Rimouski, located six hours northeast of Montreal, is a small port city with 45000 residents. A lovely salt water breeze wafts through the town. Unfortunately, its fine seaside setting has been ruined thanks to the work of some shockingly bad urban planners.
The key word here is asphalt, lots of asphalt. Getting to the sea requires crossing a bewildering array of open-air parking lots and five lanes of fast-moving highway. On most days, the sea wind is bitingly cold and the sound of zooming cars detracts from the view. The downtown core has more parking lots than people or buildings, and there’s a total lack of harmony in building heights and styles: a heritage house in a sea of grey bitumen sits next to some concrete monstrosity. If you walk through another parking lot, you’ll get to a brutalist strip-mall, more parking, a mansion with three parking garages, a huge ornate Catholic building surrounded by asphalt, some crappy 70s apartment building with brown corrugated metal siding, etc. etc. A small hill takes you to a railroad track that slices the city in two.
Next to the railway station, in another parking lot, lies the legendary Cantine de la Gare, renowned for its poutine.
Fries: These fries were nearly perfect–just the right amount of crispiness, salt, and grease. They managed to keep their crisp for a long time. 27/30
Gravy: The gravy is nothing special, but it does the trick. Not too watery, not too thick. It won’t blow your mind, but it works. 38/50
Cheese: The cheese chunks are a bit small, but the portions are generous and it’s fresh & squeaky. 16/20
Toppings: I generally like my poutines plain, but I was told that that Poutine Déro is the way to go in Rimouski (ground beef, crispy bacon and onions). I can’t say I disagree. +5
Verdict: Although the gravy could use an upgrade, this poutine may be the best thing about Rimouski.
Price: Average. $7.32 + tax for the medium poutine pictured here.
Location: Cantine de la Gare, 2 rue Saint-Jean-Baptiste Est, Rimouski, Quebec, G5L 8Y3