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Page history last edited by Mark P 15 years, 7 months ago

Background on Montreal Restaurants


As part of my trip to Montreal, I did much research via chowhound, Fodor's, Frommer's, Yahoo travel, and other web sites on good restaurants nearby. I knew I wanted to eat at places that I can't find back at home. That meant French bistros and nice bakeries. But it also meant so much more. I learned Montreal really was a good town for foodies, with countless other unique dining experiences with restaurants specializing in items ranging from fois gras and Montreal bagels to smoked meats and poutine. Even though I was in the city for five days, I could've easily filled many times more days than that with recommended restaurants.


Context for this Particular Restaurant


Poutine is a distinctive Montreal dish of french fries, gravy, and cheese curds, ideally served as the curds are starting to melt but before they begin to curdle. Since this is the only place in the world to try this dish right, I had to try it. And since I wanted my first poutine experience to exemplify the greatness of the dish, I sought and found a web site entirely devoted to rating poutine:



There are four four-star places on Montreal Poutine's list. From the descriptions, I put an order on these. I wanted a normal, good poutine, not a fancy variation (even if the variation is good).


Getting one turned out to be quite an adventure.


In some sense, it started earlier in the day. We spotted a McDonald's when my mom needed a bathroom. We decided to use the opportunity to verify an assertion my guide book claimed, that McDonald's in Montreal carry poutine as part of McDonald's altering its menu for local tastes. My guide book proved wrong, at least for this sample of one. McDonald's did, however, have deli sandwiches (which is unusual).


Anyway, in the evening, the first place to which we drove, Patati Patata, was a small, packed corner eatery with no tables that sat more than two people. Poutine was on the menu but not very prominent. Since the restaurant was full and seats under two dozen people, the waitperson gave us a high estimate for our wait time. We decided to head to somewhere else on the list.


Next up was La Banquise. When we arrived, I realized it was third on my list, not second, and so we left to go the number two joint on my list.


After a long drive across town to a much less dense region of Montreal, we found Poutine Lafluer. It was closed.


Thus, we were now rightly at number three on the list. And so back across town to La Banquise we went. The detour wasn't a total loss as we saw some nice stuff in the process, like vistas of downtown at night.


La Banquise Review


La Banquise served us hearty, satisfying poutines in a twenty-four hour restaurant that recognizes poutine is starchy, energy rich food useful for clubbers.


At least, although La Banquise was pretty empty when we entered, the music clearly gave that impression.



We had a classic poutine. "Pretty tasty." It reminded me a little of Lomo Saltado, a Peruvian dish of steak and french fries in a brown sauce. I always liked how the fries became saturated. This was similar, except with a little coolness from the curds thrown in. Here are two pictures of the classic poutine, take with and without a flash.


We also shared one of La Banquise's many variations on poutine. The one we chose, the vegetable poutine ( = classic poutine + green peppers, onions, and mushrooms ), was pretty good as well. This time the cheese was a little melted.


Along with dinner, we tried a U2 Housse Ale red (unibrew). Light colored. Good.


The exterior is unremarkable.

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