i have been on a poutine binge ever since i got back from montreal. best veg poutine i have had is of course still in la belle province, but i've sought out some of the veg poutine joints i've heard about in toronto and here's what i think:
utopia (college/clinton) - my fave so far! they use cheese curds and while not the fresh squeaky stuff like smoke's poutinerie (see below), the mushroom gravy is very tasty, as are the fries (made from fresh-cut potatoes). when i first tried this a long time ago, i thought the gravy was too salty but have had it a few times since and that problem seemed to resolve itself since then (either my tastebuds changed or that was an off day). i haven't had this in awhile but i seem to recall wishing it was layered a bit better cuz by the time you reach the bottom, it is mostly just fries and gravy.. but i might be remembering wrong. they also have a tasty gourmet version with goat cheese and sauteed mushrooms. yum!
clinton's tavern (bloor/clinton) - tasty enough gravy and the cheese curds are fine (though as above) but the fries suck. that ruined it for me. they use frozen fries (mccain, or one of those other generic frozen fries). how hard is it to use real potatoes?? i would not have this again unless feeling desperate.. but fortunately, utopia is just a 5-minute walk away.
burger king - yes, the poutine is actually veg! i looked up the ingredients online. i don't remember much about it now except that everything was just slopped on top (rather than mixed throughout in layers) and while very cheap, it was pretty disgusting and i would definitely not have it again.
smoke's poutinerie (adelaide/john) - this is that new poutine place. tried it a few days ago and it was pretty good. the fries were good, fresh-cut fries (though i don't think the special seasoning is necessary - i think it would be better without, in fact.. plus, you can barely notice it aside from the fact that it makes the fries slightly more crusty), the curds were squeaky fresh and by far the best part of the whole thing, everything was layered throughout perfectly, but the veg gravy.. oh, the veg gravy. so disappointing. i found it very thin and bland. if only they would change the gravy and make it richer and more flavourful, this would be close to perfection.. but gravy is important to me so i would only have this again only if i'm in the area and craving poutine (i.e. no special trips just to get some regular veg poutine cuz utopia is a lot closer to me). they also have a veg variety with mushrooms, onions and peas (perhaps making it tastier?), and a 'nachos' version . i will return to at least try those two versions.
(i really hope someone from smoke's reads this - please improve your terribly thin & flavourless veg gravy and you have my heart, in more than just the artery clogging way)
*** places i have yet to try (anyone tried 'em?):
futures (bloor/bathurst) - i noticed it on their menu so i am assuming they just toss their mushroom gravy on top, and i am gonna take a guess that it won't be actual cheese curds.. but i do like their gravy a lot so i will give this a try sometime. my coworker says she tried it and it sucked, but i want to see for myself.
stampede bison grill (brock/queen) - have not yet tried it but hear promising things.. so we shall see. the price is cheap too!
sneaky dee's (college/bathurst) - the food at this place scares me in general, except when i've had a lot to drink and am craving greasy nachos at 3am. that said, i heard they have veg poutine? can anyone verify this? apparently, they do not use cheese curds though.
anyone know of any other veg-friendly poutine in town??