Cheese curds, gravy and fries, what could be better? When it comes to uniquely Canadian cuisine, whether you’re delighted or disgusted by it, you can’t get more iconic than poutine.
Many restaurants in Vancouver are now putting a distinctly west coast spin on this east coast specialty, and any Quebec-native will tell you that there’s a subtle art to creating the perfect poutine, whether it’s genuine French Canadian cheese curds that squeak between your teeth or crispy Kennebec fries. Check out these variations at the best poutine spots in Vancouver.
La Belle Patate
Serving some of the most authentic poutine in Vancouver, La Belle Patate offers a heart-stoppingly good traditional poutine. With real squeaky cheese curds and perfectly crispy double-cooked fries, this is best poutine for a nostalgic Montreal-native, short of buying a ticket home.
An added bonus for veggie poutine lovers is that its hearty gravy is completely meat-free. Never fear meat-lovers, you can order your poutine with loads of beefed up extras like BBQ chicken, smoked Montreal meat, bacon and much more. Just like a classic Montreal diner, the menu also features steamies (that’s a steamed hot dog), grilled cheeses and a small selection of specialty east coast beer to help you wash it all down. Located on Davie Street between Bute and Jervis.
Flickr / JWalsh
Fritz European Fry House
When Fritz European Fry House first opened just off Granville on Davie Street, it was a godsend to hungry hordes of downtown night owls, and its poutine became an instant late-night favourite. Fritz has arguably some of the best fries in the city, so deciding between a poutine and just fries with a flavoured mayo on the side is difficult.
The poutine is served in small containers that are perfect for eating on the go, which you’ll have to do unless you can grab a coveted bench spot in the small space. If you’re not totally on-board with squeaky cheese curds, the slightly gooier cheese curds at Fritz are the perfect compromise between tradition and texture.
La Brasserie specializes in Franco-German cuisine, but has its own delectable twist on this French Canadian classic. Its pork-based gravy is perfectly complemented by a touch of truffle oil, turning this usually greasy street food into a gourmet starter or snack.
For those who are wary of stretching their wallet for fries and gravy, the poutine at La Brasserie is only slightly more expensive at $9, and is so decadent you’ll find yourself sharing it even if the plan was to have it all yourself. La Brasserie also serves one of the best breakfast poutines in the city during its Saturday and Sunday morning brunches. La Brasserie is on Davie and Thurlow.
The Oakwood Canadian Bistro
The Oakwood Canadian Bistro in Kitsilano may not seem like an obvious spot when you’re in search of poutine, but it is secretly a great spot to grab some gourmet gravy-soaked fries and cheese curds.
It’s a little pricier than a regular poutine dive, but its delicious take on this dish comes served hot in a small skillet piled high with an incredible beef brisket made in-house. The Oakwood also has fantastic service and great drink specials to boot.
From the outside Zako’s looks like a regular deli, but the giant kosher pickle logo is the first hint that Zako’s, just off Cambie on West Broadway, is the real deal. Despite being quite small, there are a few tables often filled with construction workers and students seeking a cheap and cheerful comfort food fix.
Golden-brown nearly to the point of tasting bitter, Zako’s fries come drenched in a distinct mushroom-based homemade gravy. A small (but not that small) poutine comes in at just $5.50; a great find for anyone on a budget. For an extra $2 you can add a healthy portion of Montreal smoked meat to your order.
Flickr / Raul P
Frenchies is a '50s-themed diner geared toward everything French Canadian, and that, of course, includes poutine and Montreal smoked meat sandwiches.
Frenchies is slightly more expensive for the portion size than Fritz or La Belle Patate, but its poutine is undeniably tasty, with generous amounts of gravy ensuring that there isn’t a dry fry in the house. Located on Dunsmuir, between Richards and Seymour.
It’s called Belgian Fries, but one of its specialities is 100% Canadian. This Commercial Drive institution is well-known for its enormous portions, and there is no shortage of Belgian Fries fans camping out.
An order of poutine runs about $8, and can easily feed two people. If you’re not afraid of a little grease and you’re ready to stuff yourself to the gills, then Belgian Fries is best place option.
If you feel frites are best when dressed à la cheese curds and gravy, then add these poutine places to your list of must-try Vancouver restaurants