Montreal, Quebec – Resto La Banquise (Poutine)

Restaurant: Resto la Banquise
Cuisine: Canadian/French/Fast Food/Diner
Last visited: November 11, 2011
Location: Montreal, Quebec (Plateau Mont-Royal)
Address: 994 Rue Rachel E
Subway stop: Mont-Royal
Price Range: $10 or less

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent 6Tres Excellent!!

Food: 3.5 – 4 (based on poutine)
Service: 3
Ambiance: 3
Overall: 4
Additional comments:

  • Since 1968
  • Family owned
  • Local favourite for late night munchies
  • Popular for poutine
  • 25 types of poutine
  • Big portions
  • Quick/very casual
  • Full day/breakfast menu
  • French & English menu
  • Cheap eats/Budget friendly
  • Family friendly
  • Kid friendly
  • Open daily 24/7

**Recommendations: Any poutine

In celebration of today’s Festival de la Poutine de Vancouver, I’m posting on another poutine!

I wasn’t satisfied having Montreal Poutine as my “authentic poutine” experience in Montreal, and I just felt like it could get a bit better than that. I decided not to settle until I tried the beloved Resto La Banquise, another local and tourist favourite for this Canadian “delicacy” we know as poutine.

It’s food that tastes like heaven when you’re drunk. You regret it in the morning, but it looked so yummy at the club, or I mean restaurant! It looked so yummy at the restaurant.

Although not the birthplace for poutine (which is still debated by cities in Quebec), La Banquise is one of Montreal’s poutine institutions from 1919, so I consider it the standard for good, but not great poutine. It’s considered one of “the best in the city”. It offers about 25 kinds of poutine, but it’s nothing gourmet. It’s pretty much the Fritz of Vancouver, BC, in terms of it being the meeting spot for night owls, but there’s ample seating and a full day and breakfast menu too.

It was described to me by my foodie friend who lived in Montreal as “cheap dirty piles of gross poutine… you won’t understand until you go on a Friday/Saturday at 3:30AM and wait 45 minutes in line”. Was it true? Yes, a bit. However I broke the rules and had it at 3PM! Oops! I wouldn’t say it was gross, as it didn’t taste bad even in the afternoon, but I could see it tasting much better after drinks.

As I mentioned in my post for Montreal Poutine, it’s just fries, cheese curds, and gravy, but I guess I could say that about anything. I admit, I fuss over finding an “authentic poutine” with fresh cheese curds that squeak in your teeth (which is surprisingly hard to find). It took me two tries of authentic poutine in Montreal to realize it is what it is, and it isn’t bad in Vancouver, BC and specifically at La Belle Patate. It’s actually extremely well delivered at La Belle Patate, so bravo to them!

Trying Montreal Poutine and La Banquise was enough to satisfy my poutine search for the time being and I couldn’t really handle anymore poutine. At La Banquise I was more focused on the poutine than the experience and it should be the reverse. So try it for the experience if you care to live like like a local on the weekend, but poutine does get better than this.

I just want to show proof that I was not the only one in there at 3pm. I can imagine it being packed at 3am!

On the table:

Classic Poutine4/6

  • Regular $5.95 Large $9.75
  • What makes an authentic poutine is good fries, fresh good quality cheese curds, and poutine sauce or gravy.
  • This one was authentic, but the cheese curds weren’t as fresh or big as the ones at Montreal Poutine. However, they did match the smaller fries they served here.
  • The cheese curds were still somewhat squeaky, but some of them were melting and stringy, which means they were closer to mozzarella than a cheese curd.
  • The fries were thinner and shorter than the fries at Montreal Poutine, but again they were a bit soggy and limp and could have used an oil change.
  • The oil wasn’t stale, but it was just a bit old and the fries were looking a bit brown.
  • The fries were better than Montreal Poutine though because I found them creamier and sweeter. They were also well seasoned.
  • I think the limp fries could have been the style of it as well. Personally I prefer crispy fries and I know some other Montrealers do as well.
  • The gravy was a chicken based gravy instead of a vegetarian poutine sauce. It’s debatable between which one makes an “authentic poutine”.
  • The gravy was a bit gluey and still seemed packaged, but it was still good and not too salty.

Poutine B.O.M.4/6

  • Bacon, onions, and Merguez sausage Regular $8.25 Large $12.90
  • This one was even richer, heavier and more indulgent.
  • It was saltier given all the added meat, but the bacon wasn’t great quality and it was limp and soggy strips of bacon.
  • The sausage was tender, moist and quite good with a nice spice to it, but it wasn’t really spicy either. I liked the fried chunks of sausage, and they’re known for it too.
  • The onions were fried but not really caramelized.
  • At 3am anything will taste good and this isn’t a place to get technical, but if it is supposedly the “best poutine in the city”, I think it’s fair to be a bit technical.

**Accommodations in Montreal were kindly provided by Hotel Chez Swann


Resto la Banquise on Urbanspoon



  • yeppers says:

    You going to Pied? The fois gras poutine there was amazing. Heart attack on a plate, but amazing. I thought La Banquaise was just ‘meh’ same with Schwartz’s (i think it’s because I was comparing it to Katz’s).

  • WS says:

    For poutine recommendations, I would say keep it simple. Too many toppings, beyond the classic poutine it starts getting gross.

  • Mijune says:

    @yeppers – Schwartz’s has more flavour than Katz’s though whereas Katz’s is more salty I think. Both I liked though! I can’t compare Pied to this though… apples and oranges 🙂 La Banquise is a “take it for what it is” place so that’s how I had to write it. I wouldn’t care to go back, but it is a local fav. 🙂

    @WS – I think at 3am you want it to be “gross” because it just happens to be even better though lol… if you’re not drunk then I agree… classic is great!

  • Linda says:

    wow the fries here definitely look different from the ones at montreal poutine.. definitely more brown but not more crispy.. i wish the toppings were a bit more creative and less salty.. i agree with WS in that the more simple, the better! too many toppings kind of get in the way of a really great poutine… i’m just thinking of the ones offered at NY fries now with their butter chicken and pulled pork!

  • Jessss says:

    Next time you come to Montreal, you should try (i know this will sound SUPER strange but you need to try) Costco Poutine. The generous amount of cheese squeaks and the fries are crispy yet soft once it contacts the gravy long enough! Seeing as it is in the deli of Costco, it’s much more for the food but for the experience!

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