Where To Get The Best Poutine In Canada

Where to grab the national dish, from coast to coast

Most people associate poutine—the glorious creation consisting of french fries, squeaky cheese curds and gravy—with Montreal, but Canada's greatest contribution to gastronomy can be enjoyed from coast to coast (preferably with a beer or two). Here's where to score primo poutine from St. John's, Newfoundland, to Vancouver.

① The Fifth Ticket

(St. John's, Newfoundland)

This classy spot in the heart of Downtown St. John's serves elegant, classic poutine with crisp house-cut fries topped with pan-roasted gravy and cheese curds from Five Brothers, a local producer.

② Willy's

(Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Head straight to this no-frills shop for poutine with donair meat, a spit-roasted shaved beef that's topped with a sweet and garlicky sauce. It's a local specialty.

③ La Banquise

(Montreal, Quebec)

This 24-hour diner has been doling out enormous portions of poutine since 1968. You can always opt for the traditional, but with options like The Madness (heaped with mushrooms, corn, sautéed red onions, spicy sausage, bacon, sour cream, pepper sauce and a jalapeño popper), you'd be missing out on what the legendary locale does best.

④ Au Pied de Cochon

(Montreal, Quebec)

Chef Martin Picard is not known for subtlety, and his signature poutine is no exception. The crispy fries and squeaky curds are doused in gravy that's been amplified with egg yolks and heavy cream, then topped with a generous portion of seared foie gras. For the full experience, pair it with a local brew and cap the meal with a slice of sugar pie à la mode.

⑤ Nom Nom Nom Poutine & Crepes

(Toronto, Ontario)

This tiny food stall offers 10 poutine varieties with toppings ranging from spicy lamb sausage to hot dogs. The smoked meat option, with thin slices of smoked brisket imported from Dunn's in Montreal, is the pro move.

⑥ Wurst

(Calgary, Alberta)

Subtle twists, like duck-fat fries, speck gravy, truffle oil and a sprinkling of green peas, help the poutine at this German pub stand out from the pack. You'll need a brew to wash it down; luckily, Wurst provides a worthy selection.

⑦ La Belle Patate

(Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia; Canmore, Alberta)

These no-nonsense operations offer 26 different poutines, including breakfast and BBQ chicken varieties. There's even an all-you-can-eat option. Bonus: On Friday and Saturday nights, the Vancouver shop stays open 'til 3 a.m.

⑧ Fritz European Fry House

(Vancouver, British Columbia)

Good poutine starts with great fries, and Fritz has its spud game on lock. You can add meat, but the better move is snagging a few sauces, like Parmesan peppercorn or fritessaus (Dutch mayo), in which to dip the fries that aren't sufficiently doused in gravy.

⑨ The Pink Bicycle

(Victoria, British Columbia)

Burgers are the specialty here, but the Pink Bike Poutine—with rosemary-spiked gravy, Island Pastures cheese curds and crispy shallots—is equally praiseworthy. If you prefer a veggie version, just ask for mushroom gravy

Erin Jackson is a food-obsessed writer/photographer in San Diego who probably posts too many photos of her cat on Instagram at @ejeats.