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Oct 15, 2006 12:05 PM

Canadian Version of "Burgers to Eat Before You Die" ?

Someone mentioned Peter Luger's Steakhouse recently - it reminded me of a recent Oprah show that my wife showed me. One of the features on the show was an Esquire list of "Top 20 Burgers to Eat Before You Die" (list was easy to find with Google).

It was a really 'mouth-watering feature and my wife, my sister & I are now dying to go to some of these places when we are near any of them on future travel to the U.S.!!!!!!!!


Does anyone know of any places in Toronto / Ontario / Canada that would belong on this type of list???

NOTE - The places featured in the Esquire U.S. list were seldom Lick's-type chain places but rather independent restaurants /steak houses in places like Hollywood Florida, Brooklyn, Santa Monica, suburban Detroit etc.

BTW - Peter Luger's was listed as # 2.

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  1. No - killed by politically correct overcooking, the general supine refusal of Canadians to complain and the lack of availability of truly prime beef.

    There are pleasant and well-seasoned burgers (Studio Café at Four Seasons Hotel), juicy well-plumped burgers (Licks, my favorite for the price), toothsome lamb burgers (Rosedale Diner, eg), overpriced and overtouted "gourmet" burgers NOT (Hero, eg), well charred burgers and - overwhelmingly - flaccid chain-produced disgraceful lumps of odd meats long distant from any reputable part of the steer, and masquerading as burgers (including Harvey's which if you taste without bun or toppings is distinctly unpleasant).

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bigtigger

      I kind of like that Harvey's taste, until I think about it. It just ain't beefy -- in fact, I would swear it had pork and nutmeg in it. That's what is so unnerving the unbeefy nature of the flavour. The only national chain burger even worth eating is Wendy's -- it, at least, tastes like beef. That said, it isn't good eats.

      Back to topic, I haven't had a really good burger in Toronto, unfortunately. However, I frequent a bar enough that I'm a regular. They will now cook a burger to medium for me (they know I won't be suing if I'm ill, or calling the health people, I guess). But, their burger still isn't good (in fact, kinda bad). So, my suggestion is frequent somewhere with a decent burger enough to be able to ask for it cooked to your preference.

    2. Go ahead and fork out the 30-or so dollars at Bymark- I think it is an amazing burger. BUt you know what, for my money I'm going to Allen's every time. I don't know if it is the sweet potato fries or the burger itself, or even the great Bloody Marys they make, but I love it every time. I don't like Lick's at all though- so we may be burger-ly incompatible.

      1. I have three burgers to recommend. Not sure they qualify for must have before you die, but...

        In order of least to most expensive...sorry don't know exact prices.

        1) Shanghai Cowgirl - awesome beefy backyard burgers - great fries $10.00?

        2) Liberty in Liberty Village - again, great beefy backyard taste - comes with a barely blue cheese dressing that is excellent and great fries too.

        3) Beaconsfield - Gourmet taste and quality all the way. Really great. Awesome fries. Now the chef has changed since I was last frequenting the place (I seem to change my patterns every once in a while) but I am hopeful it is still great. It is about $15.00.

        Agreed to stay away from Hero and especially Hal. Licks is OK in my books when in a pinch.

        Other recs are Epicure Cafe and Utopia for fresh beef and great fries.

        2 Replies
        1. re: bestandworst

          I used to love Epicure. I was even OK with Licks. But that was before most places in Toronto were cowed (sorry -- couldn't resist) into cooking all burgers into inedibility.

          The only decent resto burgers I've had recently in Toronto were at Allens. Delicious, but not a "life experience" level of deliciousness.

          Will Shanghai Cowgirl, Liberty, and Beaconsfield serve a burger that is pink and juicy? I'm much more worried about fresh berries, bean sprouts, spinach, lettuce, carrot juice, and unwashed food handler hands than about rare burgers.

          Bigtigger - complaining is useless. Resto managements have mainly been convinced that burgers that aren't cooked to death are illegal.

          1. re: embee

            Re: Shang, Lib, Beac...sorry I really don't know. When I BBQ at home I leave pink, but because these burgers are so tasty and really very juicy, I have never asked for pink. I realize that texture of pink is part of it too, but I guess I just love these burgers so much just as they are...

            Admittedly, I may be just too adaptive in that I allow different types of burgers to completely satisfy me, but I can't see holding a grudge against the gov't and never enjoying the burgers that Toronto calls a burger.

            I may not be a purist, but I do know quality, and these are real burgers made with care.

        2. I like my burgers to be simple. Like burgers you get in the back yard. As such, I don't get all excited about burgers topped with alfalfa and truffles.
          With that in mind, the best burger I've had at a restaurant is at a greasy spoon in Richmond Hill called 3 Coins. Huge, great flavour and just greasy enough to be good.

          Do not under any circumstance to go to Hero.
          Read the thread I started.


          1 Reply
          1. I love the bison burger at the Rebel House, medium rare, with a side of poutine. Yeah, practically raw meat and fries with extra grease and sodium -- that's the last burger you eat just before you die, but what a way to go...

            5 Replies
              1. re: Davwud

                I hate to do this, but, where is the Rebel House? I'd give this burger a try sometime.

                1. re: Atahualpa

                  It's on Yonge St. across the street and just north of the Rosedale subway station. There's a Fourbucks next door to it.


              2. re: TwinklyTerrapin

                ^^I finally had the bison burger at Rebel house!!

                good lord it's BIG!
                ..but I wish I didn't get the mushrooms- didn't notice they were the "oyster" type on the menu- which normally I love, but not on my burger..

                Anyway- it satisfied- and HOW-especially when washed down with a pint from black oak..