The ulimate guide to vegan eating in Montréal
No meat? No problem! Montréal has got a burgeoning vegan game that’s growing strong reaaal fast. Sink your teeth into the many options that span both the city and the globe, culturally speaking – from luscious creamy pastas to middle-eastern treats and Vietnamese pho and cakes for dayyys.
Authentic (meat-free) Thai
Close your eyes and you’ll swear you’re eating actual crispy duck and this all-vegan Thai mainstay. ChuChai has graced the Plateau with its sophisticated cruelty-free cuisine since before Linda McCartney made vegan matter (or thereabouts). They keep the menu updated with dishes that are ever more delicious, including fan favourites like rich peanut dumplings, chewy pad Thai and decadent “beef” with eggplant and basil.
Montréal’s vegan OG
Montréal’s original vegan success story serves hearty rice bowls and a killer brunch from its a sprawling spot on St-Laurent Boulevard. Reboot on the sunny terrasse with one of the famous Aux Vivres smoothies (the Creamsicle is decadently delish), or a slice of berry-topped cheesecake in one of the blonde-wood booths – you’ll swear you’re eating the real thing. Stop by the takeout shop on your way out for a hotel-room snack.
Live music and vegan snacks
This Mile End spot serves daily live jazz, world music or classical alongside its inexpensive pints and great vegan eats. Café Résonance’s maki bowl is a delicious deconstructed twist on the sushi classic, while the cashew-based grilled cheese is scrumptious, made on liberally (vegan) buttered bread from the nearby Boulangerie Guillaume. All the sweets are delicious too – some of the best cookies in town.
Who needs fish in sushi?
Pescatarians agree: some of Montréal’s very best, most creative sushi is served at this chic vegan enclave on the Plateau. Order Sushi Momo’s tasting menu for your size of group (it’s offered for parties of 2, 4, 6) for the full experience: from the crispy centred Dynamite roll to the spicy jackfruit sushi (their answer to spicy tuna), it’ll all leave your taste buds amazed. Reservations are necessary at this hot spot.
Lazy-man’s Chinese buffet
Get the buffet experience without leaving your table at this mock-meat palace on St-Denis. The General Tao at Yuan Végétarien is honestly tastier than the chicken version, while the sesame beef will have you wondering if you’re being punked and this is really meat. (You’re not.) Pay one flat rate at dinnertime and the waiter will bring you endless mini-plates of your dishes of choice. Recreate the experience at home thanks to the vast selection of mock meats in the store section near the exit.
Pizza and burgers and ice cream, oh my
Satisfy your cravings at this little joint on Sherbrooke Street W. in NDG, where the all-vegan pizzas are served on shiny silver stands. Share a signature Vegan Rapide pie with friends at one of the outside picnic tables in the summer, or at the couple of seats indoors in the winter – though most people do take-out. The burgers, served on fluffy pitas and topped with signature sauce, are also a decadent delight – and don’t forget the vegan soft-serve for desert!
Healthy for the heart and soul
Head to Dollard-des-Ormeaux to refill on health-food ingredients and grab lunch at the lunch counter right at the heart of the store. The selection of sandwiches, salads and baked goods at Healthree is always mouth-watering, with the kale and quinoa salads at the top of their all-star list. While you’re there, peruse the large health-food store and its fridges packed with interesting nut cheeses and vegan sweets. The organic produce is also worth the trip.
Raw food reinvented
This local chain of raw food prep is so successful, it’s got its own cooking school and a widely-distributed product line. Crudessence is famous for its delish smoothies (the maca-caramel one is a winner), and its spring rolls or seaweed wraps make a nutritious, flavour-packed lunch. There are also meals of the day that astound with raw food’s creative capacities, and desserts like the raw chocolates and lime-avocado pie that are sure to please the palate.
Fully loaded falafels and cookies
Crunchy fried balls of goodness rule here, whether it’s the classic Israeli-style falafel, the nouveau falafel or the vegan twist on shish kebab. All the sandwiches at local chain Panthère Verte come on fluffy pitas, served in either half or full sized – and don’t forget to try the sweets! Some of the city’s most delicious vegan cookies live at Panthère Verte (the cherry-studded Cachewy is a knockout).
Killer vegan shish taouk
This humble lunch counter in Lachine couldn’t be more authentically Israeli if it were on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv. The most notable difference is that everything at Falafel St-Jacques is vegan (except for some package foods sold the spot that are vegetarian). Try the amazing, greasy, satisfying vegan shish taouk, or any of the other mock meat offerings (most are made with mushrooms), served pitas baked right on the spot. That said, the rainbow-coloured salad bar and the eponymous falafel are the real stars of the show.
Inventive vegan cuisine
Take your vegan game up a notch at this fancy spot in Mile End where invention is always on the menu. Invitation V is a good spot to impress a vegan date, or to brunch the next morning (wink-wink), especially for the vegan omelet stuffed with luscious hollandaise sauce and tons of veggies. The internationally-inspired cuisine here is always creative and responsive to themes, whether it’s Burger Week, Restaurant Week or sugaring-off season.
Cozy spot + comfort food
A casual Mile End hole-in-the-wall with yummy soups and sandwiches that opened before vegan was chic. La Lumière du Mile End is a great spot to nosh on quesadillas and catch up with a friend over a nut-milk latte before shopping and exploring the neighbourhood, or to grab a sandwich to-go for a picnic later. Don’t expect the swiftest of service, but it’ll come with a smile and the taste of that burrito will be worth the wait.
Decadent, delicious pastas
The creamiest, cheesiest mac and cheese you’re ever likely to taste – we kid you not – lives at this Plateau restaurant. It just happens not to contain any actual cheese! The changing menu has a comfort-food bent with an Italian twinge at Vegano, but you’re just as likely to bite into a massive burger than a bright plate of puttanesca. One thing’s for sure: you’ll come out of there fully (and we mean full) satisfied.
Vegan Vietnamese food?
Yes, son! Finally somewhere to enjoy this fresh and fragrant cuisine without the usual undesirables. Munch your way through Pho Da Son’s stupendous spring rolls free of fish sauce and other animal bits while you ponder the many options at the buffet-style counter. There are curries, mock-meat stir-fries and specialty dishes like stuffed crepes – everything we’ve tried has been aces!
Top notch nosh, day and night
A fun spot for a saucy date or a lazy brunch (all week, any time of the day) in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. Antidote offers exciting veganized comfort foods and a top-notch organic wine list. Dig in deep with menu stars like fried chicken and waffles, three-cheese mac’n’cheese, crunchy crusted seitan, pulled “pork” poutine and the vegan Big Mac – hey, we never said it was healthy.
Vegan burgers, soups and basics
You’ll find no-nonsense world-type cuisine at this NDG spot, with lots of great to-go options for lunch in the nearby park. Satisfying pasta salads, rainbow-coloured soup jars, spicy samosas and high-stacked veggie burgers (plus a range of interesting products in the onsite shop) make Café Juicy Lotus a go-to resource for vegetarians (almost everything here is vegan, but a handful contain eggs or dairy) in the west end of the city.
Yoga + breakfast = heaven
Get your downward dog on before grabbing a bite at this Plateau yoga studio-slash-café. Gorgeous looking smoothie bowls are a specialty at Bélem, especially acai bowls packed with antioxidants – they were one of the first spots to offer them in Montréal. The oatmeal or homemade granola are delectable, as are the coconut-milk lattes and chai teas – truly comfort in a cup that’ll make any day start right.
Plant-based shwarma, ho yeah
This shwarma counter in Laval is well worth the drive up the 15 – vegan Mediterranean food at its best! The falafel are crunchy, large Lebanese-style patties of goodness, the seitan shwarma and shish taouk is packed with satisfying flavour and the creative specialties, like the sliders, the Philly cheese-steak or the ooey-gooey quesadillas, make 57Cals a new favourite in Greater Montréal. (For a really special treat, try the spicy-fries poutine – what a kick.)
The prettiest sweets of all
Gluten-free soy-intolerant nut-allergic vegans, you’ve died and gone to heaven at this chic Westmount bakery. Nestled on tawny Victoria, the ultra pretty white-and-pastel Petit Lapin makes glorious cakes, cake-pops, cream puffs, cookies, madeleines and more without a trace of common allergens. The cakes are true statement pieces (hello, blue ombré triple-decker chocolate!), so expect oohs and ahhs at the next birthday party you pick up for.
The top vegan desserts
Cupcakes with whipped butter(y) maple frosting, fudgy chocolate brownies, berry tarts with crunchy crumble topping… all the good things live here. Sophie Sucrée has been sweetening up Pine Avenue on the Plateau for years now, offering visitors a q2uaint spot to park it and sip tea in pretty floral cups. After you’ve tried a few things on the spot, pick a half-dozen cupcakes for your friend in the self-serve fridge – they’ll love you forever.
Wow-factor vegan cakes
You’d never have guessed raw vegan desserts could be so decadent – and did we mention gluten-free? Rawesome delivers their artfully attractive cakes throughout the city, perfect for your next hotel-room party. The lime-coconut “cheese” cake is something we personally just can’t get enough of – luscious, smooth and rich but without any of the heart-attack heaviness of the dairy version. Other favourites are the crème brûlée cake (mmm caramelly) and the lemon splash – just so darn pretty!
Want vegan goods on the move?
Don’t miss these vegan options among Montréal’s hot food truck scene!
La Panthère Mobile
Get your falafel fix and your salad satisfaction on the go at La Panthère Mobile’s window, part of the (growing) Panthère Verte empire.
You’ll find a full, satisfying menu at La Wagonette food truck, including burritos, BTL wraps, veggie sushi, raw truffles and a breakfast parfait.
Think smooth at SmoothFruit food truck, where you can order fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, soups – basically fresh, vitamin-dense liquid nutrition.
Lab – Comptoir Roulant
If thirsty is what you are, look no further than this beverage-filled food truck, the mobile version of the popular bar Lab: specialties include teas, infusions and mocktails.
Isa Tousignant, blogger
Isa Tousignant is an art and lifestyle writer based out of Montréal’s ecclectic Park Ex neighbourhood. She is Contributing Editor for Canadian Art magazine and freelances full-time for a wide variety of magazines and brands. She’s also a jewellery designer and passionate about animal costumes and their role in contemporary art.
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