Taste Test: Daniel Boulud tastes ten bowls of poutine to pick Toronto’s best

This month we asked world-renowned French chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud to sample Toronto’s finest remixes of the Québécois classic at his recently reinvented Café Boulud.


Image: CJ Baek

Hogtown's best
Smoke’s Poutinerie, 2200 Yonge St., Unit 102, $8.99
“The saltiness of the bacon, the spiciness of the sausage, the fennel, the heat, I like it.” 

Our second-place finisher comes from a gas station of all places.


Leslieville Pumps, 929 Queen St. E., $10.61
“The chili on top is good, and the black beans. This is the second best,” he says. 

Third place
Poutini’s, 1112 Queen St. W., $9.99
“Plenty of cheese and gravy. The gravy is so thick. The pork is moist, tasty, spicy and smoky,” he says, giving it third place. 

Topped with bacon
Big Smoke Burger, 3401 Dufferin St., $7.59 
“That’s a three in the morning kind of poutine,” says Boulud. “It will do the job.”

Poutini’s third-place entry includes pulled pork, an early development in the field of non-traditional poutines.


Classic poutine
St. Louis Bar & Grill, 10620 Yonge St., $8.99
“It’s good for a basic poutine,” he says, adding that he likes the cheese curds.

Duck and wild mushrooms
The Rushton, 740 St. Clair Ave. W., $12
“The cheese is more like Gruyère, and there’s cream,” he says noting the mushroom sauce.  

Cheddar curds & mozza
Rebel House, 1068 Yonge St., $9.45
“The potato is interesting and crispy, and there are two cheeses,” he says of the cheddar curds and smoked mozzarella.

Confit duck leg
Rosedale Diner, 1164 Yonge St., $18
“In order to counterbalance the curedness of the duck, I would like more cheese, more gravy, more onion,” says Boulud.

The winning poutine, from Smoke’s, includes the very Canadian combination of bacon, sausage, mushrooms and onions.


Smoked meat 
Stack, 3265 Yonge St., $12
“This is like a poutine made by a cook from the deli who took a little bit of leftover pastrami, french fries, curds. It’s good.”

Spicy raging bull gravy
Holy Chuck, 1450 Yonge St., $7.99
“It’s hot! No wonder the bull is raging,” he says. “Good sauce, good smoke, good bacon. It’s salty and spicy, but I can take heat.”

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