Canada's official drunk/hangover food is undoubtedly poutine. The combination of greasy fries, squeaky cheese, and warm gravy is just good for the soul, although not exactly for the body.
But, when you're heading home from the bar at 2 AM, some of the only options you have for a delicious late-night poutine are fast-food restaurants. Now, you may not be in the best decision-making mode at 2 AM after a night out, but that's where I come in. I taste-tested three of the top fast food restaurants in Canada to figure out which one has the best poutine, so you don't have to.
While I wouldn't recommend ordering three fast-food poutines all at once, for the sake of our readers and my own curiosity, that's what I did. I compared regular poutines from McDonald's, Wendy's, and Burger King to determine which one was the best and there was a very clear winner.
As a disclaimer, you may notice that Tim Hortons - the "most Canadian" restaurant of all - isn't on the list. That's because despite them adding poutine to their menu only a few months ago, not only did they not have it, but the worker there didn't even know what I was talking about.
Nonetheless, this is the ranking, based on my own opinions, of fast food restaurants in Canada that actually do have poutine on their menu, in order from worst to best.
*all prices are including Ontario tax
This will definitely come as a surprise to many of you, but in last place is none other than McDonald's. While I very rarely say no to McD's famous fries, once you cover them with cheese and gravy they just don't seem to cut it anymore. It definitely looks like a poutine, but it doesn't taste like one at all.
Strengths: McDonald's had one of the best presentations and also a solid amount of cheese curds that were at least somewhat squeaky.
Weaknesses: The fries aren't quite strong enough to carry the poutine, the gravy had literally no discernable flavour nor was there enough of it, and it was off-puttingly sweet tasting.
2. Burger King
Burger King coming in second place isn't exactly a testament to how good their poutine is, but to how bad McDonald's poutine is. Burger King may have earned the silver medal, but I can't say I would truly recommend it. Where it gets the edge up on McD's is the fact that it did have flavour, even if it wasn't necessarily that good.
Strengths: This poutine has a nice thick gravy that has a flavour of sorts, although it's not clear what. The fries honestly aren't bad, and it's definitely more reminiscent of a true Canadian poutine.
Weaknesses: This one didn't look good, with a lack of evenly distributed toppings throughout. It was also extremely salty and a little soggy, almost as if it was drenched in saltwater somehow.
When it came time to crown a winner in this fast food face-off, Wendy's was unmistakably in first place. Not only did it taste better than the others, but it was also more authentic, both in presentation and in flavour. It was also the least expensive.
Strengths: The gravy actually tasted a bit meaty, the cheese curds were melted just enough but still kind of squeaky, and the skin is left on the fries, giving them some substance.
Weaknesses: While the cheese curds were distributed throughout, the gravy wasn't, which resulted in a bunch of dry fries at the bottom.
Next time you are looking for a cheap poutine in a pinch, my incredibly unqualified recommendation is that you go to Wendy's, where you will find not only the best poutine but also the best bang for your buck.
Now that the taste debate is settled, the only thing that still remains a mystery is whether it's actually pronounced "pou-tin" (not to be confused with Russian leader Vladimir Putin) or "pou-teen."
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Narcity Media.