HappyCow is loading...

CLOSED: Commensal

  • Veg-friendly Veg-friendly
    ( 20 reviews )


Contact 418-647-3733

860 Rue St Jean (at 3 blocks west of city walls near Parliament Hill), Quebec, Quebec, Canada,

Serves meat, vegan options available. In Oct 2012 this previously all veg buffet restaurant chain switched to flexitarian and offers fish and poultry in a separate case. Several locations. Features a large self-serve hot and cold buffet spread that includes soups, pate, main entrees, desserts, many of which are vegan-friendly. Food is priced by weight. SHUT DOWN JUNE 2013.

Category: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, International, Western, Buffet, Salad bar, Take-out, Non-veg

Reviews (20)

First Review by lizzielou

A sad day, but then again... - Edit

Le Commensal had been steadily going down, especially in that location, but now they really should just close the doors. The oldest vegetarian institution has sold out instead of updating its concept and food to reflect the current veg trends.

Shame on you for taking the easy way out...but you're going down anyway. There was no one there today when I went in. No vegetarians or flexitarians (code word for I want to be trendy).

Pros: None

Cons: Service with an attitude, No knowledge of vegetarian food stores

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Vegetarian Options Contaminated - Edit

The manager Philippe took no action when the vegetarian lasagna serving spoon was placed in the neighbouring meat dish. He tried to address it by claiming the meat is prepared separately than the veg. dishes. Yet by taking no action to replace the food or spoon, he is therefore not concerned with meat contaminating the veg. dishes. Meat could be easily hidden in any veg. option. Do not eat here! They do not respect vegetarians anymore. They aren't Flexitarian; more like Meatitarian (another made-up word).

First the Quebecois Le Commensal goes meat... Does that mean that next we can expect Cirque du Soleil to bring in the elephants?

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Will no longer go there - Edit

I have often eaten at this restaurant for many years. It was vegetarian and vegan-friendly. Now that it has introduced meat, chicken and fish into its menu, I will no longer go there. I am so disappointed, as the completely vegetarian and vegan (or at least vegan-friendly) restaurants to go to in Quebec City are severely limited.

Cons: No longer vegetarian...

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

No longer Vegetarian - Edit

Latest news is that Commensal is no longer Vegetarian and has switched to a "Flexetarian" diet. They now will be serving Chicken, Shrimp and Crab. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umVYo3fxWbI&sns

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Enjoyable - Edit

On visiting Quebec City at the tail end of a cruise we sought out a veggie restaraunt from recommendations. The Le Commensal was found to be exactly as described in previous reviews - pretty basic and with decor in need of refreshing. That said however the food was really good. Two weeks ago we were in New York City and had been spoiled with the massive choice at Whole Foods in Columbus Circle (near Central Park) so it was inevitable we were going to compare. The choice at Le Commensal was very good with a hotplate, salad and deserts. Hotplate had upwards of 20+ choices; salad bar had likewise and desert (which we didn't try) had probably 10+ choices. Hotplate offered things like mild curry; mushroom pie; cous cous; casserole dishes and the like. Food is weighed at the cash register and that calculates the price (NOTE - the plate weight is included in the calculation!)
Negatives - not licensed (i.e. no alcohol); tired, soul-less surroundings
Positives - very nice food, well presented with good choice
Recommended - Yes for a nice lunch but not for an intimate dinner

Pros: Lovely food, Well presented food, Good choice

Cons: Tired decor, Not licensed, Soul less

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great Selection - Edit

Was in town for a business trip and wanted to find a vegetarian friendly restaurant. This fit the bill perfectly! Lots and lots of great food choices, hot and cold. All the dishes I tried were fresh and tasty. You could eat very healthy here or you could indulge a little. The staff was friendly and very patient with their non french speaking customer. I was quite amazed how big the place is and all the seating they had. Would definitely recommend this place and if I'm ever back in Quebec City I will be visiting again.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Good vegan options - Edit

This is a chain restaurant that is located throughout Quebec. The format is cafeteria style and each option is clearly labeled. Not all options are vegan so keep your eyes peeled. It's a bit on the expensive side but vegan/veggie options are limited in the city so overall it's a good place to eat.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Good vegetarian buffet! - Edit

I had dinner with my parents, one who is half-vegetarian, the other a carnivore. My mom wasn't even hungry but loved all of the choices, as did I, and even my dad. Yes, a bit expensive but nice going to a place where vegetarian is the "norm." Some of the desserts were good, some not as much (pass on choc.cake) but all and all a good experience!

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Overpriced, but otherwise okay buffet - Edit

This is a very typical vegetarian buffet, with some vegan options, in an okay environment. This is a rare source of vegan dessert in Quebec, the choices when I visited being carrot cake and a soy-based faux cheesecake.

I can only add that food from a buffet should not cost more than an equivalent amount of freshly prepared food at a restaurant with an equal or better atmosphere in the same area. Here, it did, and that's what's wrong with Le Commensal. I would recommend it only after exhausting other vegan options, which are few but not non-existent.

Pros: Vegan dessert

Cons: Price, Typical buffet quality

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Could be much better but i still love it. - Edit

I go there often because i live in Québec and do not have many veg options. I can't say i don't like it ; i find it really useful to have around. I like the salad bar : they had a lot of fresh items there. They also have mini vegan wraps, olives, veggie paté, greens, and raw vegetables. But i would recommand going on lunch or dinner hours, to be sure the staff does a good rotation. The freshness is not the same if you go in the middle of the afternoon... The hot buffet features a lot of tofu and seitan, rice, garlic pastas ( i love them ), steamed veggies, rolls, pizza and lasagna ( not vegan )... They indicate clearly what is vegan so that's a good thing. About the desserts, they only have 2 vegan choices : cheescake and carrot cake. I always found them to be a bit bland, but of course i got bored of eating them since i go there often. I just put a lot of maple syrup or fruit jam on top so it can taste something. I wish they would improve that part. Some desserts, like brownies and date squares could easily be made vegan. About the prices : it's a pay by weight, but there is a limit. 12 for lunch, 15 for dinner. Go there when you are hungry for lunch and fill your plate like it would cost 20 but pay 12. Or share a plate with a friend, and just put all the food on the same dish...I still love that place because i go there often with lots of people ; it's often crowded but they have a lot of places to sit ( 2 floors ). You can bring your own wine. During summer, try to find a seat near the huge opened window, it's nice.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Not bad for a quick bite - Edit

Ate here for dinner during our trip to Quebec. Buffet bar with hot and cold selections. Food was OK, nothing outstanding. It goes by the weight so be careful spooning food onto your plate.

Pros: selection

Cons: pricey

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

quick and convenient - Edit

For a buffet, the food was pretty good. Nothing incredible, but entirely edible. Labels above the dishes clearly indicate what is vegan and what is not. If you're simply planning on hanging around the old town for a few days, this location can't be beat. Seems very popular with locals.

Pros: good location, vegan items clearly marked, friendly staff that speak English

Cons: lack of vegan desserts

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Perfect location for a quick meal - Edit

We spent a couple of days in Quebec City in June and had lunch at the Commensal both days.

The location is so convenient! Just a 5 minute walk outside the Old Upper Town close to Port St. Jean. And if you continue up Rue St. Jean for another 5 minutes you can do your shopping at the "Le Crac and La Carrote Joyeuse" Health Food store after your meal at the Commensal.

We had been to the Downtown Montreal Commensal before and the dishes were very similar in Quebec City. There were enough vegan options to keep us happy.

The explanatory labels for the dishes were in English and marked clearly which dishes were vegan which was great. The labels sometimes didn't match the dishes underneath though, so we had to look around a bit for the correct dishes (a couple we couldn't find at all).

The salads and hot dishes tasted all very good (I really liked the Gluten Stroganoff).

My sweet tooth got satisfied also. There were two vegan cakes (a carrot cake and a soy cream cheese tart with berries) and they were both fantastic. I also put lots of the fabulous vegan pineapple soy cream over my carrot cake.
What a treat!

The restaurant is huge and very 70s style, so I wouldn't go there for a special occasion but for a quick meal while sightseeing it is perfect.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Thank you for this place - Edit

Quebec City is rather incredible save for the lack of non-dairy milk alternative and vegan eateries. Le Commensal is a real treat. Rotating options. I've gone three times. And while the buffet option can be a bit annoying with food sitting out for a bit and such but, it provides the opportunity to try several different things. Sometimes the noodles and other entrees can be a tad greasier than desired, but overall the food is solid. Be careful how much you add to your plate because you may want to go overboard and will end up paying $16 USD for a plate to your surprise!! Always a dessert option for vegans as well.

Pros: plenty of vegan options, dessert options, Quebec City

Cons: greasy food sometimes

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

not bad - Edit

I'm glad this place is here. Vegan food is easy to find, and you can get by here knowing no French at all. It's true that there are fewer vegan options than at the branch in Toronto, but I think that's because there are fewer total options - the hot food buffet is about half the size of the one in Toronto.

I am not sure how anyone can eat "heartily" here for $6 - I would say that you should plan on spending at least $10-15 for a decent sized meal. Possibly more if you eat a lot. That said, one nice thing about the pay-by-weight system is that if you only want a snack or a small meal, you don't have to pay for a full meal.

For those who are nervous about guessing the weight of their food, I suggest basing your meal on a bowl of soup, which is a fixed price (maybe $3-4? I forget) and getting smaller portions of the buffet items until you get the hang of the pay-by-weight system.

The price seemed a little high to me for what you get. For mass-produced food that you have to serve yourself, it seems that you should pay a lot less than you'd pay in a regular restaurant, when in fact you often pay only a little less.

Pros: vegan food, convenient location, pay for only what you eat

Cons: mass-produced

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

So-so... - Edit

On a recent trip to Quebec, I decided to have dinner here one evening. Though I certainly was glad to find vegan food in Quebec without having to interrogate the waitstaff with questions about ingredients in poorly-spoken French, the food at Le Commensal was rather bland and mediocre. However, that was just their 'meal' type food. Their desserts on the other hand, are exceptional! After having a bland dinner, I was surprised at how good the desserts were! I had carrot cake, pineapple mousse, and 'cheesecake'. All of them were totally vegan and tasted so good! Plus, the dessert table had plenty of very good fresh fruit as well.

The only other drawback to Le Commensal is the fact that figuring out the price of your meal is sort of a guessing game, since food is sold by weight. So just be forewarned about that...

Pros: Really Yummy Desserts, Near the Walled City, Reasonable Prices

Cons: Figuring Out the Price, The Food Is Bland

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

ok - Edit

with this pay by plate buffet you have to know what you like. some of the dishes are good and some of them are bland.

also, i noticed this location (compared to toronto for example) has fewer vegan options.

my best recommendation is to go there for lunch and save the nice places with veg options for dinner.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Refreshing - Edit

Le Commensal is one of very few vegetarian options in Quebec, a city full of meat- and dairy-heavy restaurants. It was a relief to my vegan daughter and me to find an extensive buffet of fresh, hot and cold choices, at least half of which were vegan. We were cautious about loading up our plates, having no idea what a kilo might feel like (I believe the price is $18/kilo). We each ate heartily, though, for about $6 each. For Quebec, that is dirt cheap!

Pros: Healthy, Roomy, Fair value

Cons: Mystery of how heavy your food really is, Staff not all that friendly

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Reviewer Avatar

Le Commensal - Edit

Though many organic and vegan options, not worth it unless in a pinch. The food is "blah" at best and overpriced.

Pros: options, fast

Cons: quality, overpriced

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Link to this page from your site. .
Return to Quebec Vegetarian Restaurants & Health Food Store Listings
Business Owners, if you see an unfair review, read this.
Why was my review removed? - details
Reviews are not endorsed by HappyCow - review terms
Has CLOSED: Commensal closed, shut down, moved, or changed? Please use the Update Form.
This page has been viewed 514 times since Aug 2007.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now