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A Good Burger

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Hey All,

I was wondering where I could get a really good burger in Toronto? I've developed an occasional hankering for a really good greasy burger. There used to be a place called the Brother's Family Restaurant @ Yonge and Charles that had this burger called the special burger. Big Burger, bacon, cheese, onion rings, fries, gravy... Sweet heaven. My arteries are just recovering now and I haven't been there since my university days and I've been living abroad for the past few years. On another note, IF any of you go to Manhattan, you've got to try the Burger at db Bistro. It's a Daniel Boulud restaurant, it's not really a burger, but a burger stuffed with braised short ribs, foie gras, truffles and pommes souffle on the side. At $30 rather extravagant, but oooh so good. Any advice on a good burgerjoint would be appreciated.

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  1. m
    Marc Bernstein

    Here are some good hamburger places: Bloor Street Diner,they make a very good hamburger,a fine cheese burger too. The french fries there are good too. Studio Cafe does a good burger as well. They do a very good grilled chicken sandwich. There is a place (very old fashioned diner) on Spadina and Lonsdale,I forget the name,but they make a pretty good cheese burger and a fair hamburger. I think the best hamburger/cheese burger in Toronto is at The Senator. I miss the steakhouse. The Senator diner is open during the week,on week-ends Saturday-till 3:00:PM. they don't take reservations,but the line-ups are not bad at all. Good luck. Frans of course did (at one time) THE BESt BURGER/CHEESE-BURGER in Toronto,but,sadly,they are now closed. I'll never forget Frans.

    6 Replies
      1. re: lmc

        It's right below my dance school. I don't know how the burgers are- I've never eaten there. I'll try them soon...

        1. re: lissar
          Marc Bernstein

          That is good news. I used to love to go out to lunch/dinner at Fran's and have a cheese burger,or hamburger. I gather the Frans's on St.Clair and Yonge is closed? Is the Fran's on College and Yonge part of the original Fran's? I know the one on Eglinton and Yonge closed a few years ago. I stopped going to Fran's,because the food had slipped a notch or two. I myself still prefer the cheese burger/hamburger at Senator. I guess the best cheese burger/hamburger I ever had was years ago in Palm Beach:a place called Hamburger Heaven.

          1. re: Marc Bernstein

            The authority speaks!

            1. re: Elizabeth

              The College St Fran's was a franchise (as was the Hamilton one - also closed). The family still owned the one on St Clair (actually the bank did!), but my understanding is that they refinanced/restructured some years back and became a corporation, with shares still owned by the (Fran) Deck family.
              The College st one, which survives, has no Deck family ownership - but still has the same menu, and in most respects is a clone of the original. The bankruptcy was of the 'original' Fran's - but the surviving franchise really does keep most of the flavour of the original. And it's extremely crowded, so they're doing something right.
              In my opinion they started downhill when they tinkered with the opening hours and the menu. I still miss the 'Great Canadian Sandwich' developed to counteract the bland steam table food served in the Canadian pavilion at Epcot when it opened. It was the winner of a pan-toronto competition to develop the perfect Toronto menu item. Unfortunately my entry didn't win - a cheese and bacon quiche (which dates the time of this contest). Back bacon (representing Canada); local cheddar cheese(representing Ontario) and Quiche (because there were no real men in Toronto)! I emphasize this was related to the best-selling book of the time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      2. re: Marc Bernstein

        This is really aloaded subject as peoples opinions on burgers are like those on pizza ...very personal ,but i will jump in anyway!

        #1.Allens on the Danforth.great tating FRESH ground beef with the right amount of fat(not lean)the patty is loosly formed and is usually cooked as ordered.there is a choice of at least three real cheesesas well as good bacon .the bun is plain and stays together most of the time ,allin all a great package.Decent thick fries (order them crispy)and a super beer selection.
        #2 The Rebel House on Yonge.Choice of beef or game meat makes this well garnished juicy burger a contender.good neighborhood ambience.Silver Dollar style fries are a miss.
        #3 Barberians Steak House .big and messy and only available at lunch.good beef ...natch
        4.Johnnies in Scarborough .time warp ...take out only
        .meat is commercial prefomed patty, but the overall effect ic tasty and nostalgic.good onion rings

        Some people like Apache Burger in the West End(dundas)I find that it tasts alot like the A&W Of my youth only much greasier (if thats possible).As\for the Senator its best days are past and the price for a deluxe burger and fries is obscene for a "Diner"
        The price is also high at the Studio Cafe (Hotel pricing)but it makes a pretty good burger ...the secret is to have it in the summer on the 3rd floor pool patio and feel as if you are on holiday.
        thats my 2 cents worth ...now about hot dogs.......

      3. Try Chicago's on Queen W. My friend says they're the best.

        1. Johnny Burgers- sheppard and pharmacy i think...awsome burgers

          3 Replies
          1. re: tingz187

            I love a good burger and Johnny's keeps coming up so I took my favourite 'CH' adventure and tried them out. Saturday's lunch was such a disappointment. I ordered a cheeseburger well done (yes, I like them a bit charred...) and topped with fried onions, mustard, BBQ sauce, double pickle and tomatoes. Burger was well done but so thin and dry - such a disappointment. I liked the bun - it was a bit of a step up from a traditional hamburger bun, bigger/fluffier so it lasted as long as the burger did. Fries (good serving size) are skinny and were lightly salted and until I put vinegar on them, crispy. Gravy was clearly a mix (yuck). Chocolate shake was very average and small. My cost was just shy of $10.00 and it is an eat out experience.

            btw... they have good mechanics, the line moves quickly, the use a numbering system, everyone seems to enjoy his work (no females in sight) and lots of parking. It's on the NE corner, just south of Shepard - a bit hard to find unless you know it's there...

            So - I won't be back. Will be trying others though. I've already done a review on Allen's - they are great!

            1. re: xssnrg

              Johnny's is disgusting. I threw away most of mine and I hate wasting food. its popularity , nay survival, is a complete mystery. But hey, this is T.O.

              1. re: xssnrg

                I've been going to Johnny's for 40 years, so I've got a nostalgia thing going, but still... my questions are:

                You ordered your burger well done, and then wondered why it was dry? My experience in 7+ years of serving was if someone ordered beef well done, and there was even a hint of juice, people would have conniption fits like I was trying to poison them. Can you name a fast food place where you get a WELL DONE burger - no red, no pink, just grey all the way through that is juicy?

                And, I'm not questioning your choice of toppings, but if you get mustard, BBQ sauce and tomatoes (good combo) AND fried onions (which aren't available at most fast food prices at any price, let alone free), with all that liquid and juice, how could you tell the patty was dry?

                Finally - when you walk into Johnny's, what you see is what you get. You complained that the gravy comes from a mix? Where could you expect it to come from? It's clear that they don't have any ovens around to roast meat to get fresh drippings to make real gravy. I agree if you're paying $15 for a burger at Allen's, you might expect real gravy, but for less than $4 at Johnny's? I don't think that's a fair expectation.

            2. Timely revival...

              ... Johnny Burgers (Shep+VicPark) is good solid burger.

              However my vote goes to Golden Star (Yonge and Doncaster, that's just north of Steeles).

              1. Johnny and Golden have been around for over 25 years, and they are awesome quick burgers with just the right char. The homeburger at firepit was always very good too - add tzaziki sauce! Whatever you do, stay away from Hals!

                3 Replies
                1. re: torontoeh

                  Hmmm...Firepit. I have fond memories of the one on Yonge (@Princess). My parents used to take me and get the veal cutlet on a kaiser with fried onions.

                  1. re: kerwintoronto

                    Firepit is a terrific place. I still shlep out to Mississaugua to get one on occassion. They are by far the best fast-food hamburgers I've had in Toronto.

                    1. re: wordsworth

                      Did this use to be a chain? I think there was on on Yonge and Roxborough years ago

                2. I used to work at the CT gas bar across from the Golden Star and have had several of their burgers. They're very good. The home made burger is the way to go.
                  If you're up in Richmond Hill, Three Coins is your place. Maybe. They've changed hands since last I visited but they had the best burger (And hot hamburger sandwich) I'd ever had. It's a monster as well. Probably a half pound.
                  I used to go to the Fire Pit. In my mind it's not all that good anymore. Much the same as Harvey's I feel.
                  Lick's falls into the same catergory for me too. At one time a fabulous burger is now very over rated.


                  1. Just came across this little article at Toronto.com which has them visiting some of the places mentioned on this thread...

                    1. I'd really like to try Dangerous Dan's Diner though. I heard its REALLY greasy, but sometimes its the grease that makes the burger so yummy! But then again, too much grease makes the tummy gurgle, and noone really ever wants that.

                      I've tried Yellow Griffin Pub, and I would go there again. Actually, I'm craving for their burgers right now, but its just so far from me!!! They've got 35 different types of burgers, on like different kinds of meats (chicken, beef, pork, etc..), and their side sweet potato fries, oooh... SO GOOD.

                      1. Grease is usually great!

                        I actually went to the Irish Embassy for lunch, and had their burger which was absolutely humongus, I couldn't put the whole thing in my mouth! It wasn't the best, but I thought it was pretty tasty, and not greasy.

                        1. I was just daydreaming and was wondering if anyone knew if the place down on the lake beside Redpath's Sugar (east of it) is still there...Waterside Cafe? They used to have this huge burger and it was great...may have been that we were taking the day off after lunch on a sunny Friday with a burger and beer kickoff.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: kerwintoronto

                            The Waterside Cafe is till there and I have had their burger. It is pretty good and they have other selections that are also more than acceptable for a restaurant/pub tacked on to the tennis courts.

                          2. Just tried Hal Burgers on Adelaide last week. Great juicy, but not greasy burgers for all four of us and you can actually (gasp) wine pair effectively.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Googs

                              How did you feel about the price? I've heard people say it's worth it and people say it's ridiculous.


                            2. Hey Davwud.
                              The price is high for a burger, but Harvey's it ain't. It's $10 for any of the burgers (plus toppings), but includes a choice of fries, sweet potato fries, or salad. You be the judge. It's quality meat, not greasy medium ground beef like a lot of the other places have (I like greasy sometimes too, though).

                              1. I like Burger Shack on Eglington. Homemade patties, fluffy white buns, spectacular bbq sauce ,a Harvey's-type condiment experience and the added bonus of affordability.

                                Burger, fries and a pop special is $5.99!

                                Excellent onion rings, too.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: bogie

                                  I second "The Burger Shack!" That's the best burger joint in town! Make sure you get the fried onions on top...yummmmmm! Their fries are awesome too...

                                2. The night I went to Hal Burgers I was also seeing Lord of the Rings. I truly appreciated being able to have a quality meal that not only got me to the theatre on time, but is one of the few places in the entertainment district that doesn't cost a hundred bucks a head. I felt quite good about the price indeed.

                                  1. Two of the best cheap burgers in Downtown Toronto: 1) Toby's on Yonge (east side) just south of Bloor, and 2) Sizzler's on Yonge (west side) north of College.

                                    1. I also love Burger Shack..but it's a bit far for me now....how about Utopia - they have a great assortment of burgers...my hubby swears by the Rogue Burger at the Rogue on Richmond - you get a fried egg on top!

                                      1. Next time try Milestones for a much better burger than Hals and for the same price. There are many great restaurant choices under 20 bucks in that area. It is not all 100 bucks a head - not even close!

                                        1. All this talk about burgers caused a craving for one today.

                                          So, I went and tried a new joint called South St. Burgers in the big box mall on Laird, south of Eg.

                                          It is a new concept by the New York Fries people and I have to say that they've done a great job with it.

                                          It is somewhat like a cross between Fuddruckers quality and Subway's topping choices. Burgers are very juicy and tasty, not at all greasy. They use real sliced cheese, as opposed to processed. The buns are fresh and a bit toothsome, I actually prefer a bun with finer crumb that I don't have to rip apart. The condiment selection is truly astounding. I tried the onion rings, which were done with red onions and delicious.

                                          Cheeseburger, Onion Rings and a Pop for 10.09 including taxes (they give you a $1.00 discount for making a combo with any sandwich, side and drink).

                                          Very modern and hip decor, too, with some humorous in-house advertising.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: bogie

                                            tried this place, very good burgers.
                                            dont order the onion rings they were disgusting, get the fries instead

                                            1. re: bogie

                                              I went here a couple weeks ago, and was actually pleasantly surprised. Good, solid burger, and the amount of condiments was really surprising. Too bad I didn't really notice them until my burger was wrapped up and I was picking it up (long line). But I think it would be a little more interesting if they expanded on their toppings, rather than all the same toppings you could get at a place like Harvey's.

                                              1. re: bogie

                                                Went to the one on Dufferin and Steeles (1st store)
                                                Burgers are good and tastey not greasy
                                                Fries are same as New York Fries (aweful)
                                                The onion rings are the worst I have ever had on both occasions I tried them.- batter falls of and red onion not properly cooked

                                              2. Apache burgers are so good. My family and I have been going here for over 6 years now.

                                                Its on Dundas near Kipling. Just beside Six Points Plaza.

                                                Now that's a good burger! Man I am getting hungry just thinking about their Apache burger - 2 burger patties and 2 slices of cheese. They have great fries and onion rings as well.

                                                1. My favourite burgers? Chicago's on Queen near John. Epicure on Queen near Portland. Free Times on College near Spadina. All three are charred really nicely and come with uber yummy fries. Epicure and Free Times both have a half and half option, fries and caesar salad. A full fat feast!

                                                  1. YES. Epicure is a great burger and fries, as is Shanghai Cowgirl and Beaconsfield is incredible - my #1 favorite. Inconsistently good is Utopia on College.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: torontoeh

                                                      I have to agree with Shanghai Cowgirl burgers... they are yummy and filling, especially at 4am. Get their sweet potato fries and wasabi mayo! I get them everytime.

                                                      1. re: torontoeh

                                                        I had a Beaconsfield burger today and agree that it is pretty good. Probably comparable with Hal's, if not a little better. Very juicy and good flavour (although I found the bun a bit much). Still haven't found the best burger yet though.

                                                      2. I had the bistro burger at Hals on Canada Day and was quite impressed. The sweet potatao frites was a nice touch. All the condiments are home made including what they call the ketchup which was more like a sauce but was delicious, they also make their own mustard and a spicy sauce that could almost be deemed a tartare sauce as ingredients are similiar, but the colour isnt. Some other interesting "burgers" that I would go back and try also.

                                                        1. Not worth the trip across town necessarily, but when in King West area, I highly recommend Liberty for their burger! It is a very fresh and peppery burger with a blue cheese sauce on a standard bun. The fries are great too. This is a great and juicy backyard bbq burger.

                                                          1. In one's quest for a good burger, one must always be able to differentiate between the prefabricated "burger" and the homemade stuff known as a home burger. Some restaurants serve both. This being said, let it be known that I am hamburger crazy and i am always looking for a new find. However, i will give you a list of the places I really enjoy.

                                                            First, Queen Street rules East to West. We should change the name to Burger Boulevard. Proof? So many places with great burgers: The Beacher Cafe, The Tulip, Jim's Restaurant, Dangerous Dan's, Victoria Restaurant, Hero Burgers and Shanghai Cowgirl. My faves? Tulip and Shanghai Cowgirl, ex-aequo.

                                                            Then, I am also a fan of Burger Shack and Groucho's both on Eglinton West. A special mention to Scruffy Murphy's (150 Eglinton avenue east) bison burger..... YUMMY!

                                                            Fat Phil on Marlee is not bad but I do not like the surroundings and some, er, shady characters that frequently enter the restaurant acting like they knew the guy behind the counter and who do not order anything... but I digress!

                                                            My next burger adventures should take me to The Patrician Grill and The Purple Onion...

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: Fredster

                                                              Fredster, I've been on a quest for the ultimate burger for years. You seem to have it down to a science. I eagerly await your report on The Patrician & Purple Onion.

                                                              1. re: Fredster

                                                                Agreed. Tulip is very good. I would also include Rails and Ales ( pape and danforth) as one of the city's best home bugers.

                                                                1. re: to_frankie

                                                                  Rails and Ales is great if you like a big burger--homemade and super juicy.

                                                              2. Shanghai is GREAT. You didnt mention both Epicure and Beaconsfield on Queen. They are great burgers n fries. You should try the Liberty for a burger.

                                                                1. I always likes Lakeview lunch at Dundas west and Ossington. They have more gourmet burgers or or the more traditional.

                                                                  1. T-Bones on Eglinton between Brimley and Midland on the north side. Excellent burgers with fries and it is cheap! They open 24 hours a day 7 days a week so we go there all the time for their steaks and burgers.

                                                                    Dangerous Dan's is very very good, but then after sitting in there for an hour or so I smell like grease when leaving.

                                                                    Tulip on Queen Street East at Coxwell, wow, their burgers are inexpensive and good.

                                                                    Golden Star and Johnny's are not bad, but somehow I prefer more chew to the burger pattie.

                                                                    Steak Queen at Lawrence and Victoria Park Avenues, south east corner--Hmmm mmmm,yummy burgers, but then without air conditioning it is tough for me to go there in the summer months.

                                                                    The Real McCoy Burgers on Markham south of Ellesmere on the east side in the strip plaza. Wow, their home made burgers are so juicey and nice to the bite.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: diehardlasallejai

                                                                      I used to eat at The Real McCoy when I was a kid of 11 and 12, but since moving out of the area, I hadn't been back in 25 or so years. That is, until some months ago, when nostalgia pushed me to trek all the way out there and take my husband for a visit. It was the same as ever: The same family is running it (but the next generation), and the burgers are just as good as I remembered them (juicy and full of good old char-grilled flavour). Surprsingly, even sthe hand-cut fries and gravy taste just the same as they always did. Definitely worth the trip.

                                                                      1. re: diehardlasallejai

                                                                        I regret to inform that Steak Queen at VicPark and Lawrence is now closed. pity.

                                                                      2. I also miss The Brothers. I'd endorse Epicure and Allen's. I don't think Toby's outlets are as good as they were back in the '80s.

                                                                        Very surprisingly, there's a pretty good burger at the little fast food joint at the back of the main Harbourfront Building (Lakeside Terrace, I think?) adjoining the pond/skating rink.

                                                                        Dangerous Dan's is a very large burger with what I consider to be too big a bun; also the meat tends to be grey and dry, but my husband loves 'em, and they do have their famous Coronary with the fried egg and whatnot.

                                                                        And not to forget Lick's. Especially the flagship store on Kingston Road, my brother says.

                                                                        1. Allen's/Dora Keogh are very tasty, and they don't complicate them with fries.
                                                                          Homeway Soda Bar at Mt. Pleasant & Erskine make a deliciously simple homeburger with cheese - with a side of fries and a soda, it's $6 and change.
                                                                          Lakeview Lunch is yummy, as is Collegiate Lunch at 1024 Gerrard, just west of Jones.

                                                                          26 Replies
                                                                          1. re: mummy2Luna

                                                                            Homeway has just reopened after their renovation. Unfortunately, their prices have crept up because of this.

                                                                            The homeburger is now $5.95 alone and fries are $2.50. However, they do offer a banquet burger with fries for $7.95. It was very tasty, buy a tad overcooked.

                                                                            1. re: mummy2Luna

                                                                              Collegiate Lunch was named best burger in the city today by Sarah Elton, CBC-1.
                                                                              They grind and season burgers on site. Has anyone been there recently?

                                                                              Collegiate Lunch
                                                                              1024 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M1Z5, CA

                                                                              1. re: jayt90

                                                                                That'd be great if this place is actually good. It's within walking distance from me. I can't picture where it is, though.

                                                                                1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                                  The linked map shows: Marjory Av. and Gerrard Street, north side, just east of Gerrard Square.

                                                                                  1. re: jayt90

                                                                                    OK, I'm taking the plunge today. Will report back soon.

                                                                                    1. re: jayt90

                                                                                      Sarah Elton's on crack. I hate to say it because the people operating Collegiate Lunch are really nice. But to say this place offers the best burger in the city is a gross exagerration.

                                                                                      The good: the patty was somewhat juicy. And it was possibly a homemade patty. And yes, I did enjoy the diner atmosphere. Am I that predictable, googs?

                                                                                      The bad. I doubt the meat is ground on premises. Maybe they use ground meat and form their own patties. My wife had fish and chips and it was a highliner fish stick, so I have a hard time believing they have high burger standards. No flavour, either.

                                                                                      It's beyond comprehension how someone can make such an outlandish claim about this place. Saying they have the city's best burger is like saying Rachel Ray is fun to watch on TV.

                                                                                      1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                                        LOL. Well at least you're funny when you're pissed. I liked the original version of your post.

                                                                                        Your predictability is that you're a down-to-earth, quality over quantity type. Let me know when that's a bad thing.

                                                                                        My predictability is that I background search. Wish I was looking for the Elton piece rather than the resto. Might have saved you some trouble. If jayt90 meant this, then it's just a phone in listener vote. If you observe who's getting votes, you'll see it isn't very chow-ish. Surprised the chain resto owners haven't taken this over yet with their massive voting blocks.

                                                                                        1. re: Googs

                                                                                          I'm disappointed, so far.
                                                                                          I followed the 'best burger ' promotion on 'Here and Now', a drive home show, last week. Johnny's was by far the most frequent mention by phone in's, and the others , like Dangerous Dan's were predictably present. I don't know how Sarah Elton found Collegiate Lunch, as I did not hear it mentioned by listeners. Listeners had 1 week to mention their choices, ending Sept. 30. Sarah Elton tasted a few places and reported Oct.1
                                                                                          Sarah did interview the lady at the counter (I'm guessing they have a counter), and it was a truly touching story, of two well educated immigrants who now work 80+ hours per week, and enjoy making people happy.
                                                                                          Based on the Oct 1 interview, I'm convinced they do grind their own meat, and I suspect they would grill to medium rare if requested, (you might have to explain the by-law, if they don't offer med-rare.)
                                                                                          I can't explain the fish stick thing, but it is worth asking about.
                                                                                          I'm sure embee is taking this in,and may report.
                                                                                          Meantime, based on the Elton interview alone, I suspect I'll make a trip in to Leslieville to check out the burger.

                                                                                          1. re: jayt90

                                                                                            I asked if they grind their own meat and they said yes. Maybe there was some miscommunication and they thought I was asking if they use pre-ground meat. Who knows, maybe I'm wrong there. I do think the burger is homemade. There was some juiciness, and it looked homemade. But as far as being the city's best burger, no way.

                                                                                            Another caveat, the lady said her husband wasn't in for some reason. It's possible he's the one that cooks the burgers, I don't know. So if you do go and he's in the kitchen, maybe there's a difference.

                                                                                            thanks for the heads up. It's a short walk from my house, and although I was disapointed, it wasn't a hassle. In the search of chowfinds, you have a few misses on the way.

                                                                                            1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                                              I went today. I had their best burger, the Collegiate Special. It was a good, filling lunch plate: a burger with grated cheese, and two bacon strips on a kaiser, with fries, for $5.75. The ordering went like this,

                                                                                              "Can I have the Collegiate special, burger medium rare, slightly pink?"
                                                                                              "Everybody like it well done! But we can make medium!"
                                                                                              "Fine; not well done!"

                                                                                              In the kitchen, I heard "not well done" discussed thoroughly, and then the plate arrived. The burger was indeed medium, just past pink in the center, and still very juicy. The beef must have contained a lot of fat. I enjoyed it, although I would have preferred slightly pink, and a coarser grind.
                                                                                              The fries were very good; long thin russets, crisp and hot. Two people at the counter were ordering poutine to go, and these fries would do well there, though I didn't see the curds or gravy.

                                                                                              The place is old, low key, low light levels, but well kept and clean. Clientele tend to be older, and it was not busy. I would go back, when in the neighborhood and in the mood for 60's diner food.

                                                                                              Sarah Elton has been posted to Paris.

                                                                                              Collegiate Lunch
                                                                                              1024 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M1Z5, CA

                                                                                            2. re: jayt90

                                                                                              I'll wait for your report but, if it isn't really great, I'll pass. It's a short walk, Dangerous Dan's is gross, and the Burger Shoppe is poor and a ripoff. But my gas BBQ, Woodflame grill, infrared oven broiler, and cast iron frypan are an even shorter walk. For a burger emergency, a frozen Lick's burger cooked to taste at home (as opposed to cooked to death at Lick's) with a slab of good cheddar isn't half bad.

                                                                                              1. re: jayt90

                                                                                                OK, I like Johnny's; as posted above, I've been going since I was ten, and that was 40 years ago. But "Toronto's Best Burger"? Not a chance. It's a frozen patty after all, so it's never going to compare to a fresh one. If you're around Vic Park and Sheppard, and you want a fast food burger, I like Johnny's better than Wendy's or Harvey's, or the food court at Fairview Mall. But I'd never say it's the best burger in Toronto.

                                                                                                I miss Toby's so much...

                                                                                                1. re: KevinB

                                                                                                  This part of the string was concerned with Sarah Elton's pronouncement on CBC-1 that Collegiate (Gerrard and Jones) had Toronto's best burger, and it was ground on site. Sarah Elton called it Toronto's best, but she did not report on Allen's or two or three other spots that cook to medium rare.

                                                                                                  1. re: jayt90

                                                                                                    I guess I didn't make myself clear; your post mentioned that many of the other callers to the show mentioned Johnny's. That is what I was referring to. As I've said, I like Johnny's but I'd never say it was the best burger in Toronto.

                                                                                              2. re: Googs

                                                                                                I'm not pissed. Just disapointed, and confused, really.

                                                                                                Quality over quantity, exactly why Dangerous Dan's isn''t on my list of good burger joints.

                                                                                                Like I said, though, I feel bad about being too harsh, because the people running the place are really nice.

                                                                                                1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                                                  I'm also disappointed. I noticed it today and it didn't look bad. A good burger place within walking distance would have been nice. But I'm not surprised. That's why I appointed you the official taster :-)

                                                                                                  The woman who used to review cheap eats on Metro Morning was much more reliable than this Elton person.

                                                                                                  1. re: embee

                                                                                                    I've repeatedly e-mailed the CBC asking if Catherine Jheon is coming back. It was supposed to be a hiatus I thought. No replies. I liked Beyond Burgers for her recs on low-cost, relatively unknown restaurants and her common sense reviews.

                                                                                                    1. re: Googs

                                                                                                      She's still in the picture on the website and the archive is still there. No word about her, though.

                                                                                                      1. re: Googs

                                                                                                        Catherine used to write the foodtv.ca blog, so if you like her you can read the archives. I believe I read somewhere she's on maternity leave.

                                                                                                        1. re: chocabot

                                                                                                          Thank you chocabot. I'll be sure to read more of her work. Hope CBC brings her back. Her reviews are more of a reflection of the community at large than the high-end, chi-chi places reviewed by the major papers.

                                                                                                      2. re: embee

                                                                                                        It's not bad for what it is. A no frills diner type place from an era gone by. Honest food, made by nice people. I'm not slamming the place, more the reviewer.

                                                                                                        1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                                                          There is no detailed archive of Sarah Elton's reviews, but from memory, I had the impression she was rooting for an underdog, and was pleased to have found a good tasting burger from a small, unrenovated diner. It may be quite a stretch to call it the "best", but I can understand this, considering the 1 week deadline, and the general mediocrity suggested by the listeners.
                                                                                                          If the radio review, and posts like these, have generated interest in Collegiate, perhaps the owners can consider a premium burger, from selected beef. There really is a small niche market for a genuine homeburger with a strong local following.

                                                                                              3. re: grandgourmand

                                                                                                I go along that stretch of Gerrard almost every day, often more than once, and I've never noticed the place. I designate you as the official neighbourhood taster :-)

                                                                                                Please find out whether they will cook them medium rare.

                                                                                                1. re: embee

                                                                                                  If you meant to designate me, then ok. I'll take the plunge. Honestly, I can't picture where it is. Must be across the way from the strip mall with the 2-4-1 pizza. But all I can think of on that side is a scooter shop and a jehovah witness temple.

                                                                                                  1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                                                    The mapped location seems in the immediate vicinity of Peach Garden. I recall that being one of your hangouts.

                                                                                            3. complicate them with fries? what does that mean?

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: torontoeh

                                                                                                I just meant that fries aren't served with the hamburger, therefore they aren't a distraction. I also concur with the Cajun potatoes - very delightful, if a bit oily.

                                                                                              2. by the way....as an a la carte, allen's cajun potaotes are fantastic even if a bit oily.

                                                                                                1. Magoo's on Dundas St. W. at Royal York (in the plaza).

                                                                                                  1. Lonestar at Front and Simcoe has a pretty good burger.

                                                                                                    1. Whatever you do, don't go to Hero Certified Burger.

                                                                                                      See my other post

                                                                                                      Just had the burger at the Rebel House last night. Very nice burger. Big and hand made on site. Just what I was looking for.


                                                                                                      1. Victory Cafe on Markham St. beside Honest Ed's do a great burger, not huge though

                                                                                                        1. Had a terrific burger at Weezie's at King & Power last night. Juicy & well-sized served with quality cheddar, double smoked bacon, delicious garlic mayo, & fresh toppings. On the side were nicely crisp & tender parsley frites seasoned just so that they needed nothing else. Unless that's a glass of decent red at a reasonable price. On the added-bonus side, just how many Good Burger places can you take a date? Add this to your list.

                                                                                                          1. There's nothing wrong with Licks in a fix....

                                                                                                            I'm always baffled by Johnny Burger. Its the quintessential greasy spoon burger, which isnt my idea of a *good* burger. Its like In-n-Out burger in California - I suppose its good if it reminds you of your childhood.

                                                                                                            I notice none of the $40 "trendy burgers" are on this list - are any of them actually worth it?

                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: bobbob911

                                                                                                              Once again I'll take this opportunity to say just how thoroughly terrible Hero Certified Burger is.
                                                                                                              A complete waste of money.


                                                                                                              1. re: bobbob911

                                                                                                                You're completely right, I was trying to think of what it was that reminded me of Johnny's and it is In-n-Out!
                                                                                                                Not where you go for *great but it's just a reliable greasy burger.


                                                                                                                1. re: cara89

                                                                                                                  Totally agree.. nothing's changed in decades at Johnny's. It's cheap, fast, and reliable, and that's all I expect from fast food.

                                                                                                                  Would like to put in a plug for the off-topic "steak on a kaiser" they serve, though. This was always about 50-60% more expensive than a burger, so it was a rare treat for me while working at the gas station across the street, but I still remember the heavily garliced and salted steak, served with fried onions and BBQ sauce. Yum!

                                                                                                              2. Quite frankly I think Harvey's is better (by far) than Lick's.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. I tried South Side Burgers today at Laird and Eglinton. While the burger certainly seemed to be real ground beef I wasn't terribly impressed. The burger was overly dry and really had no flavour. I wouldn't bother to go back.

                                                                                                                  1. The best burger I ever had was Friday at the Mill St. Brew Pub in teh distillery district.

                                                                                                                    The prime rib burger with sweet potato fried.

                                                                                                                    So good I went back for seconds.

                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: bruce_from_sydney

                                                                                                                      mmm it sounds really good, how much was it?

                                                                                                                      1. re: bruce_from_sydney

                                                                                                                        Will they cook it as you like or will they only cook it to death or beyond (to protect us from the ravages of deadly hamburger disease)?

                                                                                                                        1. re: bruce_from_sydney

                                                                                                                          Oh that sounds really good, I love potato fries and the distellery district is soo great.


                                                                                                                          1. re: bruce_from_sydney

                                                                                                                            I have to respectfully disagree about the Mill Street Brew Pub Burger, I had it a month or so ago and it was a dried out frozen patty.

                                                                                                                            Although this is unrelated, the service was AFWUL. We were literally ignored the entire night. Totally put me off this place, I won't go back.

                                                                                                                          2. Yes, I believe they will - though the specification is not necessary. The prime rib burger with sweet potato fried was fantastic. I did not specify the level of done-ness and was thrilled (obviously) with the result.

                                                                                                                            They have 3 or 4 different burgers on the menu. I did not look at the menu before I ordered - I just glanced at the burger the guy sitting next to me at the bar was having and ordered what he had exactly.

                                                                                                                            The price was 12.99 for the burger plus a 1.99 upcharge for the sweet potato fries. This burger was better than the burger at the 'ByMark' or many $50 burgers in Manhattan.

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: bruce_from_sydney

                                                                                                                              Sit down restaurants can get away with charging that for a hamburger, especially since they'll make it big enough for 3... I'd rather have a smaller meal for the same price but that's just me.


                                                                                                                            2. All that talk about burgers had me heading out to Mill Street Pub last night for some beer and beef. I have to say, whoever is running that place really doesn't want any business.

                                                                                                                              Website? Not updated. It doesn't even say the Pub is open (just says opening in the Fall), doesn't have a phone number (the number they have is for the head office), and when I did find the phone number (on a blog), nobody answered the phone (both times i called).

                                                                                                                              That said, my GF insisted it was open, so off we went.

                                                                                                                              I had the sirloin burger with sweet potato fries (a la Bruce from Sydney). The GF had the burger with Swiss (with onion rings) and my buddy had the meatloaf and mashed potatoes with tankhouse gravy. I also managed to get down a the ESB and the Stock Ale, plus taste the Organic and the Porter.

                                                                                                                              We also finished off with the beer ice cream and a cheesecake.

                                                                                                                              The beers were excellent. The food servings were very generous. The meatloaf got a good review but got finished off before I could taste it. My sirloin burger was above average, but nothing special. The sweet potato fries were very good. The Swiss burger was average and the onion rings were average. The cheesecake was NOT a baked cheesecake despite what the server told us, and the beer ice cream was pretty damn good (although more of an "ice" than an ice "cream".

                                                                                                                              All in all, I prefer the burgers at Utopia on College, especially the lamb burger with goat cheese. Mmmmmm.


                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: Cereal Killer

                                                                                                                                i have to disagree with the Utopia Burger, It has breading or a filler, which makes it more like Meatloaf to me.

                                                                                                                              2. I don't think anyone has mentioned the burger at the Rushton yet. Located at Ossington and Harbord. Delicious burger, described by a friend as meatloaf on a bun, which maybe isn't so far off. I grew up eating my dad's burgers which always had onions, spices and rolled oats added in, and this very much reminded me of home (although without the rolled oats). Very hearty, juicy and satisfying.

                                                                                                                                $9.95, comes with roasted potatoes and a nice salad.

                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: FEDup

                                                                                                                                  And by Rushton, I meant Roxton. Oops!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: FEDup

                                                                                                                                    I have tried Hero Burgers at Major Mac and Leslie in Richmond Hill, the 6 oz hero combo is great, I exchanged the cheddar with blue cheese, hmmmmmmmm I loved it. For a gourmet burger, the price is just right. Unfortunately as the sign says they closed temporarly for technical reasons. I loved this location, friendly people and great food. Big difference than Licks and others

                                                                                                                                    1. re: inteso uno

                                                                                                                                      I think the technical reason might be that not enough people will eat there to stay profitable?!?

                                                                                                                                  2. The best burger I've had was at Craft Burger on King (Between Spadina and Bathurst)...until I went to Halifax at the Red Stag pub beside the Keith's Brewery.

                                                                                                                                    Check out Craft Burger...you won't be disappointed.

                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: tasteontario

                                                                                                                                      Craft Burger has really (salty) good fries and the onion rings looked good but the burger patty was dry and not particularly flavourful. If you eat in they have nice presentation but they didn't impress me enought to go back. BF had the veg patty and said it wasn't worth a reapeat.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: chocabot

                                                                                                                                        Good grilled chicken and more than decent fast food organic burger. Secret is to ask them to add extra seasoning and cook pink - they do.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: deelicious

                                                                                                                                          oooh great tip... if i go back, i certainly will.

                                                                                                                                    2. On Queen East, just before Broadview, there's a place called the Burger Shoppe. Very nice burger, juicy and flavourful. Small place, with a neat atmosphere too.

                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                                                                                        Craft is a spin-off from Burger Shoppe which was started by two brothers. One brother left Shoppe and opened Craft. All within a year.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                                                                                          I have to disagree. Vehemently. Went there for the first time this week...

                                                                                                                                          First of all, what atmosphere?It's a service counter, a couple of tables, and some chairs.

                                                                                                                                          Second, and more importantly, the burgers are thin (frozen?), overcooked, flavorless patties. Absolutely awful.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chicken Teriyaki Boy

                                                                                                                                            Atmosphere is in the eye of the beholder. I like the proximity to the grill. And it's a good place for people watching.

                                                                                                                                            They say on the menu that the burgers are never frozen. Mine have been juicy each time, with a touch of pink in the middle. Thin, I'll give you that. It may not be flavourful if you compare it to a bymark burger or something like that, but we're talking apples to oranges there.

                                                                                                                                            My complaint would be more about the fries than anything else. They're too thin. Definitely not the right size for poutine, which is not something i recommend ordering.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: grandgourmand

                                                                                                                                            I have to agree with Chicken Teriyaki Boy. When I went, the burgers at the Burger Shoppe were tiny, overcooked slices of meat that were completely overwhelmed by the bun. Additionally, the Burger Shoppe seems to have some kind of aversion to giving toppings. When I asked for cheese and onions, I got three tiny little slivers of red onion, which I couldn't even taste, and a slice of cheese so thin that you could barely tell it was there.

                                                                                                                                            I liked the onion rings, but really everything else was just very poorly executed and wretchedly overpriced for what we got.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: vorpal

                                                                                                                                              Funny you should mention cheese. The cheese on the Czehoski cheeseburger is so thin you can practically see through it. Taste wise it's completely negligable.

                                                                                                                                          3. I was at JK Gardiner for lunch yesterday with some friends and the one that had the burger declared it to be the best she's ever had. Maybe worth checking out for those in search of good burgers?

                                                                                                                                            1. I just went to the tulip last night and had their burger with cheese and peameal bacon and fries. Fries are mediocre but the burger was truly great, very juicy, large, good bun to meat ratio and the peameal was a huge portion. Mmm it was one of the best burgers Ive ever had for sure.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: hungryabbey

                                                                                                                                                I have been going to a pub called the Galway Arms (838 The Queensway, Etobicoke) for many years. The atmosphere and the beer is great.
                                                                                                                                                I just recently tried the burger.
                                                                                                                                                It was truly exceptional. Huge burger, extremely tasty..
                                                                                                                                                .....comes with fries for $7.45..Definitely worth a try...

                                                                                                                                              2. Burger Shack at eglinton and Oriole is very good. Make sure to get the homemade burger.
                                                                                                                                                Utopia Grill serves up a variety of excellent burgers, including Lamb, beef and veggie.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Earl Camembert

                                                                                                                                                  Some recent Burger hunts....Burger Shack has always served us well as has Groucho's , Lick's ( Yonge & Eg) and (don't laugh) A & W. The A & W @ Eg & Ave has very good onion rings ! South Street was just O.K. and Hero's approached terrible. Also recently enjoyed burgers at The Longest Yard ( Mt. Pleasant) and Betty's ( King East).Very solid value, with the works and fries for under $ 10.

                                                                                                                                                2. I absolutely LOVE the burger at the Green Dragon pub in the upper beaches at Kingston Road and Victoria Park. I'm not much of a burger eater but it's the best thing on the menu IMO as well as being just a really, really good burger. I had it twice over the past Christmas break. It has a wonderful smokey flavour which might be barbecue sauce but I wonder if maybe liquid smoke is added to the mix? It's about 8 ounces in weight and I can never finish it. Ask tfor the Kozlic's mustard to put on it too instead of the yellow ball park stuff. They have great sweet potato fries too.

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Higgette

                                                                                                                                                    I used to love the Fast Lane Burger at Ginsberg and Wong's or the burgers at Blueberry Hill on Bloor. Nowadays, Utopia on College makes a excellent burger.