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Poutine in Vancouver: can it be done?

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cvhound stumped me on Tuesday with a request for poutine. I shuffled my feet a bit and used the "well, it's really a back east kinda thing" but surely there must be a decent rendition hearabouts. I saw it on the lunch menu at Salade de Fruits but didn't think their frites would hold up to an onslaught of gravy so didn't try it there. I've had it at that fries place on Commercial but it was horrid and clumpy. I've heard tell of versions that (shudder) sub in grated cheddar for curds but will speak no further of them.

Then tonight on my way home from another doc film, I stopped in at Fritz on Davie for a bowl and I must say it was rather nice -- peppery gravy, melty curds and screamin' hot crispy fries -- what's not to like for $4? But I have no real gauge for what's good in a poutine. Anyone got the goods on this Canadian treat?

-----
Salade de Fruits
1545 7th Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6J1S1, CA

Fritz European Fry House
718 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6Z1B6, CA

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  1. I don't have local perspective but I just had it tonight at Boneta as a daily special and it was quite good. The cheese curds were chedder, the gravy was chicken with a veal bone base. Very nice with a Rioja....

    2 Replies
    1. re: wasabica

      Nice one, wasabica! Wouldn't have guessed Boneta was an option, even as a special.

      -----
      Boneta Restaurant
      1 West Cordova, Vancouver, BC V6B 1C8, CA

      1. re: wasabica

        Yes, Boneta has it on their menu often and it's quite good. Chambar and Crave on main have good ones too... but these are all, "fancy" versions. I don't think there is a true, great, Montreal style Poutine in Vancouver.

      2. I haven't been able to find good curds here in Vancouver. Good curds should squeak on your teeth (if you eat them before they are melted into a pile of potatoey/gravyey/cheesy deliciousness).

        Fritz does do a pretty decent poutine, but I can't attest to its 'pure laine' authenticity.

        5 Replies
        1. re: cdnprairiedog

          Squeaky curds in the poutine at Zakos Deli - Broadway & Cambie. Its pretty good!

          1. re: ck1234

            fwiw the cafeteria at the dt costco, has (had) it, it was only about $4, never had it but i have had their frys and they weren't that good, very thick and stodgey

            1. re: ck1234

              Thanks SO MUCH for the tip on Zako's...I've always been curious about the place, but have never gone in. Funny thing, 'cuz I always pass by it on my way to work.

              I also have to second the excellent short rib poutine at Crave. And Fritz's is infinitely superior to the Commercial St. place. DB Bistro actually has a fabulous poutine too, if you're willing to spend the money for it.

              1. re: kidpresentable

                Had to hurry to a screening today and (hangs head in shame) dove into Fritz for another small poutine today. Still tasty...

                Thanks for the poutine tips, guys, keep 'em coming.

              2. re: ck1234

                Zako's gravy is also vegetarian but it tastes very "meaty"

            2. I know it's a bit of a cop out but New York fries (I don't know about Vancouver but in Edmonton there's one in every mall food court) actually makes tasty poutine. It's pretty good when the craving hits and poutine just can't be found elsewhere. It's a dark gravy, their fries are always nice and crispy so they hold up under the gravy and they use cheese curd and not just grated mozza (everywhere else I've found poutine they use mozza).

              2 Replies
              1. re: Aludarie

                Good tip, Aludarie, we do have quite a few NYF outlets here too.

                1. re: Aludarie

                  I've done the same thing Aludarie; you're not alone! They're usually one of the better things in the food courts too.

                2. I tried the poutine at Brado on Commercial Dr a few weeks ago. A friend tells me that this is the real deal. It certainly tastes like the stuff in Montreal. They use St Hubert gravy mix (and it tasted like mix) and squeaky cheese curds.

                  I don't appreciate poutine like many people, so I left thinking "meh". If someone out there is a poutine person - please give this place a try and report back on its authenticity and worthiness. It has been getting good write ups for their poutine on dinehere.ca
                  http://www.dinehere.ca/restaurant.asp...

                  BTW Brado is situated in a mini-foodcourt. Brado, the place that sells poutine, is on the right side. A Lebanese shawarma place run by different people is on the left.

                  -----
                  Brado Restaurant
                  1399 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L3X5, CA

                   
                  4 Replies
                  1. re: fmed

                    This looks EXACTLY like the poutine we got at Zog's in Whistler yesterday, so perhaps their poutine is authentic poutine as well. I'm with you regarding the poutine. I actually liked the version at Zin's in Vancouver over the version we had at Zog's, but Zin's looked nothing like Brado's version. Zin's poutine is $2 for a small serving from 4 to 7pm Monday through Saturday at their bar.

                    1. re: fmed

                      I have some family who grew up in Montreal and they swear by the St Hubert's gravy mix. Funny that Brado uses it as well, but I see that they're from Montreal, so I guess it's not that big of a surprise.

                      Good ref material if I ever crave poutine. Hopefully I'm lucky enough to find squeeky cheese. Speaking of which, I have found squeeky cheese curds in Armstrong while visiting family in the Okanagan. Had to take it back and make homemade poutine. Yum!

                      1. re: bdachow

                        fwiw the guy fron zako's is also fron montreal

                        1. re: bdachow

                          Brado also has Poutine Pizza. ...or do they call it Pizza Poutine? Anyway, it's an experience. The straight up poutine is decent.

                          -----
                          Brado Restaurant
                          1399 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L3X5, CA

                      2. Not quite authentic Montreal style but Crave on Main St has a pretty wicked poutine. It's topped w shredded short ribs and truffle oil =)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: gourmet wife

                          Yes!!!

                          Had these on that Main Street crawl. They were fabulous.

                          -----
                          Main Street Cafe
                          317 MacKenzie, Revelstoke, BC V0E2S1, CA

                        2. Hi grayelf,

                          I was in Vancouver for a couple weeks to visit family and overdose on spot prawns, but I managed to hit 12 poutine places in as many days. Yes, a little crazy, but I really missed poutine (I'm a Vancouver girl originally) and everyone kept suggesting more places so I kept adding them to my list. I wasn't judging based on what traditional poutine is, I've never been to Montreal so I have no idea, I was just looking for the tastiest (which poutine I would dream about when I got back to New York?) and apparently the curds should squeak, so I gave bonus points for that. I'll be writing a Vancouver poutine showdown post soon with photos on my blog, but here were some of my favorites:

                          Brado Pizza - my favorite. every fry was crispy, gravy was good (I saw fmed's comment on how it tasted like a mix, but I really didn't get that mix aftertaste, at least not as much as some other places), curds were huge, generous, and squeaked liked crazy. Brado is actually from Montreal.

                          Salad de Fruits - my hubby's favorite. fresh cut fries(yes, they were small and delicate, but held up very well with the gravy), yummy gravy - tasted homemade but a bit salty with the fries, don't remember the curds squeaking but they were yummy.

                          Crave on Main- not traditional, the only "gourmet" contenter - no curds, instead shaved parmesan, tender short ribs piled on top, fries fresh and seasoned nicely with parsley. Got the foie gras mayo for $2 on the side, didn't taste much like foie gras, but was great with the fries.

                          Biggest disappointment - Belgian Fries on the drive. Gravy was really salty, reminded me of KFC gravy. Fries were average, curds squeaked but tasted a little sour, actually glad they were skimpy on the cheese.

                          Happy eating!!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: now_me_hungry

                            Wow that is quite the poutine extravaganza. My family is French Canadian and I've spent much of my life back and forth between Vancouver, Montréal, Québec and the Lac-St-Jean region of the province so I have had the benefit of eating a lot of poutine.

                            On the cheese score, I have to say squeaking is a must. It isn't so much a flavour issue as is it is a freshness thing. Growing up my parents would always rush to the cheese maker near the village they grew up in and buy the curds on Tuesday and Thursday as that was the day they were ready. They were squeaky and pleasantly chewy that day and the next but as the day's wore on they eventually list the squeak and chew as they became less and less fresh.

                            Curds are an unriped cheese, so they are best fresh and milky from the producer, something which is evidently very very rare in Vancouver.

                          2. I'll never eat at Fritz again after watching the person serving me find a dried clump of mayonnaise in the container she was scooping out of, and instead of wiping it on the dishcloth, wiping it into the dip container she was filling for me. I didn't say anything for some reason, but didn't touch the mayo.

                            I did have great poutine at a place in Surrey. It's a motorcycle diner owned by French-Canadians. I reviewed it on my blog: http://iatethelotus.blogspot.com/2009...

                            -----
                            Davidson Pitt Stop
                            16225 Fraser Hwy, Surrey, BC V4N, CA

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: lotuskitty

                              Now the truth is coming out -- there are many poutines to be had in the Lower Mainland! Thanks to nmh and lk for the latest additions (12 poutines in 12 days actually scares me a little). Keep 'em coming folks!

                            2. I finally got around to tallying up the scores for my Vancouver poutine 'showdown'. My husband and I ate 12 poutines in 12 days!

                              Final rankings:
                              1. Brado Pizza (uber-crispy fries, generous portion of squeaky cheese curds, yummy gravy)
                              2. Salade de Fruits (a close 2nd, complex delicious gravy, squeaky cheese curds, fresh cut delicate fries)
                              3. Crave on Main (hearty short ribs in gravy, truffle/parmesan fries were seasoned perfectly, ranked high due to yumminess despite the fact they didn't use cheese curds)
                              4. Fritz European Fry House (good standard poutine, proportions were right on)
                              5. Backstage Lounge (awesome fries, gravy had a bit of an mix-y aftertaste)
                              6. The Templeton (interesting mushroom sage gravy, aged cheddar shreds)
                              7. three way tie: New York Fries, Zog's Dogs (Whistler), & Burger King (BK and NYF were good fast food options)
                              8. two way tie: Belgian Fries & Zako's Deli (a little disappointing because I'd heard good things)
                              9. Vera's Burger Shack (biggest disappointment but maybe they had an off day)

                              Full post on my blog:
                              http://mehungry-phyllis.blogspot.com/...

                              -----
                              Crave Restaurant
                              3941 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V3P3, CA

                              Salade de Fruits
                              1545 7th Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6J1S1, CA

                              Vera's Burger Shack
                              1030 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E1M3, CA

                              Fritz European Fry House
                              718 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6Z1B6, CA

                              Brado Restaurant
                              1399 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L3X5, CA

                              Backstage Lounge
                              1585 Johnston St, Vancouver, BC V6H, CA

                              Belgian Fries
                              1885 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N4A6, CA

                              Zogs Dogs
                              4340 Sundial Cres, Whistler, BC V0N1B4, CA

                              Templeton
                              1087 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6Z1L4, CA

                              Zako's Deli
                              500 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5Z3Y6, CA

                               
                               
                               
                               
                              10 Replies
                              1. re: now_me_hungry

                                Awesome report. Now off to the gym for you two.

                                BTW - I can confirm that Brado's gravy made from is St Hubert mix. (I asked him myself.)

                                1. re: fmed

                                  Awesome is the word. I'm keen to try Brado's as we had some pretty egregious pizza from there not too long ago. Also definitely heading to Salade de Fruits tout de suite as it is mere blocks from my office.

                                  1. re: fmed

                                    fmed, haha... that Brado, always giving away all his secrets!

                                    Hubby is thinking about ordering P90x to deal with the poutine aftermath :)

                                    and grayelf, Salade de Fruits is lovely...bon appetit!

                                    1. re: now_me_hungry

                                      Thanks again nmh for taking 12 for the team :-). I do like the frites at SdeF so was happy to hear a detailed report about their behaviour under a hailstorm of curds and gravy! If anyone's at the Farmers' Markets here and is lucky, Little Qualicum sells the freshest (read squeakiest) and tastiest cheese curds of any I've found here.

                                      1. re: now_me_hungry

                                        In the blog posting you had some doubts about Belgian Fries using fresh cut potatoes. They do freshly chip them there. (You'll see the stacks pans filled of oil-blanched potatoes and burlap bags of fresh potatoes in the back. (Just an FYI....I'm not a fan of their fries of late....they used to be quite good a few years back.)

                                    2. re: now_me_hungry

                                      12 in 12 days... Your poor stomach!
                                      That is an excellent roundup, and with the links that is a bookmark worthy post, NMH!

                                      I was shocked to find excellent poutine in Costco in Toronto this summer - does anyone know if Vancouver area stores sell it at the little food-court thing they have in-store?

                                      1. re: non sequitur

                                        scroll p to my previous reply re: cost

                                        1. re: non sequitur

                                          Yes they do. They sell Dunn's smoked meat sandwiches as well.

                                          1. re: non sequitur

                                            non sequitur, yes I believe Vancouver area Costcos sell poutine at their foodcourts, no less than 3 people recommended it to me while I was in Vancouver, but I didn't have enough time to try it!

                                            1. re: now_me_hungry

                                              as i posted upthread costco does , i've only had the fries nd they weren't good, so you can make your own conclusion

                                        2. How about anny's dairy bar in New West? She is from Montreal, she sells cheese curds (if you want to make your own) it is at 722 6th St. the poutine is really tasty!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: laurabree

                                            Thanks laurabree, I just actually read a blog on Anny's Dairy Bar regarding their maple twist soft serve. I will put it on my list for next time!

                                          2. So...do any of you guys read Serious Eats? One of their writers just posted about my Vancouver poutine crawl and there's been some serious backlash - poutine from outside Quebec is a very controversial topic! So much anger...shouldn't food be just about fun? There's been some mild Vancouver bashing as well, thought you guys might want the opportunity to weigh in....
                                            http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/07/12...

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: now_me_hungry

                                              Well done now_me_hungry. I read Serious Eats daily.

                                              Poutine is serious business. Don't mess with Quebec.

                                              1. re: fmed

                                                ya they might separate

                                              2. re: now_me_hungry

                                                I think food just should be about "FUN"...I never understand the depths those go to, to brag about food they eat or knowledge they know above others,or just to put others down...Isn't "food" about taste & enjoyment? Anyway, I certainly enjoyed reading your blog! P.S. Sorry you didn't like Zako's as I know I recommended it - it was my first true poutine, here - in Vancouver... I never ate it while visiting Quebec!

                                                1. re: ck1234

                                                  Thanks for the link to Serious Eats -- I read so many blogs, I sometimes forget about that one. As for the comments, they just made me laugh. If something tastes good, I eat it. If it doesn't taste exactly how I think it "should" taste but it tastes good, I eat it. If it tastes bad, I don't eat it. Oh, except of course poutine has to have cheese curds on it or it isn't poutine :-).

                                                2. re: now_me_hungry

                                                  fmed: you are so right about not messing with Quebec - my poor defenseless mailbox was 'assaulted' last night and my hubby suspects the angry poutine mob must have found out where we lived :)

                                                  howlin: 'ya, they might separate' - I almost peed my pants when I read your comment!

                                                  ck1234: thanks for the kind words and no worries about Zako's, I thoroughly enjoyed the poutine at every single place I visited (including Zako's) which is why the scores were pretty high across the board.

                                                  grayelf: I totally agree - if it looks, smells, and/or tastes good - 'Get in mah belly!"

                                                3. Some poutine-novation at Brado on Commercial Dr...the Poutine Pizza! (And no, I wasn't brave enough to try it.)

                                                  -----
                                                  Brado Restaurant
                                                  1399 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L3X5, CA

                                                   
                                                  14 Replies
                                                  1. re: fmed

                                                    well i"ve never had the poutine there, but have had the pizza numerous times and its nothing special at all, so unless the poutine is really great, prospects aren't looking too good

                                                    1. re: fmed

                                                      Fmed: A bit slow on this one...but I just saw Brado's poutine pizza featured on Serious Eats! Go Brado! Can't wait to try it.

                                                      -----
                                                      Brado Restaurant
                                                      1399 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L3X5, CA

                                                      1. re: now_me_hungry

                                                        Haha. I saw that and even recognized the people in the pictures.

                                                        Can we expect a full photo report from you Phyllis? Include an upskirt shot (....of the crust I mean...just so we are on the same page here.)

                                                        1. re: fmed

                                                          LOL, if I make it there, I promise - full report including upskirt shot, as long as you don't mind the poor photo quality caused by the combo of flourescent light and my crappy point and shoot camera.

                                                          1. re: fmed

                                                            fmed...here you go...Brado's poutine pizza, including the upskirt shot and a bonus photo of smoked meat poutine.

                                                            The pizza was tasty but a little too heavy in the carbs (as would be expected with fries piled onto a crust). I also like my pizza crust a little more well done. Guess I'll be sticking to regular poutine!

                                                            I found Brado's gravy darker and saltier than when I tried it last year. He said he recently deepened the flavor and color to suit local taste, apparently locals prefer a beefier darker gravy. Too bad because I liked his original formula. He also denied that he'd ever used St Hubert mix in his gravy (weird because I thought confirmed before that he did?!) Despite the changes, I still like his poutine.

                                                            While I was in town I also checked out poutines at La Belle Patate, Costco, and Refuel.

                                                            La Belle Patate was pretty authentic, large cheese curds, but they drowned out the fries with too much gravy. I would have enjoyed it a lot more if they weren't so heavy handed with the gravy.

                                                            Costco's version was as expected, standard food court fare, but I'd be happy with it if I was desperate.

                                                            Refuel's version was delicious but the curds didn't squeak and the gravy was a little salty. But fries cooked in beef tallow are my favorite.

                                                            So I've reshuffled my rankings for my favourite Vancouver poutines (all are classic/traditonal poutines except for Crave):
                                                            1. Salade de Fruits
                                                            2. Brado Pizza
                                                            3. Crave on Main
                                                            4. La Belle Patate
                                                            5. Refuel

                                                            I know there are a lot more places to try but I ran out of time and belt notches!

                                                            -----
                                                            Crave Restaurant
                                                            3941 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V3P3, CA

                                                            Fuel Restaurant
                                                            1944 West 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6J 1M5, CA

                                                            Salade de Fruits
                                                            1545 7th Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6J1S1, CA

                                                            Brado Restaurant
                                                            1399 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L3X5, CA

                                                             
                                                             
                                                             
                                                             
                                                             
                                                            1. re: now_me_hungry

                                                              La Belle Patate left me a bit diassapointed. but mind you, my belly was full when i tried it. biggest concern was the fries themselves. have u tried the truffle poutine at La Braserie? I believe it is $9 about $1.50 more than the smoked meat poutine at La Bell Patate

                                                              1. re: betterthanbourdain

                                                                betterthanbourdain - my belly was full as well :) I honestly couldn't tell about the fries at La Belle Patate because they were all soggy, swimming in gravy. But I liked the size and squeakiness of the cheese curds so I'll be paying them a return visit on my next trip.

                                                                And no, haven't tried the truffle poutine at La Brasserie, it's definitely on my list. So is Chambar, DB Bistro, Boneta, Anny's Dairy Bar, Chill Winston...

                                                                -----
                                                                Chill Winston
                                                                3 Alexander St, Vancouver, BC V6A1B2, CA

                                                                La Brasserie
                                                                1091 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E1M5, CA

                                                                Anny's Dairy Bar
                                                                722 Sixth St, New Westminster, BC V3L3C5, CA

                                                                1. re: now_me_hungry

                                                                  At LBP I specifically asked for extra crispy fries which he did well. but still was dissapointed with the results. it WAS NOT bad. i just was dissapointed based on the favourable reviews. which happens often. just think of the last time someone raved about a movie and you were left dissapointed after watching it.
                                                                  I dont have a fav on poutine in this city. i like the flavor profile of chambar's poutine with the blue cheese and flavour of the gravy. But i think you will like la brasserie's poutine too. do you prefer lighter chicken gravy on your poutine?

                                                                  1. re: betterthanbourdain

                                                                    I totally hear ya on the high expectations thing. I had built myself up for great things at LBP based on all the stellar reviews. And I ooh and ahhed when I first saw it, but that gravy (and the immense quantity of it) just threw me off. There was also a slight aftertaste in the gravy, a slight bitternes, maybe clove (?) which reminded me of a poutine I tried in Montreal that had bbq sauce mixed in.

                                                                    And yes, when it comes to poutine I'm a fan of milder gravy, whether it's chicken based or vegetarian. Brado's was good until he changed it. Salade de Fruits has a good gravy but you have to be prepared to battle the lunch crowd. I've never had blue cheese or truflles on poutine so I'm anxious to check out Chambar and La Brasserie on my next trip.

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Salade de Fruits
                                                                    1545 7th Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6J1S1, CA

                                                                    La Brasserie
                                                                    1091 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E1M5, CA

                                                                    Brado Restaurant
                                                                    1399 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L3X5, CA

                                                              2. re: now_me_hungry

                                                                oops...forgot one photo: Brado's smoked meat poutine

                                                                -----
                                                                Brado Restaurant
                                                                1399 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L3X5, CA

                                                                 
                                                                1. re: now_me_hungry

                                                                  Glad to see some more reports on poutine from you, nmh! Didn't know you were back in town...

                                                                  My post below on May 20 is concurring with your too much gravy at Belle Patate assessment, and I wasn't mad about the sauce itself either. Best curds yet though as you say.

                                                                  I loved the poutine at Chambar but no curds so is it really poutine? ;-)

                                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                                    Usually in town during springtime to see friends and family (I originally hail from Vancouver) Just signed up on Vancouver Chowdown so hopefully we can meet up the next time I'm here :)

                                                                    Brado's curds were the squeakiest last year but weren't quite as impressive this time round. For the squeakiest and most massive curds, you MUST go to Quebec. I was there in Sept and the cheese curds were unreal, I think it spoiled me for life.

                                                                    "...but no curds so is it really poutine?" - I guess not if you're being strict about it, but I did put Crave as #3 on my list even though they only use parmesan. But I'm a sucker for braised short ribs!

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Brado Restaurant
                                                                    1399 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L3X5, CA

                                                                  2. re: now_me_hungry

                                                                    >> "Too bad because I liked his original formula. He also denied that he'd ever used St Hubert mix in his gravy (weird because I thought confirmed before that he did?!)"

                                                                    Haha...well I saw the package when I peered into the back of place once and I asked him...and he admitted to it. Maybe he doesn't use it anymore?

                                                                    Thanks for the report and rankings update Phyllis! You should really join us on a chowdown next time you are out from NY.... http://vanchow.ning.com

                                                                    1. re: fmed

                                                                      Brado, that cheeky bugger. Well, I don't blame him for being so secretive about his sauce.

                                                                      ps. I just signed up on http://vanchow.ning.com, thanks for the invitation, will let you know the next time I'm in town! :

                                                                      )

                                                                      -----
                                                                      Brado Restaurant
                                                                      1399 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L3X5, CA

                                                            2. - ' la belle poutine ' @ davie & bute. quebecois hockey grub. birch beer. have been told it serves the most ' authentic ' poutine west of trois rivieres, but i duno- as i have yet to darken their doorway. anyone here been there lately ?

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: slugsunderfoot

                                                                i live a few blocks from La Belle Patate, which can be dangerous. i'm not a huge poutine fan (it's more the bf's domain) but it is pretty tasty - their poutine menu is ginormous (as are the portions). i prefer to order the fries extra 'done' since my least favourite aspect of poutine is the sog, but i think that's part of what normal people like about poutine (it is fries covered in sauce and melted cheese curds). The curds are good and squeaky, they are open late, and they are licensed! Also they have Montreal smoked meat poutine, which could really only be improved by the addition of a defribrilllator.

                                                                1. re: NoMoreSnuggles

                                                                  As a born Québécois, I was on the lookout for a good poutine in Vancouver. I've been to La Belle Patate and was very pleased with their poutines. My all time favourite back home was the Italian poutine and found the exact same at La Belle Patate.

                                                              2. - ok, thanks for that NMS. i am already out the door. i abhore the ' sog ' as well- and as such ask for the gravy / curds to be dumped ONLY on half of the chips portion.

                                                                1. Fromagerie Bergeron makes the best cheese curds for Poutine (Gouda cheese curds). Though not the original cheese curd, their product adorns more Poutines in La Belle Provence then any other.
                                                                  Lucky for us Wet Coasters, one the Bergerons lives in the Whistler area and he has made his family's curds available to restaurants looking for the real thing.
                                                                  What is missing from the conversation is a discussion about the gravy. I believe that the correct gravy is a Chicken gravy, made from a roux and has the addition of a small amount of BBQ sauce as per the Quebec chicken joints. The hint off acid and sweet adds a nice balance to the gravy and brings me back to my 70's/80's Laurentian road trips like nothing else does.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Da_Cook

                                                                    Da_Cook...do you happen to know which restaurants are using Bergeron curds?

                                                                  2. I kind of feel like I'm always tooting Refuel's horn, but they serve an amazing poutine. Their gravy is fantastic, the curds are squeaky but are nice and melty beneath the first few fries and of course, I am a big fan of the beef tallow fried fries. Perfect alongside a burger. And yes, for the ultimate in gluttony, they might be kind enough to put some of their foie gras croquettes on top. Break the croquettes into the poutine in order to get foie goodness all over the fries. These guys should be locked up for such sinful food. (Sorry for the poor quality camera picture.)

                                                                     
                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: peter.v

                                                                      A left jab of beef tallow....then an uppercut of foie gras....I'm down for the count.

                                                                    2. Well, I was never a poutine fanatic having spent the majority of my life in Montreal. It was always a post 3AM, drunk, club & bar closing event if I did. The good places in Montreal are open 24 hours(la Banquise, on rue Rachel with 24 different types was 1 place, le Resto du Village had the best on Wolfe, near st Catherine east).
                                                                      La Belle Patate , 1215 Davie(between Bute & Jervis) are run by ex Montrealers who set up in Victoria first. They have the basic as well as Galvaude with peas and turkey(it's supposed to be chicken). It's the authentic Montreal poutine although I have gotten accustomed to Fritz's Fries(texture) with dip as opposed to poutine. I asked fritz where they got their squeaky cheese curds. They said Quebec. FYI- every convenience store in Montreal sells bags of cheese curds beside the cash. Although the technical term in French is "fromage en grains"(grains of cheese), Quebecers call them "crottes de fromage"(cheese turds).
                                                                      /www.yelp.ca/biz/la-belle-patate-vanco...

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: YVR flyboy

                                                                        My friends and i were on a quest and it ended at La Belle Patate 1215 Davie. This place is the authentic deal. Squeaky cheese curds, fries made in house and beaucoup de gravie. No need to search further.

                                                                        1. re: hamiltonmontrealvancouver

                                                                          Thanks, hmv, this place has been on the list since it opened, and in fact I'm going tonight, if all goes as planned.

                                                                          1. re: grayelf

                                                                            ooh do report back..
                                                                            i have been tempted... what time are they open till at night? is it late like fritz?

                                                                            1. re: betterthanbourdain

                                                                              They are open till 11 pm, 3 am on Fri/Sat. I liked the poutine (had the "regular" with just sauce and squeakers). A small is pretty big. I wasn't so crazy for the gravy which apparently is wheat based from a powder but not St Hubert. I think that was partly because there was too much of it and my fries got soggy too quickly. The curds are excellent, locally produced and still squeaky even after a week -- they come in fresh on Thursdays so today would have been the best day to go. What I'll be coming back for are the steamies. I had a basic one that was loaded with the most delightful choucroute (they call it coleslaw but there is no carrot and it is not sweet just lightly vinegared and chiffonaded, if that's a word). Great snack for $2.50. I also had a Boylan's Black Cherry and this hearty repast set me back $11. I was really full! They also have a decent selection of beer, and the staff were very welcoming. The room is a tad garish but hey it's a poutine joint! Here's a couple fuzzy shots... I felt like a bit of a maroon taking pix of fries and a hot dog :-)

                                                                               
                                                                               
                                                                              1. re: grayelf

                                                                                Had a chance to check in again at La Belle Patate courtesy of a food tour set up by Sherman for a visiting NY food blogger. Same experience as last time: too much gravy, not stellar fries but topnotch cheese curds.

                                                                                Once again the steamie was the highlight for me and would be what brought me back. Then I'd go down the street to try the poutine at La Brasserie, which is still on my to taste list.

                                                                                1. re: grayelf

                                                                                  Not a fan of belle patate. far to salty, the curds don't melt, and its drowned in gravy. I real disappointment.

                                                                      2. I just discovered today that our beloved hockey hero Kirk McLean has a restaurant in Gastown, named "McLean's". And on the Lounge menu, it says: "Duck confit poutine served with goat cheese & truffled demi...for $10". Anyone tried it?

                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                        1. re: ck1234

                                                                          It's where Social was, right? I got all excited the other day reading a report on these great sandwiches with house made potato chips, then realized it was the old Social sandwich bar :-(. I'd love to hear CH reports on this incarnation of the resto, however (even if I'm still skeptical of poutine made with any cheese other than curds).

                                                                          1. re: grayelf

                                                                            Yes it is. I just bought the pay $20 get $40 coupon as it's valid for a year. I intend to try that poutine just because of the duck confit & truffle demi, I'm ignoring the cheese. I am skeptical too, but I'm no expert on poutine, so I may love it!

                                                                            http://www.teambuy.ca/index.php?city=...

                                                                            1. re: ck1234

                                                                              I finally got a chance to try the breakfast poutine at La Brasserie. It was just insane, way over the top. There is lardons, curds, a pile of fries, a poached egg, hollandaise and truffle oil. I couldn't finish it which is unheard of for me. I actually felt my lipids careering out of control as I ate. Not something I'd do more than once a year but an experience. Great to sit at the bar there too.

                                                                              -----
                                                                              La Brasserie
                                                                              1091 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E1M5, CA

                                                                              1. re: grayelf

                                                                                Here's a pic of that breakfast poutine at La Brasserie from September.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                La Brasserie
                                                                                1091 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E1M5, CA

                                                                                 
                                                                                1. re: grayelf

                                                                                  just wondering what are they charging for that, must cost a bit considering the ingredients

                                                                                  1. re: vandan

                                                                                    I think it was $14.

                                                                        2. I'm a little shocked that no one has mentioned Frenchies on Dunsmuir. The restaurant's entire concept is essentially selling "Quebec type" food, like: poutines, toutierres, smoked meat, steamies... I recently moved here from Montreal and was also going from spot to spot, looking for a decent poutine. A little taste of home... When I visited Frenchies a few months ago, Marcel was behind the counter. He excitedly showed me all the Montreal-type products he had with him, and wanted me to try a bit of everything. His large bacon poutine is as good, if not better, than most places in Montreal. That's how we roll... hahah.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: shawnziii

                                                                            I work across from Frenchies and love their poutine. I'm not an expert so I really don't have anything to compare them to but the food is good and am told is what you would find in Quebec.

                                                                          2. I'd like to add chanterelle mushroom poutine available at the food cart called Freshlocalwild. I haven't yet tried it but i have heard very good things.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: tangentdesign

                                                                              It is awesome. Fries are some of the best I've had. Very thin and crispy - holds up well to the chanterelle gravy. That gravy is terrific, with small chunks of mushrooms throughout. The cheese is a cheddar curd though and not the squeaky kind. Hard to complain though when everything else is so good.

                                                                              1. re: peter.v

                                                                                Wow, that sounds amazing. Duly noted, thank you both!

                                                                                1. re: shawnziii

                                                                                  Didn't even mention it's only $5 or $3 with a main dish and that Chef Wolfe harvested the chanterelles himself!

                                                                            2. just thought you guys would like to know (or maybe you wouldnt)

                                                                              Vancouver Coastal Health - Resturant Shutdowns

                                                                              http://www.vch.ca/media/foodclosures_...

                                                                              September 28

                                                                              BRADO
                                                                              1399 Commercial DR

                                                                              Unsanitary conditions
                                                                              Pest infestation

                                                                              1. La Belle Patate on Davie street has the Real deal, tastes just like I'm back in Québec!

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: hockeyandbeer

                                                                                  Actually, so does Costco.
                                                                                  They use the Bergeron Gouda Cheese curds and the very best Quebec gravy-from-a-packet you can buy.

                                                                                2. Had a surprisingly good poutine at The Whip last Sunday, washed down by a tasty pumpkin beer. The curds could have been a little warmer but overall a solid plate.

                                                                                  1. The sauce for an authentic poutine isn't really a gravy but a chicken veloute. Birchwood dairy in Abbotsford makes excellent cheddar curds and the nice thing is, you can get them the day they are made. According to the cheesemaker there, the curds have to be super fresh to "squeek"
                                                                                    .

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: tdeane

                                                                                      True dat. The only time I've been able to get curds with their squeak on is from Little Qualicum at the farmers' markets. Ultimate was getting them the day they were made at their farm on the Island. Sigh...

                                                                                    2. Heading from the Bahamas to Vancouver at the beginning of December and am SOOOO disappointed - my cousinsent me this link today!!

                                                                                      http://www.miss604.com/2011/10/festiv...

                                                                                      I am soooo sorrry I will miss - all you poutine lovers enjoy for me!!!!

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Food on the brain

                                                                                        " Free admission for everyone until 5:30pm...."

                                                                                        Uh Oh!!!

                                                                                        1. re: Sam Salmon

                                                                                          Tell me about your best recs, so that when I am there, I can have the best!!! Mmmmmmm....

                                                                                          I am SOOOOOO sad to be missing this event!