How to plan a weekend trip around these essential Montréal vegan restaurants

Montréal in winter is the perfect weekend getaway. Here's what you need to do, where to stay and the Montréal vegan restaurants you can't miss.

Last year, after returning home from a week-long getaway in Québec, I couldn’t wait to come back. I’d spent most of my time in the Laurentians, Outaouais and Mont-Tremblant; the next time I visited, I knew I wanted to stomp around the province’s major cities. Moreover, I couldn't wait to try Montréal's famed vegan restaurants. 

I’ve been to Montréal before, but this time, I'm on a mission to see more (and eat more) of the city. Montréal is unquestionably one of North America’s top food cities; from their world-renowned Montréal bagels to their famous smoked meats and poutine, you're spoiled for choice. I'm on the hunt to try as many of Montréal's vegan restaurants as I can.

Getting there

I booked a VIA Rail ticket to Montréal in late January. It’s Québec’s off-season, so I was able to score a seat for less than $50 each way.

In late January, the city is quieter than usual as everyone recuperates from the holidays. There aren't many tourists. Peek inside Montréal's vegan restaurants, though, and they’re still lively nearly every day of the week. When I'm not eating, I'm taking up a stool at the city’s best bars (haunts that easily rival the best bars in Toronto), or checking out some of the best things to do in Montréal

Montréal vegan restaurants: Where to eat

1. Sushi Momo

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Having thrived for more than a decade, Sushi Momo is well-known in Montréal for its beautiful plating and inventive takes on vegan sushi. Chef Christian Manual Ventura Alatorre prepares mind-blowing futomakis, like the mango potato that's wrapped in soy leaf and stuffed with coconut and marinated onions, then drizzled with a yuzu emulsion. There are lambas, wrapped in rice paper, and appetizers like tofu agedashi and fried gyoza. Flavours are creative and complex; this is easily some of the best vegan sushi in Montréal.

2. Umami Ramen and Izakaya

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Opened in August 2022, Umami quickly climbed the ranks of the best vegan restaurants in Montréal, and also the best ramen, plant-based or otherwise. The lively spot’s beautiful Japanese-inspired interior features ample wood slats and trendy mini globe lights. In the evening, try their izakaya bites — the okonomiyaki is literal perfection — or a comforting bowl of ramen, complete with an "egg yolk" that splits open like the real thing. Pair your meal with a cocktail from their robust menu of original pours.

3. Maynard

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If you’ve sworn off dairy, Maynard is the best vegan restaurant in Montréal to get your poutine fill. The stylish spot near Mont-Royal Park serves quick comfort food at reasonable prices. Go for the saucy and spicy tofu Nashville sandwich that’s dripping with vegan mayo. Maynard makes their burger buns, so each bite is ultra-fresh. Wash down the heat with one of their creamy milkshakes.

4. Restaurant Tendresse

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A casual bistro in Montréal’s Village, Restaurant Tendresse has an impressively curated list of natural, biodynamic and organic wine. Each bottle is vegan and a private import, so be sure to sample a second glass. Bites are French-inspired, like the pavé (a thinly sliced “thousand-layer” potato with sunflower cream and mushrooms) and tomato tartare, scooped up with focaccia croutons.

5. Burger Fiancé

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While their Toronto digs closed in 2023, Montréal’s Burger Fiancé location is going strong. Thick waffle fries accompany their sammies, but the jumbo plant-based burgers remain the star. They have a few tropical cocktails and even a Fiancé Martini if you’re stopping by for dinner or late lunch.

6. Café Tuyo

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This mom-and-pop vegan café has beefy breakfast and lunch sandwiches, but the baked goods are what knocked our socks off. Vegan croissants are admittedly hard to get right, but Café Tuyo’s are everything you’d ever want from the classic pastry — flaky, with a lightly crisp exterior and a pillowy bite. Enjoy their bagels with their house cream cheese, or delicate carrot "gravlax" that melts in your mouth.


Montréal: Where to stay

The InterContinental Montréal, a four-star IHG property on Rue Saint-Antoine O, is a great place to stay for a weekend escape in Montréal. It’s located right between old Montréal and downtown, so it’s the perfect launch pad for a food- and fun-packed itinerary.

Montréal vegan restaurants | The InterContinental Montreal

Upon arrival, I’m ushered upstairs to check in and a small escalator pulls me and my baggage to the lobby. A dazzling chandelier catches my eye, as does birch bark wallpaper and fuzzy strips I'm probably not supposed to touch (but I can't resist).

The lobby is quiet, open-concept, and feels modern and sleek. Dark wood and black brick are brightened up by globe lights and gold fixtures. There’s plenty of colour, though; baby blue couches look plush enough to nap on, and salmon floor patches break up the beige tile. The bright white concierge desk, flanked by another large wall of birch bark, is enormous. As I walk towards the elevators, I can’t help but stare at a display of dinner plates, many of which are painted with quirky faces. More sparkling chandeliers dangle from the ceiling.

The InterContinental Montréal tiptoes the line between a work hotel and more boutique accommodations. The Québec forêt décor continues right up to the elevator doors, which depict snowy scenes and animals native to the province.

Montréal vegan restaurants | A room at The InterContinental Montréal

I’m in one of the InterContinental’s “iconic” suites on the 21st floor. It’s decked out in maroon carpets and heavy curtains, with a spacious lounge, work area and separate bedroom. While it’s not the most up-to-date design, it’s quite comfortable.

I’ve signed up for the Chalet Getaway winter package, so there’s a chilled bottle of ice wine cider, Québecois snacks (chocolate orange peels and nuts), custom Montréal toques and a 23 per cent-off coupon for activewear shop La Cordée waiting for me. I'm told I have a free snowshoe rental from the hotel, too, to help explore some of the trails in the area.

In the room, I pull back the curtains for a birds-eye view of the city. It’s magical — I could stare at it for hours. The two Desjardins buildings look like glow-sticks, lit up green as they tower above the streets below. Mont-Royal’s peak is just visible from behind a few office buildings. Cars look tiny as they zip down the streets, and even tinier people shuffle down the sidewalks, shoulders scrunched up against the cold.

Montréal vegan restaurants | Two hotel guests at the Sarah B. Absinthe Bar

If your kind of getaway looks more like staying cozy under the duvet and shooing away room service, you technically don’t have to step foot outside of the InterContinental Montréal for anything you need. To dine, there’s the unpretentious French bistro, Osco!; the homely Sarah B. Absinthe bar; and a Café Java U Intercontinental.

You could spend an entire day in the InterContinental's health club, which is fully equipped with a gym, personal massage rooms and a quiet saltwater pool. There's also a dry sauna and steam bath. Mere steps to the right of the lobby and you’re in the World Trade Centre Montréal, which has access to tons of shops, food courts and an indoor path to the metro station.

Chalet Getaway from $320 per night;

Montréal: Things to do

1. Explore Mont-Royal park

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Whether you’re cross-country skiing, fat biking or snowshoeing, Mont-Royal is a massive green (or, erm, white) space to explore. In the winter, it’s teeming with Montréalers enjoying the snowy trails. I rent the complimentary snowshoes included in the Chalet Getaway package, and strap them on to climb the icy slope to Belvédère du Mont-Royal. The panoramic view of the city here — at sunrise or sunset, to boot — is incredible.

2. Oasis

Montréal vegan restaurants | Oasis in Montréal

I’m not usually the first to sign up for an art experience, but this immersive show in Montréal is worth every penny. The three-room “Dreaming Asia” exhibit was enchanting and would make for a romantic date night. Exhibits change often, though, so check out their website for the most updated schedule. Oasis is right across the street from the InterContinental Montréal.

3. La Grande Roue de Montreal

Montréal vegan restaurants | La Grande Roue de Montréal

It's a blast swinging around in one of the climate-controlled pods on this towering Ferris wheel near Montréal’s Old Port. The vistas of the ice-clogged St. Lawrence River, as well as the snow-capped city and Mont-Royal, are spectacular.