Review: La Banquise

Poutine - La Banquise

La Banquise was recently named the best place in the world to get a poutine by Travel & Leisure magazine. This is no small statement. Unlike other fast food joints in the city, they put their poutine front and center, offering over 20 different variations on the dish. It’s become a famous late night spot for hip young students, who can order a microbrew with their poutine in a colorful casual atmosphere.

I decided to try their standard poutine, without the bells and whistles. If they can get the foundation right, the rest surely follows. Unfortunately, the hype did not stand up to my rigorous scientific analysis.

Poutine - La Banquise

Poutine - La Banquise

Fries: On my first visit, the fries had a pleasant sweet taste, not too greasy, but lacking crispness on the outside and undercooked on the inside. On my second visit, the fries were better, properly cooked on the outside but still a bit too firm on the inside 17-19/30.

Gravy: The right texture, quantity, and temperature. A bit too salty and intense, however – this is fine at first but soon begins to overwhelm the other tastes. They also have a vegetarian gravy, but it’s not as good and was quite lumpy when I tried it. 38/50.

Cheese: Good squeak, but most chunks aren’t big enough. A little more cheese wouldn’t hurt. 15/20.

TOTAL SCORE: 70-72/100

Verdict: Better than the Montreal average, but hardly the best in the world. The ambivalent taste extremes of sweet fry with salty gravy dominate the palate, lacking a certain complexity found in other poutines (though you wouldn’t notice if you were drunk). This restaurant’s reputation is built on the variety offered rather than quality.

Value: Average – $5.60 for plate pictured above.

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Location: 994 Rue Rachel Est, Montreal, QC H2J 2J3, (514) 525-2415‎



Filed under 24 Hour Restaurants, Classic Poutine Reviews, Montreal

7 responses to “Review: La Banquise

  1. caracaschronicles

    Jesus Pat you’re like the Simon Cowell of poutine…

  2. Bobil

    I’ve always heard so much about this place, yet never ventured there. I am waiting for you discover the world’s best poutine so that I can try it myself.

    Keep up the good work.

  3. Pingback: Review: Patati Patata « The Poutine Pundit

  4. Michael

    La Banquise is good, but overrated. I got the ‘classique’ once and it was just ‘good’, not ‘great’. Towards the end, I had gotten kinda bored with it, so to speak. I think it’s because of the gravy. It does the same thing to me with poutine from La Belle Province…the flavour of the gravy is too strong and smokey, not to mention mediocre cheese (by the way, are you planning on reviewing chains like LBP, Lafleur and….Mcdonalds? oh….as a side note, the best american fast-food joint poutine that I had was KFC….worst was probably Burger King. McDo is in the middle). As for La Banquise, the poutine is better when you add other ingredients to it. I particuarily liked the T-rex (ground beef, hot dog, bacon, pepperoni) and 3 Amigos (3 types of sausage: merguez, hot dog, and the kind you eat at breakfast). But for me, the traditional poutine isn’t worth it.
    Like you said….the variety is the reason it’s renown, not the quality. If there was just one poutine served, it would fall off of many lists I think.

  5. Helen

    Hi there,
    I will be in Montreal for a weekend in February and would like to try a the best most delicious classic poutine. Where do you reccommend?

  6. Diane

    Last time I went to La Banquise, I ordered two classics to take out. When I got back to my destination and opened them up, I was flabbergasted to find they’d forgotten the sauce. I could understand forgetting one of the fancy ingredients on one of their more elaborate poutines, but the sauce? Really?

    I brought them back and the situation was remedied, but when you fuck up your basic, classic, number one dish, there’s something to worry about.

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