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Nov 25, 2002 01:36 PM

Veggie-friendly places near Old Montreal

  • j

My boyfriend and I are heading to Montreal for a weekend soon. I was hoping that I could get some advice on vegetarian-friendly restaurants in or near old Montreal. He does not eat any sort of meat (fish included). Thanks!

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  1. I haven't been in Montreal for a couple of years so somebody more current than I am may have to help me out. Le Commensal, a chain of vegetarian restaurants in Montreal, has the best vegetarian food I have ever eaten. They have both a hot and cold buffet with at least forty dishes on each. You help yourself then the cashier weighs your plate and charges accordingly. Quality of the food is excellent and prices are very reasonable. According to the brochure I picked up the last time I was there they have four locations in Montreal including one on Saint-Denis and one at the corner of McGill College and Ste-Catherine---either could be easily reached by subway from Old Montreal (Place-d'Armes station). If you eat vegetarian and are going to be in Montreal do not miss Le Commensal---I would go far out of my way to eat there.

    1. As far as I know, there's not much in the way of meatless cooking on offer in Old Montreal. Stash's does have cheese pirogies and blintzes, as I reall. You'll probably fare better in Chinatown, a ten minute walk away. Or hop on the metro for a short ride to Sherbrooke station, and then walk three blocks to ChuChai, the excellent Thai/Chinese vegetarian restaurant on St-Denis. Next door is Chuch, ChuChai's fastfood/take-out store, which also has a few tables.

      Also, most Lebanese restaurants around town feature a wide variety of vegetarian-friendly dishes (not just falafel). You'll find fastfood-style joints in nearly every neighbourhood; for something a bit fancier (i.e. waiters, tables with tablecloths, wider choice of entrées) head to Aux Lilas on du Parc north of St-Viateur. It's a ten-minute taxi ride from Old Montreal (a bit longer on the 80 bus) but the neighbourhood's fun to poke around in. And afterwards you can walk the half-block to the city's best bagel bakery, open 24 hours a day, on St-Viateur just west of du Parc. And you might want to give Médi Médi (479 St-Alexis, corner of Notre-Dame in Old Montreal) a call (514 284-2195); it's been a while since I've eaten there but their Middle Eastern/Mediterranean-inspired cooking may have enough vegetarian options to make for a satisfying dining experience.

      I wish I could share N Tocus's enthusiasm about Le Commensal. Personally I find the cafeteria-style preparation and service, the haphazardness of the dishes ("Chinese" noodles cheek by jowl with mac and cheese) and the relatively high prices depressing, and am always left feeling that it's an operation driven more by ideology than pleasure. However, lots of people like it, and your BF may too.

      1. go to Chu Chai on St. Denis (just north of Duluth), and you will not regret it. Veggie faux-meat Thai food. It's heavenly. Not *SO* close to Old Montreal, but most certainly worth it.

        order the following:

        Fried Seaweed
        Tom Yum soup
        Vegetarian "Duck" Salad appetizer
        Vegetarian "Duck" Red Curry
        some beer/sake.

        for about $50 you will have the meal of your vegetarian lives and be absolutely stuffed. These dishes are definitely the highlights in my opinion. My girlfriend and I have gotten it down to a science after eating there many times over the past year. Unfortunately now I am in New York and without access to Duck Salad!!!