This is the sixth post in the Montreal Jazz Festival Weekend series. Other posts include New Series! Montreal Jazz Festival Weekend, L'Express Montreal, A Tour of Montreal Bakeries and Bagel Shops, Lawrence, and Market Jean-Talon and Mont Royal.
There aren't that many foods that can truly claim their origin from the province of Quebec. One unique exception would be poutine, a dish made with French fries and cheese curds topped with gravy.
The dish supposedly came about in the 1950's in a rural part of Quebec. As it often goes with these tales, many claim to be the original inventor. One famous story involves a restaurant regular one day requesting the combination of fries, cheese curds, and gravy. The restauranteur responded "ça va faire une maudite poutine" (that will make one hot mess!).
And thus the name was born.
Poutine literally translates to "hot mess", and messy it is indeed. The basic version includes a pile of fries topped with chewy cheese curds and tons of gravy. Anything else is optional and extra. Some dedicated poutine places go crazy with the creativity and are willing to serve almost anything with poutine.
We chose Patati Patata because of its many positive reviews online. Diners praised its great poutine and super reasonable prices.
The space is super tight. There's basically one long bar and then just a couple tables off to the side. People come and go quickly, and the place is always packed.
Prices are also really reasonable. Keep in mind that the above prices are in Canadian dollars, which you need to discount by about 0.8 (at the time we were there), to arrive at the US dollar amount. The basic poutine is less than $6 CAD, while it only costs $2 CAD to add extra meat, cheese, or other toppings. Even the other dishes, like the burgers or the sandwiches, are very reasonably priced.
No wonder people like this place so much.
From the bar seats, you can watch the kitchen crank out plates and plates of poutine.
Because you're basically sitting right in front of the chefs, there's really no downtime between when they finish making the dish and when you get to eat it.
This means your poutine is as fresh and hot as possible.
Though the classic version is great (and still our favorite), you can opt for other additions, like bacon (pictured above) or mushrooms, onions, and black pepper (pictured below).
Frankly, after trying all three, we all agreed that the basic one was the best. The vegetables might make you feel healthier, but poutine doesn't really taste that much better with added mushrooms (at least here).
Similarly, the bacon was really salty and sort of overpowered the fries.
Stick with the basics!
Bryan was smart (at least from a balance/health perspective). He ordered a Grilled Fish Sandwich, which still comes with an option of poutine on the side. This way, you get to experience poutine, but it's not the bulk of your meal.
Patati Patata offers several types of burgers and sandwiches on their menu, so that's definitely a viable option.
All in all, it's a good inexpensive place to experience Montreal's most iconic dish in its most classic form. There's nothing fancy here, but the poutine is solid. If you're looking for a fancier poutine, stay tuned for my next post.