Challenge: Best Poutine in Nanaimo – Part 2

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Our adventure in local poutines continues. Our long-term goal is to determine who has the best poutine in Nanaimo. If you missed it, check out Part 1 of this feature here. This time around we tried three more poutines:

  • Top Notch Burgers $7.00
  • Big Wheel Burger $8.50
  • Burger King $3.99

Top Notch Burgers

You’ve got to admit, it’s a looker.

This was a side poutine we tried at our last visit to Top Notch. The dish presented really well and was nicely garnished with green onion. The fries were well cooked and the gravy was good, but not exciting. As with many poutines, it wasn’t quite hot enough overall to melt the cheese curds. We also found it salty for our taste, but not so much that it was ruined.

Overall this was a good poutine, and scored extra points for the presentation. At $7 for a small order ($12 for a large) we consider this ok value. 

Big Wheel Burger

Next up was a takeout poutine from Big Wheel Burger. These guys are new in town. We like their burgers so we were excited to try the poutine.

Much cheese. So melt.

Don’t let the photo discourage you. It’s Covid and this was takeout on a stormy Friday night. Here we have Big Wheel’s already-excellent fries lightly covered in a basic, but quite tasty, vegetarian gravy. That alone would be satisfactory, but we also have the Holy Grail of poutine attributes – melty cheese curds! Delightful. The only problem is that 5 minutes after pickup the poutine was barely warm if not cold.

That wasn’t our fault! We were on time! Our guess is the restaurant prepped the food long in advance of our scheduled pickup time, and the poutine just sat there cooling before we arrived. Oh well.

At $8.50 we think this is ok value, particularly if you can get a hot one.

Burger King

There it is in all its awful glory.

You knew this was coming. Someone had to be fair to Burger King and give them a chance.

We did and we regret it. The cheese curds in this poutine were super squeaky so we’ll give them that. However, the gravy was basically salt flavoured and the fries were old and mealy. A couple were even hard as rocks! Um, yuk.

A companion eater drowned hers in ketchup to save it and still couldn’t finish it.

$3.99 might look attractive but the portion size isn’t as big as either of the other options above, and because the poutine, you know, isn’t good, this one is a hard pass.


No arguments this time. The BK poutine was the obvious loser and we wouldn’t recommend it unless you were spending your last $4 on poutine.

Top Notch’s poutine was fine and we would eat it again, but it wasn’t particularly exciting and was a bit too salty.

Big Wheel is our winner this time. The poutine is the most expensive on today’s list but it was also a decent portion size, and if they can figure out how to serve it hot to takeout customers, they’d have an enduring winner on their hands. Congrats Big Wheel!

We’re getting back out to try more poutines and hope to report back soon. Let us know your suggestions!

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