French Cuisine: What’s new in KW

No need to travel to Montreal or Paris to taste French gastronomy, find your favourite dishes close to home. Kitchener-Waterloo has a small but extraordinary French-speaking culture that has inspired the region’s culinary scene. With places like Smoke’s Poutinerie, La Plouc Crêpe, Poppy’s Bagels and Golden Hearth Bakery, you can discover the delights of French cuisine locally. 

Smoke’s Poutinerie 

Photo by Dania Puac

In this restaurant at 255 King St N #15, Waterloo boasts one of the most popular Quebec dishes offered in the heart of university district. Smoke’s Poutinerie allows students to enjoy poutine at any time until 4:00 a.m. with a varied menu. 

The delicious options available at this location are expanded on by the manager of the Waterloo location, Sanket Patel. Patel says, “The best-selling poutines are the Avalanche, and the Chicken and Bacon Ranch.”  At Smokes, not only do you get to imagine that you are stopping in Quebec, but also in Pennsylvania. Patel adds, “We sell Philly Cheesesteaks and vegetarian nachos. ” 

According to Robert J., a student at the University of Waterloo and his friend Jordan M., customers of this establishment, Smoke’s Poutinerie always offers competitive prices and remains roughly in the same range as other poutineries in the region. Robert explains, “I often buy here because this location is very close to home and the university. ” Some of his recommendations include the pulled pork poutine and traditional poutine. 

Is Smoke’s poutine like traditional Québec poutine from La Belle Province? Robert admits that: “The sauce tastes different, but the cheese and fries are the same. “.  

La Plouc Crêperie 

Photo by Daniela Gooding

Waterloo recently welcomed a new gem to its culinary landscape: La Plouc. Located at 318 Spruce St., near Laurier University, this charming restaurant offers numerous French delicacies. The ambiance is very Parisian, with its chalkboard menu, vintage posters and subtle aroma of crepes floating through the air.   

On my recent visit to La Plouc, Daniela had the pleasure of sharing a table with Rania, a French exchange student. As we enjoyed our crepes, she exclaimed: “It’s really good, authentic. It reminds me of my mother’s cooking at home. It’s good to know that every time I come here, I’ll be able to eat authentic crepes”. Rania’s approval speaks volumes about the quality of La Plouc’s crepes.    

The menu offers a wide variety of sweet and savoury crepes, from classic Nutella and banana to savoury options like the ham and cheese crepe.  Prices at La Plouc are quite reasonable, with crepes ranging from $8 to $15.  

If you’re a crepe connoisseur or new to French cuisine, La Plouc is a must-visit. Don’t miss the opportunity to try these delicious crepes, your taste buds will thank you. 

Poppy’s  

Photo by Katja Preza

The Montreal bagel, appreciated for its history and delicious flavor, occupies a special place in North American culture. Culinary identity has evolved thanks to successive waves of immigration. Eastern European immigrants have greatly influenced Canadian cuisine, particularly bagels. What sets the Montreal bagel apart is the cooking method. Each bagel is prepared by hand before being soaked in honey-sweetened water and cooked in a wood-fired oven. The best way to eat them is fresh and still hot. This is only possible if the bakery is nearby. 

Poppy’s Bagel and Bakery, in Uptown Waterloo, is a bakery that offers Montreal bagels and drinks like tea or coffee. You can order and make a sandwich on a fresh bagel of your choice. They offer a full selection, with nine different types of sandwiches and five types of bagels: plain, blueberry, full-flavored, sesame seed and poppy seed. 

After hearing many recommendations and reading good reviews, I tried out Poppy’s products firsthand. The family atmosphere and local ingredients create a warm experience. Although the prices are high, the customer service is excellent and the quality of the food is comparable to the original Montreal bagels. 

The Montreal bagel at Poppy’s is the best ambassador for Quebec culture in Kitchener Waterloo.  

Golden Hearth Boulangerie  

Photo by Esme Hernanzez

A delicious smell of warm croissants welcomes you to the heart of Kitchener with Golden Hearth Bakery located at 343 King St E! This bakery is a hidden gem that brings the flavors of France to the heart of our city. 

Upon entering you will find a welcoming environment, with special offers every day. There is a large selection of croissants – particularly almond, lemon, cinnamon. Golden Hearth is a local bakery specializing in handmade sourdough breads and croissants. With more than 20 items on their menu, their prices are affordable. You can taste their famous almond croissant for only $3.75 and chocolate croissant for only $3.50  

 
Golden Hearth is committed to using good quality ingredients. All their doughs are made with organic sugar, unbleached flour and local milk. It is all about the quality of the ingredients. 

The customers we interviewed during our visit to Golden Hearth were all regulars. Élise Beaulieu, a Canadian with a Québec and French background, expressed her love for Golden Hearth Bakery. According to Élise, the croissants and chocolate croissants are incredible: “It reminds me of my grandmother’s croissants. The nostalgia that accompanies every bite is truly remarkable.” Arthur Leon, another satisfied customer, who is a baker himself, says that “Golden Hearth is one of the best artisan bakeries in the city.” According to Arthur, their reputation is based on their exceptional sourdough bread and delicious croissants. “Among all these delicious desserts, the almond croissants are what stood out the most. ” 

To experience a French traditional breakfast, head to the Golden Hearth bakery. 

The KW area offers a multitude of restaurants where you can savor exquisite cuisine from France and Québec. While waiting for your next trip to Montréal or Paris, try an easy stop to one of these great local options. 

Smokes 

La Plouc 

Poppy’s Montréal Bagel 

Golden Hearth Bakery 


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