The 11 best places to eat poutine in Canada (2024)

Eating poutine is a quintessential part of the Canadian experience, perhaps even more so than seeing a moose or eating a Timbit donut morsel from Tim Hortons.

A sublime combination of fries, cheese and gravy, poutine is one ofCanada's truly definitive foods. It pairs well with beer, you can usually get it after a night out (sometimes it's the only thing you can get) and it can easily be shared by a handful of hungry friends with a fistful of forks.

Poutine purists may argue that the highest-grade cheese curds, homemade gravy and fresh-cut fries are the only ingredients that make an authentic poutine.

But Canada is an incredibly diverse nation, home to people from more than 250 ethnic backgrounds, setting the stage for some truly unique poutine experiences. Here’s our list of the best places to eat poutine in Canada.

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The 11 best places to eat poutine in Canada (1)

The uniquely Canadian history of poutine

Poutine can trace its origins to rural snack bars in Québec in the 1950s. Many cafes and restaurants claim to be the ones who first came up with the idea, likely due to their proximity to the Québécois fromageries that produced the cheese curds.

But poutine really found its groove on Canadian menus in the 1990s. Today, even fast-food chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King have poutine.

Poutine has even gone political, with many Quebecois claiming that defining poutine as a Canadian dish is an act ofcultural appropriation since it originates from Quebec. As of 2022, this contentious issue has yet to be resolved.

The 11 best places to eat poutine in Canada (2)

So what exactly is poutine?

Here is a barebones definition of basic poutine: French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. It may not be beautiful to look at – in fact, the etymology of the word "poutine" may come from a term for a messy mixture – but it’s exactly what Canadians crave in the dead of winter to warm their hearts and bellies. Non-purists add a variety of extra ingredients, including various meaty toppings.

Where to go for poutine

Here is our pick of the top spots to chow down on poutine across Canada.

Le Banquise Montréal, Québec

Best for late-night poutine

Admittedly, this is aMontréal tourist hot spot, but it’s well worth checking out. Le Banquise is open 24 hours and it serves over 30 types of poutine (there are plenty of times you can go without waiting in line, like 10pm on a Wednesday).

The memory of the bright yellow and orange exterior will stay with you for days. Le Banquise has operated as a 24-hour snack bar since 1968, so you can be confident that their poutine offering is tested and true.

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Au Pied de Cochon, Montréal, Québec

Best for a high-end poutine experience

If you want to try a high-end version of poutine, Au Pied de Cochon (Pig's foot) in Montréal is the place to go. Their poutine is incredibly rich, with fries cooked in duck-fat and duck-fat gravy thickened with egg yolks and heavy cream, all topped off with a generous helping of foie gras.

This is a great restaurant to try family recipes for regionalQuébécois cuisine in general, so make sure you go in hungry for the full gastronomical experience.

The 11 best places to eat poutine in Canada (3)

Fritz European Fry House, Vancouver, British Columbia

Best for melty cheese poutine

Open until 4am some nights, Fritz is a quick-serve fry shop inVancouver with award-winning fries and some of the best poutine in Canada, despite its small size and take-out-only dining.

Poutine is usually made with either crispy fries and squeaky curds or soft fries with melty curds and gravy coating every bite; Fritz does poutine the latter way, and the cheese-pull quotient with every bite is glorious.

Le Chic Shack, Quebec City, Québec

Best for unique poutine variations

Québec City's Le Chic Shack is an elevated diner for burgers, shakes and poutines. Every one of their ingredients is locally sourced and of the highest quality.

Le Chic has three variations of poutine: “La Classique” (classic, as the name suggests), “La Forestière” (wild mushroom ragout, aged cheddar, cheese curds, shallots, herbs) and “La Braisèe” (ale-braised beef, aged cheddar, cheese curds, pickled onions, horseradish aioli).

Willy’s Fresh Cut, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Best classic poutine

This is your best stop for classic poutine in eastern Canada – hand-cut fluffy french fries, squeaky cheese curds and a dependable gravy. Willy’s in Halifax is a no-frills poutinerie and burger joint, but you can absolutely add frills. "Donair" is one of their most popular combinations, with fried onions, mushrooms, and garlic sauce.

The 11 best places to eat poutine in Canada (4)

Whistle Stop Cafe, Peterborough, Ontario

Best for a local poutine experience

Serving no fewer than 100 variations on poutine, with fun names such as "Aku's Big Booty Chicken poutine," the Whistle Stop Cafe in Peterborough, Ontario, is open 24 hours from Thursday to Saturday (and until 10pm the rest of the week). As a local student hotspot,Whistle Stop is always buzzing with activity. Be sure to try their renowned butter tarts for dessert.

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Nom Nom Nom, Toronto, Ontario

Best food stall poutine

This little food stall offers a surprisingly large selection (10 poutine varieties) and lots of other French street food such as crêpes and croissants.

Many of their ingredients are sourced from Québec to ensure an authentic experience, but with toppings such as jerk chicken, smoked meat “superdog,” and “lumberjack,” they still manage to give their poutines a very Toronto customization.

Big Red’s Poutine Maple Ridge, British Columbia

Best food truck poutine

The poutine at Big Red’s is addictive; if you’re a regular, you can join their poutine rewards program. The Big Red's food truck drives all over the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland, attending many pop-up events. Despite the mobile setting, everything is fresh and popular variations include "spring roll poutine" and "hamburger poutine."

The 11 best places to eat poutine in Canada (5)

Big T’s BBQ, Calgary, Alberta

Best American take on poutine

Poutine has even made its way to the USA and Calgary's Big T’s does poutine in the most American way possible, topped with from-scratch BBQ toppings made with slow-smoked meats and handmade rubs.

This is definitely one of the best places to try a different kind of poutine, such as their pulled pork or smoked brisket. Big T’s has even been featured on Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here, so you probably gotta eat there.

La Belle Patate, Vancouver, British Columbia

Best poutine paired with beer

La Belle Patate's ever-changing menu currently includes 32 different poutines, and there's a perfect drinks pairing of Spruce Beer, imported directly from Québec.

This spot is incredibly efficient when it comes to the food turnaround time, so if you're hungry and need a quick poutine fix, this is the place to go. La Belle's most popular poutines include "The Boss" (ground beef, hot dogs, raw onions, BBQ sauce and house gravy) and the "Newfie" (which comes with seasoned breadcrumb stuffing).

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Poutineville Montréal, Québec

Best place to build your own poutine

Montréal's Poutineville is so good it's now a mini-chain, with locations all over Québec and even one in Ontario.

The build-your-own concept offers plenty of family-friendly fun, and this is the only poutinerie on the list with four different styles of potatoes that you can use as the base of your poutine.

Toppings include melted nacho cheese, blue cheese, marinated eggplant, corn dogs, a 5oz filet mignon steak and a meat-and-tomato sauce instead of gravy (or with gravy – they don't judge here).

The 11 best places to eat poutine in Canada (2024)


Where is poutine most popular in Canada? ›

It has long been associated with Quebec cuisine, and its rise in prominence has led to its growing popularity throughout the rest of Canada. Annual poutine celebrations occur in Montreal, Quebec City, and Drummondville, as well as Toronto, Ottawa, New Hampshire, and Chicago.

What is poutine called in America? ›

In the United States, some restaurants of New York and New Jersey propose their own mix of fries, gravy and cheese, called « Disco Fries ». In Latin America, we can enjoy a poutine on the isolated beach of Zipolite island in Mexico.

What does poutine mean in English? ›

poutine • \poo-TEEN\ • noun. : a dish of French fries covered with brown gravy and cheese curds - chiefly Canadian. Examples: Although classic poutine is a simple marriage of French fries, gravy, and cheese curds, the dish has inspired ethnic variations with different combinations of meats and sauces. "

What percentage of Canadians eat poutine? ›

poll has found. In the online survey of a representative national sample, 82% of Canadians say they would “definitely” or “probably” eat poutine, up five points since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in October 2021. Poutine is particularly popular among Canadians aged 35-to-54 (84%) and aged 18-to-34 (82%).

Who eats the most poutine in the world? ›


What is poutine in Canadian slang? ›

Poutine is Québécois slang for a “mess,” and the namesake is also commonly attributed to the English word “pudding,” or “pouding” in French.

Is poutine healthy? ›

A large poutine, incredibly high in total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and refined carbs, can raise the triglyceride levels in your blood for 6-12 hours after consumption. Triglyceride levels will rise even higher if you have alcohol in your system, which most people eating a late-night poutine probably do.

What is Canada's national dish? ›

Poutine: Fries, cheese curds and gravy combine in national dish of Canada.

What is the gravy in poutine made of? ›

Butter: Use unsalted butter so you can control the amount of salt in the gravy. All-purpose flour: Equal parts flour and butter are combined to create a roux. This is what makes the gravy so thick and creamy! Beef broth: Use reduced sodium beef broth to prevent an overly salty gravy.

What does poutine taste like? ›

So what does this combination of fries, gravy and cheese taste like? No surprise here, but it's delicious! The french fries provide crispness and saltiness—two must-haves for any savory snack. The cheese is mellow and creamy.

What is poutine called in New Jersey? ›

A variant of poutine called Disco Fries is considered a classic New Jersey diner dish, using shredded Cheddar cheese or mozzarella in place of cheese curds.

Do Canadians put ketchup on poutine? ›

Poutine is a popular Canadian dish that will change the way you eat regular French fries. Instead of ketchup or fry sauce, these crispy fries are covered in cheese and beef gravy.

Why is poutine a must try? ›

It is simultaneously familiar (everyone knows and loves french fries, with a sauce to dip them in) and new (adding the twist of a seductive squeak against the tooth from that fresh cheese curd). It is also cheap, filling and infinitely adaptable, especially upmarket (well, you can't very well take it down).

Who brought poutine to Canada? ›

Genius! A Drummondville restaurant called Le Roy Jucep registered a trademark stating that it is the inventor of poutine. Jean-Paul Roy, owner of this restaurant in 1964, is the first one to have served poutine as we know it today, i.e. "French fries, cheese and gravy."

Why is poutine so famous in Canada? ›

Mass popularization

McDonald's catapulted poutine to fast-food fame when it added the dish to Québec store menus in 1990 before expanding the offering to other Canadian locations. Canadian chain Harvey's followed suit in 1992, placing poutine on menus across the country.

Is Montreal known for poutine? ›

As Poutine is Québec national meal, it is of course very popular in Montréal, Québec nation Metropolis. Poutine restaurants are very trendy and even if Poutine is from Bois-Francs region, Montréal can count on “La Banquise” as a very old “Poutinerie”.

Is poutine from Ontario? ›

The uniquely Canadian history of poutine

Poutine can trace its origins to rural snack bars in Québec in the 1950s. Many cafes and restaurants claim to be the ones who first came up with the idea, likely due to their proximity to the Québécois fromageries that produced the cheese curds.

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