FOOD AND DRINK
A Guide to Sampling Montreal’s Top 10 Poutines (Out of Roughly 11,657)
Quebec, birthplace of the now world famous fast-food dish most feared by hangovers: poutine. Walk the streets of Montreal and poutine signs will beckon for your palate’s attention left and right, from morning to night. So popular is this national dish that the last few years have seen a rash of poutine-only places pop up, offering 40-plus varieties, each more outlandish than the other. Beware: all that glistens is not gold. This list does not shy away from creative interpretations of the dish, don’t get us wrong – but it’s got to be different in a good way. Presenting the definitive, almighty, Top 10.
Au Pied de Cochon
Is it unfair to start the list with the most famous aberration of the classic? Naw. This poutine is singlehandedly responsible for bringing in half the city’s tourists (or thereabouts). With hand-cut fries fried in duck fat and cubes of foie gras sharing real estate with the cheese curds, this soul-crushingly rich dish is famous for a reason.
536 Duluth Est, 514-281-1114
Fat-cut, soft and sweet tasting, the fries at this fish’n’chips spot in Mile End align with the tradition of French Canadian patateries (French-fry joints), which means they make for one helluvan authentic poutine. Served in a little cardboard dish with red-and-white check grease paper, this melty goodness comes glopped in thick gravy.
21 St-Viateur O., 514-507-3474
Open 24 hours a day over the weekend, this typical Québécois casse-croûte makes a poutine best consumed at 4 in the morning, with crisp, golden fries artfully slathered in their special silken peppery sauce. If you’re feeling fancy, order the Bocco, topped with bacon and onions.
351 Laurier Ave. Est, 514-279-5173
The thin, dark fries at the Plateau hole-in-the-wall play a large part in how special this poutine is, but there’s also the get-out-of-guilt card: you can order it topped with a mountain of steamed veggies, which add crunch and flavourful freshness to the experience. The peppery sauce is also a reason to come back again and again.
4177 St-Laurent Blvd, 514-844-0216
Poutine for breakfast? Ho, yes. This take on the dish may break with tradition, but the results are unquestionably praiseworthy: hash browns in lieu of fries, topped with fried peppers and onions, the meat of your choice (bacon, duh), all smothered in hollandaise sauce. Grande finale? A fried egg. Good morning, indeed.
25 Fairmount Avenue Ouest, 514 903 6649
It’s fitting that this British pub in Little Burgundy serves something they call an English poutine. What makes it English is the classic onion gravy, the nuggets of Stilton nestled against the cheese curds and the optional chunks of fall-apart roast beef that make this unctuous feast’s claim to fame.
2496 Notre Dame O., 514-934-0888
Burger de Ville
The sauce at this no-frills burger joint on St-Laurent in Mile End is so savoury, flavour-packed and lip-smackingly spiced that it would sell by the gallon if they bottled it. The dark, long-cut fries and squeaky fresh cheese curds are the perfect backdrop for this golden delight.
5282 St-Laurent Blvd., 514-507-5050
The rich, creamy goodness of the butter chicken poutine put this small Indian takeout spot on the map. The fries are machine-cut and nothing extraordinary, but the beautiful curry that tops them, oh my: it’s alive with spice, redolent with tender morsels of chicken and brightened with a generous sprinkle of fresh cilantro.
4120 St-Laurent Blvd., 514-313-7400
(Corner of St-Denis and Carré St-Louis)
Want a full-on authentic pataterie-style poutine? This franchise of the Quebec chain is your place. The sauce tastes like it’s from a mix and the dish comes in a Styrofoam container, but the greasy, mushy fries are classic deliciousness and merge like a dream with melted cheese curds. Best enjoyed late-night.
3620 Saint-Denis, 450-656-0005 x612
La Belle Province
(Corner of Ste-Catherine and St-Laurent)
Vegetarians, this one’s for you: much like the Lafleur poutine, this chain franchise ain’t no high-class establishment, but the good news is that the sauce is made without animal bits! How can it be, you ask? Ask no questions, just bask in the golden, greasy, meat-free bliss.
1 Rue Ste-Catherine E, 514-982-0401