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Poutine. Interesting little word, isn’t it? Have you heard of it? More importantly, have you had it? If you haven’t, it’s heavenly good. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I don’t live anywhere close to where it’s available since it’s typically found in Canada. So, yes. Every time I visit Canada (and select places in the northern US), I go for poutine. Recently, on my latest visit to Canada, I found the best poutine in Québec City!
Now, you know I couldn’t have poutine at only one place if I was going to find the best. I had to eat it in at least three different places, right? So, I made the difficult sacrifice (insert dramatics) of eating poutine three separate times to be sure I found the best!
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I was actually in town for a blogging conference called Women in Travel Summit or WITS. Not only was I with a bunch of other women who like to find the best food when they travel, but I was in a foodie city that wanted to be sure we all experienced the best it had to offer. So, all that to say, these three places came highly recommended to me. Ready to get to it? Me too!
What is Poutine?
Poutine is a dish consisting of French fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy. Originating in the Canadian province of Québec, it was first introduced in the 1950s. It wasn’t widely accepted though and was even seen negatively for several years. However, that took a turn for the positive and it now represents a cultural pride of Québec.
Today, you can find poutine throughout Canada and in some northern US states. I personally have had it in British Columbia, Alberta, and now Québec along with Washington and a couple of other States. Frequently called the national dish of Canada, there are annual poutine festivals in cities such as Québec, Montreal, Toronto and some US cities like Chicago.
1. Snack Bar
My first stop for poutine was the Snack Bar Saint-Jean in Upper Town. They are said by locals to have “the best poutine in Québec City” and if you do an internet search, they come up as the best in TripAdvisor ratings as well as in other platforms.
Even though the Snack Bar has several variations of poutine with all types of add-ins, I decided to stick with trying their traditional version.
They use fresh, local potatoes, fresh cheddar cheese curds, and brown gravy.
I have a requirement for my poutine. When the dish is served, the fries must be crispy. I don’t like soft or soggy fries. The Snack Bar served me crisp, real-potato fries and fresh cheese curds topped with piping hot delicious brown gravy. Just the way I like it!
The taste? Absolutely amazing!! The cheese curds were squeaky good. I know that sounds odd, but if you are an experienced poutine eater, you know this is what you want!
Snack Bar Saint-Jean is located at 780 Rue Saint-Jean, Québec, QC G1R 1P9, Canada
For my second poutine tasting, I went to Artefact inside the Auberge Saint-Antoine Hotel in Lower Town.
Artefact is a trendy bar with a fabulous atmosphere and a great place to grab drinks and, as it turns out, appetizers such as poutine.
This is the mini size and it was gigantic!
The “mini” sized poutine was served piping hot and the cheese curds were squeaky good. However, the fries were soft instead of crisp. Soft is different (and better) than soggy. And while, in all honesty, this is personal preference, once you have crispy poutine, you won’t want soft (or soggy) poutine.
The taste? Really good! The gravy had a robust flavor and like I said, the cheese curds were squeaky good. Because of this, despite the soft fries, I would still go back and order poutine here again. If you like your poutine soft, this is perfect for you!
Artefact is located inside the Auberge Saint-Antoine Hotel at 8 Rue Saint Antoine, Ville de Québec, QC G1K 4C9, Canada
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3. Le Chic Shack
My third stop for poutine was Le Chic Shack. Along with poutine, burgers and milkshakes also came highly recommended. But, because there’s no way I could finish both a burger and poutine, poutine was the choice by a landslide.
Since I only allow myself to eat burgers outside the US (this is why) and Canada is outside the US, it was tempting. However, I can get a good burger at home.
I ordered the traditional poutine, but as you can see, it came with green onions. And you might notice something else too. The gravy isn’t the usual dark brown.
However, the fries were very crispy. There was nothing soft about these!
The taste? Pretty fabulous! You already know the verdict on the fries. The cheese curds were squeaky good and even though the gravy wasn’t brown, it had a really good taste. The green onions did add a little something to it, but it wasn’t my favorite. I personally would order the dish without them next time.
Side Note: Although I didn’t have a burger, I DID wind up ordering a milkshake. Because who can resist a Salted Maple Caramel milkshake??? 😱 Not me! Just for the record, it was outstanding.
Le Chic Shack is located at 15 Fort Street, Québec City, QC G1R 3Z8, Canada
For me, Snack Bar Saint-Jean was my favorite. It took every category including crispy fries, fresh ingredients, brown gravy and most importantly, overall taste!
I would recommend visiting these same three restaurants with a menu that looks like this:
Artefact: Grab a cocktail, relax
Snack Bar Saint-Jean: Poutine
Le Chic Shack: Salted Maple Caramel Milkshake
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And there you have it! The best poutine in Québec City! I thoroughly enjoyed getting to the bottom of this “issue”…until I got on the scales when I got home, but that’s a whole different story for another time!
Where was the best place YOU had poutine? I’m always on the lookout for new places to eat one of my favorite dishes!
‘Til next time…