Calling all vegans, carnivores, and everyone in between: Did you know that you can lower your carbon footprint just by eating locally and skipping the meat option, even if it's only once in a while? That being said, there's no reason to miss out on some of the finer things in life (I'm talking croissants, sushi, and ice cream, just to name a few). Luckily, Montreal's incredible food scene extends way beyond smoked meat sandwiches, so here's a handy guide to some of my top picks for a few of the many plant-based-but-still-palatable options available that will satisfy even the meatiest of meat-eaters.

1. ChuChai

ChuChai on St Denis serves up some of the best elegant Thai food around, and it just happens to have an entirely vegetarian menu. All of their Thai curries have a coconut milk base–a welcome substitution for sure. Also, their drinks are refreshing and pretty creative. Definitely recommend this place the next time the parents are in town.

2. La Panthère Verte

Yu-Shing Ni

This one may be more of what one would imagine a vegetarian restaurant to be: fresh, clean fare in a well-lit setting. La Panthère Verte does not disappoint in these aspects. But if you're also looking for a filling yet feel-good meal, this place hits the spot, whether you're vegan or not. They claim to have "the best falafels in town" - and I gotta say, they may not be wrong. Their falafels are amazingly crispy and flavorful, plus you can get them in the falafel bowl, which comes with a generous serving of fresh hummus, pita, and lentil salad. Additionally, their food is made from organic, local, and sustainable produce–a win-win, in my opinion. 

3. Sushi Momo

What even is "vegan sushi"? Is it just overpriced cucumber rolls? Sure, it tends to be just that, but boy, does Sushi Momo fall far from that unfortunate cliché: Not only does their menu leave out the typical plain avocado roll, but they absolutely excel in creating beautiful and creative maki and hand rolls, utilizing unique ingredients (like tempura-fried jackfruit and truffle oil) that somehow all work together. It's definitely on the pricier side but if you're in the mood for a gourmet experience, Sushi Momo is the place to be. They have a couple different options like the Ichiban (1 person, an appetizer, 15 signature rolls, and dessert = 1 happy camper) or the Omakase, which is perfect for sharing between 2 people. 

4. Omnivore 

Okay, so although Omnivore does actually have non-vegetarian options (hence the name), they do a mean Herbivore plate, which is a hearty vegetarian plate filled with their homemade hummus and garlic dip and several different salad or mezze options that they often change up. Plus: free. pita. refills. This cozy little Middle-Eastern resto is right on St-Laurent, which is perfect for when you're in need of a warm, satisfying meal. While you're there, get some fattoush salad or a wrap for take-away to bring for lunch tomorrow. 

5. Crèmerie Meu Meu

Just because technically it's autumn already does not mean it isn't time for ice cream (because let's be honest, I am always in the mood for ice cream). Luckily Crèmerie Meu Meu has some of the best non-dairy flavors I've ever encountered. Coconut milk soft-serve dipped in dark chocolate, pomegranate molasses sorbet, matcha soy ice cream–the list is endless and on-point. 

6. Sophie Sucrée

If you happen to have had a top-notch vegan croissant or cupcake in Montreal (at Café Leaves or Café Santropol for example), chances are it was from Sophie Sucrée, a super cute little bakery in the Plateau that supplies baked goodies to several cafes around town. Be prepared to spend a solid amount of time deliberating what to get from their glass cases that are brimming with decadent pastries, from warm cinnamon rolls to fudgy hazelnut and sea salt brownies. You'll probably have some trouble narrowing it down and end up choosing more than one (like me), but it's a guarantee that you'll feel great about your decision and revel in the fact that the selection is mostly gluten-free as well as 100% vegan. I find that stopping in to enjoy a pot of tea and perhaps a puff pastry is really a fantastic way to recover from a bleary day. Just saying.

BONUS: Cafés

Thankfully, almost every cafe in Montreal has non-dairy milk options, so for those of us who are dairy-free and highly dependent on lattes, we're in luck. A couple standouts that have mastered the art of a non-dairy latte include Café Leaves, Melk, and Café Nocturne. Alternatively, why not make your own

For those who were/are apprehensive the accessibility of being vegetarian in Montreal, or for those who are simply curious about options in and around this culinarily diverse city, do not fret: Montreal is packed with hip places that have veggie-based eats. Most of them really know what they're doing and are definitely not compromising quality nor deliciousness with their commitment to reducing their negative impact on the environment.