Though it may not always be evident given Montreal's obsession with poutine and smoked meat, this city has a serious soft spot for healthy food. When you’re stuck working all day in a cubicle in the middle of a Downtown rush, getting what little chlorophyll you can from a green salad can spell the difference between life and death by ennui. To help you avoid the extra calories, and get in a dose of vitamins without strolling too far, here are the best healthy lunch spots in Downtown Montreal.
2067 Rue Crescent
Mandy’s Salad Bar on Crescent is undoubtedly one of the best places Downtown to get a healthy, filling, non-vegetarian meal. Not as busy (or as cramped) as its Westmount counterpart, the Crescent location boasts the same cheerful design and extensive menu of salads and soups. Go for the sublime Man’s Salad, or try the ultimate test of willpower by making your own.
1204 Avenue, McGill College
Though not everything at this vegetarian by-the-weight bar is healthy (there's usually a good amount of pizza), you can fill your plate with as many sprouts, vegan curries, and light quiches as your heart desires. Even if you overdo it, lunch caps at $16.50.
1425 Stanley Street
This 1950s-style restaurant is a bit swankier than the title of 'diner' would imply. Come here when you want to impress your lunch pal, or sneak in a bit of midday boozing. Definitely try one of the incredible salads on the menu.
2157 Rue Mackay
It doesn’t get much healthier than this vegan, raw, mostly gluten-free restaurant -- and that may be enough to scare off some fair-weather dabblers in healthy eating. Yet the food here is delicious, inventive, satisfying, and absolutely stunning in its presentation, and will convince even the most die-hard carnivore to stave off bacon for one lunch.
2153 Rue Mackay
Next door to Crudessence is another healthy eatery and Montreal institution, La Panthère Verte (The Green Panther). An ode to simple Middle Eastern food, it serves falafel, salad combos, and a rotating variety of daily specials, from curry to chili. Though no one is reinventing the wheel here, the food is affordable, comforting, and consistently good.
433 Rue Mayor
With a beautiful patio, distressed walls, and the chic atmosphere of a hip Brooklyn hangout, Café Parvis is a piece of hipster paradise in the midst of suit-clad Montreal. With unique pizza combinations and a wide selection of salads in three sizes, it’s a great place to forget the world for an hour, or spend time with someone you truly fancy.
1414 Rue Stanley
A long, sleek counter dominates this little room, with some of the city’s hippest businessmen leaning over it to eat during every lunch hour. The fast-food atmosphere and cafeteria-style ordering belies the quality of the food, though it likely helps keep Anton & James one of Downtown Montreal’s best-kept secrets. The less health-conscious can try one of the many excellent pizzas, but we would urge you to order the cedar plank salmon salad.
1245 Bishop Street
This vegan chain is the perfect place to grab a healthy lunch that's a bit different than the rest. There are great vegetarian burgers here, but we're partial to the bowls. With your choice of grain or salad base and a slew of flavour combinations, your lunch will go a long way without putting a massive dent in your wallet, or taking up too much time.
1104 Rue de Bleury
Though Miss Prêt à Manger is predominantly a catering business, it’s impossible to walk past this little restaurant’s colourful lunchtime selection. Everything here is fresh and organic.
545 Rue Milton
In case it isn’t clear yet, Montreal has a serious love affair with vegan food, and Lola Rosa is the temple at which we worship. The eclectic menu, excellent desserts, and warm, rustic décor at the Milton Street location have many fans storming its doors at all hours. Lunchtime is especially busy here.
2055 Rue Bishop
For a side of politics with your vegan lunch, look no further than Burritoville. This little Concordia University hangout and eatery is a co-op that doubles as a nighttime performance venue. You can count on the food to always be fresh, ethically-sourced, cruelty-free, and anti-capitalist.
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Ksenia Prints is a freelance writer and food blogger, photographer, and recipe developer at www.immigrantstable.com who is always on the lookout for the next healthy eat in Montreal. Follow her exploits in the kitchen and beyond @immigrantstable.
1. Mandy's5033 Sherbrooke West, Quebec
2. Resto Végo1204 avenue McGill College, Montreal
3. Deville Dinerbar1425 rue Stanley, Montreal
4. Crudessence66 St-Viateur O., Montreal
5. La Panthère Verte2153 MacKay St, Montreal
6. Café Parvis433 Rue Mayor, Montréal
7. Anton & James1414 rue Stanley, Montreal
8. Copper Branch1500 Avenue Atwater, Montreal
9. Miss Prêt à Manger1104 rue de Bleury, Montreal
10. Lola Rosa4581 Av Du Parc, Montreal
11. Burritoville2055B Rue Bishop, Montreal
There is a reason that the lines are always out the door at this place. Their salads are just that good. There are plenty of places to get some delicious healthy food in Montreal, but we think that Mandy's is one of the best. We highly recommend the salads at Mandy's to locals, tourists, meat eaters, and vegans.
There are plenty of great places to grab a bite in Montreal, but if you are looking for something on the healthier side, make sure to stop by Resto Végo. This vegetarian hot spot serves up pizza, curry, and quiche at their by-the-weight bar. Be careful, because piling up too much on your plate could cost you.
Deville is a unique diner and bar located in Downtown Montreal that serves up a variety of pastas, sammies, burgers, and salads. Or if you're in more of a drinking mood, there's a full bar of unique cocktails.
This restaurant is as healthy as it gets, boasting vegan, raw, and gluten-free fare. Don't be scared if you are a meat eater, though, because their dishes are delicious and beautifully prepared which will make any meat lover consider switching to a vegan diet.
If you are in the mood for some delicious and nutritious Mediterranean food, look no further than La Panthère Verte. Here you can eat some falafel, curry, and chili as well as some salads and daily specials. We love that their food is always delicious and reasonably priced.
This trendy, hipster hang serves up unique pizzas and a variety of salads. We are obsessed with the Brooklyn-vibe and beautiful dining patio at Cafe Parvis, and we highly recommend this local hot spot to anyone in the area looking for delicious food and a chic atmosphere.
Anton & James is a favorite lunch spot for locals looking to eat healthy in Montreal. There is a fast-food and cafeteria-style atmosphere that attracts business men on their lunch break, and plenty of options for those who aren't as focused on their health, like some delicious pizzas.
Sure, Cooper Branch may be a chain restaurant, but we still think that they serve up some of the best vegan fare in Montreal. Their burgers are what make them a local favorite, but they also make great salads. The prices here are reasonable, so you won't have to empty your wallet to eat healthy.
Located in the heart of the Financial District, this gastropub serves up an array of delicious options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or any time you're in the mood for a quick snack. We think that they serve up the best healthy food in Montreal, but we highly encourage that you stop by and see for yourself.
With a pair of convenient locations, Lola Rosa is easily one of the most unique and tasty vegetarian/vegan joints around Montreal, offering an extended menu full of soups, specialty items, wines, and beer. If you can manage it, try to save room for one of their delicious desserts. It will be so worth it.
Burritoville is a favorite vegan hangout spot for Concordia University students, but that shouldn't dissuade other locals or tourists from stopping by. The food is guaranteed to be fresh, and at night the venue turns into a performance space. We highly recommend Burritoville to both vegans and meat eaters that are in the area.