Veggie Voyager! Montreal

 Maple Syrup on Snow—a sticky, sweet, and vegan Montreal treat. At Jean Talon Market. 

Maple Syrup on Snow—a sticky, sweet, and vegan Montreal treat. At Jean Talon Market. 

By: Rachel

If your travels take you to the beautiful Canadian city of Montreal, a place known for cheese curd and gravy-topped poutine and smoked meat sandwiches, you may be wondering if you’ll be able to survive as a vegetarian. A few weeks back, we headed north to explore this very question for you. The answer? Bien sur (like, totally)! Montreal is a haven for amazing meat-free dining, if you know where to look.

We were only there for a few snowy spring days (man, was it was cold), but we found the time to discover these hot spots for vegetarian and vegan food in Montreal:

 

Aux Vivres

 Thai rice bowl at Aux Vivres

Thai rice bowl at Aux Vivres

This vegan restaurant provided a bright, cheery break from the cold in the form of rice bowls and smoothies like the Bombay Banane—banana, soy coconut milk, ginger, masala, and dates. Yum.

 

Lola Rosa

 Vegetarian poutine (left) and chickpea fries (right) at Lola Rosa

Vegetarian poutine (left) and chickpea fries (right) at Lola Rosa

If you’re itching to try typically vegetarian-unfriendly poutine, this is the place. At Lola Rosa, poutine is unlike anywhere else, though—made with a mix of sweet and Yukon Gold potatoes, and topped with cheese curds and mushroom and black bean gravy (you can make it vegan, too). Our favorite starter, though, was the chickpea fries. And even though we filled up on hearty main courses like the burrito and nachos, we couldn’t say no to a dessert called L’incroyable—the incredible—a chocolate mousse tart that somehow had quinoa and avocado in it? Incredible.

 

Olive and Gourmando

Located in Vieux Montreal, this casual spot is anything but old-fashioned when it comes to food. With sandwiches like The Goat Cheese (with caramelized onions and homemade ketchup) and Viva Las Vegan (with roasted marinated tofu and crushed green olives), not to mention options for the meat eaters, everyone will be happy here.

 

St. Viateur Bagel

 Breakfast! Courtesy St. Viateur Bagel

Breakfast! Courtesy St. Viateur Bagel

So we know that there is a major debate between Montrealers about which bagel shop is better—St. Viateur or Fairmount. And we realize that if we lived in Montreal, we’d probably know some little hole-in-the-wall shop that we’d feel truly made the best ones, and scoff at this conversation altogether. But when we wandered into St. Viateur just in time to get a dozen freshly baked sesame bagels, the store with the adorable bagel man logo won our hearts (click the link to fully appreciate). Note to vegans—Montreal bagels, unlike most New York bagels, are NOT vegan as they contain eggs and honey. Rumor has it that Beaubien Bagel makes a vegan variety. We’ll try them on our next trip!

 

Jean Talon Market

 Most organized vegetables ever, at Jean Talon Market.

Most organized vegetables ever, at Jean Talon Market.

This public open-air market (enclosed in the colder months) is a smart stop to pick up beautiful—and incredibly well organized—fresh produce, maple syrup, spices, flowers, and baked goods. We shopped here to stock our apartment rental for breakfasts, which was a great way to save money and feel like locals. Our favorite stand: Creperie du Marche for some savory and dessert crepes.


C’est La Vie marche bio

We wandered into two locations of this small-ish but well stocked natural foods store. Excellent selection and clean, well-organized shelves made these stores a great place to pick up some bulk dried cranberries and other snacks for the road.


Rachelle-Bery

This natural foods store with 30+ locations has been a healthy eating staple in Quebec for the past 30 years. Since they’ve been around a while, the stores aren’t as sparkling as some newer chains—but the selection is good; we were happy to have one on our corner to pick up organic milk and nondairy milk, and yogurt from Quebec brand Liberte.


Let’s just say we ate well. But we’re already planning for the next trip. Here are some stops on our list (in addition to revisiting these ones!):


Chu Chai: Vegan Thai food


Invitation V: Stylish vegan bistro


Bonnys: Opened by a popular vegetarian caterer


Copper Branch: Several locations; casual vegan spo


Do you have any favorite vegan/vegetarian spots in Montreal? Please share them!