Eating Our Way Around Montreal

A recent 2-day, part-family visit, part-honeymoon trip to Montreal turned mainly into a tour of a few of the many excellent vegetarian, vegan, and veggie-friendly restaurants. Montreal is a great place to be in early June – warm, but not too hot, and everyone is outside, enjoying a drink on the patio, even in the middle of the day on Monday.

Aux Vivres
Aux Vivres BLT

Aux Vivres BLT

A fantastic place for a lunch when you’re really hungry. The portions are huge, and the service is quick. We had the gyro and the BLT, and both were amazing. I’ve never had vegan sour cream before, and they did a great job, and the coconut bacon in the BLT, while not something that would be mistaken for real bacon, was really tasty. If I lived in Montreal, this would be a frequent destination until I’d tried everything on the menu.

Zyng

Not a solely vegetarian restaurant, I remember this place from previous visits, and although my standards may have been a bit lower in my younger years, it’s still pretty good. You choose your own noodles, sauce, and protein from the menu, which includes 2 veggie proteins, tofu and “zoya.” Then you fill up your bowl with veggies of your choice, and they fry them up on a big grill. I forgot to pay close attention, but I’m pretty sure there was a separate grill for the meat and vegetarian fries, which is different from the Mongolian grill. I like this style because you always end up with exactly the veggies you want!

Commensal

This place was recommended by a friend, and had good food. Buffet style, but you pay by weight, and there was a huge variety of different foods, hot and cold, from all over, including a lot of desserts. If you came to this place often, you would know what were the best dishes, and what not to bother with. With this style, it’s easy to take too much food, and focus on heavier stuff like pasta and potatoes, instead of salad, which can get the price up pretty quick. Ended up eating a lot of food, and didn’t get a chance to taste the desserts, but have heard they’re amazing.

La Banquise
Poutine at La Banquise

Poutine at La Banquise

We asked the person at our hotel when we arrived where we could get vegetarian poutine, and she recommended this place. They have a large menu of a lot of different poutine options, pretty much anything you can imagine. Most people ordered a regular for themselves, but not being Montrealers with arteries made of steel, we split one. It was great. Having spent many summers in Quebec eating poutine, I have a snobbish attitude towards poutine in Vancouver, where I once worked at a grill that called cheddar cheese on fries with gravy poutine (or “pooh-tine” as people call it), although I admit that it seems to be getting more authentic these days. In any case, this hit the spot.

L’Escalier

This hole-in-the-wall on St. Catherine’s was a good stop, especially since it was close to our hotel and there was a downpour. We had a sandwich and a pizza. The sandwich was good, the pizza was so-so, and the atmosphere was fun – seemed to be a lot of hipster students on a Tuesday evening. We almost missed the place going by.

Crudessance

We met a friend for lunch at this raw-vegan restaurant, our last proper meal in Montreal. Between the 3 of us, we tried the Pad Thai, and the Champion and Nirvana wraps, all excellent, along with a couple of tasty kombuchas. I’m somewhat wary of raw vegan cuisine sometimes, but this really was tasty.

We did a few other things while in Montreal, including visiting the environment museum at the Biosphere, which was an excellent use of a rainy day, and drinking a lot of beer. Also impressed with the bike sharing system in the city, with cyclists everywhere, albeit without helmets. But enduring impressions were definitely of food!

Bixi shared bike system

Bixi shared bike system

View from the Biosphere

View from the Biosphere

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