We’ve been to Crossroads Kitchen and Little Pine in Los Angeles. In Vancouver, we’ve tried both The Acorn and Heirloom Vegetarian. Double Zero in New York City, Planta in Toronto, and EnVie in Halifax. I’d say we’re familiar with upscale vegan cuisine. It’s a wide range, but I think those are some of the closer comparisons to LOV restaurant. Fun fact: You might be surprised to hear that it’s more than a simple truncation of the word ‘love’. LOV is actually an acronym for ‘Local, Organic, Vegetarian’.
Ultimately, it’s about the food, but the first thing most people will mention to you about LOV is the decor. For good reason. It’s gorgeous. It may actually be the most beautiful restaurant I’ve ever been to. The ceilings are high, the colours are light with lots of plant-inspired greens, and the space is bright. It’s hard to miss and if you’re anything like me, you’ll scan the space to really take it all in. Obviously we’re not here to talk about the light fixtures and hanging chairs (both beautiful!). What about the food, right? While there are some vegetarian options on the menu, the bulk of it is vegan. Our most recent trip to LOV was for brunch with our friends Mel (her instagram is travel goals) and Shaunagh.
The food — I know, you’ve been waiting
We started with two orders of toast. The avocado toast, layered with cucumber, aleppo pepper, and fleur de sel, was what you’d expect from a freshly prepared slice of avo toast. The nougatella toast however, was the standout favourite starter with all four of us. A chocolate-hazelnut spread, hemp, maple, and fig on bread. Believe me when I say that it disappeared quickly. Consider it a must-order.
The hemp seed waffle was probably the most beautiful of the dishes. My favourite flavoured waffle? Not quite, but it was the first wheat-free one I’d tried, and it was certainly good, to say the least. There was an earthy taste to it, where I’d normally order a waffle craving something sweet, but the generous helping of fresh fruit, berry compote, and cashew yogurt made for a nice balance.
Benedict, Club, Lumberjack
Catching a glimpse of the LOV benedict being served to the table next to us, we knew we had to try it as one of our mains, so much that Mel and Vic each ordered one. Unless I misread it, there was no mention of a vegan option on the menu, but our waiter happily agreed to swap the eggs for tofu. It’s an impressive sight when they bring it to you, definitely a generous portion. The base is a cumin rösti (pan-fried grated potato), topped with flavoured tofu, black bean salsa, mashed avocado, Sriracha mayo, and greens. It’ll fill you up, but you won’t want to stop eating even when you’re full. It’s that good.
Shaunagh ordered the LOV club sandwich, exclusive to the De La Montagne location. Tempeh, zucchini bacon, avocado, and aioli. The flavour was there, though the bread was a tad on the dry side. Given the love we had for the benedict, I’ll probably give the club a pass next time.
As soon as I read through the menu, I knew right away that I was going to order the lumberjack. Easily enough food to fill you, with so many interesting flavours. The breakfast potatoes that filled the bottom of the dish were so good that they alone would have satisfied me. Heaped on top were layers of green lentils, fennel, dill, vegan smoked onion sausage, and caper mayo. A breakfast feast and an easy repeat for me the next time I go for brunch.
Pastries & Smoothies
Those who know me, know that I’ve always been a sucker for great pastry. The vegan pastries at LOV restaurant are supplied by Sophie Sucrée. Normally, I’m a fan of the croissant, but again, this was a bit dry and the chocolatine was a bit light on the chocolate. The banana bread was spot on, moist and delicious. If you ever have to the chance to try the spinach-feta feuilleté from Sophie Sucrée, do it. That’s the show-stopper and easily my favourite. (This one time, I ate 5 in a row. Don’t judge me.)
Naturally, we needed something to drink. We tried four different LOV smoothies: chocolate, strawberry, turmeric, and berry. Each of them so different and each of them finished until the last drop. If you need me to state the obvious, they’re delish. I don’t think you can really go wrong, just be mindful of whether you prefer sweet or not.
Does LOV conquer all?
LOV is a winner. It’s what the Montreal vegan scene needs more of. It’s already a hotspot for tourists and locals. Multiple visits aren’t uncommon. Vic and I have been four times already, twice for brunch and twice for dinner, and I’m sure we’ll go again. The benedict and lumberjack alone are worth the trip. Truthfully, if you have to pick just one, I think the brunch is stronger, but there are winners on the dinner menu as well. The quinoa fritters, kombucha-battered onion rings, and cheesecake are a few favourites that come to mind.
If you’re on the fence, hop off. LOV is worth the trip. You may have luck getting a table just walking in, but a reservation would be a good idea during peak hours, especially if you’re a group. There are two LOV restaurant locations to choose from, now that the De La Montagne space is open; the original is on McGill in the Old Port. Already looking forward to our next visit and perhaps a more detailed review of the dinner offerings.