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The Great Burger Debate

TdotFoodKing Oct 23, 2007 01:48 PM

Continuing on with the much debated poll, Im now looking to find the best burger in Toronto. This time comments are welcomed and encourage. You may choose anywhere in the city, just please place your vote then any comments you have. Hopefully you will judge based on Food, Service, Atmosphere and Value. I will keep track of the votes, and we can see what chowhounders around Toronto think is the best.

Hopefully we will find the best homemade, and fresh burger, but if frozen is your thing, then please just clarify that you think or know its frozen in your comments.

Also if its a bit of an unknown or hard to find place, please place and address or intersection, so others can find.


The Great Pizza Debate- http://www.chowhound.com/topics/449442

  1. TdotFoodKing Oct 23, 2007 01:57 PM

    "B" - 2210 Dundas West (Dundas at Roncesvaille)

    As far as the food goes, Ive not had anything bad, its all very tasty. The burger is great, homemade, comes with fries or salad. Very juicy cooked to order, and you can tell its good quality meat as its not masked with spices. Good service, friendly. The only downside I would say is the size of the restaurant. its small, so tough to get a seat during late mornings or lunch on the weekend. But mid-week its a great lunch spot.

    1. vorpal Oct 23, 2007 02:22 PM

      I feel like I still haven't had an extraordinary burger anywhere in Toronto, but the best I've had is from House on Parliament, cooked to medium rare, and it was pretty damn good. So were the accompanying fries: I thought I'd lost my taste for french fries completely but I was able to pack back the entire serving of them quite happily.

      3 Replies
      1. re: vorpal
        Googs Oct 24, 2007 05:24 AM

        You didn't find the incredibly high salt quotient at HoP offputting? Last time I ate there I declared it the last time. Then I went home and drank the contents of my Brita tank. Family sized.

        1. re: Googs
          vorpal Oct 24, 2007 05:31 AM

          Hmmm... I didn't notice an excess of salt. Maybe I was lucky on the day I visited? (I've only been once.) Then again, while I don't think I generally oversalt food myself, I do love the taste of it and adore very, very salty snacks.

          1. re: vorpal
            hungry_pangolin Oct 24, 2007 08:49 AM

            I really like the HoP burger, and the most recent one I had (3 weeks ago)was not excessively salty, and salt is something that I notice.

      2. t
        TorontoConcierge Oct 23, 2007 03:34 PM

        Dangerous Dan's Diner - Queen & Broadview, mammoth burgers with names like Colossal Coronary Burger (your pic is taken and put up on wall of gluttony if you polish it off). Their deep fried mars bars are delicious too if you got room!

        For those wanting a regular sized burger, Dairy Freeze on St Clair and Caledonia

        But I'll agree that sometimes a McDees or Harvey's burger hits the spot too!

        4 Replies
        1. re: TorontoConcierge
          dlw88 Oct 23, 2007 04:17 PM

          If you don't mind the grill, The Tulip's burger is pretty hard to beat IMO.

          1. re: dlw88
            Vinnie Vidimangi Oct 23, 2007 05:00 PM

            I like Fat Phil's on Marlee. $3.99 7 oz burger.

            1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
              koknia Oct 23, 2007 05:39 PM


              (Burg w/fried onions)

          2. re: TorontoConcierge
            rayrayray Oct 26, 2007 09:37 AM

            loooove dairy freeze!! fries and gravy also deserve a spot on the "chowsy woo" walk of fame.

          3. Recyclor Oct 23, 2007 05:57 PM

            There has been some debate over this place already, but, I love the burger from Freshwood Grill in kensington market, smokey wood flavours, hand made and delicious...although, that said, get it to go, i have come to agree with some others that the service, at lunch in my experience (Citizen Greg has done well for me on weeknights) is lousy, and the back seating area reaks of the fish place next door...so get it to go and enjoy!

            4 Replies
            1. re: Recyclor
              mstacey42 Oct 23, 2007 06:15 PM

              The Burger Shack on Eglinton deserves a vote. 6 oz Homeburger (even better as a home-banquet) with fries or rings (even better with both). Mmmmm

              1. re: Recyclor
                hungryabbey Oct 23, 2007 06:18 PM

                recyclor, have you tried their other location? is the atmosphere any better? the menu looks good for a basic pub lunch but if its really dirty I wont even bother

                1. re: hungryabbey
                  Recyclor Oct 23, 2007 06:41 PM

                  I was there last summer, better service, and a casual 'local joint' kind of vibe, I don't remember the burger very well but I imagine it was the same, if you've been to Utopia on College I'd compare the place to that...speaking of, my second place vote goes to Utopia, great burger and value...their veggie burger is even great, also homemade, and they have many mayo's and cheese options to add...

                  1. re: Recyclor
                    hungryabbey Oct 23, 2007 06:57 PM

                    yep been to utopia and that was clean enough, thanks for the tip

              2. spades Oct 23, 2007 06:31 PM

                Easy... for everything except value, the best in town is the prime rib burger at Red's.

                1. squingy Oct 23, 2007 08:33 PM

                  I'm casting 2 votes.

                  first, for my reliable Goldenstar at yonge and steeles. can't go wrong with the allstar burger.

                  second for a new place i found on eglinton between warden and pharmacy in a little strip mall right in front of the super walmart. Jetsun's Juicyburgers, burger was 3/4 of an inch thick and reminded me of lick's before they started making the frozen burgers, they also use real cheese curds in the poutine and kawartha dairies ice cream in their milkshakes. burger, fries w/ gravy and drink cost me $8.80.

                  1. abscissa Oct 23, 2007 08:39 PM

                    I personally do not like eat out burgers because for some reason they think you want 4lbs of ground beef in a huge patty... the more beef the more "luxurious" the burger. I used to like Harvey's junior burgers but you can't get them anymore...

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: abscissa
                      deelicious Oct 23, 2007 08:53 PM

                      Go to burger shoppe and get the organic version, abscissa. It is on the small side, seasoned, hand-made and charbroiled. Not my favourite because I would much prefer that it be twice the thickness - atleast. Onion rings are frozen and crappy. I hear the fries are good. Salad is a rip off. Queen East

                      1. re: deelicious
                        vorpal Oct 23, 2007 09:27 PM

                        Albeit it's been ages since I've been there (and I probably won't go back), the onion rings were the only thing that I liked about the Burger Shoppe. On the "small side" doesn't begin to describe the organic burger there; it was a sliver of meat with the most pathetic offering of toppings, all of which were completely overwhelmed by the bun. Even though the meat (when I nibbled it on its own) was quite tasty, twice the thickness wouldn't even begin to present a real offering, IMO. The cheese slice was so thin that it was virtually transparent and I had to check under the bread to make sure that there actually were onions on my patty because the taste revealed nothing.

                        There has to be a happy medium somewhere in the city, where quality and quantity are in an nice tradeoff; somewhere there must exist a happy ratio between bun, toppings, and meat that satisfies the majority of discerning palates.

                        I haven't tried it, but disappointing salad is sad to hear. I would love a place in my area that gave me something that didn't consist 90% of iceberg with a scant few pathetic grape tomatoes and green pepper slivers thrown on top in order to call it a salad instead of a shredded head of lettuce.

                        1. re: vorpal
                          deelicious Oct 23, 2007 10:20 PM

                          I don't enjoy Burger Shoppe personally because the patty is small and therefore not juicy enough or textured enough for my liking. I agree with you about the bun ratio however I don't need a bunch of newfangled toppings for a great burger.

                          My posting was an attempt to help someone looking for a JUNIOR burger reminiscent of one that was once available at Harvey's, I think this has to be better than anything Harvey's has ever put out. Perhaps you can tell I am not a Harvey's fan.

                          People on chowhound loved Burger Shoppe rings and so many people on here love the rings at A&W. I just don't get it. Sure they are crispy, but that doesn't make them good onion rings in my opinion. The onion is like mush and the taste is bittersweet. This past weekend I had onion rings at Universal Grill that were outstanding! Fresh rings of onion lightly battered and fried to perfection. Not greasy and the onion was delivered at the perfect texture.

                          The Burger Shoppe salad is made up of good quality greens void of a single topping...not even burger toppings like tomato or onion. It was a small serving and the price was out of line as a result of the limited offering.

                          P.S. The burger was very good at Universal - and a great bun.

                          1. re: deelicious
                            vorpal Oct 24, 2007 05:28 AM

                            I'm always on the lookout for good onion rings. I've never been to Universal, but I'm going to try to visit soon after hearing your recommendation! Thanks!

                            1. re: vorpal
                              deelicious Oct 24, 2007 07:08 AM

                              They are homestyle - I hope you enjoy! The one thing that would improve them would be to make them spicy. I would like them to sprinkle a dash of cayenne on the onion or in the batter.

                            2. re: deelicious
                              grandgourmand Jan 16, 2008 02:14 PM

                              Well, I'm in the minority liking Burger Shoppe. Whatever.

                              I'd second Allen's on the Danforth (summertime patio in the back boosts atmosphere points). Haven't had the beer bistro one, but others have told me its good.

                              My real favourite, though, is my own burger. Half ground chuck and half ground lamb. Nice and pink on the inside.

                            3. re: vorpal
                              embee Oct 24, 2007 06:21 AM

                              People who tried the Burger Shoppe when they first opened were praising the rings to the skies. Either they quickly switched from fresh to frozen, or those who tried them early like frozen rings.

                              Their burgers (all of them) are skimpy, under seasoned, and dry. The cook on my (I think it was) fourth, and last, try of this place acknowledged that she had, indeed, learned in her food handling course that Toronto does NOT regulate burger doneness, but that the inspector pressured them and it was easier to just cook everything well done. She made me a pink one, but it was still dry and almost tasteless. Their cheese slices are almost invisible.

                              As a final insult, they switched from Ed's ice cream to Chapman's ice cream for their milkshakes. This would have reduced their ice cream cost by more than half. But they did not lower the price of said milkshakes.

                              All-in-all, the Burger Shoppe is a ripoff and an insult to the neighbourhood. But they seem busy, and I suppose that's all that matters. I expected to be a regular, but I'm not going back. They've had enough chances to get it right.

                              1. re: embee
                                deelicious Oct 24, 2007 07:19 AM

                                The onion rings havent changed - I just never liked the almost liquid onion inside and the off-texture and taste of frozen onions. Many people on here seem to put so much value on the breading and crispness that it seems anything would work inside.

                                The organic is much more seasoned than it was originally. It had zero flavour and now there is a seasoned salt of some sort - no biggie, but better than nothing. It is not my choice for a burger ever but I have a friend who likes it there very much. They like the small amount of meat - go figure.

                                Switching the ice-cream is such bad news.

                              2. re: vorpal
                                Googs Oct 24, 2007 08:19 AM

                                Favourable Quality:Quantity:Price can be found at Weezie's. Hop on the King car at Queen & Broadview and get out at Trinity St. (1 block east of Parliament)

                                Patty is thick enough that I cut my burger in half. She tops it with very fresh tomato that still has it's aroma, lettuce, red onion, a (can you call it?) healthy dose of high quality cheddar, and double smoked bacon. Her garlic mayo, catsup, and mustard are not your store bought variety. She takes pride in making almost everything they offer from scratch. She hasn't taken to baking her own bread, that is. The frites are so outstanding I could eat just these. You can pair your burger with a reasonably priced glass of wine.

                                Best thing is that everything on the menu is good. Her salads are so fresh even my hubby will eat them. The room is very romantic once the candles are lit. Service is excellent and polite although it can get a little bogged down when a big crowd arrives unexpected. Happens a lot that locals go to Weezie's on a whim. Best place for a romantic burger date IMO.

                          2. f
                            foodie_wannabe Oct 24, 2007 12:47 AM

                            Not one but three burgers - The Trio of mini Kobe burgers at Trevor Kitchen and Bar (Front/Church) are hands down, my favourite burger(s!) in the city. Now, the atmosphere and service at this establishment is the subject of much debate on other threads - but if I had to vote on the quality of the burger alone? This is the place. My second vote would be Shanghai Cowgirl on Queen West.... but I haven't been in about three months, and from another thread, it sounds like, sadly, the quality is going downhill.

                            1. s
                              Snarf Oct 24, 2007 06:09 AM

                              Had a great Kobe burger as part of a tasting menu at Perigee. Perfectly cooked (medium rare) on a tiny brioche with a spicy aioli.

                              The buffalo burger at the Rebel House deserves some credit as well. Great sides, and they make some of their own condiments.

                              1. e
                                embee Oct 24, 2007 06:31 AM

                                I vote for Allen's. The best fresh meat, cooked to taste. Always juicy. Decent bun plus tasty relish and Dijon. Not cheap, but good value for what you get. This isn't a "burger joint" kind of burger.

                                The fries, and sweet potato fries, are fresh and cooked to order, but the Canola oil doesn't do them justice. The smoked potato salad is a tasty alternative.

                                We've never run into an attitude problem there, but others have. The service can be anywhere between great and awful, depending on who you get. A great beer list, but it is a very expensive one.

                                1. i
                                  ishmael Oct 24, 2007 06:58 AM

                                  Harbour 60--USDA prime rib eye--- freshly ground--minimally seasoned--grilled as rare as you like on Fred's brioche bun topped with onion rings. Worth every penny

                                  1. s
                                    Scary Bill Oct 24, 2007 07:12 AM

                                    The best I have ever had in any price range, anywhere, is the Beer Bistro burger. It is 11 bucks, plus about 2 bucks per topping of bacon, cheddar or mushrooms.

                                    It is worth the price, particularly vis-a-vis the other expensive "high end" burgers.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Scary Bill
                                      acd123 Oct 24, 2007 09:39 AM

                                      Had a Weezie's burger last week. Excellent, and I don't usually like thicker burgers. Really juicy and cooked medium.

                                      Still, the best in town is Burger Shack for a homestyle banquet burger.

                                      1. re: acd123
                                        Googs Oct 24, 2007 01:10 PM

                                        I hear ya acd. This poll, much like the two-part pizza question, should have an upscale/downscale split. I like the 3 buck burger just as much as the 20. Really just depends on mood and circumstance.

                                    2. TdotFoodKing Oct 24, 2007 11:10 AM

                                      THE TOTAL VOTES (so far) Please put our vote first, and clarify if its frozen. I guessed at some of these I havent had, correct me if Im wrong.

                                      2 - The House on Parliament
                                      2 - The Tulip
                                      2 - The Burger Shack (frozen?)
                                      2 - Weezie's
                                      1 - B
                                      1 - McDonalds (frozen)
                                      1 - Dangerous Dan's Diner (frozen?)
                                      1 - Fat Phil's (frozen?)
                                      1 - Freshwood Grill
                                      1 - Easy Restaurant
                                      1 - Red's
                                      1 - Goldenstar (frozen?)
                                      1 - Jetsun's Juicyburgers (frozen?)
                                      1 - Trevor Kitchen and Bar
                                      1 - Perigee
                                      1 - Rebel House
                                      1 - Allen's
                                      1 - Harbour 60
                                      1 - Beer Bistro

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: TdotFoodKing
                                        Brain of J Oct 24, 2007 12:04 PM

                                        C & Dubbs. On Dundas, east of Dixie, south side. Taste and quantity. Great fries too!

                                        1. re: Brain of J
                                          Jean Anthelme Oct 24, 2007 12:34 PM

                                          I LOVE C & Dubbs. Definitely better than the nearby Apache or Red Cabin. Better, too, than Master Steak on Dixie (favoured by Marc Thuet). They also serve a nice peameal on a bun and pretty decent onion rings.

                                          1. re: Jean Anthelme
                                            acd123 Oct 24, 2007 12:40 PM

                                            The regular burgers at Burger Shack are frozen. Don't get that kind, although that's the kind my girlfriend likes for some crazy reason.

                                            Get the homestyle with cheese and bacon, aka the Home Banquet. The meat has never met a freezer and they cook it to whatever doneness you want.

                                            1. re: acd123
                                              Yongeman Oct 24, 2007 12:45 PM

                                              Yup, the Homeburger at Burger Shack is a keeper.

                                            2. re: Jean Anthelme
                                              Brain of J Oct 24, 2007 12:55 PM

                                              Yeah, Dubbs rocks!

                                          2. re: TdotFoodKing
                                            squingy Oct 24, 2007 01:16 PM

                                            Goldenstar looks like its fresh, but I'm not really sure. Jetsuns is made fresh daily.

                                          3. chloe103 Oct 24, 2007 03:50 PM

                                            Rice Bar, on Augusta in Kensington, makes a very yummy burger (I think they use a combo of organic beef and chorizo sausage). Make sure to ask for it medium-rare if you like it that way, though, as they tend to cook a tad too long for my liking.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: chloe103
                                              Wiley Oct 24, 2007 08:38 PM

                                              Certainly not South Street Burger Company...

                                            2. TorontoJo Oct 26, 2007 06:35 AM

                                              Throw in another vote for Rebel House's buffalo/beef burger. That's a darn tasty burger. And they do ask how you want it cooked, though I don't know how pink you can get it, as I actually like mine without pink. But it's juicy and tasty nonetheless.

                                              1. mikeb Oct 26, 2007 10:22 AM

                                                I generally don't drive across the city for a burger. It's more like I am in the neighbourhood, who has the best burger nearby.

                                                North of the 401, Thornhill’s Goldenstar's Homemade rules. It’s a fastfood thinish burger, but it has the flavour. Don't go for their regular prefab burgers. Magoos is the best I've had in the westend. It’s a much nicer burger than the places on the Mississauga/Etobicoke border. Thicker and juicier. They do put the cheese on after cooking the burger. It melts to the burger--some people don’t like that. Fat Phils rates a visit if you are in the Eglinton/Allen area. Good flavour. South of St Clair, I go to the Rebel house.

                                                I guess if pushed I'd go with the Rebel House burger. It's juicy and has good beefy (bisony) flavour. The condiments usually taste fresh. It's what I order half the time I go there, so I guess that says something.

                                                1. t
                                                  torontofoodiegirl Oct 28, 2007 06:59 AM

                                                  Burger Shack, definitely. It's a heart attack in a brown paper bag, but worth every gram of fat...

                                                  1. Recyclor Oct 28, 2007 10:08 AM

                                                    Utopia deserves a spot on the list...fresh, homemade...yummy...

                                                    1. m
                                                      mister1970 Oct 30, 2007 08:14 PM

                                                      The burger at Jump - stuffed with short ribs - is fantastic, but pricey. It's not always on the dinner menu, but it seems to always be on the lunch menu and the bar menu.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: mister1970
                                                        hayabusa Jan 16, 2008 01:06 PM

                                                        Love Jetsuns at 1900 Eglington East was there today it was FRESH ground beef not frozen . And the Fries were fresh also ...AWESOME

                                                      2. b
                                                        bigmeanjoe Jan 21, 2008 06:24 PM

                                                        THE FIRE PIT in Missisauga ( HWY 10 & Britannia)

                                                        you WILL NOT be disappointed !!

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