Eating out as a vegetarian with allergies can be quite tricky and pricey; so I’ve set out to find the top vegetarian restaurants in Montreal.

LOV is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant with four locations: three in Montreal and one in Laval. Their concept is to serve customers healthy, eco-friendly, botanical meals without compromising taste. LOV’s philosophy revolves around what they call their “eco-commitment,” which involves serving wines from organic farming and using local suppliers and ingredients.

With this information in mind, I was excited to try it out. I was drawn to the Montreal-based restaurant from the moment I first saw their California-bohemian decor and stunning menu passing by.

My first impression upon entering the Laval location in Centropolis was that the design was meticulously thought-out and beautiful. Shades of white, lace, swinging cocoon chairs, and plants all over the restaurant transported me to a Malibu beach. My friends and I were greeted with a smile and given the option of indoors or outdoors – we chose outdoors in the shade.

Photo by Brittany Henriques

Usually, my biggest challenge is to find meatless plates free of peanuts and almonds (because of allergies). On that day, I was also on a carb-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, fermentation-free diet (doctor’s orders). Nevertheless, based on my prior research, I was confident I would find something for me at LOV.

The menu is composed of seven starters and 15 main courses, four of which are salads. As a picky eater, I like knowing most of my options aren’t simply salads. I was immediately drawn to the Coconut Curry, a $15 dish composed of basmati rice, kale, carrots, curry coconut milk, and lime.

Unfortunately for me this time, rice was off my list of options. As other options, there was Pok’ai’ – cauliflower rice, cucumber, avocado, compressed watermelon, edamame, cashews, wakame, shiso, and sesame ginger sauce. The $16 plate fit my dietary restrictions, but I was very worried about the odd compressed watermelon thrown into the mix.
Instead, I settled for the Truffle and Caviar, a $14 meal composed of zucchini spaghetti, oyster mushrooms, arugula, tapioca caviar, and truffle sauce. The plate was very well presented, colourful, and was the perfect portion for my smaller-than-average appetite.

I went to LOV during lunch time, and barely had to wait for my food to arrive. My Truffle and Caviar plate was very good, but I worried there was an extra ingredient in the sauce not indicated on the menu. After my meal, I asked the waitress if the sauce had any other ingredients and she told me some soy milk might have been added for creaminess. I was disappointed to know there was an added ingredient I wasn’t aware of seeing as I was on a restricted diet. I should’ve asked prior to ordering, but I simply trusted the menu.

Nevertheless, the meal was fantastic, but note to self and others: always ask your waiter for a list of all the ingredients if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies.

As a whole, I would give LOV an 8 out of 10 for overall look, service, and food.


A variety of options for veggie-loving students

Concordia Animal Rights Association advocates for a vegan lifestyle

For the average university student, finding the time to eat—let alone eat healthy—during a busy school day can be challenging. For a student eating a plant-based diet, it can be downright impossible.

Lucky for veggie-lovers, Concordia University is one of the best places in the city to study as a vegan, according to the Association Végétarienne de Montréal (AVM). In 2010, the Concordia Student Union (CSU) passed a motion requiring the university to ensure all activities on campus offer vegan options. According to the AVM, the initiative was brought forward by Concordia alumnus Lucas Solowey when he was a member of the Concordia Animal Rights Association (CARA).

According to Caitlin Yardley, CARA’s current volunteer coordinator, CARA members are still “huge promoters of the vegan lifestyle.” As the university’s official animal rights club, CARA’s mission is to work towards the protection of all animals through awareness, activism and encouraging compassion towards all living beings. “[Veganism] can be a very positive lifestyle change,” Yardley said.

While she has practiced a vegan lifestyle for six years, Yardley has been a vegetarian since she was eight years old.

“I originally became a vegetarian purely out of no longer enjoying meat,” Yardley said. “As I researched more about the harm caused to animals […] and the health implications animal products can have [on humans], I eventually became vegan and have never wanted to go back.”

When she began her studies at Concordia, Yardley became involved with CARA to bring awareness to animal rights issues and encourage students to get involved with the organization.

“We get to inform Concordia about injustices animals face, which [students] may be unaware of or ignore,” Yardley said.

As a partner of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), CARA definitely cannot be ignored. PETA provides CARA with free media and goods to distribute to students attending their events. The student group also offers a variety of volunteer opportunities, such as working with Guardian’s Best Animal Rescue Foundation, Chatopia (a Montreal-based non-profit cat rescue) and many other animal-oriented organizations.

CARA holds a variety of events each semester. Earlier this month, they hosted their annual Vegan Thanksgiving, where students could enjoy vegan treats while learning more about the food industry.

“The Vegan Thanksgiving was a great success this year,” Yardley said. “People really enjoyed the food we were giving out, which included veggie sausages, mini pumpkin pies, brownies and banana bread. Even those who were skeptical about the faux meats ended up liking them.” Yardley added that many people who were already vegan or vegetarian came to the booth to express gratitude for the event.

“[It] was great to see,” Yardley said. “When I first became vegan, I knew no one else who even expressed interest in taking part in the lifestyle. Within the past few years, there has definitely been a huge shift towards people becoming vegan.”

This shift has become increasingly apparent at Concordia. With the People’s Potato, the Green Beet, the Hive, le Frigo Vert and a number of other conveniently located veggie-friendly food stops, eating a plant-based diet is becoming increasingly accessible on Concordia’s campuses.

Concordia student Sara Shields-Rivard has been a vegetarian for over two years.

“At first, I found it difficult because many of my friends at the time were not vegetarian, so when we went out to eat, we could never agree on a place,” Shields-Rivard said. “However, since then, I’ve discovered the vegetarian gems of Concordia […] These places have made being a vegetarian in university much easier.”

Shields-Rivard said, with the readily available vegetarian options on campus, avoiding animal-products is often the easier, cheaper option. “If you go to the People’s Potato, all you have to bring is a Tupperware and some change for donation.”

As a Concordia student following a mostly plant-based diet, Hannah Gold-Apel said she does not have a problem maintaining her diet at school.

“I find it pretty easy to eat plant-based at school, especially with the free vegan lunches provided at both campuses,” Gold-Apel said. “All in all, I think Montreal is a pretty good city to be a broke, vegetarian student in.”

For students interested in animal rights or a plant-based diet, Yardley said there are a multitude of events to look forward to in the near future. This Wednesday, Oct. 18, CARA will be hosting a coffee break event in the JMSB lobby, where students can sample a variety of dairy-free milks. On Oct. 26, CARA is partnering with Anonymous for the Voiceless to hold an anti-fur event called “Who Are You Wearing?” that will take place in the JMSB lobby from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For Halloween, CARA will be hosting a themed event where they will be giving out cruelty-free makeup.

More information can be found on CARA’s Facebook page or at their office on 2020 Mackay St., P-303.

Graphic by Zeze Le Lin

Student Life

Some like it raw: Crudessence puts a twist on classic foods

Photo via Flickr

I tend to find that many of the vegan restaurants I have attended in the past have had the three ‘Ps’ of dread — pretentious crowds, pitiful proportions, and pricey, bland food. So you must understand my initial disappointment when my dining partner decided to surprise me with a raw vegan restaurant called Crudessence.

I had never heard of this restaurant, a little place that I initially thought was a store selling raw products. Down the small narrow restaurant were some simple wooden tables and chairs. There was a funky flare to the decor such as a matrix-style portrait of a computer chip and another one of multicoloured broken glass.

So what is Crudessence? According to the website, it is a restaurant that serves “food choices based on respect for life and global well-being,” and appeals to “anyone seeking to awaken their bodies and minds.”

As for the menu: don’t worry, this is not your ordinary rabbit food restaurant. Thankfully, Crudessence offers a witty, healthy and sophisticated twist on meals such as nachos, pizza, hamburgers and tacos. The difference is that you won’t leave the restaurant feeling bloated and reminding yourself that you need to hit the gym as soon as possible.

Photo by Madelayne Hajek

I ordered the “Exceptional Wrap,” chipotle quinoa wrapped in nori and rice sheets with avocado, lettuce, sprouts, red peppers, carrots and onions. The wrap popped vibrantly with colours—yellow, green, red and white while the rice sheets gave a nice touch of Asian infusion. The mix of velvety avocado with the bitter taste of sprouts and sweet red peppers made this wrap truly live up to its name. The sauce was the best part. A zesty ranch taste with a kick of chipotle, complimenting the wrap perfectly. There’s the option of ordering the wrap alone for a jaw-dropping $11, or if you are feeling rebellious, you can order it with the daily salad on the side for $14.75.

The person I went with looked enthusiastically through the menu and, grinning, ordered the “Om burger” (obviously amused with the clever name). This burger is a combination of mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, flax seeds and mixed vegetables, served on chapati bread and garnished with fresh tomatoes, red onions, lettuce, homemade mustard, ketchup and their famous caper aioli. It tasted tangy from the homemade mustard, rich and smoky from the mushrooms and salty from the sun-dried tomatoes. The burger came to about $12.50.

The bathroom is a tiny stall with swinging wooden western style doors. Even though it sounds fun, there is nothing more uncomfortable than having the other diners stare at you through the wide cracks of the doors while you wash your hands.

All-in-all, I found the idea to be as much of a culinary adventure as I found it hilarious to mock. As I checked out the website I even saw that they offer delivery… by bicycle to make sure it is environmentally friendly. All sarcasm aside, though the prices were sky high, I tip my hat to the wonderfully tasty vegan treats.


Crudessence is located on 2157 Mackay St. and 105 Rachel St. W.

Student Life

Give your canine teeth a rest and feast like a herbivore

Editor’s Intro

Whether it’s a food trend, a generational thing, or the number of studies we are bombarded with on the health risks of red meat, there is no denying that vegetarianism is spreading across Canada. According to the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s “Canadian Food Trends to 2020,” citizens have become more cautious as to what they are eating, continually increasing their consumption of meatless meals. Restaurant owners and media outlets, like the Food Network, are paying attention to this shift in healthy living, incorporating vegetarian options on their menu and teaching viewers how they can prepare a healthy, meatless meal in under 20 minutes. Even Mario Batali, a well-know American-Italian chef who is no stranger to a great piece of prosciutto, has integrated Meatless Monday options to 14 of his restaurants. While we’re not expecting everyone to take on a vegetarian lifestyle, there are delicious ways to incorporate some meatless meals in your omnivorous diet; here are few of our favourite choices around Montreal!


Chow down at ChuChai

Andrew Guilbert
Staff Writer

ChuChai is back in business after a long reconstruction period that started way back in February, and Montreal vegetarians are grateful for its return.

Vegetarian Thai restaurant ChuChai makes for a calm and modern dining experience. Photo by Marilla Steuter-Martin

This restaurant sells itself as Thai vegetarian food with an upscale feel and a wine list to match. Though the menu can seem pricey to the uninitiated (meals run from 12$ to 20$), the unique presentation and intimate atmosphere make for a dining experience that accentuates the calm, modern vibe that goes hand in hand with chef Lily Sirikittikul’s creations.

The main attraction here is the series of “fake meat” dishes you can order; fish, duck, beef, chicken and shrimp are all reproduced in both taste and texture through the magic of soy, seitan and various vegetables coming together.

The simulacrum is so uncanny that a vegetarian friend of mine recounted how he once shocked an acquaintance of his by inviting him out to ChuChai and chowing down on the fake meat in front of his incredulous dinner guest. A personal favorite is the duck in red curry with pineapple, tomato and basil, which comes drizzled and stepped with a liberal amount of sweet, tangy sauce that demand you order an extra rice bowl just to finish it off.

The main courses aren’t the only draw to this modern St-Denis eatery; the appetizers are a brilliant amalgamation of oriental tastes, vibrant colors and simple, delicate presentation. Warranting particular note is the award winning Miam Kram, a unique combination of tastes like ginger, lemon and peanuts is served on a leaf you fold around the piled ingredients and pop into your mouth. It makes for a fresh, crisp morsel you won’t find the likes of anywhere else on the island.


ChuChai is located on 4088 Saint Denis St.


Aux Vivres deceives the palate

Andrew Guilbert
Staff writer

Aux Vivres was my go-to place during my lean, vegan years and despite my relapse into the world of carnivorism, it remains a mainstay

of my restaurant rotation. Why, you ask? Because it’s not a good vegan restaurant; it’s a good restaurant that just so happens to be vegan.

Vegan restaurant Aux Vivres serves veggie bowls, burgers, salads and soul food. Photo by Madelayne Hajek

The menu features a wide selection under different sections; veggie bowls, burgers, salads, soul food, sandwiches and smoothies, ranging between $10 and $20. Whatever piques your fancy, you can find something to your liking.

There’s also a detailed tea list with a dozen different brews to choose from, as well as a dessert menu that features a fantastic “uncheescake” that will make you wonder how they can make this stuff without cream.

If you’re curious about their vegan cuisine, I recommend the BLT on chapati bread. The ‘B’ in this case is a coconut confection made to resemble, but not reproduce, the texture of bacon. What makes this sandwich truly remarkable, however, is the faux mayonnaise they use to lend it a nice, moist counterpoint to the hard crunch of fresh lettuce and coconut bacon. It’s enough to warrant suggesting they enter the commercial market with an “I can’t believe it’s not mayo!” product of some sort.

If Asian cuisine is more your thing, give the Macro bowl a try. A generous serving of steamed spinach, sauerkraut, bok choy, wakame, sprouts, miso-tahini sauce and grilled tofu or tempeh makes for an impressive amount of food that will leave you satisfied, but won’t leave you feeling bloated.

Aux Vivres is located on 4631 Saint Laurent Boulevard.



Lola Rosa gets creative with veggies

Marta Barnes

Lola Rosa café is one of those places for vegetarians and carnivores alike. it’s not just that their food is amazing for veggie monsters, it’s

Photo from Flickr.

that this food is just plain amazing and should be added as a point of pilgrimage for all Montrealers.

Their menu is a long list of imaginative dishes like tomato pie, hempburger, and the Rosa salad with chickpeas, oranges, feta cheese and hot peppers. With that said, their most popular choices are quesadillas, three cheese and spinach lasagna, and the quiche of the day which is always a fail-safe for the indecisive.

The quiche, served with a side of rice and salads, is wholesome with a crust that would give your French-Canadian grandmother envie. They have an excellent take on quesadillas as well, which taste more like they’re folded with a crepe rather than your run-of-the-mill corn tortilla.

If put to a vote though, the best has to be the lasagna, a generous portion of baked cheese melting in and over creamy layers of spinach and pasta. All is mid-priced, averaging around $12 a dish.

For dessert, the absolute standout is the seasonal pumpkin pie. The filling is velvety, halfway between a pie and a cheesecake, but it is the pressed sesame seed crust that makes it a superstar among pumpkin pastries. Dusted with cinnamon and served à la mode, the pie absorbs the senses so thoroughly, even the rowdiest table crowd will fall silent for the first few bites.

As for a quick appreciation of the décor, the wood paneling, chalkboards, cushions, and worn wood furniture packed close together give it an easy-going, yet carefully styled bohemian vibe. Don’t forget to leave a note behind in one of the hidden drawers!


Lola Rosa is located on 545 Milton St.


Bonnys is a humble, earthly, hidden gem

Nicole Yeba

When I stepped inside Bonnys, I noticed a wall that consisted of long branches of wood and speakers inside a small log near the ceiling.

The boca burger at Bonnys restaurant. Photo by Nicole Yeba.

With only 12 tables, the restaurant has a very intimate atmosphere. The wood, plants, and shades of green and yellow give the room an earthy feel. They have reusable tablecloths rather than paper napkins which are only used once, perfectly suitable for such a restaurant.

I ordered a platter of the boca burger, which consists of a homemade chickpea flour and black bean burger. It’s served with an avalanche of fresh salsa, cheddar cheese, organic sour cream and sliced avocado. The platter comes with a large chef’s salad and nachos. The burger is covered with salsa, making it almost impossible to eat without utensils.

I had never tried a vegetarian burger before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was very good and extremely filling. With taxes, it was roughly $16, so not cheap, but worth it if you’re willing to splurge a little.

Owner Bonnie Tees wasn’t at the restaurant so I chatted with one of her employees, Jazmine Johansson. She has been working at Bonnys for three years now, and is a fellow Concordia student. When I asked her about the clientele, she informed me that they are mostly regulars. Some customers even go daily to buy their lunch. Johansson mentioned that the crowd is older, with few students and she said she doesn’t understand why.

In my opinion, the lack of young clients might be due to the fact that Bonnys is located in an uncommon area for students. Overall, we could both agree that the restaurant is a hidden gem for veggie lovers!


Bonnys is located on 1748 Notre-Dame West St.



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