Plenty of restaurants vie to be the best in their respective categories, and in Montreal, few carry as much clout as the title of best poutine. Really, poutine is just fries, cheese curds, and gravy. But as with most simple dishes, it’s more difficult to perfect than you’d think. Who knows? Maybe perfection doesn’t exist, but if it does, these spots come close to with their poutine offerings. Whether you’re looking for classic or creative takes on the Montreal staple, this list narrows down your best options.
Poutine isn’t generally considered to be the most visually appealing dish in the world, but if anyone is striving for the award for most photogenic poutine, it is Chez Tousignant. If you follow chef Michele Forgione on Instagram, you are bound to come across a top down shot of his legendary poutine. First, the fries makes your mouth water with their thick, house-cut appeal. There are so many cheese curds, you can practically feel the squeak they will make when you bite into them. And the gravy, oh, the gravy. It’s the kind you want to bath in after a long, taxing day. Salivating is all you can do before you realize that you’re only looking at a picture. But then, you’ll smarten up and go grab some.
Ma Poule Mouillee
This Portuguese chicken joint may not be the first spot that comes to mind when you think of stand-out poutines, but despite flying under the radar, it makes one of the best in the city. There’s only one option, but don’t let that deter you. It’s the exact one you want. Crispy seasoned fries topped with what look like an entire half chicken (crispy skin and all), spicy chorizo, and São Jorge cheese, all smothered in just the right amount of gravy: it’s what happens when roast chicken dinner and poutine collide. At some point between all of the starch and meat, you’ll want to tap out, but it’s hard to stop. Oh well, I guess that just means you won’t have to eat again for the next few days.
If you want to jump head first into the world of poutine, La Banquise is the place you need to go to get a fully immersive experience. With more than 30 different takes on poutine, available 24 hours a day (yes, they are always open), there’s no way you won’t find a poutine that speaks to you, your palate, and your schedule. For the meat-etarians of the world, there is a plethora of options like La 3 Amigos with three different types of sausage, and La T-Rex with ground beef, pepperoni, bacon, and hot dogs. For those who want poutine but would prefer not to induce a heart attack, there are also slightly lighter options, so to speak. La Galvaude is made with chicken and peas, and Le Rachel has green peppers, mushrooms, and onions. Heck, if you can’t choose, you can stay as long as you want to decide which is your favourite.
Just down the street from Schwartz’s on Saint Laurent is another Montreal favourite, Patati Patata. Not only is the name incredibly fun to say, its French fries always make for a good meal. They’re thin and crisp, and perfect on their own just dipped in mayonnaise. However, it’s also a great idea to go the poutine route. Because the fries are so crisp to begin with, they hold up especially well when sauced with salty, savoury gravy. Order the classic: just fries, cheese curds and gravy. Or, make yourself feel slightly better by topping your poutine with a variety of sautéed vegetables.
Opened for who knows how long, this cheery yellow spot on the corner of Laurier and Drolet is a staple for poutine in Montreal, and a favourite among the late night crowd. With way more than 30 menu options, choices range from traditional to a bit weird. Bring out your inner Quebecois with the Cabane, on ode to the classic sugar shack feast, with sausage, ham, and bacon. The carnivore’s dream is finished off with baked beans, brown sauce, and maple syrup, naturally. Now that’s a hangover cure! If cultural fusion is what you’re going for, try the tandoori: chicken, onions, and tandoori spices; or the Italian, topped with a Bolognese sauce of sorts. Frankly, there are almost too many choices!