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Frite Alors!
Photograph: Carolane Ferland

Here's where to get your hands on the best poutine in Montreal

With crispy fries, brown gravy and squeaky cheese curds, these places are serving the best poutine in Montreal

By JP Karwacki and Mayssam Samaha
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UPDATE, December 2020: We've dived back into plate upon plate—or bowl upon bowl, depending on where you go—to bring you a new and improved selection of the best poutine in Montreal. Our previous list got laser-focused on specific takes on the classic dish, but now? We're looking at who's doing this French Canadian gift to the world justice through the basic building blocks of fries, gravy and curds with only minor exceptions for bells and whistles.

Eat it and weep: While the city loves to get up in arms over who's making the best bagels and the best smoked meat in Montreal, the best poutine in the city is the most hotly contested comfort food. Everyone's got their favourite spot, even if they know first-timers should eat at places like La Banquise, and every restaurant makes subtle tweaks and takes on what makes a good poutine: Fries that are crispy on the outside but soft on the inside, flavorful brown gravy and cheese curds that squeak against your teeth. As the city’s most popular dish, it's one of the best cheap eats year after year, and is the perenially perfect remedy to a night out at the city’s best bars

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Montreal

Best poutine in Montreal

Chez Tousignant
Photograph: Chez Tousignant / @cheztousignant / Instagram

1. Chez Tousignant

While it’s designed like an old school casse-croûte snack bar, Chez Tousignant is a far cry from the fast food joints of yore. Everything here is homemade, from the burgers’ potato buns to the 100% beef hot dogs, but with a real chef's touch thanks to Stefano Faita and Michel Forgione. The same care goes into making the poutine with fries cut daily in-house and fried to the perfect consistency, topped with well-sourced curds and coated with a gravy—with a slightly herbaceous and peppery kick to it—that’s made from scratch. The regular option’s always reliable, but the Galvaude doubles down on deliciousness with its take on Quebec’s hot chicken, mixing in chicken and peas.

Chez Claudette
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Vicola A.

2. Chez Claudette

To love poutine like a local, you go to Chez Claudette—never mind those long lines at La Banquise. Open since 1982 and just as delicious, this Mile End institution has been a favorite for its wide range of poutine choices—nearly 50 in total—that were created in part by loyal customers contributing ideas. The place comes alive at night when late-night clients fill each and every seat or take it to go, all to indulge in poutines that range from the regular to being topped with fried fish, beef bourguignon, a slice of tourtière, or the chicken tandoori that’s reportedly their most popular creation.

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La Banquise
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Min C.

3. La Banquise

The address that’s probably the most referred-to poutine restaurant in Montreal, near-constant line-ups here are a testament to both its popularity and quality. The 24-hour restaurant buzzes day and night with throngs of diners hungry for their menu numbering in at over 30 different kinds of poutine. These range from the most classic cheese-and-gravy combinations to more eclectic creations such as La Taquise (guac and sour cream), La Paul Pogo (pogo, onions & bacon) or La Royale (pulled pork, apples & bacon). Heck, they even serve a vegan poutine, something not many restaurants in town dare think of.

Montreal Pool Room
Photograph: @deliciouscinema / Instagram

4. Montreal Pool Room

If you want classic poutine from a time-honoured institution, look to this restaurant that's been standing for over 100 years. While they haven't been making poutine for that long—hot dog steamé being their first specialty—they've become a standardbearer for honest poutine that is an irreplaceable standby in the city. For all of you who think that Belle Province up the street from here is the superior spot to go, we've got three words: Shame on you. They've got better fries, better gravy... Heck, even their curds squeak more.

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Greenspot
Photograph: Greenspot / @GreenSpot1947 / Facebook

5. Greenspot

A true neighborhood landmark and institution, this classic Saint-Henri greasy spoon has been serving classic diner grub day after day since 1947. Some come through just to check out its original décor along with the charming (but non-functional) tabletop jukeboxes, but it’s a crime to not eat the poutine here. The menu here goes beyond the usual by offering 25 different poutine choices, our favourite among which is either a plain ol' classic or the Put-in with chopped steak, onions and a dark gravy.

Patati Patata
Photograph: Two Food Photographers

6. Patati Patata

This miniature and colorful greasy spoon has been a Plateau classic for the past 20 years and counting. With just over a dozen seats, this restaurant is known and loved for its well-executed fast food classics, the poutine being among them. Here you’ll find the Quebecois classic a delectable heap of skinny fries and fresh cheese curds dowsed in a luscious vegetarian gravy. The patatine, a poutine with mushrooms, peppers and onions, is a favorite that feels just a smidge more healthy with its addition of veggies.

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Restaurant A.A.
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Vera S.

7. Restaurant A.A.

Open every day of the week from 8 A.M. to 5 A.M., this low-key Saint-Henri institution has stood its ground despite the food scene that’s quickly shifting around it. Some claim that A.A. serves the best poutine in town, with potatoes that are fried twice, a generous amount of squeaky cheese curds and a gravy (known as sauce brun here) that’s made from scratch with veal bones and a slight hint of cinnamon. Given those late hours, it’s highly recommended you roll in with a group and dig in to the largest size they’ve got. Trust us: It’s ginormous.

Gibeau Orange Julep
Photograph: @foodiose_mtl / Instagram

8. Gibeau Orange Julep

The enormous orange sphere that houses Gibeau Orange Julep has been a landmark on the Montreal skyline since 1966. Young and old flock to this landmark for a taste of its fast food fare with a side of nostalgia, and while many claim that the main attraction here is their famous Julep drink, there’s plenty to be said about their poutine. While it doesn’t include any fanfare or fancy toppings, it’s honest and simple and delicious for what it is. Besides, no garnish can ever top the giant orange looming above—except maybe extra gravy and curds, or Michigan (see: meat) sauce with some fried onions.

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Le Coq de l'Est 2015 Inc.
Photograph: Two Food Photographers

9. Le Coq de l'Est

Located way further east than one would normally venture to eat, rest assured that Le Coq de l’Est is definitely worth the trek. Opened by two Joe Beef and Au Pied de Cochon alumni, the restaurant serves all the rotisserie chicken classics with an added South Asian twist, inspred by the chef’s Pakistani culinary heritage. Order the Poutine du Coq that comes with heaps of roasted chicken morsels, a fried drumstick and a combo of chicken-based gravy and tandoori sauce. Check back on their Facebook page often, however: Chef Omar Zabuair concocts new but brief recipes all the time.

Broue Pub Brouhaha
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Broue Pub Brouhaha

10. Broue Pub Brouhaha

A good poutine's usually eaten once a couple rounds have been knocked back, but why not head to a bar that's serving one the best in town? This tavern serving up some of the better brews in town's got a poutine menu worth checking out, the best of which is the Poutiflette: You'll find fatty cubes of lardon, caramelized onions and fried leeks set atop crispy fries, cheesed up with curds and slices of raw milk Pied-de-Vent cheese from the Magdalen Islands, all finally doused in a rich cream sauce. It’s twisted, it’s rich, it’s unforgettable.

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Au Pied de Cochon
Photograph: Au Pied de Cochon

11. Au Pied de Cochon

As is, this restaurant is one of Montreal’s best and a leading destination for modern Québécois cuisine. Bonus points are due for their poutine. The bistro’s owner and star chef Martin Picard is known for his extravagant use of foie gras in multiple dishes, so much so that they’re deserving of a separate section on the menu. The elevated PDC poutine is topped with a generous amount of seared foie gras slices and homemade foie gras gravy that’s so incomparably rich that you’ll either immediately shy from it or be licking the plate clean.

Blackstrap BBQ
Photograph: Courtesy Blackstrap BBQ

12. Blackstrap BBQ

Verdun’s Blackstrap BBQ is one of the few truly authentic southern-style barbecue restaurants in Montreal. Award-winning pitmaster Dylan Kier sources top quality meats that he seasons and cooks for hours in the restaurant’s smokers. With fall-of-the-bone meats acting as the stars of this show, it’s only fitting that some of those beauties crown their excellent poutines, our favourite being the Burnt Ends that’s topped with crispy bits of smoked brisket.

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Paul Patates
Photograph: Two Food Photographers

13. Paul Patates

This restaurant’s famous for two particular options: A homebrewed spruce beer made from a recipe that dates back to the 1900s, and its namesake way with potatoes. The family-run restaurant—distinctively decked out in blue and yellow checkers—has been a major fixture in Pointe Saint-Charles since 1958. The best seat in the house is at the bar, where you can enjoy the classic poutine with its slightly sweet fries and flavorful gravy. Their version’s decidedly unfussy and straightforward, a prime example of classic casse-croûte fare.

Paulo & Suzanne
Photograph: @inmyfoodsteps / Instagram

14. Paulo & Suzanne

Open since 1980, Paulo & Suzanne is a 24-hour, 1950-inspired retro diner with an extensive poutine menu titled the “ultimates”. The pepper sauce poutine is a great choice that’s slightly spicier than the classic, but if you’re looking to soak up those extra shots of tequila, we recommend the Extreme Burger Poutine. Delivering exactly what its name claims, it’s a mushroom gravy poutine drenched in southwestern sauce and a cheeseburger as its centerpiece.

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Ma Poule Mouillée
Photograph: Two Food Photographers

15. Ma Poule Mouillée

Plateau Mont-Royal’s Ma Poule Mouillée is one of the most popular Portuguese chicken restaurants in the city. There’s often a line out the door, but don’t let that stand between you and one of the greatest poutines you’ll ever dig into. The fresh fries are topped with regular cheese curds as well as São Jorge cheese, grilled chicken and chorizo sausage. A word to the wise: The ‘regular’ size can feed a family, so order wisely.

Frite Alors!
Photograph: Carolane Ferland

16. Frite Alors!

It might look like a Tintin-themed restaurant, but that's its Belgian founder Jean Jurdant has a lot of love for cartoonist Hergé. What began with one location on Park Avenue in 1991 has since expanded to France, delivering shoestring Belgian-style fries with—by our count—over 15 kinds of poutine aavailable at any given moment. Those go from poutines topped with General Tao chicken to taco fixings like avocado and beef, but the original's a stellar choice in its own right.

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Maam Bolduc
Photograph: @blumsteinboy / Instagram

17. Maam Bolduc

A Québecois institution supplying Montreal with poutine since 1972, the Plateau's Maam Bolduc  do the dish right with all the necessary parts of cripsy fries, warm and squeaky curds and thick brown sauce with lots of beefy goodness to it. Not mention their 11 other recipes for poutine which go from a 'pizza' version with pepperoni, peppers, mushrooms and tomato sauce to additional breakfast options on top of those that can come with prerequisite hollandaise or mix up the brekkie meats and top it all off with a fried egg.

Main Deli Steak House
Photograph: @sublime.eats / Instagram

18. Main Deli Steak House

There are some posers out there who say Schwartz's has poutine. Spoiler alert: They do not, and stop saying they do; they'll tell you all about how they don't want to bother with it. If a plate of poutine with your smoked meat sandwich sounds like a dream come true—or we'll do you one better: a poutine with smoked meat on TOP of it—then head across the street to the Main, long and wrongfully looked to as an understudy to Schwartz's. They've got the goods that are just as good, if not better by some folks' accounts.

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Le Gras Dur
Photograph: Le Gras Dur / @legrasdur / Facebook

19. Le Gras Dur

What began with a series of foof trucks doing festival circuits has since captured the hearts of Montrealers by clogging them with delicious, greasy, comforting eats. Burgers, deep fried mac 'n' cheese balls, fat slices or pie and cake, and—most of all—a bunch of poutines that'll knock you on yer arse with their hefty cuts of fries, thick gravy and handfuls of cheese curds. If you need to mix things up, go for their lobster bisque option that's available at their kiosk at Le Central downtown.

Casse-Croûte Normand
Photograph: Casse-Croûte Normand / Facebook

20. Casse-Croûte Normand

A lot of folks go on about Pierrette Patates being the superior go-to poutine spot in Verdun, but we're putting our foot down. Casse-Croûte Normand has had skin in the game since 1964 and they've got more variety and better recipes (and if you don't believe us, do a taste test, and use Restaurant Bingo a few blocks away as the control). They're a classic snack bar that is overlooked far too often, and we're taking time to say that they've got it going on in all classic comfort food respects.

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Arts Café
Photograph: Arts Café / @ArtsCafeMontreal / Facebook

21. Arts Café

Every weekend, food lovers head to trendy Arts Café in Montreal’s Mile End for classics such as the shakshuka, Eggs Benedict and the bread pudding. Granted, these are all great choices, but the brunch poutine with duck confit, a poached egg, caramelized onions, russet potatos, cheese curds and Hollandaise sauce is the absolute bomb. Really, it’s the only choice that can truly soak up the preceding night’s indiscretions.

Poutine Centrale
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Poutine Centrale

22. Poutine Centrale

Poutine Centrale offers a more modern approach to the usual greasy spoon poutine spots. Here you’ll find many of your traditional poutines from the most basic to more meaty versions. The menu counts a few vegetarian options including one topped with falafels and a tahini sauce, as well as some breakfast poutines for good measure. If you’re feeling more adventurous, order Les Extavagantes which come with the likes of butter chicken, General Tao chicken or chicken fajita.

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Poutineville
Photograph: Poutineville / @poutineville / Facebook

23. Poutineville

One of the things that sets this poutine purveyor apart is that customers can build their own with over 40 ingredients to choose from—that’s including 11 different cheeses and 4 kinds of potatoes. The house creations are all a great choice as well with the Montrealer one standing out with its smoked meat, sautéed mushrooms, Swiss cheese au gratin and a fried pickle. If you’re especially hungry and backed by an army of hungry friends, order the Heart Attack: A 15-pound concoction of chicken, bacon, hot dogs, seasoned ground beef, ham, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and their signature gravy.

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