When it comes to food some people just don't mess with the classics. They say if it ain't broke, then don't fix it. That's one way of looking at things. On the other hand, some people find this approach tad stale and boring; some trail-blazers have more of a penchant for reinventing the classics. Taking something old and reinventing it is the name of the game.
When it comes to Poutine in Montreal we find both the classic and the new - and everything in between. Poutine is the holy grail of food in Quebec and Montrealers hold it very close to their hearts and their bellies.
Whether you're looking for a gourmet poutine topped with premium ingredients, or just a plain greasy spoon classic to soak up last nights questionable decisions, over the next few pages we will explore all the great poutine spots Montreal has to offer. Be sure to visit at least one if you're passing through town, and if you're from here, start making an epic list now!
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Where: 3041 Notre Dame West // Saint-Henri
Why you should go: Green Spot has been around forever. It's a not just an institution, it's a landmark. The poutine is classic dinner style: thick cut grease-dripped fries swimming in a thick deep brown beef gravy. It's euphoric.
Decarie Hot Dog
Where: 953 Decarie Boulevard // Ville Saint Laurent
Why you should go: Decarie Hot Dog has been around for over 40 years. It's a landmark in the Ville Saint Laurent borough. For the full experience, make sure to order your classic poutine with a steamie hot dog or two.
Ma Poulle Mouillée
Where: 969 Rachel Est // Plateau
Why you should go: One of their specialties - if the logo didn't already give it away - is succulent roasted and home-spiced chicken. They do, however, also specialize in what I call "fancy" poutine. The type of Poutine that strays away from the traditional formula and comes with all kind of premium toppings. Bon appetit!
Where: 3685 Saint-Laurent // Plateau
Why you should go: Your hangover will thank you when you nurse it with this absolutely INSANE looking Mac n Cheese poutine. It doesn't get more decadent than gooey cheese covered carbs over more carbs. #cured
Steamy Steve's Poutine
Where: 2936 Chemin D'oka // St-Marthe-Sur-Le-Lac
Why you should go: This is a very special Belle Province location out in Oka. Otherwise known as "bel pro" to locals, this Quebec-based fast food chain is mecca for getting a quick and satisfying bite of classic poutine. Take a short weekend drive out to Steamie Steve's for a fun poutine experience.
Where: 6596 Rue Drolet // Plateau
Why you should go: Chez Tousignant took the nostalgic appeal of classic Quebec greasy-spoon and re appropriated it into a more hipster-friendly and Instagram-ready concept. Perfectly balancing old and new, Chez Tousignants trendy decor doesn't compromise the quality of the food. It's so much more than just a pretty face.
Where: multiple locations
Why you should go: It's all about the fries here. Frites Alors - a Quebec-based chain - specializes in Belgian-style fries. Which means they are light, cripsy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. And never soggy. This makes for a beautiful blank canvas to be painted with top-of-the-line ingredients such as delicately minced onions, peppers and bacon. It really is a delight to devour and will never leave you feeling uncomfortably full. Just plain satisfied.
Where: 755 Cremazie Est // Ahuntsic
Why you should go: When it comes to food, some people don't mess with the classics. If it works, then why change it? Patate Rouge truly believes in this philosophy: it's a genuine Quebec greasy spoon serving only the most quintessential Poutine. The perfectly peppered light brown gravy cradles the oil slicked fries and squeaky cheese, creating the perfect harmony of tastebud popping texture and flavour.
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Montreal Pool Room
Where: 1200 Saint Laurent // Downtown
Why you should go: This restaurant is quite possibly one of the oldest in the city, open since 1912! Now that's old. They haven't changed their formula much since then, and still serve classic poutine and steamed hot dogs to the good people of Montreal.
Where: 351 Avenue Laurier East // Plateau
Why you should go: Chez Claudette is a greasy-spoon diner landmark of the Plateau, and possibly the only one in the city that dares to put cut-up pieces of Pogos on their poutine. Wild, I know. But you gotta try it. It's open 24/7, so there are no excuses.
Restaurant Chez La Mere
Where: 4028 Rue Masson // Saint-Leonard
Why you should go: Restaurant Chez La Mere is a classic diner and the greasy spoon spot for all the locals of the borough. They do classic and slightly jazzed up poutine - like the one pictured above. If your out wondering the east end, stop by for a quick bite.
Jarry Smoked Meat
Where: 6597 Rue Jarry East // Saint-Leonard
Why you should go: This east-end Smoked Meat spot specializes in poutine covered in all the greasy meat that your heart desires. Make sure to arrive with an empty belly.
Where: 4177 Saint Laurent // Plateau
Why you should go: If you don't mind a bit of a wait and eating elbow to elbow with your fellow patrons, then you should definitely try a poutine fro Patati Patata. For no other reason that this little hole-in-the-wall has slowly become a Montreal staple. And it's all about the fries. Light and fluffy, they are the perfect compliment to the classic gravy and squeaky cheese.
Where: 3700 Notre Dame East // Saint Henri
Why you should go: Restaurant AA is a Notre Dame greasy-spoon landmark that is perfect to soak up all those unnecessary last-call shots at 3AM on a Friday night. In other words, they are open late and serve perfectly classic and mouth-watering poutine.
Where: 760 Rue Charlevoix // Verdun
Why you should go: Paul Patate is the local greasy spoon in the predominately working-class neighborhood of Point-Saint-Charles. It's not really a tourist area. So - if you want to free yourself from tourist trap poutines in favor of real authentic Quebec experience THIS is hands-down the spot to visit.
Where: 1875 Saint-Catherine East // Downtown
Why you should go: Lafayette is the local greasy spoon diner of the neighborhood. Serving not only delightfully classic and perfect poutine but also classic egg and sausage breakfast and all the other diner classics you love.
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Main Deli Steak House
Where: 3864 Saint Laurent // Plateau
Why you should go: The Main is a landmark Montreal Deli specializing in Eastern European and Montreal Specialities, such as perogies, matzo ball soup and, obviously - smoked meat poutine. It's open until 4Am, perfect post-club meal.
Restaurant Pierrette Patates
Where: 3900 Rue Verdun // Verdun
Why you should go: This is another local greasy-spoon diner. It's totally worth the trip, as many of these working class neighbourhood spots are slowly shutting down due to gentrification taking over these boroughs. Soon, greasy-spoon diners such as this will be but a distant memory.
Where: 3971 Rue Hochelaga // Hochelaga-Maissoneuve
Why you should go: The name of the resto doens't lie. Poutine Central really does specialize in one thing - poutine. With a similar formula to La Baquise, you have expansive menu of poutines to choose from, all boasting a wide array of belly-popping toppings such as bacons, hot dogs and ground beef. Enjoy!
Where: 995 Rue Rachel Est // Plateau
Why you should go: If you have the next day off work, consider heading to La Banquise for a mega decadent plate of "fancy poutine". Full disclaimer: you will have a poutine hangover the next day - hence, the need for a day off. But, it's totally worth the pain.
Paulo Et Susanne
Where: 5501 Boulevard Gouin // Ahuntsic
Why you should go: This greasy-spoon is the local 24-hour diner of the borough. It's a classic and a must-go for anyone wanting a classic poutine and diner experience in the East-end of the city.
Where: 1249 Rue Metcalf // Downtown
Why you should go: Dunns Famous is a small chain restaurant in Montreal. Serving up classic dinner and Montreal specialities such as smoked meat and Poutine, this is a great spot if you want a no-fail classic and slightly kitschy diner experience.
Restaurant La Roulotte
Where: 10 Rue Paiement // Roxboro-Pierrefonds
Why you should go: This is another working-class neighbourhood fry dive. This is classic no-frills poutine, hot dogs and burgers. If you want a taste of the legit real Montreal, head up to Restaurant La Roulotte.
Chef On Call
Where: Multiple Locations
Why you should go: This is a controversial entry. Because Chef On Call is originally a take-out service and not necessarily known for their poutine. It turns out, however, that their poutine is quite extraordinary, and comes in a couple different "flavours". Try 'em all, and have them delivered straight to your door.
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Where: 2523 Rue Notre Dame West // Little Burgundy
Why you should go: Dilallo is a type of fast food chain serving delicious meaty burgers and poutine. They are really known for their burgers, but I would also go for the burg/poutine combo for the full experience.
Where: 7700 Decarie // Mont-Royal
Why you should go: Everyone should experience the Orange Julep, not just for the poutine, but for the classic Montreal experience. It's truly a marvel. Grab a poutine, Pogo, and a frothy orange drink for the full experience.
Broue Pub Brouhaha
Where: 5680 De Lorimier // Rosemont
Why you should go: This Petite-Patrie pub whips up a damn good high-level poutine. Free of tourists and the clamor of downtown, it's truly a little neighborhood gem.
Where: 21 Rue Saint Viateur West // Mile-End (and other locations)
Why you should go: This place specialized in fish and chips, but they also make a damn good poutine. They also have a couple locations around the city but never feel like a standardized chain. Each location is cozy and homey. Perfect for a casual date.
Where: 1232 Rue De La Montagne // Downtown
Why you should go: Because vegans need poutine too! This spot is all vegan and is proud to say that they offer 100% vegan poutine! Now, I've never tried it, but I do hear good things. It's worth the try, even for the meat-lovers out there.
Where: 545 Rue Milton // Plateau
Why you should go: This Plateau spot also serves up 100% vegan poutine. They were one of the first in Montreal to do it, and they are still going strong, so the hype must be justified.
*RECENTLY CLOSED* Le Gros Luxe Vege
Where: 3807 Rue Saint-Andre // Plateau
Why you should go: While Le Gros Luxe has expanded rapidly, they do have a location which is strictly vegan and veggie only. This Poutine is not Vegan, but it is Veggie. Vegetable-based gravy only! Oh, and they are the only ones in Montreal (that I know of) who serve tater tot poutine. Yummy.
Where: 1655 Rue St-Denis // Plateau
Why you should go: Mache means "to chew" in French. This is something you will be doing a lot of at this restaurant as the portions are heaping. Enjoy a decadent bowl of gourmet poutine. It's the only way to go.
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Le P'tit Creux Du Plateau
Where: 233 Des Pins Est // Plateau
Why you should go: This spot specializes in gourmet poutines with interesting and unexpected toppings. The one pictures above is a "Haitian" poutine topped with plantain and Griots.
Where: 4160 Saint Laurent // Plateau
Why you should go: This place never fails to deliver. All the food is made right in front of you, so you know it's fresh. And even though it's technically "fast food" you'll never feel an overwhelming sense of guilt eating it.
Where: 3896 Saint Laurent // Plateau
Why you should go: Well, I shouldn't really have to explain why you should try Schwartz's Deli at least ONCE in your lifetime - or visit to Montreal. It's really all about the smoked meat here, but the do also whip up a mean poutine. The gravy is thick and peppery, just right.
Where: 181 Rue Saint Paul Est // Old Port
Why you should go: This place is a bit of a tourist spot. It's in the Old Port and the name clearly states what it sells: Poutine. It's for those tourist who just want to hit all the birds with one stone and don't have the time to venture outside the grid to visit local spots.
Where: Multiple locations
Why you should go: Valentine is a Quebec based franchise/fast-food chain that serves up the classic in a standardized environment. Surprisingly, it's real good, and never fails to delivery that classic Valentine flavor. Not sure what's in the frying oil, but it sure is tasty. Never too heavy.
Where: 3483 Rue Saint Denis // Plateau
Why you should go: This spot specialized in gourmet poutine. They do serve the classics, but also more elevated options such as Poutine with duck confit. Fancy. And they also have veggie options for those who are veg-conscious!
Where: 3820 Saint Laurent // Plateau
Why you should go: A mouth-watering epic burger is only complete with a side of delicious and equally as mouth-watering poutine. Burger Royal - now with two locations - serves some pretty banging poutine. The burgers are also a must-try if you haven't been already.
Where: 3665 Wellington // Verdun
Why you should go: There are a dozen locations across Montreal. The formula here is standardized. Don't let the commercial aspect of this spot dissuade you from trying it. They haven't changed their recipe since the doors opened 1961. Basically they have perfected the formula.