The Best Fast Food Poutine You Can Find In Canada

The origin of Canada's favorite potato dish, poutine, is both mysterious and surprisingly recent. We know that poutine was first mixed up in Quebec, probably in the 1950s, but just who was the first person to combine French fries, brown gravy, and cheddar cheese curds is up for debate. The word poutine is said to come from Quebecois slang meaning "mess," and it certainly is a messy dish that many argue is unhealthy. It is also absolutely delicious and well worth the indulgence.

In recent years, poutine has spread beyond Canada's borders and can be found in places like the United States. But nowhere could poutine be more popular than in its home country, where it has been reimagined in a million different ways, from haute cuisine to fast food.

Because it only has three primary ingredients, poutine is practically tailor-made for fast food, and many Canadian quick-service restaurant chains include it on their menus. Read on to find 12 fast food restaurants that serve the best poutine across the Great White North. 

Chez Ashton

Given poutine's birthplace, it seems fitting to start with a Quebecois restaurant chain. Now headquartered in Quebec City, Ashton Leblond opened his first restaurant in 1969 when he was only 21. It served French fries, hamburgers, hot dogs, and meatloaf. Poutine was added to the menu in 1972, and it quickly became a customer favorite. Currently, there are 23 Chez Ashton locations centered around Quebec City where you can satisfy your poutine cravings.

In addition to the classic freshly cut fries, cheese curds, and house-made gravy, you can order the Dulton, poutine that is also topped with ground beef, or the Galvaude, an order of French fries topped with chunks of white meat chicken, green peas, and house-made brown sauce. Cheese curds do not come automatically with the Galvaude but may be added upon request.

In 2022, Leblond sold the chain to Jean-Christophe Lirette and Émily Adam, a local Quebecois couple experienced in the fast food business. Lirette and Adam will carry Chez Ashton into the future, but they have promised not to change the signature gravy recipe.

New York Fries

Despite the name, New York Fries is a Canadian restaurant chain headquartered in Vaughan, Ontario. But you don't have to stick to Ontario to taste New York Fries' poutine. Locations abound, from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador. There are also New York Fries restaurants outside of Canada, mainly in the Middle East, India, and Panama.

Because New York Fries specializes in hand-cut, skin-on fries, it would be a crime not to include poutine on the menu. But there isn't just one poutine; there are 10 varieties of poutine to choose from. We're talking pulled pork, bacon, nacho, chili, butter chicken, and more, all made with cheese curds made in Quebec.

New York Fries has also started selling Poutine Kits designed for at-home use. This is essentially deconstructed poutine with all of the essential parts placed in separate containers. You just reheat the fries in an oven or microwave, toss on the cheese curds, then pour the gravy over it all. The kits are available only in a large size, making them great for when you have multiple hungry mouths to feed.


Sticking with Ontario for a minute, Richard Mauran opened the first Harvey's restaurant in 1959 in Richmond Hill, a suburb of Toronto. The original plan was to close the burger joint for the winter, but it proved too popular, and the decision was made to remain open all year. Thus Canadian fast food history was made. Today, well over 200 Harvey's locations dot the landscape from coast to coast.

As for the poutine, the gravy is darker and has a beefier flavor than some competitors. However, Harvey's poutine is listed as vegetarian on the menu, making the richness of the gravy quite impressive. Both the potatoes and the cheese curds are Canadian-sourced.

Harvey's classic poutine is so popular that it is number one on the restaurant's Faves at Harv'ehs list. The menu also includes bacon double cheese poutine, buffalo chicken, and chicken bacon ranch in regular and large sizes for those with a hearty appetite.


Now we arrive at the first of many fast food chains imported from the United States on the list. The first A&W root beer stand was opened in Lodi, California, in the 1920s. And while you will find chili cheese fries on the American menu, it is only in Canada that you will find poutine.

The fries are thick-cut with the skin left on and lightly seasoned with turmeric and paprika extracts. The gravy used to top A&W's poutine is chicken rather than beef or vegetable based, which sets it apart from many of its competitors, especially because A&W does not specialize in chicken.

For those who prefer a lighter, more chickeny gravy, A&W may suit your fancy better than, say, the darker vegetarian gravy from Harvey's. By offering only one type of poutine, there isn't a lot of customization, but when all you want is a classic poutine fix, A&W is one of the best.

Burger King

Like many of the top fast food chains in the world, Burger King's French fries are cut thinner than is often found in traditional poutine. This offers a crispier texture than thick-cut fries. You can also add bacon to your poutine; customize the amount of gravy with no, light, regular, or extra gravy, or, for an additional fee, get extra cheese curds.

In early July 2023, Burger King Canada added a new poutine to its menu, butter chicken. Butter chicken poutine has the same crispy fries and cheese curds, but in place of the gravy is butter chicken sauce. You can also add crispy chicken, spicy crispy chicken, or bacon to top it off. This is only available for a limited time, so grab it while it lasts.

Burger King Canada has a history of releasing limited-edition poutine. In February 2023, customers could order Angry poutine, which included sliced jalapenos and Burger King's signature Angry sauce. For National Poutine Day 2023, poutine with mushrooms was briefly added to the menu.


Wendy's arrived in Canada pretty early on in the chain's history. Founder Dave Thomas opened the first Wendy's restaurant in 1969 in Columbus, Ohio. Just six years later, the first Canadian location was opened in the not-too-distant town of Hamilton, Ontario.

Wendy's Canada offers a couple of different poutines, classic and classic with bacon. The gravy is chicken-based, but it also includes a number of dehydrated vegetables, such as tomato, onion, and garlic, which makes a richer and heartier sauce. The fries, which are made from unpeeled potatoes, are a little thicker than other top fast food competitors, but they are also not as thick as steak fries or potato wedges. They are simply seasoned with sea salt and fried to a golden crisp. And Wendy's does not skimp on the cheese curds, which are squeaky, 100% Canadian, and melt into a delicious mess over the hot fries and gravy.


Did you know that Colonel Harland Sanders, founder of KFC, spent the last 15 years of his life living in Canada? The Colonel opened the first Canadian chicken restaurant in 1953. In 1965, he moved to Mississauga, Ontario, a part of the Greater Toronto Area, where he lived until his death in 1980. A number of local health centers are named in his honor, and his estate still makes donations today.

But back to the important things. Not the chicken but the poutine. Unsurprisingly, poutine is a bestseller on the KFC menu. The gravy is, of course, chicken-based. If you are already a fan of KFC's gravy, then you will love their poutine. The fries are long and thick-cut. Rather than have a pile of fries with gravy and cheese curds on top, KFC layers the three ingredients to avoid dry fries and ensure that every bite is full of cheesy gravy goodness.


The restaurant that would become Popeyes was opened by Alvin C. Copeland Sr. in Arabi, Louisiana, a part of the Greater New Orleans metropolitan area. The first Canadian Popeyes restaurant opened in 1984 in Toronto, the first to be located outside the United States. With close to 300 locations that spread from Ontario to British Columbia, your chances of sinking your teeth into Popeyes' Cajun poutine will only increase as the chain expands.

Cajun poutine is not only unique to Canada but is what really sets Popeyes apart from the competition in the poutine department. Popeyes crispy fries are seasoned in its signature Cajun spice blend. To turn them into poutine, Popeyes adds cheese curds followed by a healthy pour of gravy that has also been seasoned in the Cajun blend. Popeyes goes all in on the Cajun, and it is not a subtle flavor. We understand if this is a little controversial for poutine purists. But if you want a little taste of New Orleans in Canada, Popeyes Cajun poutine is a must.


Arby's arrived in Canada over 40 years ago, and the chain has clearly taken to the culture. There are not only multiple varieties of poutine with different toppings, but Arby's Canada offers two different kinds of French fries as well. Choose between crispy crinkle-cut fries lightly sprinkled with kosher salt and Arby's signature battered and seasoned curly fries. All poutines are drenched in beef gravy and include cheese curds. It might be the batter that helps the fairly thinly cut curly fries remain so crisp, and the seasoning adds that extra bit of flavor.

One of the unique poutine variations is Montreal Smoked Meat. In addition to the gravy and curds, this poutine is topped with small cuts of Montreal smoked meat and Thousand Island dressing. Arby's also occasionally offers limited-time toppings such as bacon and chicken. And if for some reason you don't like cheese curds, the poutine adjacent loaded fries are also on the menu and look pretty tasty.


Smoke's Poutinerie is another homegrown Canadian chain of fast food restaurants that founder Ryan Smolkin opened in 2009 in Toronto. It claims to have invented the word "poutinerie" and is the originator of the World Poutine Eating Championship.

Some Americans in college towns like Berkeley, California, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, may remember Smoke's, but the restaurants' stays in the U.S. were short-lived. The Ann Arbor location closed after only 18 months in business when poutine failed to connect with the nearby University of Michigan campus population. (Its funky 1980s red and black checked Canadiana theming probably didn't help.)

In its home country, Smoke's and its all-poutine menu are still holding its own against older, longer-established chains. The curds are squeaky, and the gravy savory. Smoke's has over 30 types of poutine, making it a true destination for poutine lovers. Choose between traditional, chicken, pork, beef, and vegetable poutine. If none of the premade recipes do it for you, you can design your own poutine with all of your favorite toppings.


One of the biggest competitors to Canadian-born restaurants are international chains like McDonald's adding poutine to their menus. But there are nearly countless McDonald's locations in Canada, and for poutine to not be available would be unthinkable.

McDonald's began selling poutine first at its restaurants in Quebec in 1990. Due to its success and popularity, poutine was added to menus across the other provinces not long after. The brand's famous crispy fries are cut thin, and rather than being scooped into their iconic red sleeve, they are laid down in a short, wide box. Next comes a ladling of chicken gravy and cheese curds, which are sourced from Warwick, Quebec.

One of the bonuses of eating at such a huge global chain is that there is consistency in the food that smaller restaurants may struggle with. And McDonald's fries are notoriously delicious. Adding gravy and curds takes them to the next level.

Mary Brown's

Canada's largest quick-serve chicken restaurant franchise, Mary Brown's, was launched in 1969 in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. Since then, it has grown to over 230 locations across the country.

Mary Brown's sets itself apart in the competitive poutine landscape not by using French fries but by using its signature Taters instead. The Taters come from Canadian potatoes cut fresh in the restaurant and are breaded and seasoned before being cooked. To turn them into poutine, Mary Brown's signature dark brown gravy and cheese curds or shredded cheese are poured over the top. Surprisingly for a chicken restaurant, Mary Brown's gravy is listed as animal-free.

In the past, Mary Brown's has also offered International Poutines for a limited time. The Greek poutine was topped with feta cheese, black olives, tzatziki sauce, diced tomatoes, and gravy. The Mexican poutine had queso cheese, black olives, jalapenos, diced tomatoes, sour cream, and gravy. If you ask nicely, you might be able to get gravy and cheese curds on the Nashville Taters, which were introduced in 2022.