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Best Poutine in Toronto? Anyone?

Ok, there seems to be no good place or any place at all that has good poutine's in Toronto. Does anyone know any? I'm in North york, but would go downtown for one if necessary. LOL

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  1. Blue truck at City Hall - among the best I've ever tasted.

    And while not strictly classical poutine, JKWB does a great different take on poutine, new every couple of days.

    3 Replies
    1. re: DAB

      which blue truck? i usually see 2!
      i've tried poutine at a few different trucks there, and haven't found anything very satisfying yet.

      1. re: jayseeca

        it's the truck parked at the farthest east.
        they have the best poutine in toronto

      2. re: DAB

        i wholeheartedly agree with this.

        best i've had in toronto, and i do consider myself to be a bit of a poutine snob, as i grew up in quebec city.

      3. Bymark's lobster poutine with bearnaise sauce is divine. It'll set you back $25.

        I second the blue truck on Queen for delicious poutine.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Food Tourist

          Oh the Bymark lobster poutine *is* fabulous! (For the high-end non-traditional experience)

          1. re: Food Tourist

            I don't mind paying $25 for lobster poutine. At last year's Winterlicious friends and I went to Lola Steak House (south of Yonge & Eglinton) for dinner, and the appetizer was a lobster poutine that was...in a word...horrific. Limp, stringy, undercooked fries, barely any lobster to be found, and what we were convinced was warmed up Cheese Whiz sauce on top. Absolutely god-awful.

            I think what added to our misery that night (the entire meal was just unpalatable) was that the nasty waiter automatically added a 20% tip to the bill. For a table for 3 people that he hardly spoke one word to.

            1. re: czthemmnt

              There are other threads discussing Lola in a, shall we say, less than flattering light. Not a good bet for anything.

            1. re: TwinklyTerrapin

              Does ther Rebel House use cheese curds?

              1. re: TwinklyTerrapin

                I haven't tried it yet, but I'm told that Rebel House has it on sliced potato rounds (kind of like hash browns?) instead of fries. I've heard it's amazingly good, but if you're expecting fries it can be surprising.

                1. re: mainja

                  Yep, the fries aren't the traditional long rectangular slab o' fry, instead they are sorta more like potato chips, but a little thicker; not nearly as thick as hash browns. I really like them--more surface area to soak up the cheese-y, gravy-y goodness.

                2. re: TwinklyTerrapin

                  I definitely second Rebel House! The poutine is the only thing I like eating there, though... And they aren't too happy to seat/serve you if all you're ordering is a poutine and a side(s) of beer!

                  The potato rounds are great! I know they're not traditional... You have to eat these with a fork though... you'll never find those stray straight fries that you can pick up with your fingers!

                  1. re: YYZtoSFO

                    after hearing time and time again about the poutine there I went, and I have to say, I didn't like it. Too, um, I don't know, hard to quatify. It's possibly that it's the smoked mozzerella the everyone loves that I didn't like...

                3. Cheese curds AND smoked mozzerella--best of both goopy, gooey worlds...

                  1. Quince does one with peanut sauce, not traditional but v. v. good.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: nummanumma

                      Rebel House poutine is awful. From what I can tell, the potato rounds are not made to order (mine were barely warm). They claim to use "fresh curds and smoked mozzarella," but there were no curds in mine (and that was the whole reason I went).
                      In addition, maybe their smoked mozz is just powerful strong, but to me it tasted like they just dumped some hickory smoke into their sauce.
                      I call it disgusting.
                      The best poutine I've found in TO (yet to try the infamous blue truck, but I'll get there, I promise!) is from British Style Fish n' Chips, but it is a little weird (good brown sauce, good curds (talk to the cook from Quebec about their supplier) but tastes vaguely sweet, maybe fishy? I know that sounds terrible, but it's only slightly weird).

                    2. I see we aren't actually critiquing authentic poutine here which, to me, consists of greasy, limp, underdone potatoes, fried in lard, with curds and canned gravy.

                      I've actually found the version served at NY Fries quite palatable, and certainly better than the authentic version. (Though I haven't been there since they switched to trans-fat free oil.)

                      I've also been very happy with the JK variants. But are these really poutine? Lobster in Bearnaise sounds very enticing.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: embee

                        It's really truly the curds that make Quebec poutine great. The fries obviously depend on the establishment, and I agree the gravy is not great - and apparently it's often vegetarian, so perhaps not really gravy at all.
                        It's all about the curds, and that's exactly what Toronto poutine purveyors don't get!

                        1. re: julesrules

                          totally agree. the cheese curds have to be fresh. you can test this by eating one, premelted, and if it squeeks between your teeth, it's good.

                      2. Lick's has a poutine that is vegetarian (veggie gravy) and also tasty, though it features shredded cheese rather than cheese curds.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: thought_for_food

                          For sheer heart-attack-on-a-plate, Mel's Montreal Delicatessen has a smoked meat poutine - shredded cheese (not curds, alas), gravy, and a big handful of smoked meat shards on a huge pile of fries. Not glamorous or lobster-and-bearnaise by any stretch, but obscenely filling and tasty.

                          1. re: Smalph

                            I'l just repeat, ad nauseum, that Mel's does not serve edible food. Your mileage may (obviously does) vary :-)

                            Not real curds and not real smoked meat (or real meat, for that matter), but I love the idea. Shredded Schwartz's smoked meat, real curds, JK's gravy, and my own twice-cooked fries. Yum.

                            1. re: embee

                              i second the mel's opinion - i had it once and it was not very good - the meat crumbles do not go well w/the poutine

                        2. this thread has come up many many times, i suggest you do a search.

                          having said that...

                          as strange as it sounds, the best poutine i've had in toronto hands down is the poutine from british style fish and chips. the chips are amazing, real curds are used, and the brown gravy is not too overwhelmingly meaty tasting.

                          for the less traditional take i actually quite like the stuff at pogue mahone's on college just west of yonge, although it's shredded cheese, so again, not authentic.

                          i also second the new york fries version, it's pretty darn good.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: mainja

                            Who cares how 'authentic' is it as long as it taste good. =)

                            I had forgotten about the poutine at pogue's. Very very yummy and probably the only thing on their menu worth ordering.

                            1. re: mainja

                              Next time I'm at British Style I'll have to get it. Just the poutine- if I ate poutine, fish, and a Mars bar I'd die.

                              Partly of happiness.

                              1. re: lissar

                                when we're feeling really decadent we get fish (no chips) and poutine...

                                1. re: lissar

                                  they dont have the mars bars anymore, and the poutine is definatly not that good

                                  1. re: jen2202

                                    It's funny, I've had it four times. The first couple times it was great, then next couple it was meh. Also, lately I've found the whole thing meh. I think the change in ownership was not a good thing...

                                2. re: mainja

                                  Mainja - totally weird. I just posted above and said almost the same thing about British Style (with some reservations)...

                                3. There is actually a comparison of the poutine at Teatro, NY fries, Mr. Tasty Fries and JK Wine Bar in the new issue of Toronto Life. From the sounds of it they were all pretty good.

                                  1. I think Mr. Tasty Fries is the Blue Chip Truck in front of City Hall.

                                    1. Keep in mind that it's not just the curds - the gravy in real poutine from Quebec is chicken-based. And this is what I haven't been able to find in Toronto yet. New York Fries' version is tasty for sure, but beef-based in flavour. Mind you, these gravies often contain no actual meat - mais le vrai gout Quebecois, c'est poulet!

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: childofthestorm

                                        Chicken gravy from Quebec, or in Quebec, could very well be from canned Swiss Chalet or St. Hubert's.
                                        Beef flavoured is often Nestle's Trio.

                                        1. re: jayt90

                                          St. Hubert, maybe. Swiss Chalet never.

                                          But yeah I bought a few cans of St. Hubert gravy last time I was in Montreal and made poutine at home. Man I could go for that right now.

                                          1. re: jayt90

                                            You can buy St-Hubert poutine gravy just about anywhere here in Toronto. It is the best for people wanting to prepare it at home.

                                        2. Ah yes. Mel's Montreal Delicatessen (as mentioned above) does serve their smoked meat poutine with chicken gravy.

                                          1. Utopia in Little Italy seves a great one. Skin-on, house cut fries with fresh curds and veggie gravy. And it's huge and cheap.

                                            1. Can anyone help out a NYC tourist coming to Toronto on Friday for the weekend? Reading this and a couple other threads, it seems like the blue truck in front of City Hall is the way I would go for poutine. So, where's City Hall and which blue truck and what time of day and is the truck there on Saturday?

                                              Thanks in advance!

                                              10 Replies
                                              1. re: josephsm

                                                City hall is near the Eaton centre or roughly around Bay and Queen street, look for the flock of seagulls on Queen street! Lol! There is only one blue chip truck, it is definitely there on saturday maybe earliest would be noon or 11:30, I think.

                                                1. re: deabot

                                                  If you're in the Eaton Centre, walk towards the Queen St. end. Dundas is at the opposite end. Anyway, walk out the door onto the street and turn right. Walk about a block and city hall is on the right.
                                                  Then look for the blue truck

                                                  DT

                                                  1. re: Davwud

                                                    Or just ask. I've lived most of my life in the area, and spent lots of time downtown, and still get disoriented. Looking confused helps, and simply asking the direction to city hall, most people are willing to help out.
                                                    AR

                                                2. re: josephsm

                                                  I figured I'd report back.

                                                  For future tourists, the blue truck(s) are on Queen Street just west of Bay St, and they were there around Saturday lunch time. There were actually three trucks: a blue one (with prominent 30 year sign on it), a yellow one, and then another blue one (Steve's). I wasn't sure which blue truck was the recommended one, so we got small poutines from each truck to run our own taste test (and let me tell you, any one small poutine could feed 4 hungry college kids).

                                                  The yellow truck was clearly the inferior. Mealy fries and strange curds that tasted like provolone.

                                                  The 30 year truck was in second place. The sauce was rather flavorless and the curds did not taste particularly fresh.

                                                  The winner for us was Steve's, which had a very flavorful sauce and good fries, though I gather it loses points for having grated cheese instead of curds.

                                                  Yesterday we tried the poutine at a small restaurant in the Kensington Market (Freshwood Grill? something like that -- this was a fun place with good microbrews and nice wood burning grill), and that poutine was probably the best of the lot, although they skimped on the cheese.

                                                  And now I never want to see poutine again.

                                                  1. re: josephsm

                                                    avenue diner! they use real, fresh curds, though the ravy is not trad-quebecois.

                                                    clinton's serves a vegetarian poutine that is worthwhile for the veggies, at least.

                                                    magic spot has a delicious and maybe wrong feta cheese'd "greek poutine" that is wicked.

                                                    1. re: bellybuster

                                                      I say skip Magic Spot. Since their recent reno they've gone seriously downhill... I actually don't even want to recount my last experience there - it was that bad.

                                                      In other news, I tried a Burger Shoppe cheeseburger today, and, although the woman at the counter was unbelievably rude, the burger was fantastic! YAY!

                                                      1. re: redearth

                                                        Please describe what you mean when you say "the burger was fantastic". I'd like to know whether the Burger Shoppe has finally gotten its act together (I had given up on it) or whether we just have different tastes in burgers.

                                                        1. re: embee

                                                          Did we ever settle the debate about "true" poutine gravy? Is it supposed to be chicken gravy?

                                                          Anyway, took a walk over to the Rosedale Diner last week, and they are serving poutine as an entree, with pulled pork for $19. I decided to pass.

                                                          1. re: czthemmnt

                                                            It's chicken gravy. I'm from Montreal, if that helps!

                                                            1. re: childofthestorm

                                                              Yeah, 'chicken' gravy. But no chicken has ever set foot in that gravy.

                                                3. I'm from MTL and I am desperately seeking a good poutine in TO... So far, it's the one at The Burger Shoppe on Queen Street East that gets the palm. It's pretty decent although I think there must be some kind of by-law that prevents fresh curds from entering this city. What's up with that? To wannabe poutine-makers in this province: the cardinal rule is "fresh curds"!!!!

                                                  1. Just had to bump this thread because I'm craving poutine after reading this article today:

                                                    Bonne fête la Poutine!

                                                    quote:
                                                    Poutine, Quebec's signature dish, turns 50

                                                    It is described as a cholesterol highball, a fatty delight and a fast food icon. And at 50, the concoction of french fries topped with gravy and salty cheese curds is gaining newfound respect.

                                                    It hasn't always been that way, though. Charles-Alexandre Théorêt, author of Maudite Poutine!, describes the dish to Montreal's The Gazette as being more psychological in nature:

                                                    A generous portion of shame fried gently in an inferiority complex and topped with a hint of denigration from the ROC (Rest of Canada) - and a touch of guilty pleasure. "Love it or hate it, poutine has become a strong symbol of Quebec," says Théorêt.

                                                    The exact origin of poutine is unclear, but most stories place the date at 1957. Fernand Lachance, a restauranteur who referred to himself as the father of poutine, was asked by a customer to mix french fries and cheese curds together in the same bag.

                                                    Warwick, then replied: "Ça va te faire une maudite poutine" ("It's gonna make a hell of a mess"). The sauce was added later to keep the fries warm.

                                                    Mess or no, the "lumberjack fat food" remains popular, and being elevated to an haute-cuisine dish while showing up on menus across the U.S.

                                                    Photo: Admit it, you want some, don't you? (MONTREAL GAZETTE/DAVE SIDAWAY)

                                                    1. Anyone had the poutine at Bier Market? I had it a few years ago and it was insanely tasty. I just haven't had a chance to go back.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: MyraB

                                                        I had the poutine at Bier Markt a couple of weeks ago. It had some beef, darker gravy and roquefort cheese. It was pretty interesting. I would have it again.

                                                      2. The Bow and Arrow at Yonge and Davisville! My Eastern-Township-er boy friend swears by it. They even use curds! (although I kinda feel they skimp on the cheese...but their gravy ain;t bad)

                                                        1. I am sorry to bump this old thread, but seeing how so many people regard the "blue truck" outside of City Hall as the best, I had a question

                                                          I was driving home from a friends house two nights ago at around midnight, there were 2 trucks in front of city hall. A blue one "Steves" and some other random yellow one.

                                                          I kept hearing how this was the best poutine but did not know which truck, so I got one from each

                                                          The yellow truck had "real curds" but a very small amount of them considering the amount of fries, and the blue truck used grated cheese but had the better fries & gravy

                                                          .. So I'm confused; which is the good poutine? Is it at a 3rd "blue" truck that wasn't there when I passed by? Steves gave me grated cheese

                                                          Cheers

                                                          9 Replies
                                                          1. re: duckdown

                                                            Duck,

                                                            I can only speak for myself, but on my poutine quest, I would guess that the blue truck you mentioned is the best poutine Toronto has to offer (though I don't remember it being called Steve's, so maybe I'm wrong--they definitely advertise as being halal, for what it's worth).
                                                            CAVEAT: It is not a classic poutine. They use mozz (not curds, as you mentioned), and their gravy is beef-based (not chicken--the classic). That said, and speaking as a die-hard curdie, given their stellar fries and their delicious, albeit non-traditional, sauce, I am willing to cut them a lot of slack, especially considering what else the city's poutineries have to offer.
                                                            Can anyone else weigh in?

                                                            1. re: pouletsecret

                                                              That definitely sounds like the truck.. I remember the HALAL scribbled onto a sign somewhere when i was parked behind it

                                                              Darn.. the fries were great, definitely, but I'd take the curds & gravy at New York Fries over these ones :(

                                                              I loved the Montreal poutine I have had, I can't believe there isn't a single place in the GTA that does a similar job :(

                                                              Thank you for the info pouletsecret :)

                                                              1. re: duckdown

                                                                there are two blue trucks. one has curds and is better (IMHO), the doesn't have curds, but is still tasty, just not *as* tasty.

                                                            2. re: duckdown

                                                              I too was disappointed by the locally famous "Blue Truck". Great fries yes but great poutine....no. When I went, I asked for extra cheese curds and told them I would be willing to pay whatever extra charge for them. The curds where real, but there was no where near enough of them considering I had ordered extra. This was not really the root of the problem though. The gravy was the most artificial solid brown gel like sauce I have seen since the cafeteria fries from highschool. I must admit, at the time, I was so excited with the anticipation that the dish did curb my craving and I scarfed it down so fast and bountifully that I felt sick as I rightly should after eating too much poutine. From now on, when I get the craving craft burger does it right.

                                                              1. re: food face

                                                                But this is what I don't understand -- the blue truck served you curds, while I was served grated mozzerella cheese. I wonder what is up with that? Maybe I have to offer to pay extra to get the curds or something?

                                                                Anyway, definitely far from the best poutine I've ever had

                                                                I'd take curds from the supermarket with St. Hubert sauce on them any day over that blue truck

                                                                1. re: duckdown

                                                                  Duckdown, is that what you smuggle into restaurants, curds and St. Hubert sauce and order a plain fries? Good plan! Maybe the ladies at the blue truck have a hate-on for you? Or perhaps we have gone to different trucks?

                                                                  1. re: food face

                                                                    I was also disappointed by the blue truck. It was a good value for the price but super greasy. I also had issues with the gravy. I'm pretty sure I saw them ladeling the gravy from what looked like an industrial sized can with the label removed. I could see how people might really like this, but just didn't fill my poutine craving.

                                                                    1. re: abigllama

                                                                      Many chip trucks use Nestle Trio gravy mix. It's not bad, for a powder, and realistically, what truck is going to make gravy from stock?

                                                                2. I have to put in a little plug here for the blue chip truck on St. George. He uses real curds and, while I realize that I am American and thus not a reliable poutine authority, many summer trips to Wisconsin to visit the grandparents left me with a pretty good education in the way of curds. These ones actually have a little of their squeak left, which makes me very happy...I hate it when you get all excited to see real cheese curds and they turn out to be so old they're just...cheese.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Wahooty

                                                                    In all my years in Toronto I have yet to visit the blue chip truck. I am now convinced and will not let the weekend go by without a visit. Poutine is tasty and should be it's own food group :)

                                                                  2. Took my mom out for Mother's Day at the Rushton. The family shared a bunch of appetizers and the poutine was the first to go. It's not your traditional poutine. The Rushton version is made from home made Yukon gold potatoes, two kinds of melted cheese and topped off with their 'creamy mushrooms'. It has to be the best poutine I have ever tasted. I usually don't like the gravies most restaurants use because they are too salty. But the creamy mushrooms added a delicious earthy flavour which wasn't too 'wet' making the fries all soggy. Also, this dish was made to order; it wasn't sitting around waiting to be ordered.

                                                                    1. I've said it before on another thread about the same question - surprisingly the poutine at Costco is not bad - made with curds and OK gravy. The fries are also relatively fresh.

                                                                      When we lived in Toronto it was there that my French Canadian boyfriend always wanted to go to for a fix.

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: buspirone

                                                                        Is there a restaurant/snackbar in Costco or are you referring to a packaged product?

                                                                        1. re: food face

                                                                          The snackbar. I do recall though that they did not always have the necessary cheese curds.

                                                                          I shudder to think about bulk-quantitiy, prepackaged poutine.

                                                                          1. re: buspirone

                                                                            I'm pretty sure Costco uses frozen fries. At least they did a few years ago. Cavendish fries. I believe everything the snackbar sells is available in the store. Maybe by fresh, you mean recently deep-fried.

                                                                            1. re: flibbertygibbet

                                                                              The fries are Cavendish (coated, actually not too bad,) and the gravy is Nestle Trio ( I asked). I forgot to ask about curds, but the cheese looked like melted shreds to me. It's a filling $4 tray, enough for two, but not worth a special trip. Two steamed dogs and one poutine will feed two shoppers for $9.

                                                                              1. re: jayt90

                                                                                the hot dogs there are the best. sooo good. but they're big and filling, i can't imagine them AND a poutine.

                                                                                It's for sure curds whenever I've seen it, but, as mentioned, the fries are coated, I'm not a big fan of coated fries...

                                                                        2. I was at Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner museum for lunch on Saturday, where I had the opportunity to try the beef brisket poutine. This was, by far, the best poutine I've ever had in my life. It has been haunting my dreams and my appetite has been begging for a repeat since.

                                                                          1. I'm having trouble finding chips and curry. I'm talking chip wagon. I'm talking swimming in curry. I'm talking cholesterol!

                                                                            1. I would recommend checking out Coquine, just south of Eglinton on Yonge. An interesting variation with shredded duck confit, duck jus, smoked mozzarella and brie. Very different and tasty IMHO. All in all a great spot that I have frequented for breakfats lunch and dinner.