The quest for the best poutine

Putting Waterloo’s poutine to the test

Photo by Heather Davidson
Photo by Heather Davidson

As Canadians when we think of our nation, a few things come to mind: hockey, maple syrup, beavers, Terry Fox and free health care.

These are all typical things that help mold the great nation in which we are more than lucky to inhabit.

But there is one aspect of being Canadian that I feel is highly overlooked and is only ever appreciated by drunk university students or pregnant women who are looking to satisfy their cravings.

What I am referring to is drenched in glistening gravy, stuck together by gooey cheese curds and wrapped up in perfect little boxes of wonder and delight. Yes, friends, I am talking about poutine.

As a fan of this delicious co-mingling of fries, gravy and cheese, I decided to go on a quest to find the best poutine in the university area. Upon stuffing my face with poutine, I figured out where you should and shouldn’t go to satisfy your cravings.

Fifth Place: Smoke’s
I know you’re all cringing at the fact that Smoke’s is last on my list, but trust me guys, they really aren’t that great. Their gravy is way too thin and their fries are, quite frankly, nothing special. The one great thing that Smoke’s does is offer a wide variety of ways to reinvent poutine. I got the pierogi poutine, which has actual pierogis on top. I felt like they were just trying to mask how bland their plain poutine was. For the price you pay, which is way too much in my opinion, the oversized, unexciting poutine Smoke’s has to offer just isn’t worth it.

Fourth Place: Frites
Frites poutine was pretty delicious. If you haven’t been there before, I definitely suggest checking it out. They use thick-cut Belgian fries with a delicious salty seasoning. My only complaint is that the seasoning with the gravy was, you guessed it, overly salty. Something I loved about their poutine was that they layer cheese curds throughout, so even when I got to the bottom, there was still cheesy goodness. My only suggestion to Frites would be to introduce a medium size; as of now they only have a small size or a huge size — something in-between would have been ideal.

Third Place: Morty’s
If you’re planning on ordering a poutine at Morty’s, I’d advise you not to take on that challenge alone; their poutine is the biggest one on this list. You definitely get what you pay for — I split it with someone else and we didn’t end up finishing it between the two of us.
The best thing about the poutine at Morty’s is the gravy. It’s rich, dark and full of flavour. The cheese took a while to melt, but that may have been that I was too impatient and wanted to eat it immediately. Overall, Morty’s poutine was pretty satisfactory, it’s not a side or a snack — it’s a meal on its own.

Second Place: Harvey’s
For those who know me, you probably know I hate chain restaurants. That’s why it’s shocking that I’m giving Harvey’s second place, but their poutine is phenomenal as far as fast food goes. Firstly, it’s super cheap and a really decent size. Secondly, Harvey’s fries are delicious, and they actually use real cheese curds as opposed to cop-out shredded cheese like some fast food joints use. They also have a tasty gravy that isn’t overly salty to top it all off.
All around, Harvey’s has an awesome poutine that you can actually find right on campus.

First Place: Frat Burger
If you haven’t had Frat Burger’s poutine, then stop everything you’re doing and go buy one now. It is, in my opinion, the best poutine in the surrounding Laurier area.
I love Frat’s fries on their own — they’re pretty thinly cut and crispy, so adding gravy and cheese just makes everything that much better. If you get it to go, they pack it in little cardboard boxes, like Smoke’s, only you’re paying way less for a way better poutine.
They aren’t shy with their portions; the poutine itself is pretty big and the amount of gravy you get is nothing to complain about.

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