Poutine is a quintessential Canadian dish and one you can get all over Toronto. Traditionally, poutine involves French fries topped with a rich gravy and squeaky cheese curds, all of which combine into a gooey, cheesy, comforting bowl of goodness. There are also many riffs off the traditional dish, wherein restaurants put their own creative spin on poutine. Whether you like yours traditional or more unconventional, you have lots of options in the city. Hungry? Here are ten of the best places for poutine in Toronto.
Poutini’s House of Poutine
You can get your poutine fix at two locations of Poutini’s (one on King West, one on Queen West) and you likely won’t be disappointed by your choice of venue. Fries here are hand cut in-house daily, with the potato skin on, and then fried twice, Belgian style. Perfectly golden fries are topped with house-made gravy (vegetarian option available) and topped with cheese curds from Maple Dale Farms (which are delivered every other day for optimum squeakiness).
As the name might suggest, Fancy Franks is all about the hot dogs, of which there are many varieties to choose from. But their menu also extends to many different type of poutine (11 to be exact). All of their poutines start with fresh cut fries, and in addition to the original version, some of the other mind-boggling varieties include the loaded potato with bacon, sour cream, cheddar cheese, gravy, and scallions; the fancy schmancy with Korean beef ribs, fried egg, grilled onions, squeaky curds, gravy and scallions; and the ultimate grilled cheese, which sees fries topped with chopped grilled cheese sandwich, squeaky curds, gravy and tomato slices.
Beast restaurant puts the focus on local Ontario produce and the menu here is creative and full of great options. But they also offer a twist on the traditional poutine that has proven popular among Toronto diners. Beast’s version of the iconic Canadian dish sees a base of fried gnocchi topped with the gravy of the day, finished with cheese curds and crème fraiche for a decadent take on an already decadent dish.
Nom Nom Nom Poutine
Located near Dundas and Bathurst, you can choose from a dozen varieties of poutine here, including some vegetarian and halal options. The traditional option gets you red potato fries loaded with Quebec-made gravy and cheese curds, but if you’re looking for a twist on the original, you’ve got options. Creative additions include seasoned chicken and green peas, deep fried Brussels sprouts and mushrooms, Montreal smoked meat, or duck confit and fried rosemary.
Holy Chuck Burgers
Come for the excellent burgers Holy Chuck turns out (of which there are numerous options to choose from), but stay for the poutine. There’s a classic version complete with Quebec cheese curds that would pair perfectly with a burger. Or if you really want to go all out (as in splurge), there’s a foie gras truffle poutine with seared Quebec foie gras, Quebec cheese curds and Italian white truffle oil.
There are numerous locations of Smoke’s Poutinerie, making it easy to grab a piping hot plate of the cheesy dish. When it comes to choices, you have plenty here. If you want to keep it simple, grab the traditional (fries, curds, and gravy) or the vegetarian traditional. But if you want something more decadent, there are pork varieties, poutines with chicken (including the butter chicken poutine), steak and beef poutines, and vegetarian poutines.
Poutine for breakfast? Lady Marmalade gives you the option. The popular brunch spot has an a.m. poutine consisting of home fries rather than French fries, topped with cheese curds and miso gravy or hollandaise. Give the dish even more of a breakfast feel by adding two poached eggs. But you don’t need to rush to make the brunch hours to get one—they serve all of their menu items all the time.
The poutine at this cozy east end spot is made with rich dark gravy and jus from the smoker and topped with squeaky premium orange and white Ontario cheese curds. Fill your belly with the traditional version, or opt to add pulled pork, beef brisket, beef brisket and chili, or baked beans. No matter which you choose, you’ll likely leave the place feeling satisfied.
Another spot that makes it easy to start your day with poutine is Prohibition Gastrohouse, where you can order another unconventional version of the popular dish during brunch service. Here, fries are swapped for deep fried tater tots, which then get topped with three soft poached eggs, house-smoked bacon, béarnaise sauce, and cheese curds.
Known for their handcrafted burgers, BQM (which stands for Beer and Quality Meats), this establishment has three locations in the city, all of which serve up some seriously good poutine. Go for the classic version if you want to keep things traditional, or you switch things up with the palmer poutine with caramelized onions and bacon, or the meat poutine with caramelized onions and beef.