By Kailie Annetts
Stratford, Ontario is known for world-renowned theatre that, at its best, can change your life.
More recently Stratford’s chefs school, artisan cheese makers, craft brewers and distillers have joined the farm-to-table movement that’s making its mark in Canadian culinary circles. There is no doubt that Stratford offers an array of world class, gastronomic experiences but sometimes a craving for comfort food trumps all.
As Canadians, we are blessed to be from the home and native land of poutine, a simple dish that combines fries, gravy and cheese. Yet, imagine a land of confusing disco fries and other expensive, variations that bastardize poutine’s powerful pleasures (Yes America, we’re looking at you).
It doesn’t matter if you’re a big time poutine lover or just really want to try this Canadian staple, these six poutines in Stratford will change your life.
1)Madelyn’s Diner (377 Huron Street)
Photo via Tej Jordan Sandhu on Instagram
Madelyn’s Diner is one of Stratford’s best-kept secrets.
This family run business is a local favourite and their poutine is a dish everyone loves. Made with fresh, and never frozen french fries, Madelyn’s secret is cheddar instead of curds! Next time you visit, try this homey diner poutine for a true Stratford experience.
2) Downie Street Burgers (107 Downie Street)
Photo via care on Instagram
Even though this Downie st. spot is known for their delicious burgers, their poutine is a close tie for their best dish. Loaded with cheese curds and house-made gravy, Downie Street Burger knows exactly what every Canadian wants in a poutine.
Get it on the side or as the whole meal, either way you’ll leave satisfied.
3) Boomers (26 Erie Street)
Photo via Aaron Watson on Instagram
This downtown spot has more than just the locals raving.
The Food Network’s John Catucci visited Boomers for the show “You Gotta Eat Here!” and it’s been hard to get a seat here ever since. Boomers is known for the Poutini Martini, that mixes various cheeses and onion rings with their classic poutine.
4) Erie Drive In (634 Erie St)
Photo via Erie Drive In on Instagram
Even though Erie Drive In is known for it’s ice cream and sweet treats, their hot fresh food is second to none. While it may cost a little extra to add cheese and gravy to your fries, there is something about eating under the drive in’s red umbrellas that just make poutine taste better. It’s worth the trip to the edge of town just to experience this classic dish from this timeless summer staple.
5) The Red Rabbit (64 Wellington Street)
Photo via The Red Rabbit Bistro on Instagram
New to the Stratford landscape, The Red Rabbit is dedicated to sourcing their ingredients locally. Whether it be a regular poutine, loaded baked potato poutine or something else the genius chefs come up with, this classic is always a good choice when visiting The Red Rabbit.
6) Bentley’s (99 Ontario Street)
Photo via Breen Bentley on Instagram
Bentley’s is a must for every Stratford visit. The local watering hole is known for its cozy atmosphere but this joint is also home to three different kinds of poutine. You can choose from pulled pork, nacho beef, or Bentley’s classic poutine. No matter which you choose you’ll leave with a smile.