Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lola Rosa Café

Last week I had the wonderful experience of having lunch at Lola Rosa Café, located at 545 Milton in the 'McGill Ghetto" district of the city. Despite its presence on the Montreal vegetarian scene for many years, I'd only recently heard about it. I'm not sure how it escape my 'veg-dar,' but it did. I can only assume that it's because I have never been a student at McGill and therefore never really had a reason to venture down Milton street.

The menu at Lola Rosa is a good sampling of world vegetarian cuisine. It's displayed on chalk boards on either side of the small gypsy-esque style dining room and features dishes like boerek, (phyllopastry triangles filled with spinach, feta, pine nuts), curry, chickpea and cabbage ragout, burritos, quiche, lasagna, veggie burgers, salads and sandwiches. It also features a list of mouth-watering deserts, including a vegan chocolate cake.

For my dining pleasure, I chose the polenta and ratatouille. The polenta was very tasty, if a bit on the heavy side, and the ratatouille was a somewhat non-traditional smooth tomato sauce with chunks of zucchini and hints of coriander. It was not quite was I was expecting--my own ratatouille is quite chunky all around--but overall it did not disappoint and was quite filling.

My dining mate was on a special diet. She explained her needs to the waiter and the kitchen had no problem coming up with a special plate for her consisting of black beans on plain rice topped with avocado. It looked and tasted wonderful. Both our meals were served with a side of salad.

At about $10 per plate, lunch is a bit expensive at Lola Rosa. However the food is well worth it and the day we went the place was packed. Dinner prices are the same as lunch. Wine and local beers are available. The cafe has also recently started serving breakfast.

In addition to being a cafe, the venue also features art from local artists on its wall. New artists are displayed every few weeks.