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Published on September 28th, 2014 | by Ultimate OmNoms

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Al’s Deli – A taste of Canada

It’s easy to get Al’s Deli confused with Al Brown’s Federal¬†Delicatessen, especially with the association with bagels. But Al’s Deli is a completely different eatery owned by Canadian chef Aleks Lazic. Tucked quietly on City Road just off the slope of Queen Street, Al’s Deli is a perfect hangout spot to grab a bite for breakfast or a catchup in town. It’s a mix between an American style retro diner and a cafe,¬†complete with mismatched retro style chairs and barstools looking out towards the city.

Although famous for their Montreal style bagels, I would still vouch for the Ugly Bagel for the chewier and moist consistency rather than the dense ones here.

There were mainly 3 things I went there to try:

1. Poutine – world famous in Canada, originating in Quebec. French fries topped with gravy and cheese curds.

2. Juicy ribs. That is all.

3. Apple pie fries – the novelty here wins my heart.

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You are spoilt for choice from the menu so if you’re a food fattie like me, try the Mixed Grill option – that gives you a taste of the famous ribs, sirloin for the meat lovers and crispy chicken with “secret spice”. Surprisingly it was the sausages and crispy chicken that made me come back for seconds. The sirloin and the ribs are replaceable at home or at other eateries.

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The portions we ordered were huge but I was recommended to try the buffalo wings. And boy was I glad! Opting for the Sweet and Sour option, next time I’d be braver to try Franks Hot Sauce or the bloody Mary option. They’re everything you would want in buffalo wings, not overdone in the fryer but soaked in juicy sauce.

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Over to the poutine – I was so keen to try it – I’ve never had it before and touted as Canada’s national dish, I had to give it a fair go. The fries were soaked in gravy so much that it was soggy. Some say that’s the authentic way, others say the french fries should be crispy on the outside. I personally didn’t mind it being saturated in gravy, but you can’t go bare hands eating this with hot gravy! While the concept of eating fat-on-fat may seem to put off healthy addicts, you just can’t go to a Canadian restaurant without trying this.

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As soon as I went into Al’s Deli, I had to be sure they still had apple pie fries available. Word is that they always sell out before closing. Lucky they made a fresh batch just for us! If the words apple pie fries hadn’t sunk in, it should have now. These are literally fries filled with hot apple pie goodness in the middle. To top the novelty off, you dunk them into salted caramel sauce. So amazing, I would order this again next time I go back, regardless of how full I am.

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Al’s Deli is comfortable, the atmosphere buzzing and the staff were very friendly and genuine, always up for a good laugh. Whilst the food is somewhat average compared to the hype, I would come here to try the poutine, buffalo wings and apple pie fries. It is comfort food and you’ll walk out feeling satisfied and laden with good food.

Al’s Deli
1/492 Queen Street

Auckland CBD

(09) 373 2961

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