Aux Vivres, Lola Rosa, La Panthère verte are just a few of Montreal’s popular vegetarian restos. Behind those carefully assembled menus lurk unique flavours, like the Dragon Bol at Aux Vivres, or the hempburger with caramelized onions, Swiss cheese and pickle at Lola Rosa.
The clear trend noticed among Quebec’s vegetarian chefs can be detected in new restaurants where the cuisine is based upon seasonal vegetables and fresh produce. Vegetables occupy more space on plates than ever before. Once considered as side dishes, today they have emerged as carefully created gourmet fare.
Fast-food restaurant like Foodchain follows the same trend. A group of friends – Charles-Antoine Crête, Cheryl Johnson, Zébulon Perro and Jean-François Saine – took on the mission of reinventing the fast-food formula by preparing simple, tasty dishes with healthy vegetables at the forefront – definitely a must-try! It’s an ingenious way to attract meat eaters, if only to sow some doubt in their minds. Here’s a list of other restaurants where you can eat excellent vegetarian or vegan fare.
- LOV, 464 McGill Street, Montreal.
- Invitation V, vegan bistro,254 Bernard Street West, Montreal
- Café Frida, 15 Rue des Forges, Trois-Rivières
- Momo Sushi, vegan sushi and Japanese cuisine, 4669 Saint-Denis Street, Montreal
- Gusta, health/comfort food, 191 Place du Marché-du-Nord, Montreal
- Le Super Qualité, 1211 rue Bélanger, Montreal
- Soixante 5, 78 Côte du Passage, Lévis
- Vin Papillon, 2519 Notre-Dame Street West, Montreal.
- Pür & Simple, 840 Rue Shefford, Bromont
Women chefs and vegan fare
Gastronomy and the profession of chef have long been a male-dominated club, but now women are assuming a larger role in the field.
In the United States, Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows tops the vegan-blog charts. Check out Angela’s chocolate-chunk cookies and mouth-watering cupcakes. Another rising vegan chef, Chloe Coscarelli, was honoured by Forbes magazine’s 2017 Class of 30 Under 30. Among her acclaimed recipes are plant-based versions of popular fare like burgers or maple-flavoured bacon.
Quebec is home to several women chefs, including Stéphanie Audet (author of cookbook Cuisine botanique), chef and food stylist Marie-Ève Charron (a recipe collaborator at Signé M tv show), and Catherine Lefebvre, whose cookbook Les carnivores infidèles deserves a place on everyone’s bookshelf. Her General Tao tofu will convert even the most fervent meat eater.
Check out Maude Bergeron’s Cuisine estudiantine and Christelle Talienian’s Christelle is Flabbergasting, both of which are repositories of mainly vegetarian, and beautifully illustrated, recipes. A long-time La Presse contributor, Talienian has also published a cookbook called Ensemble. Available in bookstores, it’s an excellent gift for fans of colourful and tasty cuisine.
Feast for the eyes
The Quebec Instagram account to follow is @Loounie. Its author, Caroline Huard, is a vegetable artist par excellence, as attested by her skilful depiction of ingredients set against a stark white background. Two more sites are well worth attention.
Her site will get the juices running. Very eye-catching, too, is @Laucolo by illustrator Laura Estela Coló, who displays colourful images of edibles. She is among the contributors to the relevant Caribou magazine.
What wine to drink?
Since I don’t eat meat every evening but do enjoy a glass of wine, I’ve spent a good deal of time looking for appropriate pairings to accompany vegetarian meals. It isn’t an easy matter, though, to sort through the innumerable pairings of steak and Bordeaux. All the same, it is possible to unite vegetarian dishes and specific wines in perfect harmony.
Discuss the matter with François Chartier, whose expert advice will put you on the right track. The way the food is cooked – on the barbecue, for example – and the added seasonings have a significant effect on a proper pairing. To learn more, read this article.
Let’s hope this has encouraged you to be unfaithful to your butcher from time to time and will help you discover the best of veggie cooking, here and elsewhere. It might even mean that you delay returning to your lonely burger!