Just two decades ago, there was no list of Montreal's best vegan and vegetarian restaurants. You were lucky if there were enough in town to count on one hand. To the delight of plant-based diets everywhere, the market has changed dramatically in the span of a generation, so much so that even the staunchest of meat eaters crave dishes at the following must-eat locales across the city.
La Panthère Verte
Organic vegan chain La Panthère Verte is perhaps most well-known for its falafel (often declared the best in Montreal), but we could live off their veggie burger which, auspiciously, is available in packages of four patties in the eatery's grocery section so you can make your own version at home (or in your hotel kitchenette).
Bring your own containers and coffee mugs for discounts. La Panthère Verte is located all over Montreal, including downtown as well as in the Latin Quarter, the Plateau, and the Mile End.
One of the city's first vegan restaurants, Aux Vivres debuted on St. Dominique in Montreal's Plateau neighborhood back in 1997. Twenty years later, they've since moved to their Boulevard Saint-Laurent location and are opening a second Aux Vivres in Westmount. They're even packaging and distributing their products to over 150 grocery stores, college campuses, cafès, and hospitals in and beyond Montreal.
Thai, Morrocan, Greek, Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Italian, and other culturally-inspired dishes fill out their ever-evolving menu. Pick up some vegan groceries to go in their adjacent store on Saint-Laurent.
The picture-perfect vegan-friendly vegetarian chain that is LOV doesn't skimp on the details, whether you visit its Old Montreal or downtown location. Pair its Instagrammable decor with an order of kimchi fries, tempeh steam buns, or a smoothie. It's a great spot to hang before a night on the town.
Pair live jazz with a comforting bowl of vegan chili. An artist-run space and one of Montreal's top jazz venues two blocks from Mount Royal in the Mile End, Café Résonance features an all-vegan menu and evening gigs which are mostly free (a suggested contribution is usually expected). Score a cocktail for under $8 and a baked vegan mac and cheese for less than $9.
An all-vegan Italian restaurant? The Plateau neighborhood's Vegano is a Montreal first. The menu changes weekly so no guarantees their avocado mac and cheese, egg-free omelet pizza, or vegan spaghetti carbonara will be available next time you pass by, but do expect clever twists on a cuisine that's admittedly tricky to veganize. Remember to bring your own wine.
With four locations, including one at the foot of Mount Royal and another in Old Montreal, Lola Rosa is a vegan-friendly vegetarian haven of comfort food pleasing even voracious carnivores with burritos, lasagna, burgers, and stews prominent on the menu.
On the edge of Griffintown and Little Burgundy, Bonny's vegan and vegetarian sensibilities have been serving up homemade empanadas, veggie burgers, and gourmet house lasagna, among other menu mainstays since 2004. Grab a little something to go from the takeout counter.
Sushi Momo Vegan
Finding an all-vegan sushi joint or Japanese pub used to be impossible. Sushi Momo Vegan changed all that, a must-try that goes way beyond standard avocado and cucumber rolls in the Plateau on rue St. Denis.
Think that dish is meat? Faux meat and mock seafood have been ChuChai's game since its inception in 1997. Wheat gluten and soy protein stand in admirably in classic Thai dishes like pad Thai, panang "beef," ''chicken'' with spinach and peanut sauce, and more. If ChuChai doesn't please even the most stubborn meat eater in your life, nothing will.
Outremont neighborhood bistro Invitation V is strictly vegan. And posh. The weekend brunch menu is especially enticing. Think vegan omelet with hollandaise sauce and chickpea and leek burger served with a side of sweet potato fries.
Originally known as Le Commensal, Resto Végo and its buffet concept have been around since 1977. It was pretty much the first vegetarian restaurant Montreal had ever seen. Just be aware that unlike other buffets that charge a flat rate by customer, Végo charges for meals by weight, and it adds up fast. Over 200 choices are on rotation with usually 50 options available at any given time its popular vegetarian lasagna, ginger tofu, and Asian style seitan dishes. Resto Végo is located in the Latin Quarter on the edge of the entertainment district.
La Lumière du Mile End
For a bohemian, '70s vibe and a homecooked feel to the food, try La Lumière du Mile End. A small Mile End diner on rue Bernard, La Lumière serves veggie sandwiches, burgers, salads, and fair trade coffee. By the way, don't be surprised if you strike up a conversation with your neighbor. It's that kind of place.
As a rule, Indian restaurants are vegetarian-friendly and legendary thali joint Pushap takes that notion all the way with an all-vegetarian menu since its opening in 1986. Score the best thali deal in town—you can fill up on less than $10 here—and buy samosas and sweets to go at the takeout counter.
Montreal's classic bagels are generally not vegan, but Mile End neighborhood's Fairmount Bagels does make at least a couple of varieties without egg.
As for glorious poutine? Several of the restaurants mentioned serve vegan and vegetarian poutines. And Montreal's top poutine joints have finally caught on, notably La Banquise and Poutineville, and both accommodate vegetarian and vegan diners with a proper vegan poutine.