Once upon a time, there was nothing a good poutine couldn’t fix. If I was having a bad day, it was always there for me. Sigh…It’s the ultimate comfort food, and now that I live in the United States, I’m sad that I can’t just get one any time I want. Yes, there are a few places here that sell poutine, but it’s not the same (and it’s not very good). When you’ve had the best poutine in Canada, nothing will measure up.
Poutine is a French Canadian dish made with french fries that are covered in cheese curds and gravy. Most of the best places are in Québec, but you can find poutine in cities across Canada. This post will share some of the easiest ways to eat poutine while traveling.
Want the real thing? Head to a greasy spoon — think La Belle Province or Paul Patates — in Montréal and dive into the gooey goodness. It will be the best 10 minutes of your life. I promise. You’ll find passable versions of the dish in other parts of Canada, but most people will agree that it just doesn’t compare to Montréal or anywhere in Québec.
We are going to share some easy places to find poutine in Canada. These aren’t necessarily the best, but they are convenient. Below our suggestions, you’ll find lists of the best ranked poutines in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. Having lived in Calgary, I can’t include it because it’s a poutine desert!!!
Poutine at La Belle Province
Spend any time in Montreal and you’re bound to come across a La Belle Province. The iconic Quebec restaurant chain specializes in hot dogs, submarines, and french fries. They’re also pretty famous for their poutine. People will debate whether other places have the best poutine in Canada, but if you have a La Belle Province poutine, you can say that you’ve tried the real deal.
First of all, their fries are so good that there were many times that I skipped the cheese and gravy in favor of ketchup. I could probably eat two bags of them all by myself. They’re kind of like Five Guys’ fries, but better. So when that’s your base, it’s gonna be good. The gravy at La Belle Province is also my favorite!
Rotisseries Benny Poutine
There were just a couple Rotisseries Benny (or “Benny’s” as we say!) locations when I was growing up, and now they are all across Quebec. Most stores offer just counter service, but when we went to Ottawa, we found one just across the river in Gatineau and it had seating. It really surprised me. I felt like I waited my whole life for that moment!
Anyway, Benny’s is known for their rotisserie chicken. There was a time in my life when I’d order it every Thursday night. Whenever we’re in the Montreal area, I get a chicken and fries meal and Josh always gets the poutine. You can get it with dark or white meat and it’s really delicious. I’ve also had the meatless one many times in my life and it never disappoints! to me, this is one place to find the best poutine in Canada.
When we were up in Toronto recently, we stayed downtown at The Ritz-Carlton Toronto. It was a great area so we walked around till we found Smoke’s Poutinerie. The chain of restaurants creates a variety of different types of poutines with toppings ranging from Butter Chicken to Veggie Deluxe.
We happened to be in the city the night the Toronto Raptors won the NBA Championships. We grabbed our poutine and ate them at the hotel with some cheesecake. Good thing we loaded up on calories, because we ran out to join the crowds to celebrate the victory!
Poutine at New York Fries
Despite the name, New York Fries is a Canadian company. You’ll find counters in food courts across the country (even Calgary haha). They’ve got a different kind of fry than La Belle Province, but they are really good. They primarily sell hot dogs, fries, and poutine with a variety of toppings.
New York Fries offers a range of poutine from Pulled Pork to Chili Cheese. Josh and I both like to keep it pretty classic and order the traditional. If we lived in Canada and could have poutine all the time, we might be more adventurous. When you’ve only got one chance in a year, you want it to satisfy the craving.
Taco Bell/KFC Poutine
Okay, this is a bit of a weird one, but bear with me. Like many places in the United States, Taco Bell and KFC (or PFK in Québec) are often combined into one restaurant in Canada. Technically, the poutine is sold by KFC, but if you can go to a combination location, that’s even better. Why? Because you can also order Fries Supreme!
The poutine at KFC Canada is very salty, but I like it. The gravy is the same that they give you as a side with your mashed potatoes, but I don’t care. The fries are great and there’s just something about this whole thing that feels like a guilty pleasure.
At the same time, the Fries Supreme is outstanding. Yes, Taco Bell in the U.S. has started doing the fries sometimes, but it’s very different. The item on Taco Bell Canada’s menu is well-established and is almost like a Tex-Mex poutine. Get both and then go take a nap!
Poutine McDonald’s Canada
Is the poutine at McDonald’s Canada the best you’ll ever taste? No, not by a long shot. Is it worth ordering with your Big Mac when you’re in Canada? Totally. It’s very different from most of the poutines you’ll get elsewhere, mostly because the base is made with the ultra famous McDonald’s fries! They are thinner and crispier than the traditional potatoes found in poutine, so you should definitely try it.
PLUS, it’s McDonald’s. You’ll find them all over the place, especially in Québec. The only thing to consider, though, is that they take a little longer to prepare. If you order poutine in the drive-thru, you’ll probably have to pull to the side and wait for your order. Once you take the first bite, though, you probably won’t care about the minor inconvenience!
Okay, so real talk. When we lived in Alberta (mostly Calgary), there weren’t a lot of options for poutine. So, whenever we had a craving, A&W became our primary source. Like KFC, the gravy is very salty but the fries aren’t as good. Is this a completely passable, viable option for anyone who wants poutine and there aren’t any better restaurants. That sounds terrible, but it’s the truth.
When we were in Vancouver recently, Josh got the chance to try the A&W Poutine. On that day, it was made super fresh so even I was impressed. We’d just landed an hour earlier and headed straight to Tim Hortons and the closest poutine. This was it and we have no regrets!
Poutine at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival
We take trips down to Walt Disney World often, and absolutely love to go when the Food & Wine Festival is happening. We discovered that we can enjoy our poutine down there and it was really good. It should come as no surprise that we ordered the traditional and our friend got the one topped with Duck Confit.
Considering how many great things you can get at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, we got one poutine to share. It was more than enough and definitely worth it. We hope we can have it again sometime soon!
Best Poutine in Montreal
To find a list of the Top 5 best poutines in Montreal, we checked out the Eater website. The article is less than a year old and seems consistent with some of the other lists we’ve seen:
- Blackstrap BBQ
- Pierrette Patates
- Paul Patates
- Restaurant A.A.
Best Poutine in Toronto
To find a list of the Top 5 best poutines in Toronto, we checked out the BlogTO website. The post was less than 30 days old, so it’s definitely current and relevant:
- Nom Nom Nom Poutinerie
- Poutini’s House of Poutine
- Leslieville Pumps
- Smoke’s Poutinerie
- Holy Chuck Burgers
Best Poutine in Vancouver
To find a list of the Top 5 best poutines in Vancouver, we checked out the NarCity website. We’ll have to keep this list handy as I’m less familiar with this city, but it’s the closest to where we live now:
- La Belle Patate
- Mean Poutine
- Fritz European Fry House
The Worst Poutine We Ever Had
When my ex came to visit our daughter, we made our way downtown to The Piper Bar & Grill. As a couple kids from Montreal, we were both looking forward to a dish from our home and native land. Having read the description, we fully understood that they made their gravy with duck fat. Still, we weren’t expecting what we got. It just didn’t look very appetizing at all!
Poutine is a rich dish on its own, and this was just swimming in an extra layer of grease. It seemed like the cheese had been baked onto the overcooked fries before the gravy was heaped on top. As a result, the texture wasn’t the melted goodness we were used to. Instead, it was thick and dry. Silently picking through the layers in search of anything salvageable, we had to agree that we’d discovered the worst poutine ever.
Making matters worse, we were all really hungry. This turn of events did nothing to improve our moods. My ex ordered a drink to cut through the oiliness in his stomach, and we paid for our food before heading someplace else to eat. The service was decent enough (okay, Hayley was not happy with it), but the place was so dark. It just wasn’t quite our vibe.
After 30 years in business, The Piper Bar & Grill shut its doors in November 2018. With the booming expansion in Boise, The Piper Bar & Grill didn’t quite fit the vision of the developers looking to revitalize the downtown core. Even though we didn’t enjoy the poutine, it’s sad to see something close after three decades. Hopefully, the owner has found a new venue and is on the path to an even better future!
How to Make Poutine
Can’t make it all the way to Montréal? You can make your own at home! It won’t be as good as the hole-in-the-wall restaurants up north, but it will probably be better than the stuff you’ll find elsewhere. The whole thing is pretty simple — that’s the beauty of it.
It’s best to use fresh potatoes, but a bag of your favorite frozen fries will work. Frying in a deep fryer or air fryer will add the right texture. If you must bake in the oven, I suggest lightly brushing them with vegetable or peanut oil first.
Poutine gravy is the trickiest part. You can pick up some fast food gravy (from KFC, from example) and it might do the trick. You may also combine a dry packet of onion gravy and brown gravy from the grocery store. I find that tastes pretty close. I’m pretty lucky to have people who will send me some packets of St. Hubert poutine sauce. It’s not as good as La Belle Province, but I’ll take it!
You’ll also need to grab some cheese curds. This might be easier in the northern states, but we’ve had luck at Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, Whole Foods, and Costco. Look around, you might be surprised to discover them right in front of you! Don’t get the flavored cheese curds, though! If you want to experiment with them once you’ve mastered poutine, that’s cool. For now, stick with the original!
To assemble, you can pour the fries into a bowl, add some cheese curds, and cover everything with sauce. Allow to sit for a minute to let the cheese melt a bit. My favorite, however, is to put everything into a baking pan (individual ones, if possible) and throw it into the oven for five minutes. It gives the gravy a chance to mingle with the fries and the cheese comes out so creamy! YUM!
This post feels woefully inadequate but it’s a good start for newbies! Serve your poutine with some delicious hot dogs or even French Canadian tourtière!