These Are The Best Dishes From Fast-Food Restaurants In Canada, According To Top Chefs

These cheap meals are chef-approved! 🍔

Trending Associate Editor
Fried chicken from Jollibee. Right: spicy fried chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A.

Fried chicken from Jollibee. Right: spicy fried chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A.

Ever wondered what the best fast-food dishes in Canada are?

Whether you're a real lover of A&W burgers, a huge fan of McDonald's fries, or even a Pizza Pizza enthusiast, you've likely got a go-to cheat snack.

But if you're always undecided on where to get your guilty pleasure snacks from, this might just help you out.

Narcity decided to go straight to the experts – top Canadian chefs – to find out which of Canada's major fast-food restaurants are delivering top-class fast-food items. And the experts delivered effortlessly.

The next time you're craving some greasy, late-night fast-food picks, why not try ordering one of these? Not only are they budget-friendly, they're also officially chef-approved.

You're welcome, Canada! Bon Appetit.

The Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich from Chick-fil-A

According to Indo-Canadian chef Hemant Bhagwani, this is the ultimate guilty pleasure fast-food dish.

The chef behind a number of Toronto restaurants— as well as the recently launched Goa New York in the U.S. — told Narcity that he simply loves fried chicken sandwiches.

And the spicy fried chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A is a real winner.

"It's my go-to sandwich," he said. "Perfect crunch, toasted buttered bun, and I love the flavours."

The Beef 'n' Cheddar Sandwich from Arby's

Adam Turchetto, chef de cuisine at Toronto's Antler Kitchen & Bar, says that when it comes to fast-food, his guilty pleasure is from the "forgotten and lost fast-food chain, Arby's."

"The 'Beef 'n' Cheddar Curly Fries' jingle has lived rent-free in my head for more than a decade now," he said.

If you're wondering why he loves it so much, it's not the beef, cheese sauce or red ranch… but the onion bun!

"The onion bun just hits better than a sesame or potato bun," he explained. "Opening the lid of that bun and pumping a packet or two of horsey sauce on top, to get that wasabi-like, nostril-clearing spice, sets it above all else."

And if you're really hungry, he recommends sizing it up.

"F*ck waffle fries. Spicy McCain curly fries are the greatest gastronomy creation of all time, add a side of cheese sauce, and that's culinary bliss!" he said.

The Teen Burger from A&W

A&W is a favourite here in Canada, so it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that it's a popular option even among chefs.

Chef Mark McEwan, known for appearances in shows like Wall of Chefs and Top Chef Canada, listed the brand's teen burger as his go-to guilty pleasure dish.

"So my spin on guilty pleasures is a teen burger at A&W. Believe it or not, it’s excellent for a drive-through product," he told Narcity.

While he didn't emphasize why he thought so, he did add that "A&W managed to move the needle" with this creation.

The turkey sandwich from Subway

If Subway is your idea of a good meal, then you're not alone.

Hidekazu Tojo, the famous Japanese-Canadian chef behind Vancouver's Tojo's Restaurant, says his pick would be the turkey breast sandwich on honey oat bread, with all the fixings and honey mustard sauce.

"I love that they toast the bread for you, and have large variety of toppings," he revealed. "All of the veggies make the sandwich taste really fresh and I enjoy the different textures."

"I love spicy food, so I will sometimes ask for extra jalapeños!" he added.

The Spicy Habanero Chicken Sandwich from A&W

For Eric Chagnon-Zimmerly, the chef de cuisine at Ottawa-based restaurant North and Navy, it's a no-brainer.

The chef lists A&W's Spicy Habanero Chicken Sandwich as his winner.

"It's got fried chicken, a bit of heat, mayo, cheap iceberg and a too-cold tomato [slice]! What more do you want when you're feeling greasy food late night after work?" he said.

He also added that the root beer is "equally undeniable."

"I'm almost certainly just rationalizing in saying this, but I also like that it's a Canadian brand mostly owned/operated by franchisees," Chagnon-Zimmerly concluded.

The fried chicken from Jollibee

If you're a big fan of fried chicken, you won't want to want to miss out on this fast-food joint, according to Marc Cheng — the executive chef behind Toronto's swanky restaurant Clio.

Although he did admit that he hasn't had it in a while, Cheng says Jollibee's fried chicken remains his go-to fast-food pick.

He adds that although the franchise started as an ice cream shop and turned into a "run-of-the-mill burger and fries fast-food chain," the introduction of their fried chicken turned it into one of the most popular and beloved fast-food brand exports in the Philippines.

"Just get the spicy version, the pineapple quencher and one of the pies to finish," he recommended.

Double cheeseburger from McDonald's

A double cheeseburger from McDonald's.

A double cheeseburger from McDonald's.

McDonald's Canada

A stalwart in the fast-food industry also got a mention.

Chef Jae-Anthony Dougan, the chef-owner of Tropikàl (who you might also recognize from season nine of Top Chef Canada), told Narcity his favourite fast-food chain of all time is McDonald's.

The fact that it's readily available and so easy to get a cheeseburger (even when everything else is closed) are some of the reasons it's his favourite.

As for his favourite item, he names the classic double cheeseburger, namely because of the way the cheese, the salt and the pickles all come together.

The Timbits from Tim Hortons

And, of course, it wouldn't be a Canadian list without a little Tim Hortons shoutout!

Elia Herrera, the chef and co-owner behind concepts such as Colibrí in Toronto and Milpa in Calgary, named an iconic item from their menu as her favourite.

"I love the Timbits," she said.

The reason, she says, is because they are delicious and fresh every time, especially at the locations close to her.

"I love them, especially the sour cream and birthday cake [flavours]."

So, if you're looking for something sweet and chef-approved to wash down all those burgers, you know where to go.

There you have it, these dishes are definitely ones to try if you're starved for inspiration on your next order!

Janice Rodrigues
Trending Associate Editor
Janice Rodrigues is an Associate Editor for Narcity Canada’s Trending Desk focused on Canadian immigration and passports, and is based in Scarborough, Ontario.
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