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Food & Drink

20 of Toronto’s most preposterous, over-the-top piles of poutine

Purists may say that poutine—Canada’s culinary icon—should include three things and three things only: fries, cheese curds, gravy. But where’s the harm in adding a few other components? How about bacon, smoked meat, lobster or... kimchee? Here, 20 of the city’s most bastardized bowls and boxes of poutine, ranked from “good gravy!" to “sweet baby cheeses!"

Leslieville Pump’s Pump’s Poutine

20 There’s a smokehouse at this Leslieville gas station (or is there a gas station at this Leslieville smokehouse?), and you can get an order of fries loaded with orange-and-white cheese curds, pulled pork (or beef brisket or beef brisket chili or baked beans) soaking in gravy and jus. $5.97–$10.61. 929 Queen St. E., 416-465-1313, leslievillepumps.com    

Poutini’s The Works

19 Know what this needs? More bacon, that’s what. (We kid.) This Toronto late-night institution piles its traditional poutine base (cheese curds with beef, vegetarian or gluten-free gravy) with sour cream, chives and bacon—lots and lots of bacon. $7.50-$10.57. 1112 Queen St. W.; 617 King St. W., poutini.com    

The Original Greek Gyro Grill’s Pork Gyro Poutine

18 This Greek grill in the Annex uses fries as a base for seasoned gyro pork. Then comes gravy and feta, which subs in for curds in a Mediterranean twist. $9. (Also available with chicken, $10.) 4 Walmer Road, 416-923-0700, theoriginalgyrogrill.ca    

Wvrst’s Dirty Duck Fries

17 King West beer hall Wvrst dirties up their duck-fat fries with currywurst, peppers, jalapenos, sautéed onions and special sauce. It’s almost like a salad. (Almost.) $6.50-$9. (Melted raclette is available for a bit extra.) 609 King St. W., 416-703-7775, wvrst.com    

Prohibition Gastropub’s Breakfast Poutine

16 Poutine for breakfast!? Why not? This longtime Riverside favourite fries tater tots (yes, tater tots) in duck fat, then tops them with poached eggs, cheese curds, and a whole lotta hollandaise. $13.95. 696 Queen St. E., 416-406-2669, myprohibition.com    

Lady Marmalade’s A.M. Poutine

15 Leslieville brunch haunt Lady Marmalade is also pro–morning poutine. They take hash browns, cover them in curds then pour miso gravy (or hollandaise) all over it ($8). Hungrier customers can add two poached eggs ($3.50), pulled pork ($3.50) or bacon ($2.50) to their breakfast mess. 898 Queen St. E., 647-351-7645, ladymarmalade.ca    

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Caplansky’s Latke Poutine

14 Zany Zane Caplansky tosses fries in favour of his delicatessen’s freshly baked and deep-fried potato pancakes, then tops them with cheese curds, gravy and smoked meat. Oy vey. $8. 356 College St., 416-500-3852; 156 Cumberland Ave., 416-967-7676, caplanskys.com    

Oddseoul’s Squash Poutine

13 Don’t let the gourd fool you—this is no healthy poutine. The kitchen at Ossington’s popular izakaya fries cubes of kabocha squash then decorates them with sweet mayo, kimchee, green onions, cheese curds and gravy. It doesn’t sound like it should work, but it does. Oh, it does. $7. 90 Ossington Ave., no phone, @to_oddseouls    

Thompson Diner’s Peking Duck Poutine

12 At this 24-hour downtown diner you can satisfy your poutine craving during lunch, dinner, or at 4 a.m. (just not for breakfast, that’s where they draw the line). Their over-the-top creation loads fries with Peking duck, crispy duck skin, sesame seeds, green onions and a hoisin duck gravy. $13.95. 550 Wellington St. W., 416-601-3533, thompsondiner.com    

Ji’s Brisket Poutine

11 This casual spin-off from the team behind neighbouring Pukka tweaks pub-grub favourites with Indian flavours. Here, fries spiced with garam masala are topped with crumbled paneer instead of curds, and a rich pulled-beef curry gravy. $14. 760 St. Clair Ave. W., 416-792-5550, helloji.ca    

Ramen Raijin’s Teriyaki Mayo Poutine

10 For a Japanese take on the classic dish, Ramen Raijin kicks gravy to the curb, soaking their fries with teriyaki mayo and butter soy sauce instead. Cheese curds remain, but they’re joined by green onions and a mountain of nori. $4.30–$6.50. 3 Gerrard St. E., 647-748-1500, zakkushi.com/raijin (Moving to a new location at Yonge and Wellesley after March 19.)    

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STK’s Short Rib Tater Tot Poutine

9 The signature poutine at Yorkville’s swanky new steakhouse—golden-brown tots, served in a still-hot skillet and blanketed in short rib—isn’t served at any of the chain’s American locations. $17. 153 Yorkville Ave., 416-613-9660, stkhouse.com    

Mata’s Chorizo Acebolado Poutine

8 In Parkdale it’s possible to get Brazilian poutine for brunch. Mata’s standout take on the stuff includes cassava fries, house-made sausage, cachacha onions, squeaky cheese curds and (because, brunch) a fried egg. $15. 1690 Queen St. W., 647-691-0234, matabar.ca    

Beast’s Gnocchi Poutine

7 It only makes sense that the people responsible for something called the Beastwich would put a decadent spin on already-decadent poutine. Here the kitchen’s gravy of the day (pictured above is their sloppy joe rendition) covers a base of fried gnocchi. The whole mess is finished with cheese curds and crème fraîche. $12. 96 Tecumseth St., 647-352-6000, thebeastrestaurant.com    

Sea Witch’s Fish Poutine

6 This St. Clair West chip shop marries traditional poutine with a fish dinner by crowning fries, curds and gravy with hunks of deep-fried haddock. $13. 636 St. Clair Ave. E., 647-349-4824, seawitchfc.com    

Bampot Bohemian House of Tea’s Poutine Soup

5 Have you ever been eating poutine and thought that it would make a great soup? No? Well, the owners of this Harbord Street teahouse did. They take a spiced, gravy-like broth and pour it into a bowl filled with roasted potatoes and cheese curds, then serve it with a side of bread and butter. $8.50. 201 Harbord St., 416-537-5959, bampottea.com    

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Smoke’s Poutinerie’s Nacho Grande Poutine

4 Like a delicious eight-layer dip, Smoke’s stacks fries with house-made beef chili, nacho chips, sour cream, guacamole, jalapenos, salsa and cheese curds. $8.99 218 Adelaide St. W., 416-599-2873; plus 8 other Toronto locations, smokespoutinerie.com    

Holy Chuck’s Foie Gras Poutine

3 The people responsible for a six-patty-and-three-grilled-cheese-sandwich-burger also make the city’s most expensive poutine. Here, fries get the usual poutine treatment, but then they’re finished with fresh white truffles and a few lobes of foie gras. It’s low-brow meets high-brow. $31.99. 1451 Yonge St., 416-962-4825, plust two other GTA locations, holychuckburgers.com    

Mitaza’s Poutine Pizza

2 You’ll have to travel to Scarborough to try this drunk-food hybrid: a pizza topped with sauce, cheese curds, gravy and fries. Going by the photo above, you can even add pepperoni into the mix, which at this point probably won’t be the worst decision you make. $15.95-$28.95. 269 Morningside Avenue, Scarborough, 416-901-0909, mitazapizza.com    

Lobster Monster’s Fancy Dog

1 Just north of Yonge and Lawrence, you’ll find our winner: a place that serves an all-beef weiner dressed with poutine and then some Maritime lobster—because the restaurant’s name ain’t Lobster Monster for nothing. $12. 3249 Yonge St., 416-488-8755, lobstermonster.ca

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The zaniest, most over-the-top and (in some cases) actually delicious food at this year's CNE
Food & Drink

The zaniest, most over-the-top and (in some cases) actually delicious food at this year’s CNE