Quebec’s greatest cultural contribution?
Draconian language laws? Cirque du Soleil? Softimage? 3/4 of Arcade Fire? Contact strip clubs? Les Habs?
Let’s face it. We live in a food obsessed world in which decadence is in and calorie-counting is seen as gauche. Poutine is the 42 (that’s a Hitchhiker’s Guide reference). Crispy fried potatoes sprinkled with fatty cheddary cheese curds and smothered in brown gravy. Salt, fat, starch — yup, it’s all there. And along with everything comfort-food that’s gone upscale, from toast to grilled cheese to small hamburgers, poutine also joined the queue. Restaurants added truffle oil, duck meat, and vegan gravy can, turning a $5 dish into a $25 one.
Perhaps it was all that fuss over the word “spaghetti” that slowed the collective mind down. However, Montreal eventually realized it was time to wed the culinary icon with the city’s favorite past time: a festival. 30 restaurants hopped on board to offer up their particular brand of poutine for $10 as part Poutine Week.
So, herein is the list of every restaurant with its offerings to the god of 3 a.m. fixes.
The Fancy Poutines
The Steakhouse Poutine For Two ($50) This upscale entry is a “poutine forestière” with a 25 oz rib steak and king oyster mushrooms. Restro Biarritz (4801 St. Laurent)
The Hangover Poutine ($10) Start with fries and then add salami, french fried onions, portobello gravy, cheese curds, and parsley. It might work. M:BRGR (2025 Drummond)
The Burnt Ends Poutine ($10) This BBQerie is killer. It’s poutine, ninja. Fries, curds, gravy, but also, bbq beef burnt ends and brisket bits. Blackstrap BBQ (4436 Wellington)
Breakfast Poutine ($10) Poutine meet brunch. Brunch meet poutine. Combine the fries and curds with hollandaise sauce, carmelized peppers and onions, and throw a fried egg on top. Fabergé (25 Fairmount W)
Poutine Miroir ($10) Leave it to the fusion fun to dream this one up. Fries topped with curds, but also with black garlic, onion, egg mirror (whatever that is), and pork. Globe (3455 St. Laurent)
Pulled Lamb Poutine ($10) Start with fries and organic cheese curds, then add lamb gravy and a braised, shredded organic lamb shank from local Fermes St. Vincent. Top it with an edible floral garnish. Miss Prêt à Manger (1104 Rue Bleury)
Pulled Pork Poutine ($10) Fries, cheese curds, homemade sauce, and pulled pork. Pretty self descriptory. IBURGER (1237 Metcalfe)
The Real Hangover Poutine ($10) To cure a hangover, one needs water and protein and electrolytes. Well, this poutine must have some of those things: fries, curds, poutine sauce, wild BC mushrooms (not the hallucinogenic ones), truffle oil, and a fried egg. Burger Bar Crescent (1465 Crescent)
La Fameuse ($10) Montreal’s meals on wheels trucks are generally of a gourmet bent. This poutine has Duck confit, caramelized onions, foie gras sauce, and red wine. Lucky’s Truck (403 Ontario E)
Poutine Pulled Pork ($10) I suppose the pigs of Montreal are not happy ones as pork poutines seem to be a local fave. This has pulled pork, caramelized onions, cole slaw, and smokey chips. La Mauvaise Réputation (3979 St. Denis)
Le Porky Pig ($10) Sweet potato fries make this one a bit different, along with the grated fontina cheese. Throw on that some sliced slow roasted porchetta. Macaroni Bar (4448 St. Laurent)
Méchant Poutine ($10) As naughty as its name with Oka stuffed house sausage, a confit of pork belly, and beer battered onion rings atop this poutine. Méchant Boeuf Bar and Brasserie (124 St. Paul W)
Lester’s Smoked Meat Poutine ($10) Take poutine, add smoked meat. Done. Lester’s Deli (1053A Bernard W)
La Poutineville ($10) Let’s get fancy by mashing those potatoes and then throwing on some cheese curds, mozzarella, braised beef, and red wine sauce. Is it technically poutine if the potatoes are mashed, or is that just a Sunday roast dinner type thing with cheese on it? Poutineville Longueuil (99 Charles Lemoyne)
The Vegan and Vegetarians
Lola Poutine ($10) Can one really have cheese curds at a vegan restaurant. No. But not to worry. For the vegan in all of us, try this mixture on: sweet potato fries and fries, a brown sauce of beans and mushrooms, and a whack of chives. Lola Rosa Park (4581 du Parc)
The Rootine ($5) Vegetarians have their own poutine, though in reality, poutine is a vegetarian friendly dish (assuming there’s no animal fat to fry in and the gravy is not made with beef stock). Nonetheless, the 100% vegetarian poutine has roasted root vegetables instead of fries, red wine sauce instead of gravy, and creamy Macedonian feta instead of curds. It also has a few wild mushrooms. Café Pavé (243 Notre Dame W)
Taking Cheese Seriously
English Poutine ($10) Sounds normal — fries, gravy, and curds. Then they throw on the stilton cheese. Burgundy Lion (2496 Notre Dame W)
The Baked ($10) Don’t be fooled. The fries are still fried. What’s baked is the mozzarella ontop! Dani’s Pizzeria (7669 Centrale)
Philly Bomb ($10) Take the components of a Philly cheese steak and put it atop fries. So, this one has chopped up steak, Italian sausage, fried onions, red and green peppers, and a good old fashion spicy poutine sauce. Restaurant Paulo et Suzanne (5501 Gouin W)
Syrian Poutine ($10) It’s like a shwarma but on fries. Marinate lamb shake and Syrian akkawi cheese, topped with lemon juice, garlic, parsley, and omg, pomegranate. It’s so Middle Eastern. Tazah (212 Mt. Royal E)
Namos’ Poutine On the Beach ($10) Let’s continue around the Mediterranean to Greece. This poutine has Kefalotiri cheese and a Kima meat sauce. Namos (228 Bernard W)
General Tao Poutine ($10) The combination is like American Chiense food. Fries, curds, battered fried chicken and General Tao sauce. La Bêtise (6015 St. Hubert E)
Lone Star Poutine ($10) Another decidedly American inspired offering. Fries, cheese curds, cheddar, gravy, but then some New Orleans bacon and creamed corn. Southern hospitality, I s’pose. Jukebox Burgers and Bar Laitier (11798 Blvd de Salaberry)
Italian Sausage Poutine ($10) More Italian inspiration. Italian sausage, confit onions, peppers, and herbs top off the gravy and curds. Bevo Bar and Pizzeria (410 St. Vincent)
Shepherds Pie Poutine ($10) Top of the Morning to you with this U.K. mash up. Fries, gravy, curds but with ground up hamburger meat, corn, and caramelized onions. Planète Poutine et Cie. (51 Rachel W)
Le Montrealais ($10). OK, so poutine is a Quebec classic, but so is the smoked meat sandwich. This poutine is the combo of the two. Fries, swiss cheese, mushrooms, smoked meat, and a breaded pickle. I’d have gone for a straight up pickle. Poutineville Beaubien (1348 Beaubien E)
General Tao Poutine ($10) The name is the same, but the ingredients are different. Home crushed potatoes, curd cheese, General Tao sauce, scallions, and sesame seeds. Poutineville Ontario Street (1365 Ontario E)
La Poutine du Soldat ($10) Thank goodness for golden fries, Quebec cheese curds, and gravy. Montreal Poutine (161 St. Paul E).
Decarie Classic ($10) Who doesn’t love a classic? Fries, cheese, gravy. Decarie Hot Dog (953 Decarie)
Scena’s Pouts ($10). It’s nice when cheese is described as squeeshy. Yukon gold fries, homemade gravy, and “squeeshy cheese.” Scena (Quai Jacques Cartier)
Poutine Week takes place Feb 1 – 7 in various restaurants in Montreal. Simultaneous poutine week events are taking place in Ottawa, Quebec, and Toronto.