The other day, I was chowing down on a bacon poutine burger at Harvey’s, which might be the most Canadian sandwich of all-time. But the thing is, it’s only available for a limited time. So that got me thinking, what are some of the most Canadian meals across this country? We’re talking poutine, obviously, but what about P.E.I. lobster, Alberta beef and New Brunswick fiddleheads?
Now, I have been to every province in this country except Newfoundland, and I’ve eaten all kinds of outrageous, righteous, real-deal meals across the country, as well as right here in Toronto. So when it comes to dishes that best capture the essence of Canadian cuisine, I’d like to think that every province is represented here, even if half these places are in Hogtown. Check out this delicious list, bro!
Nova Scotia Salmon Burger @ Fifth Pubhouse
The Fifth Pubhouse might be the most patriotic burger joint in this city, if not the entire country. This place has got no less than eight slammin’ sammies named after provinces and territories, including this Atlantic creation, the Nova Scotia Salmon Burger. Now that’s a beauty piece of fish, bro! They take baked salmon, top it with lettuce, tomato and a whole buncha chive mayo, and serve ‘er up with fries and coleslaw, all for just 15 bucks. That’s a whole lot cheaper than a plane ticket to Halifax!
The Big Crack @ Smoked & Cracked
Now, I’ve had a few lobster rolls in my day, but this is probably the biggest one I’ve even seen. They literally take an entire 1.5 pound lobster, chop ‘er up and serve it all up on a hot, buttery roll, bro! It’s like a PEI lobster supper in sandwich form! Of course, all this lobster don’t come cheap–at 65 bucks (plus tax and tip), it’s probably the most expensive sandwich I’ve ever eaten…
Lomo Saltado with Fiddleheads @ Baro
One cool thing about Canada is that we welcome all kinds of people from different countries, and they each bring their own cultural cuisine. Like Baro, this funky Peruvian joint on King West, that’s taking a Peruvian comfort-food classic, and putting a Canadian twist on it with the national vegetable of New Brunswick. Fiddlehead season is pretty short, but if you get ’em when they’re fresh, they can really kick it up a notch–especially when served beside beef tenderloin, bro!
La T-Rex Poutine @ La Banquise (Montreal)
There are so many killer poutines all over this country that would deserve to be mentioned here, from the wild boar poutine at the Tide & Boar in Moncton, to this honky-tonk redonkadonk lobster poutine I had once at Baton Rouge. But if there can be only one, then it would hafta be La T-Rex from La Banquise in Montreal. This place is legendary for serving up some of the best poutine in the poutine capital of Canada, and this insane-in-the-membrane version comes topped with ground beef, pepperoni, bacon and hot dogs! No wonder they didn’t name it after a stegosaurus…
Hogtown Sandwich @ Rashers
What can be more Canadian than Canadian bacon? Rashers is probably my new favourite sandwich shop, serving up Bomb.ca bacon burgers and the best BLT in Toronto. But their signature sammy is pure Canadian simplicity–back bacon and grainy mustard on a fresh, flaky bun. It does not get any better than this, bro!
Aloha Smoke @ True True Pizza
Hawaiian pizza might be Canada’s most infamous culinary creation. Created by a Greek immigrant at this funky little joint in Chatham, Ontario, way back in 1962, this pie has gone worldwide–and attracted more than its fair share of haters. Me, I don’t mind pineapple on pizza, as long as it’s got some meat to it. And at True True Pizza, they serve up this twisted take using bacon instead of ham–shut the back door, bro!
Loaded Surf ‘n Turf @ Loaded Pierogi
For me, when I think Winnipeg, I think pierogis. It used to be known as the Ukrainian capital of Canada, back in the day, and it’s still one of the most notable concentrations of ethnic populations in the country. Now, pierogis are just starting to become a thing in Toronto, with funky joints like Loaded Pierogi serving up some crazy takes on this Ukrainian classic–like the Loaded Surf ‘n Turf, topped with lobster, crab and steak!
All You Can Eat KFC (Weyburn, SK)
Now, I can’t be the only one who’s ever ordered a 16-piece bucket for one, right? If eating KFC all day seems like time well spent, then Weyburn, Saskatchewan is a little slice of paradise. This town has an AYCE KFC buffet, one of the last of its kind, and when rumours surfaced last summer than the chicken chain wanted to kill the buffet counter, even the premier of Saskatchewan stepped up in defence of this cultural icon. Which reminds me, I’m way overdue for a trip out west…
Camel and Python and Yak… Oh My! @ Fireside Grill (Czar, AB)
Speaking of small-town destinations out west, this place is next on my roadtrip. I could not even find Czar on a map of Alberta–and I grew up in Calgary–but when I heard about the Fireside Grill, this funky local joint serving up all sorts of exotic meats, well, I knew I just had to come here some day. Did I mention their chef is a dead ringer for Guy Fieri?
Mr. Alberta @ The Elbow Room Cafe (Vancouver)
It figures that the best breakfast in Vancouver is something named after Alberta. I stopped by this funky little joint a couple years back when I was in town for the Grey Cup, and you know I wasn’t gonna have a vegan quinoa salad! This big-time brekkie contains a 5 oz sirloin, blackened tomatoes, scrambled eggs, hash browns and jalapeno toast. And the service is something else, lemme tell ya!