The History Behind Poutine And How LA Embraces It

In the past decade, Los Angeles has become a mecca of international cuisine as many of the world's cultures converge in the metro L.A. area.


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Poutine was first popularized in Quebec and later introduced to Los Angeles. For any of you wondering what exactly this culinary treat is, rest assured that you have a tasty treat just waiting to be discovered!

Poutine is French-Canadian pub food with a rich, and disputed history. One story goes like this:  Quebec in the 50s was home to the Le Lutin Qui Rit, helmed by Chef Fernand Lachance. The story goes that one day a customer asked the chef to add some curds to their fries, a request to which Lachance responded, “Ça va faire une maudite poutine,” which is loosely translated to “That’s going to make a dreadful mess.” Messy or not, the dish caught on and became a favorite of club-hoppers looking to fill their stomachs with something yummy before ending their night.

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Of course, with something as special as poutine, there must be some controversy, which in this story is provided by a Drummondville (Quebec) spot named Le Roy Jucep. The owner, Jean-Paul Roy, insisted that he invented the dish and even went so far as to trademark poutine in 1964, describing the dish as “French fries, cheese, and gravy.”

And, there’s even a third poutine genesis story, another camp that believes it was created in 1966 at the Princeville, Quebec restaurant, La P’tite Vache, which was located near the Princess Dairy. The people of Princeville insist that unsold curds from the dairy were added to menu items at La P’tite Vache where customers would mix them with their fries, giving the dish a democratic, snack-of-the-people origin.

Whatever the origin, poutine migrated south and has now found its place in the hearts of many Angelenos. Over the years, this traditional cheese curd and fries dish has evolved into something that is unique to the cuisine of Los Angeles. If you are looking for a unique experience, that blends both old and new flavors, try some of our favorite L.A. options for this favorite. From Indian, Korean, and Cajun influences, the poutine here is a tasty treat!

There are many places in the area to get poutine and like any culinary trend, don’t expect anything typical or unchanged! Check out these spots below to get your southern Cal fix. 

Dozens of Southland eateries put their own spin on this Québécois classic. Here are a few of our favorites:

Badmaash

Leave it to an Indian joint in Los Angeles to come up with something as cool as Chicken Tikka Poutine. This dish has it all: beef gravy, tandoori chicken tikka, cilantro, masala fries and the requisite cheese curds. What do you expect from an Indian who spent time North of the Border before settling in L.A.?

Badmaash
108 W. 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA
(213) 221-7466

The Little Jewel of New Orleans

Poutine with a Cajun flair as one would expect from this awesome spot! If you are looking to kick your fries, gravy and curd game up a notch, this is the place.

The Little Jewel of New Orleans
207 Ord St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 620-0461

Biergarten

Who doesn't love a German-Korean-American gastropub? If you are looking for poutine with Kennebec tempura fries, kalbi, cheese, gravy, and scallions this is the place for you!

Biergarten
206 N Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90004
(323)466-4860

The Brixton

This heavily Brit-influenced pub offers a filling, short rib poutine that is sure to please even the fussiest member of your group.

The Brixton
2827 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 449-4567

Animal

This is the place for the fancy foodie with a poutine fetish. Animal serves its version with oxtail gravy and cheddar cheese.

Animal
435 North Fairfax
Los Angeles, CA
(323) 782-9225

Spare Tire Kitchen + Tavern

If you’re hankering for some kicked-up poutine but money’s tight, check out the Spare Tire Pub for an affordable and tasty happy hour version of this beloved classic. Like Animal, they crown their mountain of frites and fromage with tender, delectable short ribs.

Spare Tire Kitchen + Tavern
5340 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90003
323.823.4890

Redondo Beach Cafe

Classic poutine lovers will likely opt for the Montreal version, but we love RBC’s Texas twist on the dish. And, fries on the beach are a guilty pleasure that we have fully embraced - throw in some cheese curds and gravy and we will be there for sure!

Redondo Beach Cafe
1511 S. Pacific Coast Highway
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
(310) 316-1047

There you have it - all you need to know to enjoy some delicious poutine in Los Angeles! Whether you are a purist and want the taste of Montreal here in sunny Cali, or are looking for a fusion of Canadian and Korean or Cajun flavors all mixed together in a culinary nirvana, we've got ya covered. We think that you will agree that this dish is one that deserves its accolades and many iterations, as it is definitely fun and delicious. Dig in and enjoy!

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Marley Bareis

That girl that can down a burger and beer faster than you. From Southern California and proud dog mom of 9-year-old mixed rescue, Rupert.

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