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The word ‘poutine’ comes from a slang French term meaning ‘a mess’. It’s easy to see why this dish of French fries, gravy and cheese curds is called this. Here are the best places to get this distinctly Canadian dish in Vancouver.
The Oakwood Canadian Bistro offers an upscale take on the traditional poutine recipe. The restaurant’s ‘all Canadian’ poutine is made with thick, hand-cut Kennebec potatoes, and topped with veal-bone gravy, Québéc cheese curds and beef brisket, which is smoked in-house over hickory and maple chips. The dish is perfectly cooked so that the cheese is melted, but still pleasantly firm. The restaurant’s cabin-like setting and the local beers on tap complement this truly Canadian meal. The dish is even served in a heavy cast iron skillet, adding to the rustic ambiance.
Started by two formers BC Lions football players, Mean Poutine offers several different twists on the basic poutine dish. The poutine comes in one size, and there are seven different kinds to choose from, as well as a ‘build-your-own’ option. Menu highlights include ‘Fried Chicken Poutine’, which is topped with buffalo chicken chunks; and ‘Southern BBQ Poutine’ topped with double smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, ranch dressing and BBQ sauce. Open until 4.30am, this affordable place is popular with the late-night crowd. The French fries are beer-battered, resulting in a crisp, airy texture, and the cheese curds dissolve smoothly into the gravy.
There’s a lot of debate among Vancouverites about the best poutine in the city, but most would agree that Belgian Fries is among the contenders. The restaurant specializes in poutine, offering a number of creative toppings options in addition to the traditional cheese curds and gravy. Menu highlights include the ‘Tunisian Poutine’, which is topped with spicy lamb Merguez; and ‘Thai Chicken Poutine’, which is topped with chicken, capers, onion, and coconut milk. The restaurant’s gravy is meat-free, the fries are crispy and thick, and the traditional poutine always comes with two layers of cheese. The restaurant attracts locals and tourists, making its welcoming, upscale cafeteria-like interior an excellent spot for people-watching.