Eco-Friendly Restaurants: Our suggestions
Environmental issues have never been as prominent in daily life as they are today. As the climate crisis continues to unfold—and worsen—across the globe, awareness of our own individual and collective impacts is becoming more and more common, and is vitally important.
The impact of the food industry
Science has shown how the food industry can cause enormous damage to the planet. From the transportation of food to the consumption of water and the overuse of disposable packaging, every step behind the preparation of a dish can have a huge ecological impact. However, several solutions exist that can significantly minimize carbon emissions on both small and large scales. Composting, buying local and organic products, buying products from sustainable fisheries, reducing the consumption of animal products, and reducing waste are simple and effective ways to consume responsibly, without sacrificing the pleasure of eating well.
While many food lovers are increasingly interested in the quality and origin of the ingredients on their plates, eco-responsible practices are also gaining in popularity in the restaurant industry. With significant quantities of food produced, restaurants have the power to serve eco-responsible dishes and to raise awareness of eco-friendly dining practices. Because the pleasure of eating well should be done in a way that respects the environment!
The end of single-use plastic containers
In March 2023, the City of Montreal is taking action. After 18 months’ notice, city establishments, including the 8,400 restaurants, will have to comply with a new bylaw banning the use of the vast majority of single-use plastic containers and items. Many restaurants have been making a name for themselves for some time for their green initiatives, such as the use of deposit containers.
Here is our list of eco-responsible restaurants that are making efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. We hope this will encourage all restaurants to do more for a healthy and livable planet for future generations.
A cocktail bar adored by Montrealers, le Mal Nécessaire is recognized as a forerunner in terms of ecological practices. In fact, the address is the first high volume bar in Montreal to compost. Moreover, the team tries to find a use for every part of the fruits they use; for instance, your cocktail may be served in a piece of fruit!
Super Qualité is an excellent Indian restaurant, offering reinvented but authentic street food. Since opening, they have also offered the option of ordering take-out in a tiffin stainless steel container. The deposit is of course returned to the customer when the container is returned.
Café des Habitudes offers an eco-responsible formula in the Petite Patrie neighbourhood. Joanna—owner of Café des Habitudes since September 2022—tells us that she had been dreaming of this place for years. Having never worked in the restaurant business, Joanna enters this world with a fresh perspective: “You have to make strong choices, in line with your values, and trust that the clientele will follow”. She is also President of the organization La Vague, proposing a reusable alternative to coffee cups.
Located in the technology hub that is the SAT (Society for Arts and Technology), Le Labo Culinaire offers fine, local cuisine. Le Labo, which opened in the fall of 2011, continues to evolve and flourish in its quest to think differently about gastronomy. The establishment is a member of the Aliments du Québec au menu program, which means that it chooses to showcase the wonderful products of Quebec and its producers.
Opened in 2020 in Saint-Blaise-sur-Richelieu, this farmhouse offers an extraordinary experience in a breathtaking setting. We go to Bika for an experience. There is no à la carte menu; it is the team that decides the tasting menu each day, according to the harvests, the daily inspiration and the sublime and irreplaceable creativity of the present moment. This address literally, beautifully, and successfully embodies the concept of “garden to table”.
Lawrence, its little brother restaurant, larrys, and its butcher shop, are pioneers in self-sufficiency and have always promoted responsible practices in the industry. The addresses source their meat from the butcher shop, and even bake their own bread. One comes to Lawrence to enjoy thoughtful small plates with an English flair while sipping excellent wines in a warm and beautiful space.
Maison Boire is an eco-friendly and self-sufficient gourmet restaurant in Granby. While the cuisine here is mainly vegetarian, when there is meat on the menu (cooked in their firewood stoves), you can be sure that it’s sourced from small local producers who are committed to animal welfare. By collaborating with local producers, Maison Boire puts the environment at the heart of its operations. The zero waste vision of this establishment also weighs very positively in the balance and its sustainable food approach makes this restaurant a concrete and inspiring actor of change. The restaurant aims to be self-sufficient by 2027.
The second address of the Tran family is located in the Mile-Ex. The space is quite small for dining in, and focuses mostly on take-out. To reduce waste, they have been using Bopaq reusable containers since they opened. Bravo!
Located on the grounds of the splendid Migneron de Charlevoix farm, this restaurant showcases the diversity and quality of Charlevoix products. The farm to table formula offers a changing menu, entirely local. Whether you’re just passing through the region or planning a gourmet getaway, Charlevoix is a first-rate place for lovers of fine products and Faux Bergers is a must.
Parcelles, a small, 20-seat restaurant in Austin, offers an exceptional countryside experience. Born out of the Cantouque Project, a market gardening project between three friends, Parcelles has become one of the most acclaimed tables champêtres in Quebec. Table Champêtre means that most of the ingredients come from the farm. You will enjoy a tasting menu where the focus is on vegetables, but truly exceptional vegetables and beautiful processing. A high caliber tasting experience awaits you.
Hidden between Notre-Dame Street West and Avenue Lionel Groulx, restaurant Candide has a unique charm. The restaurant is actually located in a converted presbytery! Chef John Winter Russell’s cuisine is extravagant and delicious – you will want to come back over and over again. At Candide, you will find great local gastronomy that is both tasty and thoughtful. The establishment is taking multiple steps to minimize its carbon footprint. The kitchen carefully chooses pesticide-free ingredients from nearby areas (virtually nothing travels by air!) and reduces food waste as much as possible. In addition to composting and preparing 4000 litres of canned food for winter cooking, the address does not use any single-use plastic, and every plastic container used is recyclable. Bravo!
Ô Thym is a delicious Bring Your Own Wine restaurant on de Maisonneuve Boulevard East that serves great Quebec classics influenced by market cuisine. Open for 14 years now, Ô Thym has become one of the best Bring Your Wine restaurants in the city with a menu that evolves with the seasons. Chef Noé Lainesse sources only from local producers and is a member of Arrivages (formerly Chef514). “I am a chef, urban gardener and wild food picker who is zero waste at home and transposes these values as much as possible to my restaurant. Not to mention a gradual evolution towards organic.” The Ô thym restaurant is thus among the eco-responsible restaurants in Montreal!
When we think of a culinary centre in the city, Sherbrooke Street isn’t necessarily what comes to mind. However, bracing yourself for the traffic is far worth a stop at restaurant Renoir inside the Sofitel hotel. French cuisine is at its best here, and it is not afraid to celebrate local products. The facility has developed an innovative process to reduce its waste: it turns it into liquid to massively reduce its use of garbage bags and waste transport. The fish cooked here are also certified by Ocean Wise. A beautiful and environmentally friendly address to discover!
Aux Vivre offers a delicious vegan menu that prioritizes healthy and tasty innovations on classic foods . We love the dragon bowl with tempeh and the Thai bowl with tofu. Here, you can find GMO-free food, with lots of fruit, vegetables and grains from the most local and organic sources possible. Both addresses are open 7 days a week and have take-out counters!
Opened in 2005, the restaurant of the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ) showcases the delicacies prepared by the students of its associated school. Located on the first floor of the ITHQ, with large windows overlooking Saint-Denis Street and Saint-Louis Square, the ITHQ Restaurant is a showcase that allows students in service, sommelier, and cuisine to put into practice what they learn in class. The establishment opts for eco-responsible practices on several levels: compost, a majority of local ingredients, sustainable fishing and the sparkling water is even homemade to avoid plastic bottles! We love this place for the affordable and eco-responsible gastronomy it offers.
Toqué! is a Montreal institution that has dominated the Quebec gastronomic scene for over 20 years. Quality, consistency and resilience are the hallmarks of Toqué! The establishment has had a significant impact on the restaurant scene: chef-owner Normand Laprise is one of Canada’s leading chefs in the culinary field. He is also very active in reducing the ecological footprint of his establishment; the address rigorously manages its waste production, draws as much as possible from local producers and fervently supports sustainable fishing. The establishment has even eliminated disposable hand towels in its bathrooms – hats off to them!
Alentours is one of the best restaurants in Quebec City. “What we offer to our clientele is the luxury of being able to sit down with a clear head and a clear mind. We have a very strict ethic and way of doing things when it comes to sustainable food and ecoresponsibility. It’s a great source of pride to be able to do what we do every night,” says Tim Moroney, chef/owner of the restaurant.
La Panthère Verte
Founded by the epicurean and adventurer Chaim, the company’s raison d’être is to take concrete action for health and the planet. The company now has several branches and is known for its plant-based, organic and local cuisine. They encourage responsible consumption and even offer discounts to customers who bring their own containers. Bravo!
A gourmet restaurant in Montreal, the kitchen team uses induction stoves and electric ovens to avoid gas. They also do all of their own processing and fermentation (including their own bread!) and source their food locally. Whenever possible, chef-owner Massimo picks some of the food himself!