Where to eat for the best poutine in Montreal… and where not to
No visit to Montreal is complete without sampling this signature French-Canadian dish. Made with french fries, gravy and squeaky cheese curds – yes, squeaky cheese is a tell-tale sign of a good poutine – this dish is hearty, filling, and best enjoyed after a long night of dancing.
As with anything that people hold dear to their hearts, there’s much debate about where you can find the best poutine. One thing every Quebecer will tell you, though, is that it’s definitely not in Ontario. The exact origin of the dish is clouded in controversy, too. While we can’t travel back in time to see the first time one person in rural Quebec had the bright idea of combining its three key ingredients, we can travel around Montreal and pick out which restaurants serve the best versions of this iconic dish.
1. Patati Patata
One of three restaurants located on Rue Rachel, Montreal’s “poutine strip,” Patati Patata is a bustling and colourful counter right at the intersection with Saint Laurent Boulevard, another iconic city street. Inside, you’ll find that seating is quite limited, but somehow everyone always seems to be in good spirits. Maybe, it’s because they know they’re getting Montreal’s best poutine. With crispy fries, squeaky cheese and flavourful gravy, together with the ambiance it’s Montreal culture, perfected. Patati Patata also has amazing burgers, beer, a breakfast menu and vegetarian poutine, all of which is incredibly affordable. If there’s one place you go for the true Montreal poutine experience, this is it!
4177 Saint Laurent Blvd
2. Ma Poule Mouillée
Rue Rachel runs through the Plateau, a Montreal neighbourhood highly influenced by Portuguese culture, so naturally the next stop on this poutine crawl is Portuguese restaurant Ma Poule Mouillée. They’ve put their own twist on the local classic, topping their poutine with São Jorge cheese, their famous grilled chicken and even chorizo, if you wish. The result is a mouthwatering and flavourful plate that’s rich yet crispy, spicy, smoky, and seasoned to perfection with their special Portuguese sauce. The portions are incredibly generous, so bring friends and come hungry! Though there may be a lineup at this popular joint, it’s not as long as the next place…
969 Rue Rachel E | website
3. La Banquise
La Banquise has garnered quite the reputation, making its name practically synonymous with Montreal poutine. They truly take the humble dish to the next level, in every way possible. Open 24 hours a day, every day of the week, they never stop serving their 30 different poutine varieties. (And poutine isn’t even the only thing on the menu!) With so much choice, you can get a large steaming plate of fries and squeaky curds topped with just about anything you can imagine, making it an exciting adventure just to pick your order. Both locals and visitors alike just can’t seem to get enough! Though wait times can get long at peak hours, if you get there early, you should have no trouble getting seated quickly.
994 Rue Rachel E | website
4. Chez Tousignant
Moving past this stretch of Rachel, Chez Tousignant is, in spirit, a classic Quebecois “casse-croûte,” or snack bar, fully furnished with retro diner decor. What they serve, however, is not just any old fast food. The spot is chef-driven and everything on the menu is made from scratch. What they’re doing is not reinventing the wheel, but making the best version possible of everyone’s favourite comfort foods, and it’s a difference you can taste. Their poutine is impeccable without the frills, and even among other indulgent options, it’s a stand-out. This classic casse-croûte is the perfect way to connect with Quebec’s true heritage and sample an authentic poutine that’s undeniably delicious!
6956 Rue Drolet | website
5. Le Gras Dur
From the Das Food Truck family, you can now visit Le Gras Dur in a brick and mortar location that won’t drive away. Bringing the joy of greasy street food to downtown, the restaurant is located in La Central, a one-of-a-kind food hall that brings together 25 of Montreal’s top restauranteurs into one gourmet destination. But, we’re here to talk about the poutine. They make several award-winning versions of this saucy favourite with toppings inspired by street foods such as schnitzel and cheese burgers. While this might sound like it would send vegans packing, thanks to clever modifications such as eggplant schnitzel, indulging in their fresh and flavourful dishes is for everyone!
30 Rue Saint-Catherine W | facebook
6. Broue Pub Brouhaha
While you might come here for the poutine, you’ll want to stay for their selection of locally brewed craft beers and the charming neighbourhood pub atmosphere. Then, you’ll want to come back again for the poutine. They have several different selections on their menu of refined pub foods, but one is a real show stopper. The “Poutiflette” comes with a caramelized onions, leeks and bacon, all topped with a creamy duck-based gravy. This mouthwatering combination of flavours is unique to the Montreal poutine scene, and is well worth a trip up to Rosemont, away from the crowds and the tourists. The poutine at Broue Pub Brouhaha is true local hidden gem.
5860 Lorimier Ave | website
7. Au Pied de Cochon
Au Pied de Cochon is Quebecois fare at its finest, and its a well-known establishment in the Montreal culinary scene. As a whole, the restaurant’s menu is sophisticated and meaty, rich and flavourful – and the poutine is no exception. Topped with foie gras, this is one of the pricier options on this list, but you definitely get what you pay for. The melt-in-your-mouth decadence of the foie gras is set off by the squeaky curds and its all married by a flavourful gravy for one sumptuous dish that’s unlike any poutine you’ve probably had before. Need I say more? If you’re looking for an indulgent French-Canadian experience start planning soon, as you will need to make a reservation.
536 Duluth Ave E | website
8. Gibeau Orange Julep
The Orange Julep feels like an ode to an earlier era of drive-ins and roadside attractions, catching the eye of weary drivers after hours on the road. While it is easiest to get there by car, it is well within the city and also accessible by metro, located mere minutes away from Namur metro station. This unique orange sphere of a restaurant is named for its signature orange drink, just don’t ask what’s in it! That’s top secret. While a visit here is worth the experience alone, the poutine is comforting and nostalgic, adding a perfect touch of flavour to this unique Montreal attraction.
7700 Boulevard Décarie
9. Arts Café
On the other end of things, Arts Café is a cozy neighbourhood cafe. Tucked away on a quiet street in Mile End, which is fittingly Montreal’s artsiest neighbourhood, it’s not exactly the first place you’d think to go when you’re looking for Montreal’s best poutine. Books and crafts line the walls of the cozy spot, which is perfect for a leisurely weekend brunch. Their poutine is topped with duck confit, poached egg, and caramelized onions, all drenched in hollandaise sauce. It’s perfectly indulgent so once you get a taste, you’ll be bringing your friends back every weekend.
201 Avenue Fairmount O | website
10. Bonus tip: Skip Montreal poutine
This restaurant on Rue Saint Paul might be aptly named, but the poutine there is not the best. The quality of the dish is not up to locals’ tastes, so travel outside of Old Montreal to discover a more authentic side of the city!
Still hungry? Try out another one of these Top Montreal Restaurants!