In the 416/647, there's poutine and then there's poutine. It's somewhat difficult to come across a shop or a chain that strictly pushes the basics - potatoes, cheese curds, and hot, hot gravy - and that's because the side dish has evolved. It's currently 2015 and it's a French-Canadian staple that's finally moved out of the house to experience the highs of other cuisines and if you often find yourself outside past 1 a.m. on most weekends, you're not mad at it. With that in mind, we present to you the 8 Best Poutine Spots In Toronto.
Simply put, Poutineville is like the Olive Garden of poutine (and in a good way). The Quebec-born establishment initially made a mark on Toronto with its all-you-can-eat poutine and their hand-crushed potatoes have made it hard not to go kicking and screaming into the night. Especially when they can be doused in grilled chicken, gyro, smoked meat, 911 chicken wings, or a curd cheese and wine sauce.
2. BQM Burger Shoppe
Queen East's BQM starts off this list and for good reason. Like their rivals/pals over at Great Burger Kitchen, the Shoppe focuses on locally sourced ingredients that help construct a more unique poutine that's made with crispier fries and cheese that's melted under a heaping pile of gravy. It's far from textbook - if you take your poutine seriously - but the seasonings and generous portions go a long way.
3. Holy Chuck
Johnny Prassoulis' St. Clair shop is more renowned for their aged fresh beef patties and signature milkshakes, but it's impossible to ignore their diner-esque poutine. Their baskets are available in classic with real Quebec cheese curds ($6.99) or smothered in bacon and hot peppers ($7.99) or white truffles and foie grais ($14.99-$29.99). The latter aren't exactly budget friendly so stop by with a friend (or two).
Photo cred - If Looks Could Fill
4. Leslieville Pumps
Leslieville is full of hidden gems and the Pumps is one that deserves more attention. The general store takes pride in their southern style sandwiches and their poutine just so happens to be an affordable vice that can be traditional ($5.97) or loaded ($8.84) with either pulled pork, baked beans, or beef brisket chili.
5. Lou Dawgs
Lou Dawg's has two BBQ-fied joints in the downtown core (Ryerson, King West) and they make sure to southern and smother their cheese curd offerings. Along with a traditional poutine ($6.95), they're known to serve up bean and chili-cheese variations ($7.95-$11.95) as well as "The Mighty Loutine" ($7.95-$13.95) - which can be dressed up in pulled pork, chicken, or a whole lotta' mouth-watering brisket.
Poutini's is Queen West fave because they do it the QW way. Their branding's pretty minimal, their ingredients are fresh and evenly layered, and along with your traditional poutine and beef, bacon, and veggie staples, they also offer gluten-free gravy and Daiya cheese versions for health-conscious vegans. Throw in a bottle of Boylan's Crème Soda and Poutini's is practically your new bae.
7. San Francesco Foods
San Francesco has been a part of the local community for more than 60 years now and they compliment their veal sandwiches with a true Italiano take. Talk about old school - their poutine utilizes fresh-cut potatoes, chunky curds, and depending on your preference/creativity, a savory helping of spiced meats.
8. Smoke's Poutinerie
If it hasn't by now, Smoke's will undoubtedly trump Pizza Pizza from the late night scene and become the ultimate after-hours stop. Why? Smoke's poutine comforts the soul. They still boast an eclectic array of dishes - from the Chicken Inferno to Veggie Nacho Poutine - and have a total of 15 locations in The Six, including new(ish) spots at Church & Wellesley, Yonge & Sheppard, and Maple Leaf Square.