For those of you who haven’t been to Canada yet, you’re missing out. Filled with arguably the nicest people on the planet, it’s also got some amazing landscapes and delicious food. As today is #CanadaDay its time to celebrate a Canadian specialty: Poutine. Classic poutine is straightforward: it contains french fries, gravy, and cheese curds (for the New Jersey folks, think disco fries, but better).
The concoction is warm, gooey, and sure to warm up the coldest of tummies in the frigid Canadian winter. It’s not surprising that this was invented in Northern Quebec, where temperatures can drop to as low as -50 °C (-58 °F). While Americans might have a monopoly on the best fries, you’re going to have to go North to get the best poutine. For those willing to make the journey, here’s a list of Canada’s best poutines.
Montreal – La Banquise
La Banquise has been doing it right since 1968. The colorful restaurant is open 24 hours, making it both a blessing and a curse for drunk partygoers, who may not be realizing that they are vacuuming in thousands of calories. But it’s worth it. Arguably the best in Montreal, La Banquise offers over 30 types of poutine containing a variety of meat and vegetables.
The restaurant does serve other snackbar-esque foods like burgers and hot dogs, but I recommend sticking to the poutine. You wouldn’t go to Schwartz’s to eat a ham sandwich, would you?
Toronto – Nom Nom Nom Poutine & Crepes
Opened in August 2011, this little joint has slowly been building a big reputation for itself. The menu is short, but delivers exactly what you need with classic poutines and a few spin-offs including poutines with brie, pulled pork, and chicken. The dishes are budget-friendly (all poutines are under $10) and they even have a handy 2 for $10 deal on their traditional poutine.
Part of the appeal is their vegetarian gravy, which is derived from the same sauces used in popular Quebecois chains like St. Hubert’s, so you know this is the real deal. If you’re looking for some great Nom Noms, be sure to check out Nom Nom Nom’s poutine, it’s sure to please.
Vancouver – La Belle Patate
Now a lot of the traditionalist Quebecois poutine snobs will turn their nose up at western poutine attempts, but there’s no denying that Vancouver knows food. And in that spirit, La Belle Patate does not disappoint. With squeaky cheese curds, fresh-made fries, and rich gravy, their poutines are said to be perfection. Quebecois natives insist this joint is their ‘home-away-from-home’ and that’s not an easy honor to achieve.
Their best poutines have to be either their extreme or supreme poutines, featuring healthy servings of chicken (supreme), beef (extreme), bacon, mushrooms, and more. The restaurant also hosts community fundraisers and helps support local artists, meaning you can feel good while you eat good. Definitely not a place to miss.
Ottawa – Pong’s Poutine
Pong’s offers everything you’d expect from a classic poutine food truck. Large heaping servings, no frills service, and delicious food. Pong’s truck is frequently rolling around Ottawa but can be usually found on Carp Road. Their menu offers poutine in two sizes and features a different “Poutine of the Week.” But their most famous exploits have got to be their breakfast poutine, their friendly staff, and their ridiculous twists on the traditional poutine.
Pong’s has broken the barriers between cuisines, serving Italian, Tex-Mex, General Tso, and Italian poutine. All of them equally as delicious. If you ever feel like taking a walk to Parliament Hill, be sure to stop here first.
Quebec, City – La Roulotte du Coin
Technically located in Sainte-Famille, the Quebecois duck specialists, La Roulotte du Coin deserve the trip out from Quebec City to have a next-level poutine. Their foie gras poutine is a take on the French specialty brought to new Quebecois heights. For the gastronomically inclined, there is nothing quite like this on the market.
Their menu challenges traditional poutine featuring truffles, duck, and pulled pork duck. Who says poutine can’t be chic? Just be aware that like all specialty food, the prices are a bit high, but trust me, it’s more than worth it.
Did we miss your favorite poutine restaurant? Let us know what it is below!