The Hunt For Kingston’s Best: Poutine

By Jason Manuge

Kingston is home to a wide range of great restaurants, many of which have a long history in the city. Having established themselves on the basis of quality, atmosphere, and affordability, there are restaurants to suit every taste. A foodie’s experience wouldn’t be complete without trying some ultra-Canadian comfort food: Poutine.
While there are a great number of restaurants that serve poutine in Kingston, there are three that stand out as being the best. From long-standing staples of downtown Kingston, to one of the newest entries into the poutine marketplace, these are the three top contenders for the title of “Kingston’s Best Poutine”:
The honour of having the best poutine in Kingston is reserved for Smoke’s Poutinerie, which opened its doors three years ago. While not uniquely Kingstonian, Smoke’s offers so many varieties of poutine that it would be a mistake to exclude it from the list.

Smoke’s Poutinerie at 183 Division Street.

Smoke’s claim to fame is that they use their poutine as a base for various meats, cheeses, and vegetable options. For example, they have Steak Fajita poutine that is topped with beef, sautéed onions, salsa, red peppers, and sour cream. This is all piled on top of a delicious base of thick-cut fries and curds straight from the birthplace of poutine: Quebec. It’s worth a visit (or two, or three).

Smoke’s Steak Fajita Poutine is the vision of a guilty pleasure.

Number two on the list of great poutines in Kingston is the Copper Penny.  Since 1981, the Copper Penny’s downtown location has been dishing up delicious, home-style meals. While their entrees are delicious, and the desserts are amazing, their poutine also stands out as one of the best in town.

Since 1981, the Copper Penny has been serving it up in downtown Kingston.

Using thick, ripple-cut fries is a great base for poutine, but the secret to the Copper Penny’s delicious poutine lies in the special seasoning that they use on their legendary fries.  The gravy is thick and the flavor permeates each bite. Unlike some poutines, the Copper Penny opts to use a blend of shredded cheese to top their masterpiece. For poutine purists, this might seem like a bad choice, but I urge you to reconsider. The gravy and cheese sinks into the ripples, ensuring that each bite is as tasty as the last.
Thirdly, we have Bubba’s Poutine and Pizzeria, whose claim to fame is being “Kingston’s number one poutine” as voted by Queen’s University. Out of all the poutine-serving restaurants in Kingston, Bubba’s is the one most often mentioned by post-secondary students.

Bubba’s Poutine at 401 Princess Street.

Reasonably priced and generously portioned, Bubba’s poutine is a great place to get your cheese and gravy fix at any time of day. They’re open until 2am, and are a popular destination for people who enjoy a side of poutine while enjoying Kingston’s nightlife. Bubba’s is like a gravy-soaked, curd-bursting nightcap after a night on the town.
Whether a Kingston resident, or an out of towner, there are enough poutines in town that even the hardcore poutine enthusiast will have a difficult time trying them all. The three that made it onto this list are all worth checking out, especially if you’ve got a craving for hot, delicious, Canadiana.