Let’s preface this a bit. A burger may seem simple: meat, cheese, bun. The test of a truly exceptional burger is in that simplicity. Good quality ingredients. Juicy meat, a supportive bun and cheese that adds a perfect creaminess. Lettuce, pickles etc. are a bonus, but the foundation needs to be stellar. Is our inner burger nerd showing yet?
To standardize the testing, we went for classics, simple ingredients, nothing too over the top (ie. Crazy aiolis, mass amounts of toppings, super strong cheeses or flavours) and we kept the meat to traditional ground beef. We tried out a combination of splurge-worthy burgers and fast-casual favourites, so you can satisfy your craving on any budget. Bon appetite, our burger-loving friends!
#1: Buchanans. Hands-down, probably the best burger anyone on our taste testing team has ever had. Two words. Wagyu. Beef. Normally in Canada, you’re hard-pressed to find a burger that’s made to order, but here we are! Juicy medium-rare. The meat is hand-ground, in-house and locally sourced from Brank Lake Farms. Add port-balsamic mushrooms, maple-aged cheddar, a top-tier bun and you’ve hit all the high notes. 100% worth the splurge.
#2: Clive Burger. A local favourite and for good reason. Using locally sourced Beretta Farms meat, hand-made, high-quality ingredients and serving them up fast and easy. Plus, totally customizable, you get exactly what you want every time. All Killer, No Filler (Sum 41 fans, where you at?) And that Clive sauce…
#3: Charcut. Top-Chef superstar Connie De Sousa knows her meat. Together with locally-acclaimed chef Joe Jackson, they are serving up locally-sourced, chef-driven, urban-rustic cuisine. But their burger is truly an elevated classic. No one ingredient takes away from the other. No veggies, just the classics. All of the meat is expertly butchered in-house, so you know it’s quality product. Plus, you get to check out one of Calgary’s most coveted restaurants!
Honourable mention: Charbar – serving up the same quality meat in the gorgeous Simmons building!
#4: Boogies burgers. The self-proclaimed “no-holds-barred burger emporium” is a true classic! Serving wacky, super-sized creations, but also slanging some truly solid basics – no YYC burger list would be complete without Boogies. They have something for everyone as well, serving up vegan fare and little bites for the tiny humans.
#5: Burger 320. If you couldn’t already sense a theme, we love joints that are using locally-sourced, handmade products. You can watch the buns come fresh out of the oven. This local favourite has developed such a following they’ve now expanded to three locations city-wide!