I met a friend for poutine in what he claimed was the best spot in Ottawa. S & G Fries & Burgers is a small shack on a strip-mall boulevard in the outer burbs. Unfortunately, my friend only remembered when we got there that the place had no indoor seating. This had not been an issue the last time he’d been since it had been a nice summer day, and there are picnic tables outside on which to enjoy your poutine while looking at the traffic whizzing by. Those same tables are there year-round, but seem a less welcoming option in mid-February subzero temperatures. Today, they were surrounded by 4 foot snowbanks, but it was a relatively mild -5C and the tables themselves had been kindly shovelled off, so we decided to eat there anyway.
Tag Archives: Classic
Patate Mallette is legendary for many reasons. They’re known for the best poutine on Montreal’s south shore. They also serve poutine to go in a hot-dog bun. And, if you eat in house, the poutine sauce is served separately in a teapot, allowing you to add it gradually so the fries don’t turn to mush. Genius!
I have yet to visit their legendary riverside location in Beauharnois, but caught up with their food truck at a town fair in rural Quebec.
This seasonal “shack à patates” an hour east of Montreal lies off the highway to Quebec City in backwoods Saint-Liboire. I’ve taken the Saint-Liboire exit many times over the years, since that’s where you can find the cheapest gasoline between Montreal and Quebec. But it’s worth driving beyond the gas station to the town itself. After some 5km through cornfields, you will arrive at an undiscovered gem: Cantine Dave & Dan.
Located just 40 minutes south of Montreal, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu is Quebec’s seventh largest city, with just under 100,000 people. It’s slightly more interesting and slightly more underrated than other cities in its league, but don’t get too excited. There’s a striking cathedral, some nice brick architecture in the city centre, a few interesting shops, and some good cycling trails along the Chambly Canal and Richelieu River. The city is surrounded by farmland and a massive dystopian-looking military complex.
People here seem fond of bad puns. A pool-hall/steak-house is named “Sharkcoal.” A bar advertised itself as being “au BAR de l’eau.” Some artisanal veal purveyor was proud to say “ça VEAU la peine.” But the most inexplicable of all bad puns in town was local fast food legend Chez TI-PITate frite (which combines the hillbilly nickname “Ti-Pit” with the popular Quebecois word for potato: “Patate”).
Ancienne-Lorette, on the fringes of Quebec City (and briefly part of it from 2002 to 2006), has a history dating back to the 1600s, but it is mostly known as the uninspiring suburb by the airport. When I asked a friend who lived there to tell me the most interesting thing about the place given its nearly 400 years of history, he didn’t mention its massive church.
Celebrity chef Stefano Faita, famous for his exagerrated permasmile, just opened a third restaurant in Montreal’s Little Italy with his comparatively non-hysterical-looking business partner Michele Forgione. First there was the well-reviewed gourmet upscale Italian restaurant Impasto, followed by an excellent Neapolitan pizzeria called Gema. Now, they’ve moved away from Italian toward traditional Quebecois fast food classics at Chez Tousignant.
Tousignant opened up yesterday in the former digs of Café Espresso Vittorio on rue Drolet near Jean-Talon Market. There’s a clean 1950s retro look to the place, with a hand-painted menu, white and turquoise tiling, and stainless steel tables. The unnecessary-yet-seemingly-mandatory big screen TV in the background played The Offspring videos on MuchRetro, (not quite the same kind of “retro” as the decor).
I love this charming old-school Greek restaurant with its leather booths and wood panelling. You can definitely find better food in the city, but Le Fameux is the perfect place for late-night revelry because the booths are cozy, the middle-aged waitresses can handle the drunk crowd with charm and brio, it feels like a time-warp (with a few unfortunate modern intrusions), you can get poutine, and you can also get more drinks.
Unfortunately, I always come in here late at night after having had a few drinks, so it’s hard to judge the food objectively, but I’ll try.