Finding the best poutine in Montreal is akin to going after the Holy Grail – many have tried, but few have succeeded. The results of such quests always vary, and no one seems to agree on the final selection. Where is the best poutine in Montreal? Should we stick to proven classics, or should we venture into unknown territories? Decisions, decisions.
As a big fan of poutine myself and a Montrealer, I figured I could throw in my two cents.
Now – I don’t think that poutine is the most representative dish of Montreal because, truth be told, there’s an effervescent and quite inventive foodie scene in this town and it would be a shame to skip it in favour of this hearty classic. But you do need to have poutine once every time you visit, or at the very least, once in your lifetime.
(Keep in mind that it is very hard to make yucky poutine; whatever place you pick will more than likely make your taste buds very happy. These are just my personal favourites.)
The gourmet one
Chez Tousignant (6956 Drolet)
Hemmed by two of the most famous chefs in Montreal, this is where to want to go for a classic poutine, but with the best and freshest ingredients. Locally-sourced organic chicken, handmade gravy, locally-roasted coffee beans, substainable beef sausages, it’s all there.
Think greasy spoon, but in an award-winning retro space designed by local starchitect and with a true passion for farm-to-table ingredients. Does good conscience cancel the calories? I like to think so.
The classic experience
La Banquise (994 Rue Rachel East)
If you are only in town for a short while and want to experience poutine in the most efficient way, head to La Banquise. This restaurant is open 24/7 (although much of its clientele visits between 1AM and 5AM, because as far as hangover remedies go, poutine tops ’em all) and offers a pretty good selection for poutine neophytes and locals alike, as well as the fast-food staples of North America: hot dogs, burgers, corndogs, and onion rings. Definitely the go-to place for first-timers!
Poutineville (1348 Beaubien East & 1365 Rue Ontario East)
If you are feeling adventurous with your poutine and want to spice it up a little, the first place that comes to mind is Poutineville. Here, instead of ordering something off the menu, you are pretty much handed a checklist of the kitchen’s every ingredient and told to pick whatever pleases you. Oh, dear heavens. You can add anything from blue cheese to grilled zucchini to Italian sausage, or if you want to have the illusion of a healthy meal, a side salad or a veggie sandwich.
My favorite mix? Crushed potatoes with regular poutine sauce topped with bacon, frankfurters, and extra grated cheese. YUM.
The local one
Nouveau système (323 Beaubien East)
The place probably hasn’t changed a bit since it’s opening int he 1960s. This is a common, run-of-the-mill, retro-looking Québécois greasy spoon where everyone in the neighbourhood gathers for a poutine, be it grandmothers, young families, normcore hipsters or freelancers who forgot to pick up veggies for dinner and end up getting poutine instead (hi! that’s me).
Other places where you’ll get good poutine
- Frites Alors! (various locations)
- Chez Tousignant (6956 Drolet)
- Montreal Pool Room (1217 St. Laurent)
- Chez Claudette (351 Laurier East)
- Patati Patata (4177 St. Laurent)
- Mont-Royal Hot-Dog
Poutines with a twist
- Lobster poutine: Garde Manger (408 St-Francois-Xavier)
- Foie gras poutine: Au pied de cochon (536 Duluth East)
- Breakfast poutine: Fabergé (25 Fairmount West)
- Asian poutine: Sésame (288 Ste-Catherine West)
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