it highly. The finer dining/restaurant was, however, truly spectacular. More elaborate menu and service, as well as good selection of wines (white is best with Thai vegetarian). The Miam Kram appetizer is possibly the best vegan starter I've ever had (and I think only available at the finer dining place). Nice terrace overlooking Saint-Denis. Almost everything--if not all--is vegan and tofu is organic. Very good service. If you're here in July, it's worth going there for a more expensive meal, or bistro for something a little more economical.

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