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Best of Montreal: Poutine!

Posted by Amie / March 22, 2011

La Banquise MenuNow that you know your poutine history you're ready to take the messy plunge into the best poutine that Montreal has to offer.

But there are so many options that we're going to break it down into levels. I'm a big advocate of making your own poutine, but there's nothing quite like being handed a plastic take-out container or a big plate of double-fried frites, local cheese curds, and mysterious brown sauce no matter what your level of intoxication:
Poutine at Ma'amm BolducBest Poutine When You're Sober: Ma'amm Bolduc

Downside: They're not open late - only until 10pm daily. Upside: The packaged gravy is enhanced with beef and wine, their cheese usually squeaks (though not always), and the gravy is generally hot enough. To hedge your bets, go for the beef bourgignonne so that you get the added flavour from the beef fat and the wine soaking into the mushrooms.
Poutine at Poutine Lafleur in VerdunBest Poutine When You're A Little Less Sober: Lafleur in Verdun

Poutine Lafleur uses a chicken-based gravy mix. It's the perfect balance between fast-food junk and authentic poutine epiphany. The sauce is thick and the cheese is curd-y. For $4 you get what you pay for, plastic container and all.

Best Poutine When You're on a Date (Sober. Don't know why you would do this, but don't argue with the categories): Chuck Hughes' Garde-Mangez Lobster Poutine

He just won Iron Chef with this dish. He has 624 reviews on a basic google search...I think that means he's a big deal or something. Best line of the CBC article on his victory: "I cut an unbelievable amount of potatoes," he says, referring to working his way up the culinary ladder. So Montrealers can be proud of this guy. We love potatoes.

I guess the hordes of teenage girls left him alone long enough for him to swear in French on Iron Chef and beat Bobby Flay. Even Susur Lee didn't do that -- the French or the winning.

You're probably saying, "Who the **** is Susur Lee?" He's a big deal in Toronto and less of a big deal in New York. So now it'll be even harder to get a reservation at Hughes' comfort food spot in the Old Port.

Best Poutine Date When You're on a Date (Drunk): Patati Patata

It's cheap, it's casual...and did I mention it's cheap? No point getting in a fight by not offering to pay when the poutine costs this little. Screw fois gras at Au Pied de Cochon. A creamy bechamel sauce? Why would you put that on fries? At Patati Patata the gravy mix is enhanced with white wine and chicken stock. And if the date doesn't suck and you really don't want it to end you can even opt for a bowl of borscht. Romantic, right??Fois Gras Poutine at au Pied de CochonFois Gras Poutine at Au Pied de Cochon

Best Quality Poutine Overall for the Money: Au Pied de Cochon

The fois gras creamy bastardization of poutine is $23 but the regular poutine is only $7 and it's big enough to share. $7 is less than most of the poutine options at La Banquise!!! But you can't exactly waltz in here for poutine at 3am, so plan your reservation and early evening drinking appropriately if your poutine experience requires a certain level of intoxication.

Best Poutine When You're not Sure if You'll Wake up the Next Day:
There are nights when you really shouldn't be going out anywhere in your current state, but you really need something carb-y to dilute the contents of your stomach.

There are, conveniently, these flyers that you get in the mail every month that come in the little bags that get hung from your mailbox and are generally called junkmail, and they're filled with all the cheap take-out menus in your area. They're glossy and you're supposed to keep them with your phone book that you never use either.

Miracle of miracles, they're filled with all the junk poutine your little heart could desire, AND these poutines come in combos with deli subs, hot meatballs subs, slices of pizza, lasagna that was definitely not made by nonna, and free delivery. If you threw yours out this week and can't wait until the next delivery, try figuring out how to use your dusty phonebook (or internet - see below) to call the Green Spot or New System BBQ for delivery. These places will sell you classic, standard poutines that you'll believe are the best things ever when inebriated. Probably you shouldn't have them when you're sober. Live in blissful ignorance.

Ma'amm Bolduc
4351 Ave De Lorimier
Hours: Daily until 10pm, usually starting around 7:30am, 8am, or 9am and serving a full breakfast, but why would you come here for an omelette?

Poutine Lafleur
3665, rue Wellington, Verdun
Hours: Daily 10am-8pm

Chuck Hughes has his own personal website but his restaurant Garde-Mangez only has a Yellow Pages listing. Priorities, Chuck...
408 rue St-François-Xavier
Hours: Tues-Sun for dinner only until 11:30pm...or 3am depending where you google. It probably just stays open until everyone's gone.

Patati Patata
4177 St-Laurent
Hours: Daily until 11pm

Green Spot
3041 rue Notre-Dame West
Hours: Until at least 11pm, late, late late on Friday and Saturday, and midnight on Sunday. Early morning (5am poutine) daily

New System BBQ
3419 Notre-Dame West
Hours: 11am-2:30am (aka working fulltime here means bad tips and long hours, so please tip your delivery guy. That does not mean offering him a fry when you're drunk.)

Photos from TMAB2003, Kimberley Blue, Coreyu, Monkeyseemonkeypoo, and Mayamonster on the Midnight Poutine flickr pool.



Joshua Hind / March 22, 2011 at 10:26 am
I'm may be showing my "Newbie Montreler" status once again, but I was under the impression that La Banquise was the top of the top, as far as poutine is concerned. I've been there a few times and tried some of the combos, but I never felt like I was having a unique culinary experience. Of course, I've never really developed a taste for poutine in general and I've often thought it was because I haven't found a good one. Alas, I've been told by friends that I have indeed tried authentic poutine. But it just never worked for me. And why?

I find most poutine gravy terribly bland. I'm told it's traditional, but to me it's just boring. The idea of wine and beef stock, or chicken stock and white wine both sound lovely. And I see that Ma'amm Bolduc is about 2 blocks from me. I guess that's dinner sorted out for tonight! Thanks, Amie!
S / March 22, 2011 at 11:21 am
Is there anywhere that serves a delicious and basic (i.e. no weird vegetable additions) poutine smouldered in gravy from a vegetarian mix without meat enhancements?
Amie / March 22, 2011 at 11:52 am
Yes! I haven't tried it but I hear that Comptoir 21 on St-Viateur (the fish n' chips place) serves a traditional poutine using a vegetarian gravy. Let me know what it's like if you check it out!
Will / March 22, 2011 at 11:57 am
Nice list, and gives some different options than the regulars.

Joshua, you are correct. Life-time Montrealer here, and La Banquise has always been #1 in most poutine lists. Haven't been there in years, so can't vouch for it today. Surprised it didn't make this list (at least as most overhyped). I've also heard that the best poutine can be had outside of Quebec (ie. New York).
Mark / March 22, 2011 at 06:51 pm
@S: I've been told by the several different employees at the Lafleur near Sherbrooke metro that their sauce has no animal products in it. Other people have said the same.
Matt / March 22, 2011 at 08:32 pm
What about Paul Patates in The Point? As far as I'm concerned you won't find a better poutine AND they make their own spruce beer! What does a place gotta' do to make a Top Poutine list? I had an amazing poutine at La Quebecoise on Ontario, too.

Also, if you're heading out to eastern Ontario stop in at Gaetan's Chip Stand in Alexandria. I grew up on that poutine and it beats the stuffing out of most of the crud you can get here.

There are places in New York that serve it but I have it on good authority, I would never order a poutine south of the border on purpose, that they suck. Hugues Dufour doesn't serve it at his place M. Wells Diner in Queens and I applaud him for that.
Charles / March 23, 2011 at 12:08 am
La Banquise is pretty bad. It's only good if you're drunk at 3:00am. Their gravy is too gelatiny and their "merguez" taste like cheap spicy hot dogs. I still think Chef Guru's curry poutine is the best especially with the fresh cilantro. Bocadillo on St-Laurent also has an interesting Venezuelan poutine with stringy cheese and an excellent sauce.
david m / March 23, 2011 at 11:19 am
no offense, but this is a hack's poutine list. it's a list so obvious that it doesn't even really justify the article. booo
S / March 23, 2011 at 01:18 pm
Thanks for the tips! I wasn't impressed with my first trip to comptoir 21 but might try again. I've also heard that Araucaria on Parc was serving veg poutine. Will try these and report back.
Best veg poutine I've had so far is at the Elgin St. Diner in Ottawa.
Kiki / March 24, 2011 at 12:42 pm
Restaurant Chez Claudette! Their poutine is so yummy and it's practically right next door if you live in Mile End. I'm new to Montreal and to the magic of poutine, but it's cheap and I think it's delicious!
Amie / March 24, 2011 at 02:06 pm
Hi Kiki,

The Midnight Poutine team recently visited Chez Claudette. I can't speak for the rest of the group but I was mostly impressed with the friendly service and amount of variety. Oh! And the delicious fries! The cheese wasn't the squeakiest and the basic gravy on the "classique" was kind of lacklustre (though piping hot. The poutine chef wouldn't reveal what was in the sauce, but the waiter let it slip that it was chicken-based), and definitely go for the beef and sausage options over the "poutine poulet tandoori", but it's a great spot that serves up huge portions for not a lot of money. Just what you want out of a neighbourhood casse-croute.

kaela / March 29, 2011 at 09:37 am
these photos are horrendous!! photographers are a dime a dozen! how could this be?
Margot / March 29, 2011 at 12:27 pm
The thing about "dime-a-dozen" photographers is that they often ask for dimes (or more than that!), and we here at Poutine HQ don't have so much as two pennies to give our photographers. In case you didn't know, we're not really a money-making endeavour, this project is more a labour of love.

That said, if you're a photographer and you're interested in volunteering your photog skillz to Midnight Poutine, shoot us an email: editors (at) midnight poutine dot ca. We're always looking for dynamic and interesting (and constructively critical) individuals to join the team.
guest / May 5, 2011 at 08:08 pm
Charles is right. Chef Guru is the best poutine there is. Crunchy fries, hot, delicious curry sauce (korma?), fresh cilantro, squeeky cheese curds. It's almost a secret hole in the wall on St. Laurent, below Rachel, across from Cafe pi. not to be missed.
Amie / May 5, 2011 at 11:33 pm
Sorry fellow poutine lovers, but I'm afraid I have to disagree about Chef Guru because the sauce was pretty underwhelming. Loved the portion size and I liked the cheese (though it's not the squeaky variety), but the curry sauce wasn't really a great curry. Just vaguely tomato-based, while an Indian curry should have a lot of fresh spices for flavour, it was just kind of...well, oily and perfectly reheated. So points for temperature (and colour?) but a little bit of fresh cilantro couldn't save this fusion creation. I still think the fries are better elsewhere too since Chef Guru doesn't do the whole twice-fried, crispy outside, soft, sweet inside thing. "Guest", have you tried the fries at Chez Claudette? The sauce is pretty brown and bland, but the fries and ambiance make the experience there.
Jaz / June 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm
Lafleur on Wellington, are you kidding me. They have a decent poutine at best. Their fries are complete crap. I can't believe it made the list. Sham!
Bee / June 26, 2012 at 08:00 am
Lafleur's (St. Denis st.) poutine is my fave for a good, basic poutine. While I do find the sauce very important, the fries and cheese really do it for me. It has to be made with good squeaky cheese curds, and the fries need to be fresh. Too many places use frozen fries with no skins at all. At Lafleur's you can see them cutting the potatoes. The knowledge that it is super fresh just makes it taste better!
putine addict / July 25, 2012 at 10:37 pm
LOL OMG how can you include new system barbq ona list for poutine?
they make the worst poutine in montreal!
one thing for new system they make a real good steak and cheese sub.
your obviously not much a montrealer when it comes to poutine
like who goes to Au Pied de Cochon for poutine? thats insanity thats not even poutine you have a picture of up there thats just an abomination
naw you want real poutne? its at greenstop. poutine lafleur , pirette patate in verdun, dunns smoked meat, and Le banquise
all else is fail
poutine addict / July 25, 2012 at 10:37 pm
and i mispelled poutine lol
Billiam Chadwick / August 3, 2012 at 01:33 pm
Any recommendations for weekend late night Poutine near bonaventure?
bizoune replying to a comment from Jaz / August 12, 2012 at 05:10 pm
I'm with you on that one. I just went to Lafleur in Verdun from this page recommendation and the fries were just very ordinary, the gravy was too sweet and way too hot(temperature not spicy)and the cheese is not squeaky. La Banquise wins.
Pharmacy girl / June 15, 2013 at 02:53 pm
My fave has always been lafleur in VSP or I guess any of the others. Its a classic. For funky ones I say poutineville
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