The Best Poutine in Montreal
Poutine is to Montreal what gumbo is to New Orleans, and what fish & chips is to London. In fact, it would be a sacrilege to visit Montreal and not eat this legendary and earthy dish, which consists of French fries doused in gravy and sprinkled with cheese curds. Here is a list of the best poutine places in Montreal (approved by locals), where visitors can help themselves to a generous serving—eating pants required.
181 Rue Saint Paul Est, Montréal, QC H2Y 1G8, Canada
Poutine is the stuff of legends, much to the chagrin of many Canadians. It is the one food non-Canadians seem to know the most about, and a snack of this heavy dish is at the top of the list for most visitors to Montreal. Even though it can be found throughout Canada, poutine got its start in Quebec back in the 1950s and truly is a collage—some would say train wreck—of ingredients. The classic recipe is simple, really: french fries topped with brown gravy and curd cheese. But this simple explanation really doesn’t do it justice. Like many other comfort foods, poutine may not be the healthiest dish, but there is just something satisfying about the experience. I love sharing a big bowl amongst friends, each armed with a fork scouting out the best fries and melty cheese curds as the gravy drips drop by drop into the bowl below. There are a thousand varieties of poutine, including BBQ, lobster, and even foie gras, but there’s nothing like the simple original version.
1217 Saint Laurent Boulevard
It’s still unclear which is the most popular greasy spoon in town, but few beat Montreal Pool Room. Established in 1912, this place is ocated on what used to be the most dangerous street corner in town, and it still maintains its reputation as a seedy late-night eatery. Happily without actual creeps, thanks to the rejuvenation of the neighborhood and its having become the Quartier des Spectacles. The house specialties: steamed top-loaded hot dogs and, of course, poutine, with tons of cheese curds. Also, despite being called a “pool room,” you won’t find a pool table, or anything related to pool for that matter, in this establishment. But most are willing to forgive this nonsense in the face of an extra cheese topping on their poutine.
536 Avenue Duluth E, Montréal, QC H2L 1A9, Canada
Chef Martin Picard is one of the leaders of Montréal’s restaurant scene, introducing diners—and other chefs—to a new appreciation of the bounty of local ingredients grown and produced in Québec. (He is also a television celebrity both as the host of The Wild Chef on the Food Network in Canada and thanks to a visit by Anthony Bourdain on No Reservations.) His restaurant, Au Pied de Cochon, opened in 2001 in the Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood, and it continues to be an exceedingly popular and lively place. As its name implies, the eatery has a menu that’s heavy on pork, as well as foie gras. While it may not be the place to start a diet, you’ll finish your meal satisfied.
451 Avenue Duluth E, Montréal, QC H2L 1A5, Canada
Where in Montreal can diners hope for an affordable meal that isn’t drenched in oil or entirely free of flavors? At L’Gros Luxe, that’s where. This stylish neighborhood watering hole may look like a hip, Victorian-inspired and overall super cool place but the truth is that anyone is welcome; from ladies who lunch, young families who brunch or friends out to celebrate a birthday. Portions at L’Gros Luxe are smaller than a regular meal but bigger than tapas, and yet prices are always under $8 per plate. L’Gros Luxe strives to bring its customer the freshest, locally-sourced produce available, and the way they can afford to cut back on prices is by making literally everything in house - from sauces to veggie patties from scratch. Their poutine is quite a mouthful - tater tots, cheese curds, veggie gravy and green onions. A nice change, and something poutine aficionados should not deprive themselves from. Their legendary Ceasars, which are topped with a mini grilled-cheese, are simply mindblowing. And easy on the wallet.