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vegetarian/vegan restaurant openings in Montreal in 2013?

  • rshea Jan 12, 2013 11:43 AM

Does anyone know of any vegetarian or vegan restaurants opening in Greater Montreal? Seems more and more restaurant offering a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan menus are becoming more common in other cities, even classier places like Vedge in Philadelphia and Acorn in Vancouver.
Crudessance and the like are great, but they are more like cafes and take-out places.
Do people think there is a market for tasty, healthy, delicious and well-presented food in a more upscale venue?

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  1. I'm not sure there is a market for that in that meat-centric city, but I know these people are planning to open one soon : http://www.somaticmtl.com/

    1 Reply
    1. re: Glaff

      Thanks for that tip! I checked out their website, looks interesting...

    2. Santa Barbara bills itself as "flexitarian" - focus on vegetarian, with one or two non-veg options. Haven't been yet, but I plan to try it.

      http://www.santabarbaramtl.ca/

      http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/f...

      https://www.facebook.com/restaurantsa...

      I think Montreal is behind other cities on this trend but am encouraged by this.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kpzoo

        thanks kpzoo, I did hear about them, will be going soon. Montreal does seem behind but things can change quick, right? Especially given how cosmopolitan people are here, and if the place isn't focused narrowly. My wife and I are looking into it ourselves (yikes!), but so far looking like a big missing here....

        1. re: rshea

          > "Montreal does seem behind..."

          Montreal had a big veg phase in the late 90s and early 00s. Since then, I feel like the population and the dining scene have moved toward omnivorism. A resto like Aux Vivres is always busy, but Crudessence less so, and absolutely no one talks about Bonnys, which is the closest thing to what you're talking about. I don't think there's much demand here for upscale vegetarian food - there just aren't that many exclusive vegetarians, and the veg-leaning restos that do well are the ones who feel more like "cheap healthy eating" than "this is where i'll spend my $75".

          Talking to my veg, vegan and carnivore friends, i do think there'd be a HUGE demand for a diner-like vegetarian resto in the Mile End, if it was open late. Somewhere to get genuinely-veg poutine (hell, there's nowhere to get latenight poutine in Mile End right now in general), or hangover brunch.

      2. I would say the new location of Lola Rosa on Parc (opened at the end of December) is more upscale than many of the other veg places in town.

        4 Replies
        1. re: stak

          thanks Stak, that place looks great. will go there soon. Do you know if it recently switched to vegetarian, or there is another location? any history appreciated...

          1. re: rshea

            There's another branch of Lola Rosa in the McGill ghetto. I'm pretty sure they tried to make a go of it in NDG (on Sherbrooke near Vendome) but it didn't last. I go to the original location a very once in a while - i.e. every few years - it's OK, not great, and I always feel it's somewhat overpriced for what it is.

            1. re: rshea

              Until recently it was a Zzzazziumm or whatever that fakey Tex-Mex place was called. Not vegetarian, but many vegetarian offerings, but all meat and veg dishes were crap.

              It just recently became a second Lola Rosa. I've heard it is better than the Milton St. one near McGill, but haven't tried it.

              1. re: rshea

                Right, sorry I never answered but the other posters have covered it. There has been a Lola Rosa on Milton for as long as I've been here, which is 10 years, and it has always been vegetarian. It opened a small outpost in the Shatner building at McGill a few months ago, and then the Parc Ave. Location (previously El Zaziumm - "el zazi-yuck") in December. I've been a few times & quite liked it. Nothing super fancy, and not a huge menu, but good food & good value (and OMG good cheesecake). Just last week they opened a grocery section there but I haven't checked it out yet.

            2. I would love for there to be a market for upscale vegan/vegetarian food. When my husband and I travel and eat somewhere that offers this, we're always gobsmacked by a:) how good it is, and b:) how not a big deal it is to people in the area.

              I love Aux Vivres (I've yet to eat at Crudessence) but I think here people equate vegan/vegetarian dining with "virtuous" when there are plenty of places elsewhere in the country and the US that give you that decadent aspect of the diet. We have a really nice organic vegetarian cafe here in Sherbrooke, but it's very "feel good." I'm all for healthier eating, but I also like going to places where I can eat a handmade veggie burger, a pile of fries, and a beer. I would love there to be a full-on diner option. (In fact, my husband keeps toying with the idea of just opening one himself; that might justify all the onion ring/veggie burger experiments he does in our kitchen!)

              I agree that Quebec is a bit behind the curve on this, but we'll catch up! And when we do, it will be pretty sweet.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Peaches to Poutine

                right there with ya P-to-P, this might be the year for Quebec to let go of the whole "meat-centric" image. Vancouver's vegetarian options were associated with "hippy-type" cafes for years, now there is Acorn, East Is East, Heirloom, and a few others.

                1. re: rshea

                  Going on Happy Cow and seeing the growing options across Canada for vegan/vegetarian dining is fantastic.

                  Of course, as a VegNews subscriber, reading about vegan food trucks in major US cities (my hometown of Atlanta has FINALLY gotten in on the act) makes me jealous all over again.

              2. Have you tried Su Shian Yuang on Rachel? It's Taiwanese and a good vegetarian option, not a cafe or takeout. Chuchai and Chuch have reopened as well and are also nice options.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Plateaumaman

                  thank you, hadn't heard of that place, will try it out.

                  1. re: Plateaumaman

                    Did Chuch finally reopen???

                    YAYYYYYYYYY

                    1. re: Peaches to Poutine

                      I'm pretty sure Chuch and Chu Chai are both open again now.

                      1. re: Peaches to Poutine

                        I was there few days ago.

                    2. there is also vegan secret supper from time to time
                      http://www.vegansecretsupper.com/main...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: catroast

                        thanks for that! My wife and I have done a 5 course vegan/organic/gluten free dinner party for 24 in December, have a second one Feb 16th, with 25 confirmed already. Love this idea, joined their mailing list to see if they do more here...

                      2. Les Chèvres open and closed a couple of years ago, started by only/mostly doing vegetarian (with eggs and cheese, as far as I remember), it was successful for a small amount of diners, not enough to be viable, then they started bringing in some meat but it was too late.

                        It might have been a few years too early for it to be successful; There was not as large a network of _good_ vegetable producers are there are right now (all year producers); so in the winter months, they were a bit lacking (IMO).

                        Montreal was not prepared for it and is still not completely prepared for it.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Maximilien

                          les chevres was great as was their wine bar sister

                        2. http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/...

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: rshea

                            I know, right? Very excited about that! I wish I could go but alas, not in my current budget.

                            rshea, do you know about the tasting menu dinners from Sel Noir? He does them every other month and they sound exquisite. I've booked my spouse and I for his next one on March 16th!

                            1. re: Peaches to Poutine

                              yes, we do know this, met with Adrian recently and also going to his next event!

                              1. re: rshea

                                I'll see you there! It's my gift to him for his 40th birthday (which happens to the day of the dinner!)

                          2. Lamentably, the Sel Noir tasting menu dinner has been canceled.

                            Adrian called today to let me know. But he will be offering samples at the Natural Foods Expo on Saturday, March 16th!

                            The meal has been rescheduled for April 6th, but I will be out of town.

                            1. we had a good meal at Namos a greek resto in mileend and in walking to car noticed Invitation V which looked appealing so went there next night for a good meal too. This vegan resto has been open just over a month, still expanding menu items slowly-waitress said they hope to double menu offerings. Spring flower salad (bit of a misnomer), hot pot, mushroom risotto and organic wine were all delicious. Cheesecake (made with cashews)looked tempting but instead we went to kemcoba for their fantastic icecream. Invitation V is just a couple of blocks from Parc on Bernard so easy access by bus. Pleasant ambiance and friendly service-we will definitely return. From your note, this would be the place for you as not cafe decor, have fresh flowers at front, candles on tables, comfortable booth seating or smaller tables which can be pushed together for group sitting. We went early Saturday but there was only one table not reserved.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: mangoannie

                                Yes, I was very pleased to see that, cycling by... Indeed it looks far more elegant than any other vegan or vegetarian restaurant I've seen here. There are good write-ups in the media. Thanks for the advice to reserve!

                                1. re: mangoannie

                                  Thanks for the heads-up! Basic info for those too lazy to Google :-)

                                  http://www.invitationv.com/
                                  254 Rue Bernard Ouest
                                  (514) 271-8111
                                  online reservations accepted

                                  Their menu notes what is gluten-free, too.

                                  1. re: kpzoo

                                    Yay! A new vegan option in Montreal! I am excite.

                                    1. re: kpzoo

                                      This is why I love Chowbound. I will have to discover this place.