From gourmet lobster to dessert poutine, Montreal has it all.
Poutine is a Quebecois cultural staple and Montreal has plenty of good, great, regular and king-size versions of the classic dish. But if you want to go beyond the craveable fare of chain restaurants and explore the depths of poutine creativity, consider this your one-stop shop for fantastical creations, both savoury and sweet.
From high-calibre fancy food to surprising culinary combos, this list contains more than a week's worth of weird poutine dinners. It is by no means exhaustive, though — this city has no shortage of creative chefs and cutting-edge food experimentalists. If your favourite left-field poutine isn't on this list, please let us know.
Foie Gras Poutine from Au Pied de Cochon
Where: Au Pied de Cochon, 536 ave Duluth Est
Why You Should Try It: This decadent dish combines the richness of poutine gravy with the richness of foie gras to make a meal that is, you guessed it, very, very rich. Au Pied de Cochon's menu is full of surprising foie gras preparations, including a maple-flavoured foie gras nigiri. The upper-crust poutine relies on the delicacy's savoury softness to complement the meaty sauce. It's worth a try for the fancy factor alone.
Lobster and Snow Crab Poutine from Pincette MTL
Where: Pincette MTL, 94 rue Saint-Paul E
Why You Should Try It: This over-the-top seafood poutine consists of a traditional base of fries, squeaky cheese curds, and a bisque gravy topped with lobster tail and delicate snow crab. A lighter, more refreshing addition to a typically heavy meal, the fishy element lends this poutine a surreal surf 'n' turf aura. Like the foie gras poutine, it leans a little on the bourgeois side, bringing fancier proteins to a dish that originated in rural Quebec households.
Onion Soup Poutine from Les 3 Brasseurs
Price: $14.95, or $18.95 for a large
Where: Les 3 Brasseurs, 105 rue St Paul E
Why You Should Try It: This bizarro poutine invention is both affordable and extremely strange, combining soup with something that typically is not intended to be mostly liquid. The dish features both an onion soup reduction and a regular hot poutine sauce, poured liberally over fries and cheese curds. It's topped with caramelized onions and coated in melted mozzarella and Swiss cheeses, with a green onion garnish.
Butter Chicken Poutine from Poutine Centrale
Price: $15, or $20.50 for a large
Where: Poutine Centrale, 3971 rue Hochelaga
Why You Should Try It: A fusion recipe to end all fusion recipes, this poutine incorporates house-made butter chicken into the standard recipe. It's no surprise that a restaurant focused on poutine variations would come up with something so outside the box, and the rest of the options on Poutine Centrale's menu could easily make their own way to a list like this one. If butter chicken on potatoes and cheese isn't the right fit for you, try their fajita-inspired poutine instead.
General Tao Poutine from Sesame
Where: Sesame; 305, Ste-Catherine Ouest; 380, St-Jacques Ouest; 141, ave Atwater
Why You Should Try It: Many out-of-the-box poutines seem to involve putting a different meal on top of some fries, and this zany invention from Sesame is no different. Just one of their many General Tao-inspired recipes, this poutine is topped with fried sweet and spicy chicken and its accompanying sauce. This is a deceptively simple though unexpected pairing, bringing a hit of protein and a different flavour profile to the original dish.
Poutiflette from Broue Pub Brouhaha
Price: $13.92, or $18.26 for a large
Where: Broue Pub Brouhaha, 5860, ave de Lorimier and 10295, ave Papineau
Why You Should Try It: This potato-and-cheese-laden bowl of meltiness is another French-inspired mashup, taking cues from the Savoy region's famous tartiflette. The pub poutine version is made with Pied-De-Vent cheese sourced from Quebec's Îles de la Madeleine. Under the creamy coating of cheese lies a mix of bacon, caramelized onions, leeks, and a uniquely creamy poutine sauce.
PouTail from BeaverTails
Where: BeaverTails; 136, Rue Saint-Paul Est; 123, de la Commune Est
Why You Should Try It: BeaverTails may be a chain known across Canada, but its menu hides secrets no one could have foreseen. This may be the second-cheapest poutine on our list, but it's by no means the most normal. On top of a BeaverTails signature slab of pastry sits a perfectly regular cheese-curds-and-gravy poutine. It's sort of like the plate version of a bread bowl, although it remains unclear if this move was strictly necessary to provide peak poutine enjoyment.
Rebel Poutine from Rebel Brasserie Urbaine
Where: Rebel Brasserie Urbaine
Why You Should Try It: It's called "Rebel" poutine for a reason: this dish has exactly zero of the ingredients expected in traditional poutine. Topped with caramel sauce instead of gravy and chunks of cheesecake instead of curds, this sweet treat is mostly poutine in spirit. Even the fries aren't actually fries — they're slices of pineapple.