When I’m not busy scavenging the globe for tacos, iced lattes and white sand beaches, you can find me snacking at some of my favorite spots in my home city of Montreal. Being multicultural and foodie-friendly makes MTL a relatively easy place to find cheap eats. Behold my top five, locally owned, not too pricey and oh-so-delicioso vegan-friendly spots in MTL.
1. Nilufar (1923 St. Catherine W)
If you’re on a student budget but want to eat like a king, head directly to Nilufar. Their prices are dangerously low and they boast the best falafel anywhere. Also, best service in the city. Once you get to meet the legendary queen of falafel herself, you will never want to eat anywhere else. Nilufar will remember your name, your order, your favorite color, and your cat’s birthday by the second time you meet her. You can expect to find heart-warming vegan soups, tofu taouk, veggie/hummus pitas, potatoes with garlic sauce, brownies, that old fashioned peach drink (you know the one I mean), and as I may have mentioned, the best falafel in the universe. This place is one of MTL’s hidden gems, but be forewarned, the food is highly addictive.
Here’s what Nilufar herself has to say about their humble establishment, which has been around since 1994:
“We believe that everyone should have access to healthy & fresh food, regardless of what their budget, it’s the foundation that this magical restaurant was built on. When it comes to vegan food, it’s not only because I’m vegan that we have lots of amazing vegan options but just for the mere fact that i don’t think that people who are trying to do something good for the animals and environment should be charged double or even triple sometimes when for the most part it’s the same price to make as something non-vegan. I believe that something that all restaurants should follow. You shouldn’t be paying 25$ for 3 small items that will barely fill you up. Come here with 25$ and you have food for the whole fam.
Also, I’m kind of a big deal, something like a superstar”.
Photo cred: Nilufar Restaurant
Fave dish: the falafeltine: (fries, hot sauce, tahini and falafel) PLUS one falafel pita and one veggie pita (both vegan garlic) and a peach juice. #falafel4life
2. Bonny’s (1748 Notre Dame)
I only had the pleasure of visiting this beautiful little organic/vegetarian resto once, but I can’t wait to return. My soy latte was beautifully crafted and the tofu ricotta lasagna tasted like it was made with love. I indulged in a piece of carrot cake for dessert, which wasn’t dry or dense like what I’ve come to expect from a lot of vegan baking, but delightfully creamy and light, as it should be. Log-cabin style decor almost makes you forget your in the middle of a busy city, this is a lovely place to recharge your soul with a healthy homemade meal.
Fave dish: A plate of warm lasagna, best eaten while catching up with a good friend over multiple coffees.
3. Le Cagibi (5490 st Laurent)
Quirky, cozy and located way the hell up St. Laurent street, Le Cajibi has been serving high quality veggie/gluten free/organic options forever. Easy on the wallet and swarming with students and artist-types, I recommend this place for vegetarian or vegan Mexican (black bean burritos, nachos, tacos, quesadillas), homemade desserts, local craft beer, funky cocktails, and fantastic fair-trade coffee. Like many small venues in the Mile End, this place was Hipster before the great Montreal hipster invasion of ‘07, so you can expect kombucha vibes, vintage decor, eclectic art and local live music.
Photo cred: Leslie at https://spottedsf.com/
Fave dish: warm cup of chili with tortilla chips and a green tea on a dreary November day.
4. Falafel St. Jacques (345 Rue Saint-Jacques)
I made the mistake of overlooking this place for quite a while before finally trying it for the first time. Mostly because St. Jacques street isn’t especially known for it’s cuisine. Anyways they have some pretty unique veggie pitas featuring homemade faux chicken, just watch out, they can be mega spicy! Most importantly, they’ve got plump and juicy vegan chicken wings made out of shiitake mushroom! If you happen to be around Concordia’s Loyola campus and are sick and tired of Subway and Second Cup, this is the place for you. More of a takeout counter than a sit down restaurant as it can get pretty crammed in there when it’s busy.
Photo Cred: Hanna Banana (IG @loveroflovelythings)
Fave dish: shiitake mushroom chicken wings and potato wedges to cure those Monday afternoon blues.
5. Dalla Rose (4609 Rue Notre Dame O)
If you thought I wouldn’t mention dessert as a main course, you seriously don’t know me very well. Due to my personal policy to eat one ice cream cone per day, I’m obliged to mention my favorite vegan-friendly newcomer, Dalla Rose. Many ice cream shops only have tangy sorbets as dairy free options, which falls under the category of cruel and unusual punishment for vegans. Not this place, they offer ice cream made from coconut milk and cream! Located smack in the middle of gentrification central (AKA St. Henri), you can get a creamy scoop of vegan chocolate ice cream (or one of their weekly rotating flavours) on a waffle cone for two toonies and a loonie. They also serve vegan peanut butter cookies and cold brew coffee in the bottle if you’re one of those balanced-diet types. Shut up and take my money!
Photo cred: Dalla Rose
Fave item: coconut matcha ice cream cone after a Happy Tree Yoga class on a blistering hot July afternoon.
- Tofu bbq wrap from Green Panther
- Thai peanut noodle bowl from Zyng
- Asian salad from Mandy’s
- Mocha latte (homemade vegan chocolate!) from Cafe Myriade
I’d love to hear what you think. Leave a comment below!