It took far too long, but I can now proudly say that I have been to La Banquise! Located at 994 Rue Rachel East in the Plateau, La Banquise is perfect if you’re a tourist coming to Montreal, or a Montreal resident who has not been to this restaurant yet. Don’t make the mistake I did- GO. Right now. It was absolutely delicious and perfect for a night out with friends. It was almost a year ago when I posted about going to Lola Rosa with our friend Ruedi, who was visiting from Switzerland. You’ve guessed it- we were able to spend more quality time with him and this time, my best friend Ali was able to come too! None of us had ever been to La Banquise before so this was a great opportunity to go.
Haven’t heard of La Banquise? Well, it first opened its doors in 1968 and first served poutine in the 1980’s. When poutine was first added to the menu, they only offered two different kinds- the classic poutine and the italian poutine. Fast forward to 2015, they offer no less than 30 types of poutine! The restaurant which was originally a small ice cream shop, went through major renovations in 2006 to accommodate the growing amount of customers. It is open 24 hours a day, which is great for those late night food cravings. They also serve great breakfasts. For now though, I’ll talk about our experience.
When we first arrived, we saw quite a long line of people waiting to get in. Of course, it was a good sign, especially since it was raining and people still wanted to wait. It took about 20 minutes for us to get in but because of the good company I was in, it didn’t feel long at all. When you walk in, you get to glance at some of the poutines offered which they display all over the walls.
The venue is very bright and colorful. You’re in quite close vicinity to the other diners and the noise level does get pretty high because of everyone discussing the numerous meal possibilities. It gets even harder to wait for your meal when you see your fellow diners receiving their delicious looking meals.
Even though I had looked at the menu earlier on in the day, it was still VERY difficult to choose. We all ended up choosing different dishes so we could sample one another’s poutines- which made making a decision just a tad bit easier. Once we ordered, we were asked to pay right away, even before getting our meal. It took less than twenty minutes to get our food and once we did- we barely said three words to each other because we were enjoying our meals so much. Here is what we had:
Ruedi got the “La Savoyarde” poutine which is bacon, onions, swiss cheese & sour cream. La Banquise also offers trios which consists of a burger, drink and fries. However, you can replace the fries with a poutine and the soda with a beer of your choice. I don’t know how anyone could resist the urge to replace the fries with a poutine… if you can do that, that is major willpower. Ruedi chose the “Costaud Burger” – 2 patties, cheese, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, pickle, house sauce, all on a sesame seed burger bun.
Ali got a large “La Matty” poutine which has bacon, green peppers, mushrooms & onions. As you can see, the portions are quite big and although we are chicks who love to eat and CAN eat quite a bit- it got to the point where even though we had been eating for almost fifteen minutes, it barely looked like we made a dent in the food. The prices are definitely good for what you get.
John got the same burger as Ruedi, the Costaud Burger but for his poutine, he chose the “L’Astérix”. This poutine has smoked meat, mushrooms, sour cream & pepper sauce.
As for myself, I got “La Banquise” Burger, which has 1 patty, mushrooms, fried onions, swiss cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, spicy sauce, all on a sesame seed burger bun. The poutine I chose (after much consideration) was “La Reggae” – ground beef, guacamole, diced tomatoes & hot peppers. Absolutely delicious. I will now either have to recreate this every time I make a poutine at home or come back to La Banquise because no poutine will ever compare to it. I had a few bites of my burger, a ton of poutine and I got so full, I gladly took the rest home.
I definitely recommend this restaurant to any poutine lover. They also have vegan options, healthy menus, kids menu and other assorted meals. The food was so good, that I came home and ate most of my leftovers right away. For more information, visit their official website here and like and/or follow their Facebook Page.
Afterwards, because I am a devoted member of Yelp!, I knew that yesterday was “Free Dip Day” from 6-8 pm at La Diperie located at 68 Avenue Des Pins E. Although it was too late for us to make it in time, everyone but myself still had a bit of room for Ice Cream and it was conveniently located very close to La Banquise. It is a small spot, but very cute and a very light, friendly atmosphere. They have quite a few options- numerous dips, soft serve ice creams and several toppings. My friends really enjoyed what they received and I would definitely go back another time to try it for myself. Until then, I will be checking out their Facebook Page constantly.
If you have any experiences at La Banquise or at La Diperie, please feel free to comment! Or, if you have any other “must eat here” restaurants, let me know!