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Weezies, Swan, Allens...

shekamoo Mar 26, 2009 03:47 PM

I have had the burgers at these joints based on recommendations on this board. where do I go next for a similar experience? I was thinking Harbord Room but that was booked for this weekend.

I would rate the three mentioned in the title exactly in the order that they appear. Weezies was just right for me, if only it was a little bigger...

thank you!

  1. grandgourmand Mar 26, 2009 04:24 PM

    Really, Allen's behind Weezie's? (haven't tried swan). Love'em both, but prefer Allen's.

    6 Replies
    1. re: grandgourmand
      Rudiger Mar 26, 2009 04:30 PM

      Reverse the order.

      The rare Allen's burger is champ of Toronto. The only improvement I can think of is buttering the bun. (I normally take mine with only goat cheese).

      1. re: Rudiger
        deabot Mar 26, 2009 05:05 PM

        I would rank Harbord first, Allen's then Weezie's. Harbord's is really good-very juicy, good egg bun for support. On the other hand, Allen's is bigger than Harbord's, good beefy taste but the bun is too flimsy! Weezie's I only had once-I personally it to be just okay.

      2. re: grandgourmand
        shekamoo Mar 26, 2009 05:15 PM

        perhaps the service in Allen's takes away from my experience so much that it affects my judgment of the burger. I order medium rare, and find Weezies overall better prepared and juicy in the right way.

        1. re: shekamoo
          grandgourmand Mar 26, 2009 05:24 PM

          Hey, I won't knock your ranking too much. I love them both. And weezie's service is excellent, considering it's one guy working the room.

          W.R.T. your post, I can't think of others in the same vein...actually...I've heard the Drake makes a good burger, though I can't attest to it myself.

          1. re: grandgourmand
            jayseeca Mar 26, 2009 05:38 PM

            The burger at the Drake is ok, not bad... I'd love to try Allens.

            But, if you want to try the Drake burger there's worthwhile specials going on right now: http://www.thedrakehotel.ca/web/eake/...

          2. re: shekamoo
            yoyodyne Mar 27, 2009 06:21 AM

            I've got to agree with you on the service at Allen's. The burger is good but I've never understood the raves and the only thing I can really point to for my middling assessment of it is a result of the underwhelming service. I like the burger at the Swan and haven't had Weezie's yet but I'm definitely curious considering the efflusive praise being heaped on it via this board.

        2. t
          tjr Mar 26, 2009 06:08 PM

          The Bymark burger is incredible, but it's also fairly expensive.

          17 Replies
          1. re: tjr
            shekamoo Mar 26, 2009 06:40 PM

            fairly expensive is understating it, I would say....36.95, these days, not for me

            1. re: shekamoo
              Muffin__Top Mar 26, 2009 08:08 PM

              I have yet to have the Bymark burger (probably won't under these economic times) but I think the Nota Bene burger is better than Allen's IMHO

              1. re: Muffin__Top
                grandgourmand Mar 27, 2009 05:51 AM

                How much is the Nota Bene burger?

                re: bymark, Nota Bene, aside from price, the OP said 'similar experience", I'm assuming that means casual place, with good good. Bymark and NB are full of suits, no? (I'm a suit, by the way, except on Fridays)

                1. re: grandgourmand
                  kwjd Mar 27, 2009 06:24 AM

                  Nota Bene burger was $19 when I was there in January. It was the best burger I have ever tasted in my life. Asked for medium rare and the middle was a bright pink - similar to how a steak would look if cooked to medium rare. It was the perfect combination of flavour and juiciness.

                  I haven't tried Allen's or Swan, but I would put it way ahead of Weezies. Harbord Room I would put on similar level to Weezies, maybe marginally better. These were both excellent, just not on the level of Nota Bene.

                  1. re: kwjd
                    LTL Mar 27, 2009 08:25 AM

                    It was still $19 as of last week, and it comes with a huge portion of yummy frites.

                    1. re: LTL
                      grandgourmand Mar 27, 2009 08:31 AM

                      That's not half bad. The Allen's burger is $10, I think, with no sides. Weezie's is something like $10-$12, with nice crispy fries.

                  2. re: grandgourmand
                    shekamoo Mar 27, 2009 07:34 AM

                    Yes, that is exactly what I mean. I will not rule out trying the burger at NB as I do Bymark's, but that's not the kind of place I think of when I am craving a good burger. just not the right setting for a burger if you know what I mean

                    1. re: shekamoo
                      Muffin__Top Mar 27, 2009 08:49 AM

                      Seriously you gotta try it. It's AMAZING ! If only they did take out!!

                2. re: shekamoo
                  tjr Mar 27, 2009 01:46 PM

                  I've been fairly lucky; the price doesn't really bother me. If I'm not making burgers at home, it's the burger I crave. I also don't really care about the ambiance of the room in which I'm eating a burger... anything is fine for me.

                  I also like the burgers at Nota Bene and Harbord Room. Weezie's and Allen's have decent burgers as well. I've had the one at Globe and it was pretty good; the one I had at the Drake was brutally overcooked.

                  1. re: tjr
                    grandgourmand Mar 27, 2009 02:53 PM

                    What does luck have to do with the Bymark burger?

                    Thanks for the drake heads up. I was going to try it at some point.

                    1. re: grandgourmand
                      phoenikia Mar 27, 2009 03:05 PM

                      Lucky to not have to worry about spending $36.95 pre-tax and tip on a burger, I suspect:)

                      1. re: phoenikia
                        tjr Mar 27, 2009 05:39 PM

                        Yes, that'd be it. Also, grandgourmand, as pinstripeprincess noted in the other thread, the Drake has a "Starving Artist" menu deal going on now; at $10 with a beer, the price is pretty reasonable. Just make sure to emphasize that you like your burger done a specific way :-)

                        1. re: tjr
                          grandgourmand Mar 27, 2009 08:26 PM

                          It's not really the deal I'm after. It's more not having to cross town to end up being disapointed by a subpar burger.

                          I enjoy the weezie's burger, but it's one where you really do have to emphasize that you want it med rare.

                          1. re: grandgourmand
                            tjr Mar 27, 2009 08:43 PM

                            A Big Mac meal + a beer is probably more than $10, so even if the Drake burger is overcooked it's still a pretty good deal. Depends how far you'd have to drive :-)

                            1. re: tjr
                              grandgourmand Mar 28, 2009 05:09 AM

                              Good point.

                              The way I see it, though, is that there are a few interesting dining options in that area, and if I can cross one off the list, it makes my life easier.

                    2. re: tjr
                      Muffin__Top Mar 28, 2009 05:19 PM

                      Hey everyone,

                      I just tried the burger at the Harbord room.
                      It was amazing! Cooked medium, juicy, mayo was delicious, bun was soft, meat was tender. Fries had the skin on them, with seasoning and with the craziest ketchup I've ever tasted.

                      I would say it is a close second to NB's burger!

                      1. re: Muffin__Top
                        shekamoo Mar 29, 2009 07:33 AM

                        so i have three more places to try on my list: Utopia, NB and Harbord room. anywhere else I'm missing? I am not yet sold on Drake or the Yorkville place...

                3. Rabbit Mar 27, 2009 05:19 AM

                  Caren's Wine Bar in Yorkville!!... I know it's not an obvious choice, but their stilton burger is great.


                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Rabbit
                    jamesm Mar 27, 2009 06:03 AM

                    Beaconsfield does a good burger in a similar environment to the places mentioned above.

                    1. re: jamesm
                      shekamoo Mar 27, 2009 05:24 PM

                      I tried the Beaconsfield, oh my, it was horrible. weird flavor to the beef, bland and heavy bun, overcooked to death. the chili fries was good though

                      1. re: shekamoo
                        deabot Mar 27, 2009 10:11 PM

                        yes i had the beaconsfield as well it was dry, not beefy...not that good.

                    2. re: Rabbit
                      phoenikia Mar 27, 2009 09:24 AM

                      I agree, the stilton burger is delish!

                    3. p
                      phoenikia Mar 27, 2009 09:23 AM

                      If you're just interested in Harbord Room's burger, and don't require a table for a group, you could try stopping by and seeing if you can get a seat at the bar, or calling ahead and seeing if it's likely they would have room at the bar. Reservations aren't usually taken for their bar, unless they've recently changed their policy. I called the restaurant, and the person answering the phone suggested I just drop by. I got there around 9 pm on a Friday night, waited for maybe 15 minutes before getting a seat at the bar.

                      I really liked the Harbord Room burger, and the frites, and all their condiments, but I was so thirsty afterwards- drinking 3-4 glasses of water at the restaurant, then more when I got home. The burger didn't taste especially salty- maybe it was a cumulative effect from the burger and the frites together?

                      1. t
                        tochipotle Mar 27, 2009 10:16 AM

                        I've had the burger at Swan and Allen's. I found Allen's to be better than Swan, but I agree - somewhat not worth the hassle of the 'service'. (Also something I find annoyingly pretentious about the Allen's burger is that they won't put mushrooms and onions on the burger itself. The burger comes out on a plate, the mushrooms come out on a separate plate, the onions come out on their own plate, and if you get fries or some other side, yet another plate- seriously, it's a burger, just put it all together.) Also, if you're like me, and like your burger with some toppings and perhaps a side of fries - it quickly turns into a $20+ meal.
                        Utopia isn't as upscale, so I'm sorry if it doesn't fit your bill aesthetically, but lately I have really enjoyed their buffalo burger, so I thought I would throw it in as an option. I don't find it dry at all, and I've had it cooked with a bit of pink in the middle. It's huge, and comes with a huge pile of fries (I normally ask for half fries half salad - in which case, the fries are slightly reduced and paired with a huge pile of good greens). I couldn't possibly eat it all. It's all under $15 easily. They do beef burgers also, but I've just been more on a buffalo kick.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: tochipotle
                          torontovore Mar 27, 2009 05:05 PM

                          Do you have any idea whether the bison burger was a frozen patty or not? Although I've never found a fresh ground buffalo burger in any restaurant, I'm still hopeful. It could be done but I think the price would be outrageous. The meat is superior in taste and nutrition, but you can't cook it like feedlot beef. I have pre-formed bison and elk burgers in my freezer which I can quickly bbq at home, but the texture of a frozen patty is just not as satisfying as freshly ground.

                          I've had the Allen's beef burger and it's pretty good. Their fries were not good . I couldn't eat them. Soft, brown, and boring.

                          1. re: torontovore
                            kwjd Mar 28, 2009 12:26 AM

                            I believe the C'est What buffalo burger is fresh. While it isn't my favourite burger, it is the best buffalo burger I've ever had. Also, I really enjoy the fries there, and the coffee porter BBQ sauce is excellent. It is $12 I believe.

                            1. re: torontovore
                              tochipotle Mar 28, 2009 08:56 AM

                              I was at Utopia last night and asked if they grind their meat on site and the response was yes. They have lamb burgers and a combination of lamb and beef as well as the bison and traditional beef. Also, the burgers are under 10 dollars...but as I said before, I like to add toppings...

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