Trying to narrow down Montreal’s best poutine places to a list of five is almost impossible, partly because the quality is so high, and partly because trying all of them will likely kill you. Making your heart race, in both good and bad ways, our top five curd-chow-houses:
5. Garde Manger 408 Saint-François-Xavier; 514.678.5044
Head chef Chuck Hughes loves lobsters (he has one tatted on his arm), and his lobster poutine is the poutine that won Iron Chef America 2011, basically flaying Bobby in the process. It's so famous that foodies around the world actually plan their trips to Montreal around it, and you will find it at his resto, hidden down a side street of Old Montreal.
4. The Green Spot 041 Notre Dame W.; 514.932.2340
Affectionately referred to by locals as the “G-Spot,” this '50s-style greasy spoon has 27 different poutine available, though ask the waitress, and she’ll recommend the Reine Gadboi -- it's topped with onion rings and chopped-up pogo sticks (which are just corn dogs that've jumped across the border).
3. Frite Alors; Several locations across Montreal
There are 8 styles of poutine to choose from at this fry-house, including a hearty sucker topped with steak, 'shrooms, and fried onions. The thing that really makes it, however, is their selection of 17 different sauces to dip the fries in. And in case you were wondering, those fries are trans-fat free! Phew!
2. Au Pied de Cochon; 536 Duluth Est.; 514.281.1114
Proving that high-end restos can get into the game too, Au Pied de Cochon is throwing out foie gras poutine, which is every bit as delicious as it sounds, though because duck liver is expensive, you'll have to hand over a few bills of your own.
1. La Banquise 994 rue Rachel Est; 514.525.2415
Any list that doesn’t include La Banquise shouldn’t be taken seriously. This classic greasy spoon is open 24/7 and boasts a menu with over 30 varieties of the good stuff to choose from, including La Taquise, which's taken to the next level by sour cream, tomato, and guac. But if you're sparing no expense, the real star is La T-Rex: a massive, meat-laden number topped with ground beef, pepperoni, and bacon.
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Chuck Hughes, this resto's founder and winner of Iron Chef America 2011, is known the world over for his lobster poutine, so it should come as no surprise that his establishment pumps this stuff out on the reg. The blackboard menus that adorn the walls allow Chuck and his team to change up their offerings whenever they see fit, but you should rest assured that the crowd favorites aren't going anywhere.
This local diner is styled to resemble a mid-century greasy spoon-style establishment, and the 27 different poutine options on the menu give you plenty of greasy goodness to revel in. There's also more traditional diner-type grub, and Green Spot serves up some breakfast specials that are not to be missed either.
This chain of Belgian-style restaurants uses french fries as a central theme, which is basically the greatest central theme for anything ever. The fries are served in a cone, and can be purchased in regular and sauce-drizzled varieties. The poutine here is available in numerous configurations, ranging from regular sauce to braised beef. Should you want something more than just french fries (inconceivable!!), there's also a bevy of traditional fare including burgers and sandwiches, with several imported and domestic beers for you to wet your whistle.
Dining at “the foot of the pig” ("Au pied de cochon") is a Montréal must, as Chef Martin Picard has created a temple for all things meaty, decadent, and over-the-top (read: poutine topped with foie gras!). While ultra-luxe ingredients like red wine chutney and pig's trotters are a common theme here, their application to low-brow foods is what sets this bustling restaurant apart. The price tag might not match the casual atmosphere, but exaggerated indulgences like pan seared foie gras with goat cheese and raspberries on a brioche will blind you to dollar signs.
This Montreal Poutinery, to coin a phrase, is open day and night and serves up scrumptious curds 'n gravy fries in a variety of configurations. On top of that, there's a more general menu for traditional fare such as burgers and sandwiches, and they've got a number of microbrews to choose from as well. But really, lets cut the pretense, we know you're mainly here for the scrumptious and squeaky pouty-pouts.