Life begins outside of your comfort zone.
Aside from one school trip to Europe, a few visits to Niagara Falls and a vacation in Seaside Heights New Jersey, I’ve never really been outside of Toronto. I’m a total introvert and homebody; travelling seems like the ultimate life experience but at the same time seems so unreachable from my tiny comfort zone bubble. When my friends (and fellow bloggers/Instagrammers) Anna and Tim asked me to meet them in Montreal for a weekend, I didn’t even think twice before booking a bus ticket. Never mind the fact that we had never met in person before and would be sharing an apartment for three days. I just had a really good gut feeling about it.
On Friday night, I hopped on a bus for 6.5 hours not knowing what was in store for the next two and a half days. Montreal quickly stole my heart and as I write this post on the bus home, I already can’t wait to visit again when the weather is nicer and the wind doesn’t hurt my face. Here’s a recap of the vegan food we ate, and the things we did.
• S A T U R D A Y •
LEAVES CAFE • 2051 Rue de la Montagne
This is easily one of my favourite spots from the trip. Nestled in a small space on Rue de la Montagne with tiny succulents lining the walls, Leaves serves up gorgeous vegan pastries from Sophie Sucrée and typical cafe drinks with your choice of plant milk. Of course we had to grab matcha lattes and a croissant aux amandes to share.
Everything from the entire space to the food and drink were Instagram-worthy. The latte and croissant definitely didn’t disappoint our tastebuds. Our barista Tegan was so friendly and when she found out we were just visiting, she quickly put together a list of her favourite places to visit in the city.
It was so good, we went back on Monday for a chocolatine and chai latte. If I were living in Montreal, Leaves would be my go-to space to chill out with my laptop and a matcha latte.
CHUCHAI • 4088 Rue Saint-Denis
I didn’t end up getting great photos at our dinner spots because let’s face it, the lighting sucked and I’m not a pro photographer. Bad lighting and amateur photography skills aside, ChuChai was a great experience. This is a great place to take your non-vegan friends simply because of the huge variety of mock meats. I got the crispy duck which was unbelievable – the texture was on point!
• S U N D A Y •
BELÉM • 4409 Boulevard Saint-Laurent
Using my free fitness sleuthing skills, I managed to find us a free yoga class hosted by Lolë – the perfect way to start our Sunday. The practice was mostly in French, but we followed along pretty well. I think we surprised our teacher a little bit because she told us she had never taught a class in English.
Belém is a yoga studio but also doubles as a cafe. Their menu is 100% vegan but I didn’t get anything since we were on our way to lunch. Next time I’ll have to grab an açaí bowl and of course check out their matcha latte.
AUX VIVRES • 4631 Boulevard Saint-Laurent
This restaurant was highly recommended by every single person we asked, and I’m not surprised. Aux Vivres first opened their doors in 1997 making it one of the pioneers of Montreal’s vegan scene. It has a cozy diner feel with a huge (I mean HUUUUUGE!!!) menu selection. We were so overwhelmed looking at the menu.
We started off with the cornbread and guac, and chili fries to share. For the main, I ordered the Kosmos plate which is a veganized version of a souvlaki plate: tempeh, potatoes, pita, salad, and the most unreal tzatziki ever. My life goal is to try everything on their menu.
After all of these savoury delights, we were craving something sweet…
SOPHIE SUCRÉE • 167 Ave des Pins E
From cupcakes, cheesecake, to brownies, Sophie Sucrée is Montréal’s one stop shop for vegan sweet treats. After indulging in their almond croissant at Leaves Cafe the day before, we trekked over to get a better taste of their treats. As soon as we walked in, I got a “visiting grandma’s house for afternoon tea” vibe which I mean in the best way possible.
I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, but this oreo cupcake was to die for. I kind of regret not getting that cheesecake, though. If you’re a huge fan of sweets, Sophie Sucrée has you covered!
SUSHI MOMO • 4669 Rue Saint-Denis
To be honest, I don’t remember what more than half the rolls we ordered were called. All I remember is that they were all AMAZING. Typically, I order avocado rolls and sweet potato tempura rolls when I go out for sushi, but the menu at Sushi Momo is on a whole ‘nother level.
We ordered a dinner special for three which ended up being only $25 CAD each. It included: soup or salad, two appetizers, about 40 pieces of maki (chef’s choice), and vanilla coconut ice cream for dessert.
Who knew there was more to vegan sushi than avocado and cucumber rolls? The presentation was beautiful and this is yet another spot to bring your friends to impress them with how delicious “rabbit food” can really be.
• M O N D A Y •
COPPER BRANCH • 444 Boulevard René-Lévesque
One of the more casual spots we visited this weekend, Copper Branch is a grab and go type place serving up breakfast and lunch/dinner with the option to stay in and eat. I ordered the gluten free chocolate waffle which was surprisingly good for being gluten free. This spot wasn’t my favourite, but if you want a quick breakfast this is definitely the way to go.
The shiitake teriyaki caught my eye on their menu, and I’ll definitely be back to give it a try.
LOV • 464 Rue McGill
Last but not least, we visited Lov for lunch on my last day in the city. It’s a fairly new spot and reminds me a lot of Planta in Toronto. The decor was a dream come true for me: marble tables, exposed white brick, copper & light wood accents, and silver dollar eucalyptus centrepieces. I die.
“Welcome to Paradise” our server said, once we told him we were all vegan. If you have a nut allergy, be wary and make sure to let your server know. The staff rocked t-shirts with cute sayings like “je suis un herbivore” and “there is no planet b” #GOVEGAN!
We started off with the LOV Poutine: fries topped with miso gravy, “cheese”, and kale chips. When in Montreal, poutine is a MUST.
Here’s Anna snapping a photo of her caesar salad. I tried a bite and honestly couldn’t believe it was vegan!
Tim’s Big LOV burger, modelled @cherry_timato style 😉
I got the kale mac and cheese with a creamy butternut squash sauce.
Home is and will always be Toronto, but Montreal definitely has a small place in my heart. This weekend taught me to open myself up just a little bit more to new experiences and new people, and it reaffirmed that my gut feeling is never wrong.
Because I left my comfort zone, I got to explore such a beautiful city alongside two of the most genuine and hilarious people I’ve met so far in the online vegan community. It was a weekend I’ll never forget. To see more of our Montréal adventure and just for general amazing foodie-ness, make sure to follow Anna and Tim on their social channels: