While Poutine, the much loved Canadian dish, originated in Quebec, there are plenty of great poutine shops all across the country, including those in Toronto near Backpackers on Dundas. This is a dish with only three simple ingredients of fries, cheese curds and gravy, but it is the execution that makes it complicated. The fries should be perfectly deep fried, cheese curds should have a slight “squeak” when you bite into it and the gravy should taste like a brew of meat and seasonings. Yes, it may be junk food for a meal, but it is one of the great Canadian comfort foods.
Here are a few good restaurants to try when you are in town:
Poutini’s House of Poutine (1112 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON): This restaurant has been featured in the Best Of columns of BlogTO, Now Magazine and also the Chicago Tribune. It is arguably one of the best poutine spots in the city as it gets its cheese curds delivered every other day and it slow cooks its own gravy. On top of that, they also offer an in-house vegetarian gravy as well as a gluten free option made of Daiya vegan cheese.
Smoke’s Poutinerie (218 Adelaide Street West, 203 Dundas Street East and 578 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON): In addition to the three basic traditional poutine ingredients, this place offers a wide range of poutine options as well as an opportunity to create your own. These range from the Hogtown Poutine, which has the cheese and gravy as well as double-smoked bacon, Italian sausage, sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions to the Nacho Veggie Poutine with tomato salsa instead of gravy, sour cream, jalapeno peppers and guacamole.
Caplansky’s Deli (356 College Street, Toronto, ON): This is a joint in Kensington Market that is celebrated for its smoked meat sandwiches, but that does not mean they cannot make an awesome poutine! The smoked meat poutine is a fantastic mixture of fries, cheese curds, meat and gravy done right.