Montrealers love poutine – we have a weeklong festival that celebrates it. A plate of French fries topped with squeaky cheese curds and brown gravy are mainstays on many local restaurant menus. Renditions and interpretations of this humble dish by some of the city’s favourite restaurants have become synonymous with the poutine scene in the city. If you want a classic Montréal poutine experience, here are some great places to try.
Le Garde-Manger – 408 Saint-François-Xavier Street
Located in a historical building in picturesque old Montréal, Le Garde-Manger is one of the city’s most happening places where reservations are made often weeks in advance. This hip and trendy eatery (where celebrity chef Chuck Hughes helms the kitchen) is popular amongst locals and visitors alike. One of Le Garde-Manger’s claims to fame is their lobster poutine. Fries, Québec cheese curds and brown gravy topped with large chunks of tender lobster delivered the knockout punch over Chef Bobby Flay when Chuck competed and won on Iron Chef America.
Au Pied de Cochon – 536 Duluth Avenue East
Chef Martin Picard’s Au Pied de Cochon has been a fixture of French cuisine in Plateau Mont-Royal for years. His affinity for excess and over-the-top menu items is exemplified in his very popular foie gras (duck liver) poutine: Freshly-cut French fries fried in rendered duck fat, squeaky cheese curds topped with a generous lobe of foie gras covered in a luscious duck liver gravy.
If you’re looking for something more casual:
La Banquise – 994 Rachel Street East
La Banquise has been satiating poutine cravings for 48 years and counting. Try their “La Reggae”, which features ground beef, guacamole, diced tomatoes and hot peppers. Open 24 hours a day, La Banquise is a popular spot for the after-hours crowd and is a great place to spot celebrities getting in on some famous Montréal poutine.
Poutineville – multiple locations
This homegrown chain is a Montréal favourite for custom-made poutines. Pick from a checklist of ingredients, from different kinds of fries, meats and vegetables to cheese and choices of gravy to create your own signature poutine. They are also known for their “La Poutineville”, a poutine made with hand-smashed fried potatoes, fresh cheese curds and mozzarella topped with succulent braised beef and red wine gravy.
If you’re more of a purist and a solid poutine is more your pace, there are some great choices around the city that have set and maintained the standard.
Paul Patates – 760 Charlevoix Street
This diner located in the Point Saint-Charles is a neighbourhood favourite. Order a barebones poutine and a bottle of their famous spruce beer and grab a seat at the counter for a view of all the action.
Montreal Pool Room – 1217 Saint-Laurent Boulevard
An institution on “The Main” (Saint-Laurent Boulevard) for over 100 years, the Montreal Pool Room is a local favourite for “greasy-spoon” fare. The steamies are great and so is the poutine, but what makes them exceptional is the taste of nostalgia with every bite.
Orange Julep – 7700 Décarie Boulevard
The Orange Julep is not hard to miss: it looks like a gigantic orange the size of a three-storey house. Overlooking the Décarie expressway, this drive-in diner has been the place to go for fast food favourites for over 80 years. Indulging in a classic poutine takes on a whole different experience when you wash it down with their famous frothy orange julep.