מסעדות טבעוניות במונטריאול. המלצות של אורי שביט

Vegans around the world: Dining in Montreal

דצמבר 10, 2014 מאת:

לאכול במונטריאול. צילום: אורי שביטA surprising invitation to attend Montreal’s first vegan festival made me pack my suitcases and land on Canadian soil for the first time in my life.  It was both exciting and tasty

There are a few opportunities that you simply can’t say no to, surely if they revolve a trip abroad, to places I have never been. Surely if they revolve around subjects that are closest to my heart- good food and saving animals. So unsurprisingly I responded positively immediately and took the offer to attend Montreal’s first vegan festival as a lecturer in September. It was very clear to me that the trip is not going to solely amount to giving a lecture in the festival, for many years my trips and vacations both in Israel and abroad hold a distinctive foodie characteristic, so there is absolutely no way that I will return from a new place without a list of recommendations, insights and of course many pictures of the culinary inventory in the designated city, and there was absolutely no reason for Montreal to be any different.

Lovely Montreal, greeted us with a wonderful sunny weather. Montreal is a very friendly town in general and also very vegan friendly. Recently Montreal is going through a culinary development much like in Israel. Like in Israel, veganism is not new here, however the demand   (and as a result also the market) have grown significantly in the last couple of years. At the time of our visit and immediately afterwards a few new vegan restaurants and also a first vegan supermarket have launched. Counting inaccurately, I feel that the number and diversification of the vegan or the vegan vegetarian restaurants in Montreal is even greater than the one in Tel Aviv. On the other hand, in restaurants that are not vegan or vegetarian you will probably not find too many options and you will not encounter vegan menus in every Café around town. So in conclusion I would say that Israel is probably friendlier towards the plant based dieters. Another important difference to remember (and that is true probably to most cities around the world) is that Montreal is not a city that is open 24\7- and you should go out to dinner in the pretty early acceptable hours, and not expect restaurants to be open until the middle of the night like they are in Tel Aviv.

As far as variety goes- Montreal offers everything, from fast food to open buffet and “eat as much as you can”  style places to very high end gourmet restaurants.  Health awareness is quite high, so you will probably find in the menu at least one or two dishes stating the superfood kale as a main ingredient, a lot of dishes would be both vegan and gluten free and another staple would probably be fresh smoothies made out of fruits, greens and veggies. On the other hand- one of locals’ favorite dish is named Poutine. Poutine is a big plate filled with soggy French fries drowned in sauce and cheese. We encountered a few vegan versions of this dish and most restaurants also serve many dishes containing mock meat- some are tasty, and some are less.

Montreal does not really have a “city center” that you can walk around and jump from place to place. However, it is very easy to get around and it has great comfortable public transportation (Metro), so it is very worthwhile to make little trips to locations that sounds tasty to you, especially if you are foodie tourists like me. An important tip: the houses numbers’ in the streets are not really consistent and can skip a few numbers between buildings. The city is divided into two sides- east and west, and in each side one can find the same street numbers that begin in the main routes and continue outwards. The locals are very nice, and usually speak both English and French, so you will probably always find someone that can help you reach your destination.

The following article will give you a pretty wide preview to the most interesting recommended places that you should visit when you arrive in Montreal – many thanks to Ann Sophie and Ziv, for kindly hosting us and also for making sure we will dine in the best restaurants. If you have any additional recommendations- you are more than welcome to update me in the comments. After all we should always hope that there is going to be a next time.

מבט אל מונטריאול. צילום: אורי שביט

The “Vegans On top” guide to vegan and vegan friendly restaurants

Montreal’s vegan festival
Behind Montreal’s first vegan festival that took place in the city between the 26th -27th of September 2014 stands the vegetarian organization (as a matter of fact the vegan organization) of Montreal and many dedicated beautiful people, that have decided that now is the time for them to take pride in a top notch event made for whomever is interested in a vegan plant based lifestyle, for moral, health or ecology reasons. It was very exciting to see all vegan business in the city engaging in the promotion of the event- in almost every restaurant we’ve seen posters and all kinds of advertisement inviting the public to participate. The result was an impressive event that took place in the local university owned buildings, which were filled with different stands of organizations for animals, food tasting and interesting products. In the rooms and halls there were chefs demonstrating preparation of different dishes, lectures and panels of the best lecturers from both Montreal and around the world, and also the ending celebrations of the first round of “challenge 21”, the local version of our challenge 22- a three weeks vegan diet experimenting, registered by 2000 participants.

פסטיבל טבעוני במונטריאול. צילום: אורי שביט

My part in the event was a one hour lecture in front of 300 viewers, in which I have talked about the vegan revolution taking place these days in Israel, from different aspects. From the big demonstrations attended by thousands of participants to the wide coverage by all kinds of media, from the establishment of the first sanctuary farm to the changing of one Georgian restaurant turning it completely vegan. The festival was attended by 5000 people and the great success promise that this was not a one-time event, the festival is going to be a tradition that is destined to continue in the years to come as well. Keep updated. For the festival page https://www.facebook.com/festivalveganedemontreal.

אורי שביט מרצה בפסטיבל במונטריאול. צילום: אורן בן יוסף

The golden triangle
At a random corner of the city, in one small building we found three successful destinations to the vegan tourist. If you are crazy like me, you will sample them one after the other and if you have a little more time to wonder around the city, you will go back each time from a different reason.  One way or another, it is a great pleasure to be able to find such a crowded successful variety of restaurants that do not use any animal products.

שלושה בתי אוכל, בניין אחד. המקדש הטבעוני של העיר

La Panthere Verte
The green panther has a great reputation amongst the local vegans- pleasant pub environment, with wide wooden tables, and food that is both friendly and tasty mostly hidden in homemade Pita bread and served to the table in little straw baskets. Everything is vegan and organic and the dishes are being cleared off the table by you in the end of the meal. When you miss home, this is the place to eat a really epic falafel, but also a great hamburger (in Pita bread as well), grilled tempeh, daily changed casserole dish, soups, salads and more, and drink right out of a jar a wide selection of smoothies and juices. You can also purchase pre-prepared food and take it home with you: hamburgers, Pita bread, jars filled with vegan casseroles and soups that all you need to do is reheat whenever you wish, you can even get Humus.

 There are three branches around the city, we were at-
Mackay Street, Montreal 2153
No. 514-4744-903
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 11:00-22:00, Saturday 11:00-21:00, Sunday 11:00-19:00

פיתה בסלסילה, שייק בצנצנת. מתפננים בפנתר הירוק

Crudessence
Right across the green panther we found its mirror image- there is no fried food here, no Pita breads and no cooked food of any kind or sort. Crudessence is a gluten free raw food restaurant, one of the two raw restaurants situated in Montreal. Crudessence is an empire of raw veganism – they have different kinds of products for sale (some of which is being sold in the beautiful store at the entrance of the restaurant), from Kombucha drinks, to juice bars and takeaway, catering services, books and even an in-house cooking academy. The menu of the restaurant is both diverse and impressive, so that even someone like me, that the mere thought of “raw cold food” doesn’t really do it for them, can name it an appetizing menu. We went with the staff’s recommendation and ordered a great lasagna made out of zucchini and macadamia cheese, spinach and pistachio pesto, it came with a side salad that was even better- made out of kale, capers and spicy- sweet eggplant straps, which are named “bacon” by the restaurant. We also tried the amazing oh so spicy “Pad- Thai” that was very spicy due to the use in fresh paper thin straps of daikon, and gigantic white Japanese radish of some sort. We washed everything down with green mint chlorophyll water that arrived immediately at our table. As for desert- you can order it to your table or choose from the display in the store and take it home with you.

The branch that we visited was-
Mackay, Montreal 2157
No. 514-664-5188
Opening hours: Sunday-Wednesday 11:00- 21:00, Thursday-Saturday 11:00- 22:00

מסעדות טבעוניות במונטריאול. קרוסדנס

Café Verdure
Climbing the stairs of the same building will bring you to this pleasant café, a wide light space with a big window and a wall covered in wall paper that will make you feel a little like you are in the middle of the wood. All dishes in this place are vegan, organic, sugar free and gluten free (a lot of places combine all these trends together in order to meet everybody’s needs).  The healthy titles, that might alarm certain foodies, completely fade away to the looks of the display that includes a variety of cream decorated cupcakes (definitely one of the best I ever had), doughnuts, cookies and cakes. In case you did not just visit one of the neighbors, there is also a menu of sandwiches, soups and salads and also Saturday brunch. It is a wonderful place for working, reading, having meetings and just relaxing.

Rue 2159 Mackay
No. 514-842-2212
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 11:00-21:00, Saturday 10:00-19:00, Sunday- closed.

מסעדות טבעוניות במונטריאול. קפה ורדור

The Vegan Diner: Aux Vivre
The oldest vegan restaurant in Montreal (established in 1997) and a busy meeting place to the city’s vegans and their friends, if you wish- the locals little more sophisticated equivalent of Tel Aviv’s Buddha Burgers. The place is full most of the time, so sometimes you will find yourselves standing in line in order to get a table. The service is practical and efficient, the food arrives quickly and the whole feeling is more of a fast food restaurant and not a place you come to if you want to enjoy a long meal. The menu is eclectic and fairly good, and includes dishes like – hamburgers, casseroles, mock meat, sandwiches, bowls (cold-hot salad made with fresh vegetables, cooked legumes and grains, a great style of dishes that you will find here a lot), and also smoothies.  The menus indicate specifically which dishes contain soy, gluten and nuts. Brunch is being served on Sunday and Saturday and if you want to get different products, you will be able to find them in the adjacent store, things like flavored tempeh, sandwiches, cookies and cakes to take home with you.

St. Laurent Blvd 4631
No. 514-842-3479
Opening hours: Monday –Friday 11:00- 23:00, Saturday-Sunday 10:00-23:00

מסעדות טבעוניות במונטריאול. או ויוורה

Over the scale: Resto Vego
The story behind this place is especially interesting- this is a vegetarian restaurant (with two branches around the city) that at some point decided to add meat to the menu. The permanent diners voted against this act with their feet, the restaurant have experienced some financial struggles and a new owners have entered the picture, most of whom are vegans. Today most of the menu is vegan and rumor has it that it’s only a matter of time before it turns completely vegan. Although I’m usually not crazy about buffet eat as much as you can style, in Vego things are a little different than one could expect. The buffet is rich, appetizing and diverse, and the vegan dishes are labeled over little signs above each dish. Everybody can find something they like here – the food is really great, I was less fond of the dessert selection. The price for all dishes is identical- 2.35$ for 100 grams (yes, they will weigh your plate at the register).

Saint- Denis 1720
No. 514-845-2627
Opening hours: Sunday- Wednesday 11:00-22:00, Thursday 11:00-22:30, Friday-Saturday 11:00-23:00

מסעדות טבעוניות במונטריאול. ווגו

Quick and in style: Copper Branch
We have arrived at the youngest location of the trip only two weeks after opening, and since then it was revealed to us that another two branches are about to open in the city. Copper Branch is the most stylish fast food restaurant I have ever been to- from the décor (which in accordance with the title includes many copper pipes) to the cardboard boxes and paper wraps the food is being served on. The food is really good here and it’s also a perfect place to get takeaway either home or to a picnic, if the weather allows it. You can find here a few kinds of hamburgers, a selection of mixed bowls, sandwiches with mock meat and also the national dish Poutine- French fries in Portobello sauce and vegan cheese. There are also deserts, mostly cakes, served in a glass. Don’t worry about the plastic, the place is proud of its responsible green policy, towards nature, humans and animals.

Rue Bishop
No. 514-303-1800
Opening hours: Monday – Wednesday 07:00-22:00, Thursday-Friday 07:00-23:00, Saturday 08:00-23:00, Sunday 08:00-22:00

מזון מהיר עם אג'נדה באווירה סטייליסטית. קופר בראנץ'

גם האוכל מוגש בסטייל

Going to the market: Marche Jean Talon
The oldest farmer’s market of Montreal (since 1933) is open all seasons of the year, but is recommended for visitation in the warmer period of the year (May to October), when the external area is open vibrant and filled with the colorful goods of farmers coming from out of town. In the roofed central structure vegans don’t have too much to look for- there are natural popsicles, spices, olive oil, maple and wine, alongside number of stores that sell animal’s meat. The true celebration takes place in the open back part, there even middle Easters like us will find themselves marveling at the spectacular variety of eggplants or hot peppers. If you stay in an apartment with a kitchen, this is the most fun place to get fresh fruits and vegetables, while in the internal part you will find grains and legumes.

Avenue Henri – Julien, 7070
Opening hours: Monday-Wednesday, Saturday 07:00-18:00, Thursday-Friday 07:00-20:00, Sunday 07:00-17:00

מסעדות טבעוניות במונטריאול. שוק ז'אן טאלון

Can’t believe its vegan: ChuChai
Being the culinary lady that I am, the entire substitutions subject for me is almost a foul language.  What’s the idea in mocking something we don’t want to eat? I always prefer delicious real food, over food that is so processed that it’s very hard to tell what’s in it. The ChuChai case is very controversial and out of the ordinary- on one hand, we are talking about a new level of art that you simply have to be super impressed with, on the other hand the mock meat here is so close to the original that I absolutely do not miss it. There are people that such resemblance to real meat can even intimidate them. However- the food here is great and as long as I like it, how can I complain? One way or another, it is recommended to visit if only for the experience, that will surprise meat eaters and vegans alike.

This is one of the more expensive posh restaurants we visited, with a good service and serious ambiance, at least until you finish a bottle of wine. The dishes are mostly Thai style and when you will order from the menu you will find yourselves asking for “fried shrimp”, “curried chicken” or “crispy duck”, words that I thought will never come out of my mouth ever again. The dish I enjoyed the most was actually a simple small little opening dish named “The Five Spices”- through this dish I initially encountered a pleasure named smoked coconut, a wonderful brilliant idea that turned into a hit in both restaurants and specialty stores.

Saint- Denis Rue 4088
No. 514-843-4194
Opening hours: Tuesday- Saturday 11:00-14:00, 17:00-23:00. Sunday and Monday – closed

לא, זה לא באמת ברווז תודה לאל. זה לגמרי טבעוני

למעלה מימין - המנה שהכי אהבתי, בלי תחליפים. משמאל - הבהרה ממה האוכל באמת עשוי

Sweet pearl: Sophie Sucree
This lovely little bakery is situated a little in the middle of nowhere, but its reputation is well known even outside the vegan community especially for its divine cupcakes. Other than superb cupcakes the display also consists of brownies, truffles (which were excellent!), different kinds of pies and also a pastry named Baklava which might resemble the original. A great place to sit with a cup of tea and enjoy the homemade pastries, purchase a box of pastries to take home with you or pre order an entire decorated cake. If you come hungry you can get a sandwich or a soup before dessert. The staff is friendly and charming and I can say this is defiantly my kind of place.

Ave des Pins E 167
No. 514-5865-823
Opening hours: Monday- Wednesday, Sunday 11:00-18:00, Thursday-Friday 11:00-21:00, Saturday 11:00-20:00

איזה מקום מתוק! לשכפל ולייבא לישראל

איזה מקום מתוק! לשכפל ולייבא לישראל

Put some oil: Yuan
If you care more about your money than your health, this must be the place for you. Yuan is an almost fully vegan Chinese restaurant (the few vegetarian dishes are labeled in the menu) with a very inexpensive eat as much as you can style menu (17$ weekdays, 20$ weekends and 13$ for lunch time).  The only condition is, that you have to finish off the plate, or else you would be charged with additional dish. When you arrive at the restaurant you will be served with a menu together with a little pencil, so you can mark the names of the dishes and the amount you would like to receive from each dish- I recommend to order gradually, so you will not find yourselves sitting in front of mountains of food that you cannot finish off. The main weak spot of this place is the use of oil that is being excessively used without any real need- almost all dishes are deep fried and did not leave any significant culinary impression, so I would say that mostly this is a place to come to if you want to eat a lot and very cheap. If you are really enthusiastic about the mock meat being served here (the menu also offers tofu, sushi and few vegetables as well) you can purchase some in the entrance store.

St- Denis 2115
No. 514-848-0513
Opening hours: Tuesday- Friday 11:00-15:00, 17:00-22:00, Saturday-Sunday 12:00-16:00, 17:00-22:00, Monday- closed.

משהו מטוגן עם משהו מטוגן. מבחר מייצג של המנות ב Yuan

The best one: Invitation V
The best restaurant we have dined in Montreal is located in one of the most charming it areas of the city, in a street filled with interesting shops and a large representation of the Jewish community.  The large restaurant is clearly aiming high, we arrived at the relaxing lunch time but in the evening the ambiance probably turns more serious.  The lunch specials are a little less indulging but still very good- here you will not find mock meat instead you will find tasty dishes like pasta in tomato beet sauce, noodles with shitake mushrooms and of course- bowls that can be assimilated from abundance of different ingredients. Order an excellent Sangria, it will upgrade your meal and take it to the next level. As far as desserts they went a little crazy and took the health trend to rather bizarre places: the two most popular desserts are kale chocolate cake and chia cake covered with chocolate and berries. Surprisingly, it’s not so bad and in any case, the experience is highly recommended.

Rue Bernard Quest 254
No. 514-271-8111
Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday 11:30-15:00, 18:00-22:00, Saturday brunch 11:30-15:00, 18:00-22:00, Sunday opens only for brunch 11:30-15:00. Monday- closed.

מנות משובבות נפש וחיך. תפריט צהריים ב Invitation V

First vegan supermarket in Montreal: Antidote Superalimentation
We have not visited there since it opened right after we left, but we heard it’s a very promising successful place with an interesting variety of products. Go for it!

Rue Ontario est, 3459

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