Montreal Dinner with a few restrictions - Help please!
My husband and two of our friends are heading to Montreal next weekend to celebrate my birthday. Three out of the four of us are avid eaters who love to explore new cuisines/restaurants/etc. when traveling. The fourth member of our party has very simple tastes and doesn’t care to stray from what is known/comfortable. Complicating matters is the fact that I am a vegetarian. Any assistance you could give in finding a place to have a decent birthday dinner that would accommodate my vegetarianism, and my friend’s limited palate, and love of good food would be very much appreciated!!! Thanks!
How strict a vegetarian are you? Your options broaden considerably if you eat cheese and/or eggs.
Your friend shouldn't pose much of a problem, as just about any French-style place will have steak frites and other approachable meat-and-potatoes dishes. (If he's too unadventurous even for steak frites, I'm afraid your predicament is nearly hopeless.) Most have limited vegetarian options but if you eat dairy or eggs you should be able to put together a satisfying meal at quite a few places, e.g. board favourite Leméac.
Since you are a vegetarian, I would recommend that you check menus beforehand to make sure that you have food that can accommodate you. Montreal is not exactly a vegetarian-friendly city (being full of foie gras and especially if you don't consume dairy products). This thread of vegetarian-friendly restaurants will be helpful:
Also here's another thread full of ideas for visitors to the city:
Montreal excels in French/Quebecois food anyways so there will be many things on the menu for people with simple tastes, e.g. steak, chicken, etc. I would advise not going for anything Asian since, depending on where you're from, Montreal is not exactly known for Asian food and though Montreal also does great Middle Eastern food perhaps that would not be something your fourth party member would enjoy. So in all I'd advise going somewhere French/Quebecois where they have vegetarian items such as Salle a Manger in the Plateau, Olive et Gourmado for pastries and a simple brunch in the Old Port, or Le Cartet also in the Old Port for a fancier brunch.
106 Rue McGill, Montreal, QC H2Y, CA
Some of the French bistros make it a point to always have a vegetarian option - La Salle a Manger and Au Cinquieme Peche come to mind as stand outs. Another great option if you don't mind going out to St. Henri would be Tuck Shop. Great market food - none of it is too adventurous, but it's really delicious and I think they always have a veggie option.
Au Cinquieme Peche
4475 St-Denis, Montreal, QC H2J 2K8, CA
Montreal may not be exactly known for Asian food but I would recommend the Thai Vegetarian restaurant, Chuch Chai (either the Fine Dining restaurant where you'll be wise to get reservations. Or, the Bistro which is bring your own wine and a little less expensive--both places are beside each other). It's a vegetarian's dream although your unadventerous friend may have difficulty there (think tofu or sauteed vegetables in spicy red curry and coconut sauce, etc.) I wanted to mention it anyway because I've been there a lot lately with out of town vegetarians who loved it and found it quite unique. Still, it might be a challenge for your companion.....
La Salle a Manger on Mont-Royal Avenue definitely had two vegetarian main dishes, one of which a friend ordered when we were there a few weeks back. Plus, if you eat dairy, or a bit of seafood, they had appetizers that were fine for either dairy eating vegetarians or occasional seafood eaters.
There are a lot of very good Italian restaurants in Montreal in Petite Italie where you'd be able to get a non-meat pasta and most likely your friend would be comfortable dining. You could try an initial search here: