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Poutine in YYC?

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Ok I'm sure there is some threads on this one but looking for some fresh responses! Lived in Ottawa for awhile and use to love some of the Poutine Street Vendors - any thing similar here in YYC? Fresh fries that stay pretty crisp and don't go all limp and soggy, real cheese curds, real gravy not out of a can? I won't lie I've had many of the restaurant versions here which cost a fortune and incl blue cheese but that's NOT what I'm looking for - not knocking them it is great but what's wrong with wanting some 'plain' poutine? And if I can eat it standing on a street corner with a wooden fork thinghy all the better but I won't push for the full experience!

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  1. Many people will tell you about the Burger Bus.

    Though it's at a restaurant, the version they serve at Tango Bistro is my favorite now. More a Jus than a gravy, real cheese curds and some chunks of short ribs over skinny fries.

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    Tango Bistro
    6920 MacLeod Trail S, Calgary, AB T2H 0L3, CA

    1. This may not be what you're looking for since it's once again at a restaurant but fo try Laurier Lounge. Two brothers from quebec opened the place up and the curds are flown in from QC. Best poutine I've had west of Montreal.

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      Laurier Lounge
      1111 7 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0A1, CA

      1. I lived in Ottawa for 12 years and Burger bus is as close as you will come, I think it might be the best in the city. My only Burger bus Poutine criticism (I'm being very picky now) is that the gravy needs to be hotter, so the cheese curds get more melting action.

        Some have raved about Alberta King of Subs Poutine, its still on my wish list.

        I hear what your saying about blue cheese, etc...Calgary has a peculiar way of taking poutine (which is already perfect) and ruining it with some dumb twist. Tommy's burger does a good job of butchering this classic, stay away.

        1. my french buddies like the kfc version

          1. "Real" poutine uses powdered mix for gravy. I'd rather have the can.

            Laurier Lounge for more upscale, resto service; NY Fries otherwise. Honestly though, poutine is gorgeous but is garbage and is dead easy to pull off. Fries, gravy, curds, boom. You can get it all over the place here, just not at chip wagons which don't exist. Now try getting some decent ginger beef-- or decent sushi-- in Ottawa....

            -----
            Laurier Lounge
            1111 7 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0A1, CA

            5 Replies
            1. re: John Manzo

              I agree that NY Fries has a pretty decent version. If you ever do want to try something different, I would recommend the Lobster Poutine at Brava Bistro. It is amazing!

              -----
              Brava Bistro
              723 17th Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0B6, CA

              1. re: John Manzo

                Chip wagons do exist here. Canadian Tire parking lot, Macleod Trail near Southland.

                No poutine, as far as I know, though. Also the fries are not great.

                1. re: 23skidoo

                  Ok hate to be a chip wagon snob but any chip wagon I have to drive to get to and is located at a Canadian Tire is not the same sort of experience as downtown TO or Ottawa - I saw a hot dog wagon late Sat night on 17 Ave by Le Chateau but I think in 2 years that's the first time I've seen a wagon there - I don't trust my intestines to a guy I have never seen before or will ever see again - - I went to Tubby Dog - A Bomb!

                  -----
                  Tubby Dog
                  1022 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 0A5, CA

                  1. re: Backseat Food Critic

                    No, it's not worth going out of your way to drive to, but if you're in that area, you can enjoy fries from a truck.

                    1. re: 23skidoo

                      there is one by walt heally motorcycles that was not to bad.check that one out.

              2. I think I will have to find this Burger Bus and Laurier Lounge which is just around the corner - while I agree poutine is easy and I could make it at home (and I have) it's just not the same! And if I'm gonna eat something so bad for me I cannot imagine making it myself! Less guilt if I just splurge and have it out and about. Also when making poutine previously I always use to pick up the curds from backwoods corner stores in Que... seems oddly more authentic that was! Thanks guys!

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                Laurier Lounge
                1111 7 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0A1, CA

                1. I love the poutine at District. The best part is that they have a menu board with additional toppings you can add onto the 'plain' poutine.

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                  District
                  607 11 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0E1, CA

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: llkerr

                    I've tried the poutine at the Laurier and I wasn't impressed. Doesn't compare with what we get here in Quebec. What about the Belgo, aren't most of the staff Quebecoise ?

                    1. re: acaron

                      I don't know how long you've been out West but finding poutine exactly like your fave place back in Quebec is just not going to happen. There are some pretty good takes on it, and imho Laurier is one. Belgo may be a brasserie but last I checked Vickers didn't staff it with Quebecoise nor is that any guarantee of authenticity.

                      1. re: acaron

                        I went to university in Montreal and consider Laurier lounge even better then certain ones I had in Montreal. Just my 2 cents. What did you not enjoy about it?

                      2. re: llkerr

                        I tried District poutine today. Sorry IIkerr, gotta disagree. I had to send the first bowl back as the fries were so over cooked they snapped in half. 2nd batch we're barely any better. super skinny fries, that I think they might put them in the oven after putting on the cheese/gravy. Not sure. But very dry and dark brown on top. And I only got about 4-5 small curds!! I definately would never get that dish again there.

                        1. re: TSAW

                          How disappointing! I wonder if they were having a bad day in the kitchen or maybe have new staff. It does sound like they changed a few things, because I'd never been served the super skinny fries, and definitely had more than 4-5 curds.

                          I do want to try La Belle Patate in Canmore. A friend and I tried to go there in July, but we arrived before they'd opened and we had to get back to Calgary.

                        2. re: llkerr

                          I just went to the District for the first time. I loved the poutine too! I only tried the plain poutine and it is really good.

                        3. My favourite poutine in Alberta was at the Bison Bistro in Banff with duck confit and truffled oil but as the OP commented wanting a plain poutine, I'd say the next best I had was the Laurier Lounge. I personally think it's great but it didn't compare to the poutine I've had in Montreal.

                          -----
                          Laurier Lounge
                          1111 7 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0A1, CA

                          1. I love the duck fat fried poutine at Charcut, expensive at $7 for a small dish but sooo good.

                            -----
                            CHARCUT Roast House
                            101 9 Avenue Southwest, Calgary, AB T2G 1B8, CA

                            1. I'm still looking but really, the Costco ones aren't that bad! I think the gravy is right, the cheese curds squeak but some don't care for the fries. I think they're ok.

                              I've had poutine in Montreal both from a take-out place that had a huge line-up and a sitdown restaurant. Other than the fact the fries were freshcut I wasn't that excited. I don't know what the line-up was about.

                              In Edmonton we went to the Cheese Factory and that's what cheese curds should be. I was told they are freshly made daily. Definitely better cheese than anything I've tried anywhere else but the fries and gravy were forgettable. I took some cheese home and even the day after they squeaked. It's more than the squeak though, the flavour is way better.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: sharonanne

                                I saw St-Albert cheese curds (grew up on them in E. Ontario) at of all places our Walmart Supercentre the other day (in the cheese cooler in the front of the store in produce). Those curds and some good potatoes and I have the makings for a good homemade version.

                                sharonanne in Montreal (where I lived before Calgary) poutine has a cult-like following hence the lineup. Much like Montreal bagels everyone has their fave place - mind you like a lot of things poutine in Montreal ranges from excellent to awful - and one person`s meh is another`s idea of poutine perfection. (much like the yyc pizza thread heh )

                              2. alberta king of subs.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: nonlinear

                                  Thank you very much for the Alberta King of Subs recommendation. I visited a few months ago and it is quite good. Gravy is exceptional! Apparently they make it themselves using the drippings from the smoked meat.

                                2. I am no poutine expert. I haven't had it anywhere but Calgary. So what is 'real' poutine? I have no idea really, but I ABSOLUTELY LOVE it and I try it everywhere I go! Thumbs up: Rocky`s, Laurier, DQ, Roxy`s at Crossroads Market, Costco. Thumbs down: KFC, Belgo.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: TSAW

                                    I'm no expert either but I am just returning from Ottawa. I sampled poutine at The Works. They serve their fries with St. Albert cheese curds and this rich dark gravy. With onion ring pieces or Montreal smoked meat it was all good.

                                  2. I know this sounds crazy... but COSTCO has awesome poutine!!!

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: cfuentes

                                      I'll second Costco poutine, cheap, fresh and delicious. May not be Montreal, but still delicious!

                                      1. re: Alexa

                                        Third... LOVE Costco poutine. :)

                                        1. re: swbossert

                                          I don't know if I'm 4th since I mentioned Costco above but I guess I'm the 4th in this set...so confused....just add me to the list of Costco poutine fans.

                                          1. re: sharonanne

                                            Me too! I love the Costco poutine. Does anybody know if they sell the gravy mix? Thanks.

                                    2. I heard CHARCUT is doing 15kg poutine at their communal table this Sunday. Anyone going?? http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?i...

                                      1. Fish & chips stand at Calgary Stampede midway (beside stand with London broil steak sandwich, possibly called Butcher Brothers?)

                                        Had to order the bucket because their sign said they use "real cheese curds" - and they did! Two layers of fries, cheese & gravy in bucket. Not sure if gravy from can/powder, but probably. Not bad though. Gravy possibly needed a bit more salt.

                                        Fries had nice amount of skin on them.

                                        It was just like eating from a poutine truck in Ottawa, except out of a plastic bucket instead of a styrofoam bowl =)

                                        1. I tried the poutine at Tango Bistro last night. It was served with some pulled beef short rib, at the bottom of the bowl, which I thought was weird but tasted juicy & tender. The gravy was tastey but on the thinner side. There was not enough cheese curds and they didn't squeak. I was with my friend from Montreal who poo-poo'ed them as too thin, too soggy and too small of curds. I didn't notice so much.

                                          This my 10th place in Calgary that I've tried poutine! I think it ranks as 'average'.

                                          -----
                                          Tango Bistro
                                          6920 MacLeod Trail S, Calgary, AB T2H 0L3, CA

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: TSAW

                                            We have a newish place in Canmore - La Belle Patate

                                            I am not qulaified to rate Poutine - would be interested in an experts POV - but we mean to check this place out very soon!!

                                            http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/72/151820...

                                            1. re: graemejw

                                              I am happy to report that this little place is an excellent addition to the Canmore dining scene. Freshly cut fries, lashings of gravy & squeaky cheese for $7 (medium portion) - it tasted mighty fine to me. The place is spotlessly clean, with friendly staff, there is a bit of a wait between ordering at the counter & getting your food - that wait is due to them actually cooking your order. Other options on the menu included smoked meat subs, burgers & hotdogs - as the place is just a few yards from Valbella's I am guessing a good chunk of their products come from there - certainly the quality was higher than your average fast food styleplace. This is not fine dining, its simple, fresh & good quality food. Plenty of seating inside & even, when summer arrives here, outside!!

                                              1. re: graemejw

                                                Thanks for the report graemejw. Definitely on the must try for our next trip.

                                                1. re: maplesugar

                                                  I was just there on Sunday, and I agree with all the points above - sorry about the duplication, but wanted to chime in that this place is excellent! Very generous with the cheese curds =) Restaurant was also very clean. We waited a few minutes for our order, but only because they freshly deep-fried the fries for our order (!)

                                                  1. re: aonyx

                                                    We went to La Belle Patate

                                                    on the weekend. It was quite good. I'll make two complaints. First I had the fully loaded or somthing. It had slices of pepperoni like you'd get on a pizza and green peppers. There would have been mushrooms but I'm not a fan of them. $11.50 He could have filled the container. Second the cheese curds were good but because they came out of the refridgerator they were cool and not melted in. Maybe that's the correct way but I like owee gooee melted cheese better.

                                                    1. re: The Gut

                                                      La Belle Patate is good, but I agree...not as gooey cheese as I would prefer. Regardless, the poutine with Montreal Smoked Meat was great.

                                          2. Next time you're in Lethbridge, try out Red Dog Diner downtown. In my opinion, it has the best poutine outside of Quebec. And cheapish. Also, montreal smoked meat sandwiches. And cherry coke on fountain.
                                            Great little place, open late, and run by Quebecois. I drove all the way down there one day just for their poutine. It was phenomenal.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: BladeXT

                                              I went to Lethbridge this week and tried out Red Dog Diner. I am sorry but I have to say that was the worst poutine and burger in a long time. The fries were soggy, the gravy very watery and tasteless. The burger looked and tasted horrible.
                                              I also didn't like that they served it with plastic cutlery and the floor was dirt and totally sticky!

                                              1. re: josey124

                                                Really? Wow. I haven't had them since April and they were good back then, and the year and a bit I've been eating there previous.
                                                In that case, apologies for my recommendation.

                                            2. Try the Blind Monk on 12th Ave. Had the poutine there the other day and it's to die for! Huge, tasty and at a good cost. The waitress told me one of the owners is from Montreal and said the poutine HAD to be made the way it was back home. I enjoyed it.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: cffl526

                                                Thanks for the recommendation! I love this thread!

                                                Tried poutine at Blind Monk downtown about a week ago. Curds and gravy were very nice. Gravy was thinner than I'm used to. Not as much a fan of the fries. They were a bit squishy.

                                                The pub has some interesting plating, and the poutine came in a taller bowl with a narrow bottom, which meant most of the gravy sank to the bottom.

                                                I guess it depends how far you're willing to go to get your fix, but my favourite is La Belle Patate in Canmore, followed by Alberta King of Subs in the NE.

                                              2. an afternoon for poutine lovers

                                                http://poutinecrawl.eventbrite.com/

                                                1. There's a new place getting ready to open on 17th Avenue, where the Nellie's beside the (former) Rocket used to be. I'm really excited it's dedicated to poutine! Called "The Big Cheese," I hope it lives up to its name.

                                                  18 Replies
                                                  1. re: ladyseraphina

                                                    I walked in there today, expecting it to be open, but they open on Sunday. What a disappointment, driving all the way back from Ft Mac, expecting a delicious new Poutine when I got here, only to find out that they weren't open yet lol.

                                                    1. re: BladeXT

                                                      Will let you know what it's like, can't wait to try it!

                                                      1. re: BladeXT

                                                        Did you get a definite date/time from them? Evidently the storefront doesn't list it, and we're considering a poutine tweetup.

                                                        1. re: ladyseraphina

                                                          Checked the inspections site and they got initial approval April 4...so I'd say soon.

                                                          Found their facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/mybigcheese?s...
                                                          tweeting as @mybigcheese

                                                          No opening date posted yet afaik.

                                                          1. re: maplesugar

                                                            It opened today.
                                                            Went there tonight, small lineup (which was to be expected). They had a huge list of their poutines, ranging from the Traditional (which is also vegetarian), to ones with 3 different kinds of pork, chicken, peas, montreal smoked meat, beef... You name it. My girlfriend prefers the traditional, but I decided to be a bit adventurous and go for (I forget the name) one with BBQ Beef, and sauteed onions and mushrooms. The BBQ flavour was good to me, and the onions and mushrooms were pretty good too. The cheese I got wasn't squeaky, and the sauce leaves a bit to be imagined. I tasted a bite or two of the Traditional, and I found the fries could've been cooked a bit longer, and according to the girlfriend, needs more gravy and cheese.
                                                            All in all, it wasn't too bad considering. The price wasn't that shabby, especially for Uptown (a Large Traditional was only $8, and thats definitely enough for 2), but if you're about quality, I think LBP in Canmore is a clear winner.
                                                            Its nice to actually have a poutinerie close to home though :)

                                                            1. re: BladeXT

                                                              Thanks for the report! :) Hopefully they'll tweak things and get the cheese/gravy/fry ratio right when they've had more than one day under their belts. Tastes vary... I had a friend at Bishop's who'd always order extra gravy when I thought the place we were ordering from used too much to begin with.

                                                              1. re: maplesugar

                                                                We went today as well, and the lineup was fairly long, but I think they handled it at a good pace considering it was their first day. When waiting, because they were so busy, it was hard to find a good spot to stand and wait for your order without blocking other people.

                                                                My husband had the Notorious P.I.G - pulled pork, bacon, and Italian sausage, and I had the Hogzilla, with pulled pork, bacon, and peppercorn gravy. He found the sausage was more of a breakfast sausage than he was expecting.

                                                                I found the pulled pork has an odd flavour, reminding me of pickle brine, and I wasn't the biggest fan of the peppercorn gravy. I found the cheese was overwhelmed by the meats, and I didn't notice the flavour of the bacon at all due to how strongly flavoured the pulled pork was. The fries were nicely brown and crisp.

                                                                Now, that sounds like we hated it - we didn't. I am not a huge eater, but I did eat almost all of my regular-sized poutine, and my husband ate all of his and the rest of mine. We'll definitely be back, but try something different.

                                                              2. re: BladeXT

                                                                How can a traditional poutine be vegetarian? What do they use for gravy?

                                                                1. re: hsk

                                                                  Not sure what they're using, but mushroom gravy and gravy made from vegetable stock are common forms of vegetarian gravy.

                                                                2. re: BladeXT

                                                                  A co-worker and I checked out Big Cheese today. Meh.. Underwhelming for sure. I had the traditional. Fries were on the soggy side, and the gravy had a very odd poultry seasoning taste, which I didn't care for at all. Co-worker had the buffalo chicken. The chicken was tastey and moist but again it was overall soggy.

                                                                  I think it was a waste of calories really. It was ok but not awesome. If I'm going to crash my diet on a Thursday it has to be for something awesome!

                                                                3. re: maplesugar

                                                                  I made the trek today at lunch. Lots to choose from, but I decided to be brave and try the Scottish Curry.

                                                                  I'll save everyone the trouble... if you like curry, don't bother with it here. Perhaps I should have known better getting curry at a poutinery... the chicken itself wasn't warm and very tasteless. The curry was barely recognizable as curry and had zero heat.

                                                                  The fries were okay (probably could have been crisper), the gravy/sauce was pretty good and the cheese (when I was lucky enough to find a piece) was good.

                                                                  I plan to try it again, but I found it to be pretty middle-of-the-road taste wise.

                                                                  1. re: swbossert

                                                                    Today, me and two coworkers went to The Big Cheese. We checked out the menu online and as we are all big poutine fans, we were excited to try the new poutine place. I'm sad to report that the experience left us under-whelmed.. First the positive. The owners of the place seem very nice and they made us feel very welcome. They even gave us a complimentary Philidelphia Cheese Steak poutine. They even carry Pop Shoppe pop which takes us back tou our youth.

                                                                    Two of us had the "Notorius P.I.G. and the third had the chicken with pepercorn gravy. For the price, there were lots of fries but the gravy was runny and there wasn't a lot of cheese. The pulled pork had a funny BBQ sauce taste.

                                                                    Although the owners were great, I don't think the poutine justified a return visit. It's just too much to pay for "okay" poutine.

                                                                    Maybe be the late night bar crowd on 17th Ave will help this small business succeed. I hope so but we won't be back.

                                                                    1. re: Nealn

                                                                      Although I haven't tried this place yet, a couple of my friends have and they were both underwhelmed. Like others have mentioned, the fries were too soggy amongst other things.

                                                                      I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a poutine aficionado but I take issue with the traditional poutine being made with vegetarian gravy. I absolutely respect the need for a veg option but their first priority should be making an amazingly rich and simple traditional poutine with a deep and meaty gravy. All of the meats and optional gravy choices are nice enough but that stuff is largely insignificant if the core product isn't up to snuff.

                                                                      If I were them I'd concentrate on making an amazing traditional poutine and throw most of the other novelty stuff out the window. Do one thing, and do it right I say!! After that start thinking about unique additions.....

                                                                      1. re: johnjohnson78

                                                                        I just checked their website and the menu says they have 4 types of gravy: "poutine sauce", "roast chicken gravy", "Gluten free – Low-sodium Vegetarian", and "Green Peppercorn". Their traditional poutine is made with "Poutine sauce" and they have a vegetarian version of the Traditional with the vegetarian gravy.

                                                                        Not sure what is included in the poutine sauce but sounds like they have more gravy variety than it seems.

                                                                        I'll give them a try.... maybe this weekend.

                                                                        1. re: foodkarma

                                                                          If you end up disappointed, you can cheer yourself up with Alberta King of Subs on 52nd Street NE.

                                                                          1. re: ladyseraphina

                                                                            thx... not sure I can do two poutines in one day though.

                                                                            My favs in Calgary so far are: Laurier Lounge and Charcut.

                                                                            -----
                                                                            Laurier Lounge
                                                                            1111 7 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0A1, CA

                                                                            1. re: foodkarma

                                                                              I'm still in food coma from a steak and smoked meat sub and part of a poutine from King's today. I've never been to Laurier Lounge, will have to check it out!

                                                                              -----
                                                                              Laurier Lounge
                                                                              1111 7 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0A1, CA

                                                            2. re: ladyseraphina

                                                              I was there yesterday and overall I enjoyed it. Split 4 large poutines (Traditional, Nacho (vegetarian), peppercorn chicken and scottish curry) with 3 friends. The traditional was my favourite, with a St. Hubert-style gravy and a good balance of ingredients. The chicken ones were a little disappointing - not enough chicken, and what little there was was dry. The curry flavour wasn't great either. It was kind of a watered-down version of the curried chicken and chips you can get at the Drum & Monkey, but with peas and cheese curds.
                                                              The portions are huge. I think when I was 17 I could have eaten a large, but it's more like 1.5 meals to me now.

                                                            3. I went to District. I was disappointed. First, for $13.00, I expected at least good fries or a nice cheese and gravy blend. The fries were too skinny and overcooked. There was hardly any cheese. The gravy was too overpowering, as it overwhelmed the potato and cheese ratio. I need to try Laurier Lounge, Brava bistro, and that place in Canmore. Unfortunately, I won't until I lose some of this extra weight I packed on in the last two months eating out so much :-(

                                                              -----
                                                              Laurier Lounge
                                                              1111 7 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0A1, CA

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: clouie

                                                                Really? So far the poutine I had at The District was very good!

                                                                1. re: josey124

                                                                  My friends didn't care for it either. Perhaps it was an off night? The oysters we had were also not the best. They weren't shucked properly (shell chips and oyster was cut up) nor did it taste fresh. The service was great, and we really enjoyed the alcoholic drinks and atmosphere. I've heard the food at the District was good, so I'm wondering if this was just a bad night. I would go again, just not for the food.

                                                              2. Try the Brasserie in Kensington, they have an original poutine and exotic ones as well (like with fois gras). The blind monk downtown also serves up an authentic poutine that tastes delish.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: cffl526

                                                                  I disagree about Blind Monk. I found their poutine very disappointing, to be honest.
                                                                  Haven't tried Brasserie or Laurier Lounge yet, if I want some good poutine I take the hour drive out to La Belle Patate in Canmore. Best I've had in this province.

                                                                2. We went to Big Cheese Poutinerie on 17th ave SW a few doors down from Melrose. I thought I should report back. We had a big traditional and a big Notorious P.I.G. Plus two pop shoppe and a can of A&W rootbeer for $28.07. It was plenty of food for us at lunch me wife two kids.

                                                                  The gravy is good and plenty of it. I was worried there was not enough cheese curds because it was on top and the box was fairly deep. Seemed to be enough, I'd probaly still like more.

                                                                  The meat on the P.I.G. seemed ok the pulled pork sauce was nice with a bit of spice.

                                                                  There was a few more I'd like to try with beef. They make an Italian with meat sauce that seems like something I would like but just did not sound good today.

                                                                  We went to Jelly Modern doughnut for dessert, I couldn't eat it for a couple of hours.

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: The Gut

                                                                    A couple of hours Gut? Well you won't win any contests now, will you!

                                                                    1. re: Scary Bill

                                                                      Not anymore. I probably could have put the doughnut on top of the poutine and ate it on a dare but it would not be enjoyable anymore. I'll go be middle aged somewhere else for a while now..

                                                                      1. re: The Gut

                                                                        It affects all of us eventually. Even Kobayashi some day.

                                                                        1. re: Scary Bill

                                                                          It's only bad once in awhile when you go to a buffet and the food is particularly good. You think, "Just one more trip." and eat too much.