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Apr 2, 2007 05:40 PM


k I realise that this topic has come up SEVERAL times on this board and yet I've read them all and STILL haven't found a satisfying answer!

I'm from the Ottawa/Montreal way and I've grown up with AUTHENTIC poutine: we're talking fresh cut fries, fresh curds, and thick gravy. I live pretty much in the downtown core of Toronto now and I have to say, I can't find a good poutine to save my life. The gravy is syrupy, the cheese isn't curd style, and basically somewhere between Ottawa and Toronto the recipe for poutine got lost.

KFC: meh it's okay but it's small and overpriced.
NYFries: again, okay, but small and overpriced.
Harvey's: best of the fast-food ones...
Costco: awsome, but I don't have a membership anymore so I can't go in to eat.

Basically I'm looking for a nice, small, clean place somewhere downtown where I can go and enjoy a real poutine. This is the biggest city in Canada- but does it exist?!

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  1. ok, here's my advice again.....Utopia has the best poutine ive had in toronto yet, besides the fast food chains you have mentioned. They have fresh cut fries, and they use cheese curd. I think part of the problem in tdot is the lack of fresh cheese curd, that really makes a difference. The cheese at utopia wasnt the freshest, but still good. They use vegi gravy, but dont let this turn you off, although i didnt find it had too much flavor, it does look normal and tastes just fine. To my knowledge this is the best place for poutine, i will go back and have another (this is the 1st time i have been able to say this about poutine in tdot). The price is cheap, and the portion is large. If you are dining in, try to go at off meal times, its always busy and its often hard to get a table. The nachos are also pretty good there too. Hope this helps! Again, if you find somewhere bettte, please let me know!

    1 Reply
    1. re: jen2202

      I totally agree with Jen's assessment of the poutine at Utopia. I was quite pleasantly surprised by the poutine here (and really, Utopia is great for sandwiches, salads, and beer too - one of the best on the College Street strip, which is usually overflowing with hip places with bad food, rude service, and ludicrously high prices for what you get). If the menu didn't say the gravy was vegetarian, I would never have known. And they're a tad light on the cheese curds, but at least they're using cheese curds and not just shredded cheese.

    2. There is a Costco near Toronto that has Poutine in their take-out section? We're thinking about driving to Toronto this weekend for the first time, and I've always wanted to try Poutine...

      3 Replies
      1. re: kcchan

        The Costco in Etobicoke (Queensway) has Poutine but I didn't think it was that great. They use their frozen/battered fries and what appears to be canned chicken gravy. The cheese curds were great admittedly but overall I thought the best part was the portion size for the price.

        1. re: Vise

          I really don't think there is a proper poutine here. Chicken-based gravy, squeaky cheese least I haven't found it.

          Had a poutine on Wednesday in Montreal, it was then that I truly felt like I was home.

          1. re: Vise

            So I tried it and loved it for the most part. LOVED their fries - so crunchy with that battered (?) exterior, and the cheese curds were great. The gravy I could have done without - a little too vinegary for my tastes and they made my fries all soggy, but still great and incredibly cheap. Thanks for the recommendation!

        2. secret.

          you don't have to have a membership to eat at costco there.

          only to shop (as long as the rest is not in the warehouse proper, and most are not)

          but don't tell anyone i said so.

          1. The Smokes Poutinerie was pretty good the one time I went there. They gave us SO much food and their chicken poutine was really quite delicious. I never found anything that hit even close to an Ottawa/Montreal chip stand but I've since moved to Edmonton and know I won't find any out here!

            50 Replies
            1. re: Navan

              Try the sausage truck in front of Nathan Philips Square, I believe it is the first or second one from the East side....he uses curd so if not sure just ask...was pretty good...I believe the best poutine is in Sturgeon Falls as I had a few in Montreal and they did not compare...

              1. re: ebay3392

                i came in here to suggest the blue truck in front of nathan philips. i'm from quebec city, and i'm very picky about poutine. it's not the best, but it's just about the best that toronto has to offer. gravy's a bit dark, but it's serviceable.

                1. re: toothpicvic

                  Swiss Chalet pretty much has the best poutine in the GTA now, though the curds are kind of lame.

                  1. re: tjr

                    i'm sorry to disagree with you, but swiss chalet does not have a good poutine at all. i hate their fries, the gravy is weak, bland and salty chicken gravy, and the curds are terrible.

                    i don't even think that "true quebec poutine" can be made with chicken gravy. most chicken gravies are far too weak and yellow, instead of the brown (almost a demi-glace) that it should be. i know wikipedia says that poutine should be made with chicken gravy, but i heartily disagree.

                    for real poutine, go to chez ashton in quebec.

                    1. re: toothpicvic

                      Swiss Chalet, when the fries come out of the fryer, has excellent fries for poutine; the curds are weak, but no worse than anywhere else in Toronto, including Caplansky's, which gets pretty decent curds (still no squeak).

                      I'm familiar (very familiar, not for the benefit of my heart) with what a poutine is, what they consist of, and how they should taste. Poutine is made with chicken gravy in Quebec, not beef gravy, not a combination of the two, etc. Why would a chicken-based gravy have to be weak and yellow?

                      I've tried a lot of poutines in the GTA, and when a Swiss Chalet poutine is firing on whatever one cylinder food court engine it has, it's the closest thing I've had to a poutine in Ottawa or Quebec. The guy from the curdsade blog apparently agrees with me, so I guess I'm not alone in this.

                      1. re: tjr

                        i believe that the curdsade guy said something along the lines of "for a chain restaurant and one that’s located in the GTA" it was good. and for the rest of it, i read it with a bunch of hyperbole. i like his blog quite a bit, but i think he's off base on swiss chalet, which has only had bland and soggy fries to go with a similar poutine. also, that wasn't his review, but a quote to another review.

                        i never said that it should be made with a beef gravy, which often comes out far too dark and overpowers the rest of it (as caplansky's does as well, even if i enjoy that "poutine" for what it is). but as far as a chicken gravy goes, you might as well be eating one from burger king. perhaps mixed with something else (veal, or mushroom) it would serve as a decent base, but alone, i think they're weak (granted, not always "yellow" but my point is that they're boring). my favorite gravy in the gta has been at gilead cafe, which i hope is the same that they use at jkwb. rich and flavorful without being too overpowering. the cheese wasn't squeaky like "true" curds are, but it's ontario, you're not going to find them here very easily, and thunderoak makes some very tasty cheese. the fries are very good too. all in all, it was my favorite that i've had in toronto. (as reference for others, i've attached pictures from swiss chalet (the one with a steak) and ashton (the one in a tin foil container), i much rather the darker gravy from ashton's and believe that one to be the baseline for comparison)

                        as far as what a puritanical poutine is, it depends where you grew up. i haven't had a good poutine in ottawa, even after trying a few of the places that i had read about (the only name i remember is elgin street diner, which was only servicable).

                        i grew up in quebec city, and i've lived in montreal while at university. i know what poutine is. i would stay away from swiss chalet poutine like the plague.

                        edit: looks like i wasn't able to attach photos, but click here, if you're interested.
                        swiss chalet:
                        chez ashton:

                        1. re: toothpicvic

                          i will say this about chicken gravies, however: a rather dark veloute style gravy can be good.... they're just very few and far between. perhaps i have just had way too many bad chicken gravies. i shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

                          1. re: toothpicvic

                            Like I said, it's the closest thing I've tried to authentic poutine in Ontario. JKWB isn't an authentic poutine. Neither is Bymark. They're both good, but they're not poutine.

                            The blue truck isn't even remotely authentic; they use some weird powdered beefish glop instead of gravy. The curds are never fresh. The fries are just okay.

                            I prefer La Banquise to Chez Ashton, and I've had plenty of good poutines from chip trucks in Ottawa. They use chicken gravy (as in Montreal and most places in Quebec). I've never seen a "yellow" chicken gravy, and I don't find them boring when they're properly seasoned; they're the standard to which I hold other poutine gravies. Most places in Quebec use chicken gravy. They usually don't mix it with other types of stock, though they might use different seasonings. A poutine gravy is not a demi-glace, not even close. There is actually a historical reason for the use of chicken gravy in Quebec, which happens to be an economics reason, and also why poutines in Quebec use chicken gravy. I'm sure the gravy at Chez Ashton is at the very least mostly chicken-based, and has very little to do with a demi-glace (

                            Ontario has spectacular "true" curds; the ones at St. Albert outside of Ottawa are better than many of the curds I've had going through Quebec and seeing cheese makers.

                            I'd stick with Swiss Chalet as long as the fries are fresh than the blue truck (better gravy and similar curds, and when the fries are fresh, probably even better fries). Can you name somewhere at least semi-authentic that is decent?

                            If you want some weird combination gravy, try Smoke's. They use beef/chicken or something. It's awful though.

                            1. re: tjr

                              This discussion of authentic Quebec poutine in GTA will go nowhere until the principal players, all pretending to have roots in Quebec, the townships, Montreal, or Ottawa valley, examine Montreal Fries-Steamies in Oshawa.
                              This is a small hole in the wall, a one-man show, with fresh cut fries and recent curds. The gravy is light, and not much of it unless you request more.

                              Like Buster Rhino in Whitby, you may have to look at the edge of GTA for your poutine or BBQ, beyond Cara and the marketing experts downtown..

                              1. re: jayt90

                                The only time I am near Oshawa is when I'm headed to or from Montreal! I'm already aware of Montreal Fries & Steamies from another thread, but, like Buster Rhino, it's simply too far for me to bother.

                                I have relatives that can bring me curds that come more often than I'm likely to be in Oshawa, unfortunately.

                                1. re: tjr

                                  Your missing out by not going to Buster Rhino.

                                  1. re: Crispy skin

                                    Agreed. Best ribs in the GTA. No contest. Worth the drive for me, easily.

                                    1. re: Crispy skin

                                      And tjr has blithely dismissed Montreal Steame poutine while claiming that Swiss Chalet is the best poutine in GTA.

                                      36 Simcoe St N, Oshawa, ON L1G4S1, CA

                                      1. re: jayt90

                                        No, no, not the BEST poutine, just the closest thing I've found to an authentic poutine. The best poutine I've had in Toronto is the lobster poutine at Bymark (also probably the least authentic poutine I've had in Toronto). Like I said, if Montreal Fries & Steamies is authentic, that's great, but I'm not going to be going there anytime soon as it isn't feasible to me. I trust your judgment and report on its authenticity though.

                                        There are rare occasions where I plan trips around food, but there is always a reason other than food to visit somewhere. I have no motivation to visit Oshawa (over an hour's drive for me, easily) whatsoever, but if I ever happen to be there, I'll stop by. Same with Buster Rhino and Whitby. I couldn't really justify traveling that far to spend $5 eating a poutine, or for BBQ (of which I am not a connoisseur in any way).

                                      2. re: Crispy skin

                                        buster's is definitely best in the gta.

                                        location is brutal for us west enders, but definitely reccomended

                                    2. re: jayt90

                                      thanks for the tip, i'll give it a whirl the next time i'm around oshawa (not often, but i might be able to stop by).

                                    3. re: tjr

                                      i believe that our disagreement comes from what we consider to be authentic poutine and how close places can come to our versions of said authentic poutines. i will say it again though, i strongly disagree that the blue truck isn't an authentic poutine, but it may not be the authentic ottawa or la belle province (the restaurant chain, not the province) poutine that you're looking for.

                                      i have no real interest in having a flame war with you, but please at least get my points correct. i never said that a poutine gravy was a demi-glace. i merely suggested that a weak gravy (as with many sauces) could be bolstered by a splash of demi-glace. if you consider such a flavor enhancement by what essentially is a concentrated stock to be heresy within your definition of what poutine gravy is, it's no wonder that i think the kind of gravy you seem to enjoy to be bland and flat. yes the jamie kennedy version leans more towards such a demi-glace (granted, not the kind the casse croutes that my classmates and i ate while going to the zoo or ski hill), but tasty none the less and a much better flavor and more reminiscent of the flavors that i associate with poutine. in that respect, the jkwb (or at least at gilead, where i had it) is much closer to authentic, in my view, than swiss chalet.

                                      as for ashton's poutine, i'm not sure what their gravy base is. it's a secret, their place mat says so. but, if it was made just with chicken stock, i'd like to know how they got it so dark. maybe that's the real secret. let's suppose that it is a chicken stock, whatever the result is, is not what i would call a chicken gravy and certainly nothing like the gravy at swiss chalet. good thing i never said that ontario didn't have any good curds, i just said they were hard to find, particularly in toronto. otherwise, i might look quite foolish.

                                      i cannot name many other places in the gta that are authentic, as there aren't very many to be named. i mentioned the blue fry truck, and gilead (which, i had with the hamburger on top, not pulled pork), both of which take top spots in town, in my view, with very few others being worth a suggestion. stampede in parkdale has an okay one, but i'd need to go back another time to give it a suggestion, as there was something a little wonky with the gravy(couldn't put my finger on it at the time, as i'd had a few) .

                                      one thing i agree with you on (aside from the fact that the curds at swiss chalet are terrible) is that smoke's gravy is weird and gross. in fact, you might be able to see what i'm talking about in that "yellowness" that you continue on about, as it had this weird yellow/grayish tint to it, if i recall correctly.

                                      1. re: toothpicvic

                                        The blue truck has fresh cut fries, but the gravy is some sort of gloopy powdered beef-esque gravy, and the curds are no where near fresh. How is this an authentic poutine? The gravy alone disqualifies it. How is the Gilead's poutine anything even remotely authentic? It isn't even fries, curds and gravy. If you consider the Gilead (or even JKWB) to have an authentic poutine (not that it isn't good), then your definition of "authentic" clearly is not what I, or most others, I imagine, would consider to be the right definition.

                                        You said that a poutine gravy is "almost a demi-glace," which is why I mentioned that poutine gravy/sauce is nothing like a demi-glace (it's not). Perhaps you should edit your post if this is not what you meant. You also said that, "it's ontario, you're not going to find them ["true" curds] here very easily," when, in fact, you can find great cheese curds at many of the cheese makers in the province, and it's pretty easy to get fresh, squeaky curds at grocery stores in Ottawa (also somewhere in Ontario; there is more to Ontario than the GTA). Again, I was simply responding to your post (as you can see by the quotations); I can't interpret what you meant to imply by these statements, and, as such, was going by exactly what you wrote.

                                        Sure, they are putting something else into the gravy at Chez Ashton, but the flavour profile and body of the sauce are derived from it being a chicken-based gravy. Most other sauces on poutines in Quebec are also chicken-based.

                                        Perhaps you're stuck on the word "gravy" when the French word is "sauce." Fine, call it want you want, but an authentic poutine is a chicken-based sauce.

                                        Smoke's gravy is a mixture of chicken and beef gravy. It's disgusting, yes, but the colour isn't even remotely yellow, and it more approximates what you believe to be an "authentic" poutine gravy than what I feel is an authentic gravy.

                                        There are several other threads on the subject.

                                        1. re: tjr

                                          tjr, like i said, we clearly have very different views on what an authentic poutine is, or even what a poutine should be. swiss chalet poutine will never be considered to be an authentic poutine, by me, and to my friends who still live in quebec (by the way ,they laughed at the idea of a swiss chalet being authentic when i had suggested this ridiculous conversation).

                                          i'm not sure why i need to defend my opinions, but here i go again. i have already said that they gravy isn't always the best, it's a bit dark for my liking (as i mentioned in my original post). when i have been, the fries are much better than swiss chalet, and the cheese wasn't squeaky, but it was tasty and melty (which is about as good as i've come to expect from curds in toronto). i never said ontario didn't have good curds. i merely suggested they were hard to find, and since i live in toronto (and the topic was regarding the GTA), that is the basis for what i said. if you have stores in town that have them, by all means, please share them with us. and, if they do not meet my exact specifications for what i grew up with in terms of cheese, i will blame you for it. until then, i will continue with my plan to join the montefort csa.

                                          smoke's combination gravy does not come closer to what i consider authentic, but thanks for the assumption, even after i said i thought it was weird and gross (i didn't feel i needed to quote myself again, but i can upon request). you asked me for poutine suggestions that were truely authentic in toronto, and i mentioned those that i could think of, the list is short, yet you only derided jkwb again, even though it's still "sauce" (as in the french word, as you so kindly pointed out), cheese, fries... how you can find it to be otherwise, is beyond me.

                                          in regards to what i said about a demi-glace, if you read the rest of the sentence, you'd see that i was talking about the color of the gravy, as well as the richness of flavor ("most chicken gravies are far too weak and yellow, instead of the brown (almost a demi-glace) that it should be"). i did not mean to imply that a proper poutine gravy should have such a base, but i did suggest afterwards that a weak sauce could be rescued by a splash of it. it's delicious, you should try it. you speak of truly authentic poutine sauce coming from a chicken base coming from a historical economic need, however, in any hard times, the economics of food would be dictated by whatever is on hand. i'm not sure where your curds comes from, but mine come from cows, not from chickens. if it was from such an economic need, wouldn't the farmer using their curds with a gravy use a beef gravy? or at the very least, at some point use some beef in their base? i'm not saying that a poutine may not have chicken stock, that's a narrow minded argument that only leads less poutine enjoyment. i have only said that i have yet to find a good gravy from such a base. your continual reliance upon this argument to denigrade anyone else's suggestion to a poutine that does not have the kind of chicken based gravy (swiss chalet, for those keeping score) that you're accustomed to only serves to tell me that i should not listen to a single thing you have to say. the are other threads on the subject, and i've seen the way you have cried foul on every gravy that isn't chicken based and i felt i should say something, particularly after your basis for quality is a swiss chalet poutine gravy.

                                          1. re: toothpicvic

                                            Swiss Chalet serves fries, curds, and a chicken-based gravy. That's an authentic poutine. Whether you like it or not is a different story. If you consider inauthentic poutines authentic, well, that's your prerogative, but it makes no sense. Most fast food places in Quebec serve an authentic poutine. Whether or not they are good is another story. You seem to be confusing the definitions of "authentic" and "good." They don't mean the same thing.

                                            The topic may be about the GTA, but your post regarding curds (which I had quoted, for the ease of your response) stated Ontario. I was simply correcting your fallacious statement.

                                            Smoke's is disgusting, but it's a combination chicken/beef gravy. This is what you consistently claimed as superior to a chicken gravy (what is served across Quebec for the most part), hence why I suggested that it is more in line with what you like. The gravy at the blue truck is probably as disgusting as Smoke's, if you can even call it gravy, since it's some sort of powder mixed with water.

                                            JKWB is NOT an authentic poutine. It is fries. There are no curds. The sauce in no way resembles the sauce/gravy on a poutine, and there's meats on it. Yes, a lot of places in Quebec serve meat as a variation on poutine, but it's not an authentic poutine. I wasn't "deriding" (again, you seem to have a problem with the definition of words) JKWB/Gilead/etc. poutine; I actually think one of the better things I've eaten at a JK restaurant was the poutine, though I've had many other dishes that were absolutely terrible.

                                            Again, I'm sorry, but chicken gravy is not weak and yellow. Most poutine places in Quebec use a chicken gravy. Just because the gravy you ate was a more brown colour does not indicate the lack of it being a chicken gravy. There is nothing even nearly related to demi-glace, and even your chosen poutine, Chez Ashton, doesn't even approach a demi-glace for its sauce.

                                            The reason chicken was primarily used as the base for gravy is because, in Montreal, this was what was available to those serving poutines (usually due to the rotisserie/bbq chicken restaurant); your claim that curds come from cows being a link to some sort of beef stock is absolutely ridiculous, and makes no sense whatsoever. Milk and beef do not come from the same cows (usually). Again, I suggest you do some research before making a claim like that.

                                            What I was saying is that the authentic poutine is a combination of fries, curds, and a chicken-based gravy. This is ... well, a fact. I'm not sure why you're even arguing with it. Whether or not an authentic poutine is good is another discussion; I personally don't care about your tastes, and I don't care what you like. You're free to like the poutine at Rebel House (decent, but not a poutine) if you want, but that isn't going to stop it from being inauthentic.

                                            That you attribute my comments as denigrating shows your stance on the subject, and your eternal inaccurate responses to whatever I will post in this thread in the future. You failed to even respond to the quotes I provided above of your own claims.

                                            I enjoy poutines. Lots of them. Like I said, my favourite poutine in Toronto is Bymark's, which is probably the least authentic poutine available here. Nothing stops my "poutine" (in quotation marks) enjoyment, other than a terrible end product (which is all too common in Toronto).

                                            What you're saying is that a pad thai deserves a few squirts of Heinz ketchup, or that Chinese food is chicken balls and neon sauce, or that a hamburger should be made from ground pork, or that sushi is Uncle Ben's and canned tuna. I personally don't care about whether you like something, or whether something is delicious. Authenticity is another matter. An authentic poutine is "french-fried" potatoes, cheese curds, and a chicken-based gravy. Anything that is not this is not an authentic poutine. Add bacon? Inauthentic. Change the gravy to beef-based? Inauthentic. Change the fries to sweet potato fries? Inauthentic.

                                            To state again: I like inauthentic poutines. Bymark's "poutine" is my favourite poutine in the city, bar none. It is also the least authentic.

                                            And, to finish off, you once again mistake my intentions: I do not think that Swiss Chalet's gravy quality is great, wonderful, or even good. I just said that it's authentic (which it is). You confuse accurately describing authenticity with denigration, which, in my books, show that you are incapable of even reading what I've written.

                                            Just to end this: Bymark serves an incredible poutine. It's extraordinarily inauthentic. It is fries (incredible, delicious fries), lobster, and béarnaise sauce. There's no curds. There isn't even any cheese. There's definitely no gravy, chicken or otherwise. Sure, there's a switch between signified and signifier, but it's delicious.

                                            1. re: tjr

                                              Here's more dousing, I hope!
                                              I really like the 'Chili Cheese Fries' at my local diner.
                                              Sort of like poutine, kind of...
                                              Who cares 'authentic', just eat what you like and tell us about it.

                                              1. re: tjr

                                                Congradulations, you wrote a longer, though scattershot response. The word police has struck again. This thread is getting ridiculous, though hilarious, I felt as though I should chime in.

                                                If I read your post correctly (and I tried to be as careful as possible because I know how important wording is to you), you seem to say that you didn't suggest Swiss Chalet as being a good poutine, but rather an "authentic" poutine. Are you saying that authentic quebec poutine is bad? or just that theres no way to get good authentic poutine in toronto? Also "Swiss Chalet pretty much has the best poutine in the GTA now" from your original post confuses me. Can you answer without a discussion of semiotics?

                                                You seem to say that any kind of poutine that is only cheese fries and chicken gravy is "authentic" then wouldnt burger king poutine be just as authentic? You wouldn't mention this in a forum like this because the BK poutine is not good and you wouldnt bother mentioning something that sucks. Also, your favorite poutine isnt even close to an actual poutine (and you dont say it is), but then why are you such an authority on poutine if you don't even like real poutine, but rather fries with a bearnaise sauce and lobster. Sounds like someones a bit of an elitist eh? Too good for gravy huh?

                                                I wonder however, where did you get the idea that chicken based gravy is the one and only traditional style of sauce (and thanks for the french clarification, it was helpful, I didnt know what sauce meant before you explained it), you seem to just take it as a given fact without proof. "It's just a fact" you say. Also, toothpicvic has already said that you two have differing views on what is authentic, he thinks a beef-based sauce is better, and since he is from quebec (as am i) wouldn't what he thinks is best and what he got in quebec be authentic? If its quebec poutine (from quebec and seen as good by quebecois), wouldnt that be "authentic quebec poutine"? It also seems to me that logically, a chicken stock based sauce would be lighter since chicken stock is yellow and beef stock is brown. Also, I'm pretty sure that toothpicvic explained pretty explicitly his post about demi glace was about color for reference and not about use of actual demi-glace. You should read things carefully if you are going to criticise word choice.

                                                My favorite bit so far is that you cite "economic reasons" for quebecois farmers using chickens instead of beef for a gravy base. You dont cite these reasons until later (something to do with st-hubert's chicken, you didnt actually explain). When in fact, it makes more sense to use cow in hard economic times because cows were available (yes dairy cows and beef cows are different, but "traditionally" cows are cows). In traditional quebec cooking however, pork is most used (never on top of poutine though, that would destroy the national sensibility). I love that you say that if you put anything on top you make in inauthentic when a lot of quebecois put stuff on top of their poutine, and a lot of restaurants serve it that way, as if you are the authority over them.

                                                Toothpicvic never mentioned Rebel House or Smoke's as being good. You imply he did. This: "What you're saying is that a pad thai deserves a few squirts of Heinz ketchup, or that Chinese food is chicken balls and neon sauce, or that a hamburger should be made from ground pork, or that sushi is Uncle Ben's and canned tuna." also confused me. Is that still about the beef gravy thing? Are you saying beef gravy makes poutine terrible (pad thai with ketchup) or that that kind of poutine is a horribly ungourmet version (chinese food as chicken balls and neon sauce) or simply a variation (some would argue better) on the norm (pork hamburgers). You go so many places with that sentence (and for gods sake, your sentence structure should be called into question, its hurts my eyes to read).

                                                Just to end this (great way to obviously provoke him btw), how is chicken gravy the one and only traditional style of poutine? Please provide some sort of proof: I think this is the sticking point as toothpicvic has already tried to agree to disagree on the "traditional" definition, but you seem to just come back for more. Also, to come back to the real question of the thread: where is there someone to get GOOD and AUTHENTIC quebecois poutine in the GTA. You have only provided a bad (but apparently traditional) poutine at swiss chalet and a non-poutine poutine made with bearnaise (dont need the accent, I bet you pronouce it in french as well) but dont provide a good, traditional place to get poutine. toothpicvic suggested the fry truck, which is tasty.

                                                PS, its not a switch between signifier and signified, but rather the signifier by no means signifies that "poutine" you have. Study of signs yo.

                                                1. re: thelonelight

                                                  Wow: Semiotics + Poutine. Roland Barthes would be rolling in his grave while eating a cheese curd.

                                                  1. re: thatlankyfoody

                                                    i was just waiting for a "ceci n'est pas un curd" joke.

                                            2. re: toothpicvic

                                              Allow me to douse the flames, here is the best I have ever had. Sturgeon Falls, Baby!

                                              1. re: ebay3392

                                                looks tasty... i saw it in the other poutine thread too. my heart is already unevenly fluttering in anticipation. next time i'm in the area i'll give it a whirl. not sure when that'll be, as i'm usually going the other direction on the 401, but good to have a mental note for it. thanks.

                                                1. re: toothpicvic

                                                  I know....this is my measuring stick for poutine and pogo...been to Montreal and had it at two places a friend from Mtl referred and both didn't stack up to this....problem is similar to me and BBQ Brisket..first time I had it was at one of the top three ranked BBQ places in Austin so after that hard to compare. If you are ever between North Bay and Sudbury on #17 go here!

                                                  1. re: ebay3392

                                                    i do love me some brisket. this thread's turning out to be bad for my health. a co-worker of mine has family from north bay, i'll mention it to him. thanks for tip #2 :D

                                      2. re: tjr

                                        Being from Quebec City too, I'm going to thrown my hat behind Ashton as well (if you need proof that I am from where I say I am birth certificate and pictures of me eating Ashton poutine are available upon request).

                                        Now, I have been to swiss chalet, and man if that is your idea of any kind of culinary experience or the "best in the GTA" of anything then you got another thing coming. I have a profound hatred for swiss chalet. Their food is barely a step above fast food, have not been in ages thank god. Thanks to toothpicvic's photos I see that not much has changed.
                                        As for poutine, the dark (but obviously not too dark) provides the richer flavor. A lot of the time I have noticed that the lighter fare tends to be a bit too salty. I have been the the trucks in front of nathan philips, its a solid poutine. The gravy is a little too dark perhaps (havent been in a while so I'm working from memory) the cheese was definitely lacking, but at least they tried the curds (I was very sad when I moved to Ontario and saw grated cheese) no squeak, but you won't find squeak easily (I have yet to). The truck fries were good though, hot and crispy on the outside so they don't get too soggy too quickly.

                                        After talking about all this I think I may head downtown tomorrow to get some poutine at the trucks. On the other hand, Swiss Chalet Delivers, so it must be good, its convenient.

                                        1. re: thelonelight

                                          I'm out of the city at the moment...isn't the new poutine spot, Poutini, open yet? It's on Queen W.

                                          1. re: Yongeman

                                            no, it's not open yet. they said they'd be open on the 5th, but there seems to be some holdup. their website says they're perfecting the recipe.

                                            1. re: toothpicvic

                                              It was a construction delay (rather than perfecting the recipe).

                                  2. re: Navan

                                    unfortunately, there arent really contenders for this..... i work near smoke's and it's terrible. the gravy is too thick and congealy (not a real word, but it's used best to describe it),...

                                    this one might be ok...


                                    1. re: dimsumyum

                                      First, Swiss Chalet is a travesty of poutine; processed fries, horrid and skimpy gravy....nuff said.
                                      Smoke's IMHO is better than dimsumyum suggests but not an ace level product.
                                      Queen of Poutine in TO - costs a few bucks more but worth every penny - crispy fries, great cheese, home-made gravy and awesome beef off the bone - Rosedale Diner. Try it, you'll love it.

                                      1. re: Bigtigger

                                        What do you mean by 'processed fries' at Swiss Chalet? They aren't frozen or seasoned or coated. I've never had their poutine (and don't plan to), but the Swiss Chalet fries are always good.

                                        1. re: Yongeman

                                          I was gonna say... processed fries?? Swiss Chalet fries are certainly not processed.

                                          1. re: magic

                                            The fries that came with my (delivery) poutine were absolutely not SC's regular somewhat limp but tasty fries that accompany chicken and rib orders - but processed-looking and tasting, rather larger in dimension and lighter in colour. Maybe this was a one-off because of a problem in the kitchen; maybe it's their standard for poutine delivery - I don't know. But between them and the anaemic amount of cheese and gravy, I have no desire to try again.

                                            1. re: Bigtigger

                                              Hmm, did this Swiss Chalet share a space with a Harvey’s? I’ve noticed that occasionally if a SC shares a space with a Harvey’s location you get Harvey’s horrid fries, not SC’s sadly. But I’ve never seen processed fries at a stand alone SC location. I’m a big fan of their fries and care not if they are limp. To me, crispness of fries is profoundly unimportant. But that’s just me..

                                              1. re: magic

                                                I've never had processed fries at Swiss Chalet either, though I find the vast majority of their food makes me wish I hadn't eaten there.

                                                1. re: tjr

                                                  I always have been and still remain a fan of the Chalet. But I understand CH'ers aversion to it. To each our own.

                                                  1. re: magic

                                                    agree with you magic. If you stick to the chicken, fries and sauce (phony, but tasty and somewhat addictive), it's a very good product.

                                                2. re: magic

                                                  Harvey's and SC are both owned by Cara Operations.. I think at one point they did serve the exact same fries and may still do that in some locations.

                                                  1. re: ikapai

                                                    In my 30 years or so eating at both franchises they have never been the same fries. Not even close. Except at joint SC/Harveys outlets, where yes, sometimes they use Harvey’s frozen fries. Stand alone SC fries have always been fresh cut to my knowledge and do not taste, look, or feel like Harveys fries. As Sam Jackson said: “It ain’t in the same league. It ain’t even the same sport.”

                                                    1. re: magic

                                                      This is true. SC and Harvey's serve different fries, unless both are at the same location, in which case the Harvey's fries are served.

                                                    2. re: ikapai

                                                      ikpai, Harvey's used to serve fresh cut fries, as Swiss Chalet does now. But that was long ago when the world was young. Harvey'a fries are crap now.

                                                      1. re: Yongeman

                                                        When I worked at Harvey's back in high school in 86/87 they would cut and blanch their own fries. Not sure when the switch to frozen occured.

                                      2. When I was prepping for a trip to my hometown, I checked this site to satisfy a poutine fix, and found the above post (there are many posts on the subject of Poutine, so it was hard to re-find it today).

                                        I was pretty skeptical about Costco having a good one, but I want to express my profound thanks to Navan: it was the best I have had in many years and a tremendous bargain too.

                                        I was so impressed with the curd quality that I asked at the food court, and then again at customer service, if it was for sale. They looked it up in their computer and said that it comes from in QC, but only for the food court (not retail sale). It is squeaky, and the real deal, so I wholeheartedly support the recommendation!

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: non sequitur

                                          Well, tjr, this poutine was developed in Laval, and uses chicken gravy. What do you think?
                                          I like the crispy coated Cavendish fries, but only in this combo with good curds and chicken gravy.

                                          1. re: jayt90

                                            I've actually tried the Costco poutine and thought it was okay, but my curds didn't squeak. Perhaps I should try it again? Overall it was pretty decent, and at a good price.