There are few dishes more classically Canadian than poutine, although some chefs are proclaiming it entirely Quebecois. Whatever its identity, it is said to have originated in a restaurant in Quebec in the 1950s (however, this, too, is a contentious topic), and the standard recipe includes French fries, gravy, and cheese curds. These nine restaurants are spicing things up, sometimes literally, with unique twists on poutine that we can’t argue with.
Poutine De Fruits de Mer at Chez Delmo, Montreal
A seafood lover’s dream, this dish is made with hand-cut french fries and topped with scallops, shrimp, and crayfish sauce. It’s a comforting snack ideal for chilly winter nights. Make a reservation at Chez Delmo.
Vegan Poutine at LOV, Montreal
Vegans want a delicious mess of fries and cheese, too! This veggie-friendly spot makes theirs with miso gravy, kale chips, and vegan cheese. You can even order it with sweet potato fries for an extra dollar. Make a reservation at LOV.
It’s Canadian, Eh-Lobster Poutine at Lobster Monster, Toronto
This best-selling appetizer is definitely a monster. The fries are slathered in melted mozzarella and chunks of lobster and then smothered in lobster bisque. It’s also served with a side of Canadian maple syrup — of course. Make a reservation at Lobster Monster.
Duck Fat Fried Poutine at CHARCUT, Calgary
The potatoes here aren’t fried in any old oil; they’re crisped in duck fat. Owners John Jackson and Connie DeSousa say, “Our Duck Fat Fried Poutine is about indulgence and comfort.” The pile of duck fat fries is topped with chicken gravy and cheese curds from Quebec. Make a reservation at CHARCUT.
Gnocchi Poutine at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, Toronto
This gooey combo is an indulgence worth the calories. A riff on the Italian comfort food, this uber-rich poutine mixes fluffy potato dumplings with a rich oxtail gravy and Ontario cheese curds. Make a reservation at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen.
Unagi Poutine at Ikemen Ramen Bar, Calgary
The first to create a Japanese take on poutine in the whole of Canada. The dish starts off with hand-cut fries, and the chef adds some housemade chicken gravy, locally sourced cheese curds, and BBQ unagi, garlic mayo, dried seaweed powder, and bonito flakes. Make a reservation at Ikemen Ramen Bar.
Seafood Poutine at The Fish Shack, Vancouver
Instead of using classic fries, this Vancouver spot starts off the dish with their Shack Spiced Fries. Then, they pour homemade clam chowder on top and add some cheese and bacon. Voilà! Make a reservation at The Fish Shack.
Butter Chicken Curry Poutine at Maezo, Toronto
This is a spin on a classic Indian dish and a classic Canadian dish. “The Curry Poutine is inspired by some of the most popular and our personal favourite dishes from our countries,” says owner Amit Sukhwani. They serve their fries topped with gravy, cheese, and a savory butter chicken curry. Make a reservation at Maezo.
Tater Tot Poutine at STK, Toronto
Traditional fries are substituted with a childhood favorite — the tater tot. These bite-sized beauties are homemade and covered in chili remoulade and cheese curds and topped with bacon bits, chives, and spring onion. Make your taste buds even happier by adding on some lobster or smoked chicken. Make a reservation at STK.
What restaurants serve your picks for the top twists on poutine? Let us know here or over on Facebook, G+, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter. And, remember to snap + share your #dishpics with us on Instagram for a chance to win in our weekly giveaway.
Katie Lockhart is a Brooklyn-based food and travel writer. When she’s not writing, she’s eating her way around the world and posting it all on her Instagram @findyourhappyplate and blog findyourhappyplate.co.
All photos courtesy of the featured restaurants.