Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Poutine Wars: Ottawa vs. Halifax

I have eaten my fair share of Poutine. While all of them have had their charms, we can't all be winners in this world. So in honour of Canada Day, I bring you my first in a possible series of Poutine Face Offs: Ottawa vs. Halifax.

Poutine was created in our very own Quebec, but it has quickly spread to the surrounding provinces and has become perfected in its own right in the Maritimes and Ontario (who knows what they've got cookin out west). Living in Halifax for six years, I have tried many of the late night poutine options, and debated their merits in my head and with many of my friends. Every time, the fight for the best poutine comes down to Willy`s vs. Alexandra``s. The first battle:

Runner Up:


With late-(ish) night delivery, and cheap foods Alexandra's is a long time favourite with students. The poutine uses a mushroom gravy and shredded mozzarella cheese (not the squeaky kind). Despite this handicap, Alexandra's still brews up a top contender. While the service is sometimes slow the poutine is pretty reliable and tastes mm mm good. 



I can't imagine my life before I discovered Willies just two years ago. While it is tragic that I went an entire four years in that city before discovering this magical little place, it is understandable given that it is a small hole in the wall (literally) next to three other pizza places on pizza corner, and only open after dinner. I have been informed that they have recently expanded their menu to include different types of poutines and burgers, and are now open several days a week for lunch, but back when I lived there, there were three things on the menu: fries, poutine or burger. And no one ever gets the burger. Willy's uses a great vegetarian gravy, and real squeaky cheese, but I think the most important thing that sets Willy's apart from the rest are the french fries. Even just with ketchup these are amazing, Willy`s knows how to stick to the basics. 

Which brings us to our main battle...

Willy's Vs. Elgin Street Diner

Elgin Street Diner: 

I had just eaten a poutine from Smoke's (which did not even make it into this competition) the night before, so I had planned to get a salad when we stopped in to the Elgin Street Diner (which I was told was traditional Ottawa cuisine), but they had an exciting looking poutine menu that I could not resist. I ordered the smoked meat poutine because it sounded very Quebecois (or Montrealian) and this was the closest I was going to get to poutine in Quebec. 

A monsterous plate of poutine was placed in front of me, and I almost ate it all. The fries were thinner than willies but still a very good contender, and they use squeaky cheese! The menu didn't specify what kind of gravy was used, but it tasted heavy and beefy to me. I``m usually a fan of a lighter vegetarian gravy but this was too amazing. Despite still feeling incredibly full from the night before, I got just several bites away from completion. I left the diner feeling a little sick, but with no regrets.

As much as I love Willy`s and feel a great loyalty to Halifax, I think that the ESD is going to take the poutine crown.

Our grand winner is the Elgin Street Diner!

smoked meat poutine

Willy's on Urbanspoon Alexandra's Pizza on Urbanspoon Elgin Street Diner on Urbanspoon

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