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Fall Colors Canadian Style - La Belle Patate Esquimalt British Columbia · Saturday November 1, 2008 by colin newell

La Belle Patate on Esquimalt Road - great smoked meat and poutineLa Belle Patate is a little hole in the wall restaurant at 1215 Esquimalt Road a half-block past the Civic Center and Esquimalt’s original strip mall.

Their specialty is Montreal smoked meat sandwiches and Poutine. For the uninitiated, Poutine is a dish of French fries, topped with a thick beef gravy and a macadam of cheese curds. And for those who feel that this might not be the most healthy combination of ingredients – They are completely ignorant to the fact that Poutine is a cruise missile with your arteries in the cross hairs.

Yes. It is that good.

And today we actually ate there. Ok. Here is the story:

Baker/owner of Bubby Roses Bakery, Mark Engels, has been singing the praises of La Belle Patate for some time now – and although we did drive by a couple of times, noting that the general feeling of the neighborhood is not unlike some calmer parts of East L.A. – we swallowed our fear, renewed our life insurance and pulled into the parking lot – a parking lot that served a Thai restaurant, a beauty salon oddly called The Daisy Pot and god knows what else.

Walking through the doors we were greeted with a hearty Hello there! from the owner and staff – We ordered a smoked meat sandwich, a hot-dog and a small order of Poutine. This would turn out to be particularly bold for me… and challenging.

Their Montreal smoked sandwich is a perfect balance of meat (about 6 to 8 ounces) on two cardboard thin slices of perfect rye bread – braced on a paper plate with a pucker inducing pickle. The hot dog is steamed and served on the standard bun with cheese, onions and any assortment of common condiments. The Poutine, which arguably should be served on a skull and cross bones patterned plate, is as described above; fries, gravy, cheese curds… is so comfort food that every bite is yummy inducing. We washed it all down with a tin of Nestea Iced tea – but opted to get a bottle of Spruce Beer on the way out the door – Spruce Beer is non-alcoholic and its flavor (carbonated) defies explanation – you either love it or hate it. We love it.

Lunch for two with more protein that is socially responsible: 22 dollars.

Would we return? In a heartbeat. That is, of course… if my heart keeps beating.

  1. The only thing wrong with La Belle Pate is the pickle. It suffers from the after bite of preservative. They should be using Strubs or Mrs. Whyte’s pickles.

    Like a great restaurant serving crappy coffee at the end of a meal, a lousy pickle can be a major disappointment.

    Stay away from the pickle until the owner tells you he has a “better pickle”!

    Mark    Nov 3, 06:12 pm    #
  2. Oh, I am with you about La Belle Patate — it rocks and will likely lead me back to Esquimalt even though we recently moved out of the area.

    Which, while I’m on the subject, isn’t nearly so scary as you make out. Well, except maybe the Daisy Pot… that place is scary.

    Cheryl    Nov 4, 09:51 am    #
  3. I had lunch today at La Belle Patate. I had read your article and liked the colorful picture of a smoked meat sandwich.
    I spent years in Montreal, and ate at all the Smoked Meat places there. Never once was I served what I had for lunch today. Two very tiny slices of bread and on top a pile of all chopped up smoked meat.
    I had to get a fork in order to eat it. Tasty but I wanted thin slices of smoked meat between two relugar slices of rye bread.
    A huge bowl of soggy, yesterday`s French fries, even though I had asked hot French fries, they gave me what they had. I doubt I will go back again.

    al    Nov 24, 10:05 pm    #
  4. The picture of the sandwich looked so good I had to drop by La Belle Patate and try it. I’ve had my fair share of smoked meat sandwiches and the one at Belle Patate was amazing. Thanks for the tip!

    Victoria restaurants    Dec 3, 08:27 pm    #
  5. I just saw La Belle Patate, and my friends told me they are now serving brunch on the weekend. Very much looking forward to it. And I’ll second Cheryl’s comments re: safety. I’m not sure where the hyperbole came from, but “swallowed our fear”? It’s Esquimalt, not Beirut.

    Brenton    Dec 13, 10:14 am    #
  6. Everyone here who is afraid to come to Esquimalt are sad, sad people. How can you compare L.A. to one of the most relaxed places I have ever been. I am born and raised in downtown Toronto and I know what street life is like and having to deal with 10 huge black guys every time i walk down the street. Don’t complain about beautiful Esquimalt, conquer your pitiful fears or go to Africa and learn what REAL fear is.

    Brendan    Apr 15, 12:12 pm    #

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