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Feb 19, 2002 07:23 PM

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