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Poutine
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Eat the best poutine in Toronto at these 11 spots

The best drunk food on the planet? Fries, cheese and gravy. These are the places to find the best poutine in Toronto.

Written by
Sinead Mulhern
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Who doesn’t love poutine? Even if you claim not to enjoy this messy piece of magic, deep down in your soul you will have a craving for fries, melted cheese and gravy. You don’t have to admit it because we all have it. There is no more fulfilling drunk food on the planet, which is handy in Toronto because this place knows how to party.

Where to find the best poutine in Toronto? That is the million-dollar (Canadian) question, albeit one that comes with a wide variety of answers. The results may surprise you. Sure, you can find it at street food stops and on all pub menus, but were you aware that there is also a growing scene that is sprucing the dish up and getting creative with toppings? Well, you do now. Eating poutine is one of the best things to do in Toronto, and these are the places to make a beeline for.

Best poutine in Toronto

Smoke’s Poutinerie
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Min C.

1. Smoke’s Poutinerie

Smoke’s Poutinerie (simply referred to as Smoke’s by locals) is a Canada-wide operation that doles out some of the most satisfying spin-offs of Canada’s favourite traditional dish. More of a grab-and-go kind of spot than a sit-down eatery, Smoke’s focuses only on poutine with a variety of topping combinations seldom found at a typical club or bistro. Adventurous eaters will be impressed by the nacho, cheeseburger and pierogi options (think of them as two meals in one) while traditionalists will opt for the Hogtown, the Toronto-specific poutine that goes by the city’s nickname and features mushrooms, onions, Italian sausage and double-smoked bacon.

Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie

2. Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie

The Distillery District, with its quaint old architecture and cobblestone walkways, is, without a doubt, one of the most Instagrammable portions of Toronto. Cluny Bistro stays true to this aesthetic with a charming decor (think exposed brick, dainty light fixtures and patterned tiles) that doesn’t skimp on the details. The modern French bistro combines French-Canadian food with classical French cuisine in its “coq au vin” shared poutine that includes organic red wine braised chicken, sautéed mushrooms and bacon with cheese curds brought to Toronto from a Quebec fromagerie.

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Utopia
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Jonathan C.

3. Utopia

This gem inside little Italy is budget-friendly, delicious and offers quite a range of foods that will satisfy any type of eater. The poutine is a choose-your-own-adventure meal and can be prepared with unusual toppings like shaved lamb, crispy fried onions, sirloin steak or even tempeh bacon that will appeal to vegans. Bonus points: the location is easily accessible, on a streetcar route in a well-trafficked part of the city.

Oddseoul
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Herman W.

4. Oddseoul

Menus can get especially exciting in a multicultural country like Canada and Oddseoul is a perfect example of culinary fusion done right. The snack bar is a trendy joint on Ossington Avenue with a vibe that’s as original as the menu. The Korean-Canadian poutine strays from the dish’s French-Canadian roots but is a seriously delicious interpretation that’s worth trying. The base is a squash and instead of using traditional beef gravy, they’ve gone with a curry version that’s topped off with green onions, kimchi, sesame and pickled ginger. No, it’s not at all traditional but then again, neither is Toronto.

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NomNomNom
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/David H.

5. NomNomNom

A row of shipping containers that occupy a slice of Dundas Street West constitute a favourite hang-out space for locals looking to lunch or sack in the summer. The poutine here, budget-friendly without compromising on flavour, is prepared with Quebec-made gravy, always a plus. Looking for the most authentic pick on the menu? Try Schwartz’s Montreal smoked meat.

Sneaky Dees
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Dan L.

6. Sneaky Dees

Sneaky Dees is one of the most iconic restaurants and music venues in Toronto. It has been around since 1987, hosting musical acts the likes of Feist and Arcade Fire in its 30-year history. The destination is renowned for its affordable Tex-Mex food (the nacho plates are stacked deliciously high) but the staff also serves a mean traditional poutine. On the fence regarding your order? The Destroyer combines the best of both worlds using the traditional fries, gravy and cheese curds of poutine before adding guacamole, sour cream, tomatoes, jalapenos and onions. Basically, it’s a frat boy’s dream come true.

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Leslieville Pumps
Photograph: Leslieville Pumps

7. Leslieville Pumps

Leslieville Pumps is a country-style restaurant, gas station and convenience store in the East End whose city-wide reputation relies on the outstanding mean BBQ flavours it creates. The poutine – which comes with squeaky Ontario cheese curds, dark, rich gravy and either baked beans pulled pork or brisket – is just as impressive as the list of sandwiches and Southern-style dishes on offer. Tourists with jack-packed itineraries and late-night hankerings for delicious eats, pay attention: the eatery is open from early in the morning to late at night.

Tallboys Craft Beer House
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Kevin K.

8. Tallboys Craft Beer House

A West End favourite, Tallboys is a sports bar and craft beer house that takes pub food favourites but elevates their yum factor with mouth-watering sauces and to-die-for toppings for a little extra pizazz. The vibe is laid-back and cozy, making this a go-to pub for many Torontonians no matter the time of year. As for the poutine, visitors can go with the traditional hand-cut fries topped with gravy and cheese curds or opt to kick the flavour up a notch by adding chicken, pulled pork, bacon, caramelized onions, chorizo or jalapeno to their dish. To round out the experience, try to time your visit to the next Toronto Maple Leafs game.

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Sea Witch Fish & Chips
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Vickie C.

9. Sea Witch Fish & Chips

Sea Witch is a must-visit for foodies who love a good, fresh fish ‘n chips dinner. The restaurant has taken a classic menu item and given it a Canadian spin by pairing it with poutine. Fish options include haddock, cod, halibut, trout and pickerel and, most importantly, the chips are fried in beef drippings. You read that right.

The Lakeview Restaurant
Photograph: The Lakeview Restaurant

10. The Lakeview Restaurant

This ‘50s-style diner is a breakfast joint popular among the locals given its delicious food and charming atmosphere. Sure, the poutine is the drunk food of choice for many Canadians, but it also happens to be a great hangover cure. After a night on the town, get the morning off to a proper start here by ordering the disco breakfast: poutine with sunny-side-up eggs, cheddar and Havarti cheese, gravy, bacon and maple sausage.

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Amsterdam BrewHouse
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Amsterdam BrewHouse

11. Amsterdam BrewHouse

This is a brewery with a view and one that any tourist should make a point of checking out if they’re visiting during the summer. The space is large, able to accommodate a big group that will revel in the classic poutine offerings, served with hand-cut fries, Ontario cheese curds and beef gravy – best washed down with a signature brew.

Need to quench your thirst?

  • Bars and pubs

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