© Susan Moss
Montréal’s vegan OG
Montréal’s original vegan success story serves hearty rice bowls and a killer brunch from its a sprawling spot on Saint-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. 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.
© Susan Moss
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 and 6) for the full experience: from the crispy centred Dynamite roll to the spicy jackfruit sushi (its 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 Saint-Denis Street. 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, burgers and ice cream, oh my
Satisfy your cravings at this little joint on Sherbrooke Street West in NDG, where the all-vegan pizzas are served on shiny silver stands. Share a signature Végan 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 dessert!
© Susan Moss
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 La Panthère Verte come on fluffy pitas, served in either half or full size – 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).
© Susan Moss
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 packaged foods sold on 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 on pitas baked right on the spot. That said, the rainbow-coloured salad bar and the eponymous falafel are the real stars of the show.
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.
Fast food done right!
This fast-food chain is spreading like wildfire, which is a great thing when you want an alternative to the golden arches. Because though the food is fast at Copper Branch, it’s all got a healthier twist. Dive guilt-free into the poutine made with oven-roasted fries, vegan cheese and a rich mushroom gravy – or choose from a whole whack of healthy rice bowls, and an impressive selection of burgers. The shiitake teriyaki is a fave.
Decadent, delicious pastas
The creamiest, cheesiest mac and cheese you’re ever likely to taste – we kid you not – lives at this Rosemont 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.
© Tourisme Montréal, Susan Moss
Authentic (meat-free) Thai
Close your eyes and you’ll swear you’re eating actual crispy duck at 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). It keeps 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.
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 and cheese, crunchy crusted seitan, pulled “pork” poutine and the vegan Big Mac – hey, we never said it was healthy.
© Susan Moss
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.
© Stephanie Karam, Belém Café et Yoga
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 Belém Café & Yoga, especially acai bowls packed with antioxidants – it was 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.
Sweet Plateau café
Just inches from Saint-Denis Street, Café Tuyo is a charming, warm café and lunch counter that served vegan and vegetarian sandwiches on homemade bread, soups and salads. Saddle up to the counter and order a vegan latte with the silky home mixture of almond and soy milk. Or in the summer, how about some lavender lemonade after a Plateau shopping day? The food here is homey, healthy, mostly organic and made with love.
Cold cuts with heart
Sausage lovers rejoice: this compassionate “butcher” makes the most delectable 100% plant-based cold cuts and cheese. From its space in the Jean-Talon Market, which features a counter full of its products as well as a dozen tables inside and on the terrasse to enjoy snacks on the spot, Gusta has spread its brand throughout supermarkets city-wide. Try the Germaine or the spicy Italiana sausage for a memorable hot-dog experience and pick up the sliceable seitan loaf to-go for sandwiches at home!
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.
© Susan Moss
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 Des Pins Avenue on the Plateau for years now, offering visitors a quaint 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 friends 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 its 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!
Petites pâtisseries and more
Vegan éclairs, lemon tarts and other fine French things are offered at DUGOUT, a cute, colourful bakery on Duluth Avenue, just east of Saint-Laurent Boulevard. The French-trained pastry chef behind the popular dessert list at the vegetarian Lola Rosa restaurants, Marie-Charlotte Dugout, set off on her own to open this flavour haven dedicated to fine, light sweets. Over half the offerings are gluten-free to boot!
© Susan Moss
Canada’s great big vegan market
Located on Saint-Denis Street on the Plateau, Herbivores Marché Végétalien is a boon to Montréal as the biggest 100% vegan health food store in Canada. You’ll find an incredible selection of specialty goods like artisanal nut cheeses from Québec and beyond among the colourful aisles, in addition to great sweets and snack foods. Bring a big shopping bag and get ready to make room in your hotel fridge!
© Two Food Photographers
Kindness of the tastiest kind
Tendresse on Sainte-Catherine Street downtown gives compassion a tasty twist with boozy weekend brunches and an all-day menu featuring tacos, open-faced sandwiches and spicy curries. The place itself is mad stylish, with yellow, pink and burgundy banquettes and a cool angled ceiling, and it’s open morning, noon and night every day of the week.
Vegan a la italiana
Don’t look for tempeh on the menu of Mile End’s Radis, a cruelty-free Italian restaurant that sidesteps the vegan tropes. Saddle up to the white marble countertop in this classic, black-and-white décor for a pizza, calzone, some handmade pasta, crunchy polpettes or gorgeous tartines. And for afters, how about cannoli or bombolini? You can also order to-go.
Green light on fast food
Downtown eatery Code Vert is the perfect spot to pick up lunch lickity-split between two meetings. The fast-and-easy dishes on the menu include a variety of vegan grilled cheeses (four kinds!), bounty bowls, salad meals (try the crunchtastic Raw Pad Thai, yum) and hearty burgers. There’s also a long list of breakfast options, to start your day off right – and healthy.
© Susan Moss
Kitchen-fresh foods to-go
Hungry for a spot to lunch? Stop into the daytime eatery Le Kitchen, in Griffintown. The vegan, gluten-free menu features fresh bowls, salads, wraps and baked goods you can pick up and eat either at its HQ on William Street or at one of its stockists about town. Among the most popular options, the Gado Gado bowl features roasted sweet potato cubes, spinach, grilled marinated tofu, peanuts, a rainbow of veggies and a luscious, addictive dressing.
Soft serve with a heart
Cold treat lovers will celebrate the summer months with majestic cones of soft serve vegan ice cream at Hoche Glacé, in Hochelaga. In addition to the regular fare, this ice cream parlour – a sister to the beloved coffee shop Hoche Café – offers a selection of nut-milk treats ranging from soy frozen yogurt to towering-tall vegan soft serve cones covered in vegan Belgian chocolate. And sprinkles, if you want ‘em.
I scream for veganscream
Welcome to Swirl, a little ice cream shop on the Plateau’s Rachel Street that’s entirely vegan. Saddle up to the takeout window and order yourself some homemade oh-so-creamy dairy-free coconut-based soft serve – and delicious cookies too, all made from scratch and cruelty-free. Expect unusual flavours, far beyond the classic vanilla and chocolate, in keeping with the owners’ Asian heritage. Sweeeeeet.
Montréal’s first vegan pub
What used to be Big In Japan on the Main is now Bowhead Pub, the city’s very first all-plant-based pub. With a menu full of comfort food, including fully loaded waffle fries topped with yummy-crispy-savoury Beyond Meat hamburger bits, chick’n and “beef” burgers (on pretzel buns, yum) and tacos-in-a-bag, this is decadence at its kindest. The cocktails are tasty, the wines are vegan (most wines are not) and the price point is just what this pub crawler ordered.
Salads and burgers in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce
Perched on Monkland Avenue with a pretty terrasse, the first Montréal address of this Toronto chain makes delicious comfort food. Try Hello123’s brunch, or the Hello Burger, featuring the Beyond Meat patty, a tahini-mayo dressing and all the trimmings. Tip: if you get your potato wedges “messy” they’ll come topped with guacamole, cashew cream, pickled onion, fresh green onions and vegan bacon bits.
Lunches made healthy
The two locations of the Toronto-based chain Kupfert & Kim in Montréal’s downtown core satisfy hungry professionals with goodness-packed salads and gluten-free blondies. Their meatless and wheatless philosophy means it attracts gluten avoiders as well.
© Two Food Photographers (Alison Slattery)
Vegan sushi blossoms in Old Montréal
Bloom Sushi is as fetching for Instagram photos as it is for its plant-based makis, conceived with care by the chef behind the stellar Sushi Momo. The décor in white-painted-brick and ancient grey stone with pale blossoms and low-hanging lamps everywhere is a feast for the eyes that goes nicely with plum-wine cocktails.
Sandwiches to-go in Little Italy
The calming space of the small Le Watson in Little Italy is part of what draws locals to it every day, to either buy some of the to-go items, explore the sandwich offerings or grab a smoothie and health-packed salad bowl followed by one of the scones or brownies. The house tempeh bacon and smoked tofu make for meaty sandwiches or toasts, all made with Louise Boulangerie breads.
© Two Food Photographers (Alison Slattery)
Vegan diner in Mile End
Saddle up to the very cute counter at Mimi & Jones for a feast fit for Archie and Jughead: burgers, fries, nuggets and milkshakes! The place has a true American deli vibe, with a long bar that runs nearly the length of the black-and-white themed space. On the fancier side of the menu there’s a killer Caesar salad and some beckoning pasta dishes, but that’ll be for another visit. Best news of all: no Beyond Meat in sight. The patties here are made from scratch.
© Susan Moss
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 Wagonnette 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.