Last Updated on January 16, 2021 by Pamela
If you’re a foodie, there is a chance you’ve been searching for where to find the best poutine in Québec City. After all, one cannot visit Québec City without trying one of the most famous French-Canadian dishes. Mmmm poutine; crispy french fries mixed with fresh squeaky cheese curds and topped with chicken-beef velouté sauce. It’s the perfect comfort food, in particular between the hours of midnight and three o’clock in the morning. Warm. Crispy. Gooey. Poutine is gluttony at its finest.
HISTORY OF POUTINE
While most people know that poutine hails from the province of Québec, many do not know who created the dish, and a couple of stories are floating around about who is responsible for creating this comfort food sensation that is quickly taking the world by its cheesy gravy-soaked grasp.
The year is 1957, and Fernand Lachance is working in his restaurant L’Idéal (later known as Le lutin qui rit) in Warwick, Québec. When a customer comes in to order a bag of fries, asking Fernand to throw in some cheese curds as well (which he sold separately) as the customer was in a rush. Lachance complied, remarking that mixing the two would be a maudite poutine – Québécois slang for ‘a damn mess.’
According to family members, who still retain a copy of the restaurant menu from 1957, Lachance later added gravy to the mix, creating what we know today as poutine — which he sold for 35 cents a plate.
Sometime around 1964 in the town of Drummondville, Québec, Jean-Paul Roy’s restaurant, Le Roy Jucep, a drive-thru style restaurant with waitresses waiting on cars, noticed a new trend; customers were ordering fries, cheese, and sauce (gravy). Too lengthy for the servers to write, they decided to use the word ‘Putin,’ (pudding) a popular term at the time for any food mixture.
Convinced that he was the inventor of poutine, Jean-Paul Roy registered the trademark, The Inventor of Putin, in November 1998. Planning a visit to Drummondville? Stop by Le Roy Jucep for an order of poutine; it’s a must for poutine lovers.
What about New Brunswick? The Acadians claim they invented poutine!
French colonists who refused to sign an unconditional oath of allegiance to the British, the Acadians lived in Eastern Canada: Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and parts of Québec. The British, unhappy about their refusal to fight against the French and Métis, decided to exile over 10,000 Acadians from their lands between 1755 and 1762.
These tight-knit communities were torn apart. Some were shipped to France while others resettled in New England and Georgia. Two years later, when the British decided to allow small groups of Acadians to return to Canada, many returned, and today there are several Acadian communities scattered throughout the maritime provinces of Canada.
Similar to Québécois cuisine, Acadian cuisine relied heavily on root vegetables and wild game and plants and berries and fish. Meals were hearty and cheap, meant to both warm and fill the belly. One of the more popular dishes was Poutine Râpée.
Know as putsins, Poutine Râpée is a grated or mashed potato balls stuffed with salted pork and boiled for two to three hours, giving them a greyish colour. Putsins are often added to Fricot, a hearty soup of meat or fish and potatoes and broth, but they can also be eaten on their own with some maple syrup.
Traditional vs Gourmet
If you’re looking for the best poutine in Québec City, where do you start? First, everyone needs to eat traditional poutine: crispy fries and fresh squeaky cheese topped with a chicken-beef velouté sauce. It is a mandatory part of your poutine education. And, frankly, after a night of bar-hopping in Grande Allée or Saint-Jean-Baptiste or Saint Roch, traditional poutine will taste like the best meal you have ever eaten in your life.
After you’ve experienced traditional poutine, then it is time for some delightful gourmet poutine.
Here are our choices for the best traditional poutine in Québec City. A go-to spot for late-night poutine lovers, Chez Ashton is a Québec fast-food chain with several restaurants in Québec City, including restaurants in Grand Allée, Old Québec, and Saint-Roch. The first order of business? Order traditional poutine served in a foil pan – perfect for keeping it hot. In winter, Chez Ashton offers poutine deals based on the weather: if it’s -15ºC, then your poutine is 15% off, -25ºC means 25% off, and so on.
LE CHIC SHACK
We are big fans of Le Chic Shack, and make sure to visit at least once a month. While their gourmet burgers and milkshakes are divine, sometimes we NEED a bowl of mouth-watering gourmet poutine made with large potato wedges instead of fries. While we like them all, we highly recommend trying La Braisée (braised beef in red wine, parmesan, cheese curds, horseradish aioli) or La Forestière (Wild mushroom ragout, parmesan, cheese curds, French shallots).
BUFFET DE L’ANTIQUAIRE
A Québec City institution, Buffet de l’Antiquaire is a favourite of both locals and visitors. Breakfast is our favourite time to visit – nothing quite like a diner breakfast to get you going for the day. Try their artery-clogging breakfast poutine with sausage, ham, bacon, cheese, fries, hollandaise, and a fried egg.
Relatively new to Québec City, Poutineville is located on rue Saint-Joseph Ouest in the neighbourhood of Saint-Roch. A Montreal poutine chain, Poutineville is the perfect place for those who love poutine and are not afraid to mix flavours. While the traditional poutine is delicious, we highly recommend trying their build-your-own poutine menu. A word of caution, the portions are HUGE, so come hungry – and don’t be afraid to order kids-size poutine.