"The Alibi Room’s Pemberton Farms all-natural beef burger is a summertime favourite of mine. The kitchen cooks the patty to a medium doneness and it’s dripping with flavour – it'll remind you of what beef is supposed to taste like. It’s dressed with lettuce, tomato and smoked-onion mayo. Add "the works" (cheddar, bacon and mushrooms) and suffice to say it's one of the best hangover meals in the hood."
"Finding a burger that is not cooked to a shade of 'well-done grey' is somewhat difficult to find in Vancouver! The Pourhouse Burger is perfectly medium, a mix of chuck and brisket, with a shy bit of pink in the middle, making it just the right texture and flavour. On top of the pretty patty is smoked cheddar cheese, crispy pork belly, caramelized onions, and a grilled, house-made brioche bun, with a seeded mustard and mayo. Its sidekick? Pommes frites, obviously."
"I don't go eat burgers much, but the one at Fable is really good. I like it because of the flavour of the miso sauce, the grind of the beef and the homemade bun, but primarily because it’s cooked competently. The flavour of the beef is prominent, not only because of the product, but because of the way it’s cooked and its ‘doneness’ is good! It has a good heft and the accompaniments don’t cover the burger too much."
"My favourite burger in town is from White Spot. It's a simple, classic-style burger, no bells and whistles, which just tastes great every time. I go for the BC Burger (bacon and cheese) which comes with lettuce, tomato, bacon, cheese and their sauce (every place has a burger sauce, theirs is Triple O). I love the bun it comes on; it's soft but holds up while eating and the bacon is nice and crispy. There's something nostalgic about going to a White Spot, but it's not about the burgers for me since I was a vegetarian when I was a kid! It's the one burger in the city I literally crave and have to get."
"The Oakwood burger is juicy and the sauce is great, but it’s the sprouts that make the burger. The bacon they smoke in-house is really intense and brings it together. It's easily one of my faves in the city, if not number one. Best of all, you don’t feel like crap after you eat it, which is a huge plus as most burgers are gut bombs."
"My favourite traditional burger is the Moderne Burger, which is honest and straightforward; the patty is the perfect size for the bun and it tastes like beef. It’s the only one that can satisfy my craving. After eating one I always say to myself, 'Now that was a burger!' and I am good for a while. I eat very little red meat, so when I do, I want the experience to be authentic. The fries are fresh as well, real potatoes, just like at The Fish Counter!"
"I love a great burger. My favourite in the city is the Merchant’s Burger at Merchant’s Oyster Bar on Commercial. This is a burger that is just done right. Nothing fancy or gimmicky, just attention to detail: a toasted brioche bun, in-house ground organic patty, grilled over charcoal, then heaped with local double-smoked bacon, tarragon mayo and love. Love is always the secret ingredient and they do not skimp at Merchant’s."
"At Au Comptoir, you get an American classic burger done in a restrained French style. The house-ground beef is charred to medium-rare with caramelized onions. The moist soft bun soaks up the juices perfectly. When you combine good ingredients plus a talented and passionate chef, it equals a beautifully crafted burger."
"I love Campagnolo’s Dirty Burger D.P. (double patty)! The burger is made from dry-aged beef neck every day. It’s a delicious and classic burger. Don't forget the secret menu toppings available: foie gras, crispy chicken skin, fried egg.’"
"The burger I pick is the one at Mamie Taylor's – it's sooo good. It has Swiss cheese, smoked mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, and a fancy sauce (a fresh tarragon-heavy version of the classic mayo-and-ketchup-based burger sauce) which is sweet, tangy and herbaceous. The smoked mushrooms are cooked right down and blended with a little onion jam to bring them together and round out the flavour. The beef is chuck and brisket, one-week dry-aged and ground daily, but the bun is the key. It’s a homemade artisan version of a fast-food bun – soft on the inside, gently crusty on the outside and slightly brioche-y. Gotta try it!"
Nikki Bayley is an award-winning travel writer, guide book author and spirits and cocktail journalist whose work appears in National Geographic Traveller, The Globe and Mail and the Difford’s Guide. A cheese fan, hula hooper and all-round word nerd, she writes regularly for BCLiving about food, drink, spas and everything else that makes life worth living.