Philadelphia has cheesesteak, New York has pizza, and Montreal has poutine. Whether the French would approve of a dish that throws together french fries, gravy and cheese curds has yet to be fully discerned. But this is Quebec, not France. Long considered a greasy diner staple relegated to late-night, alcohol-induced munchies, it’s only recently that poutine has been elevated from fast food to haute cuisine. Regardless of whether you opt for one of the nouveau gourmet versions or the traditional poutine, no trip to Montreal would be complete without a taste of Quebec’s favorite comfort food.
Covered in a thick brown sauce and “squeaky” curds, the poutine at this diner hits the spot after a night out — or the next morning. 3041 rue Notre-Dame Ouest, (514) 932-2340
Popular with people of all ages, this casual café serves about 10 kinds of poutine while indie rock plays in the background. 4351 Avenue de Lorimier, (514) 527-3884, www.maammbolduc.com
If you enjoy variety, La Banquise does not disappoint. With 28 kinds of poutine, there’s something for everyone, from vegetarians to serious carnivores. 994 rue Rachel Est, (514) 525-2415, www.restolabanquise.com
It may be difficult to snag a seat at this tiny diner, but it will be worth it when you sink your teeth into their poutine with red-wine gravy.
4177 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, (514) 844-0216
Le Garde Manger
Trendy types gravitate to Garde Manger, where celebrity chef Chuck Hughes created the delightfully decadent lobster poutine. 408 rue Saint-François-Xavier, (514) 678-5044, www.crownsalts.com/gardemanger
Au Pied De Cochon
Chef Martin Picard’s sinfully creamy foie gras poutine is the stuff of Montreal foodie legend. 536 Avenue Duluth Est, (514) 281-1114, www.restaurantaupieddecochon.ca