From basic to bold, great burgers in Vancouver

Even in upscale restaurants, there’s no other way to tackle this classic, all-American meal than with your hands. Grab some napkins, order a side of fries and dig into some of the best hamburgers in the city, from your local bar to your more high-end affair. [Photo courtesy of The Oakwood Canadian Bistro]

Tap & Barrel

1 Athletes Way, Vancouver, BC V5Y 0B1

A twist on the classic childhood sandwich, Tap and Barrel's unique PB&J burger is made with certified Angus beef and topped with chipotle peanut butter and bacon jam, as well as lettuce, mayo and mustard. It’s strangely appealing — enough to be one of their more popular orders — and customers are consistently satisfied. The sweetness of the jam is tempered by the heat from the spiced peanut butter in a way that makes you wonder why you’ve never thought of this combination before.

Wagon Rouge

1869 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V5L 1H8

With only a few available each night, Wagon Rouge's signature sought-after burger sells out quickly. So stop by this Powell Street bistro — the slightly more upscale sister to The Red Wagon — and quickly order this perfectly composed meal. Beef, aged cheddar, caramelized onions and mayo lie in delicious harmony within the ideal-sized bun, meaning your last bite is as phenomenal as your first — no excess bun, no excess meat. A side of fries and a glass of French red and you’re in burger heaven.

The Cannibal Cafe

1818 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N 4A5

The Kowabunga burger at The Cannibal Cafe started as a monthly special, originally named the Teenage Mutant Ninja Burger, but it was so popular that the Commercial Drive burger joint decided to change the name and make it a permanent menu fixture. A pizza burger with dry cured pepperoni, sautéed peppers and onions, house-made marinara, provolone cheese and roasted garlic mayonnaise, this unique take ups the ante on their house patty of ground brisket, short rib and chuck. Kowabunga, dude.

Campagnolo Restaurant

1020 Main St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2W1

Available at Campagnolo’s upper-floor bar, the Dirty Burger is the stuff of legend. Originally on the menu at Refuel, the now-defunct, once-delicious Kits restaurant where current Upstairs chef Robert Belcham once cooked, devotees are breathing burger-scented sighs of relief now that it is once again in its butter-slicked cast-iron pan. Simple but nearing perfection, it’s no beauty to behold, but the quality of ingredients — 40-day aged beef, fresh farm tomatoes, homemade bread roll — is garnering “best burger” accolades all over the city.

Pourhouse Restaurant

162 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B2

At $17, this is one of the more expensive burgers on the list, but the excellent flavour paired with upscale surroundings make it worth it. Made from ground beef brisket and chuck and served in a lightly toasted bun, the result is a perfectly crispy exterior made supple by the juicy patty. Topped with bacon and cheddar and smeared with their house-made grainy mustard, this comes beautifully presented on a wooden board with a small silver bucket of fries. Try it with a classic whiskey cocktail.

The Oakwood Canadian Bistro

2741 4th Avenue W, Vancouver, BC V6K 1P9

A Kitsilano bistro with a roaring fireplace and antler accessories aplenty, The Oakwood delivers cozy Canadiana in spades with its cabin-inspired decor and delectable meat-forward farmhouse menu. The Burger 2.0 is a perennial menu fave and has gained a reputation among burger fans in Vancouver. Chef Ryan Murphy tops his bestselling burger with melted aged cheddar cheese, streaky bacon strips, alfalfa sprouts, thinly sliced garlic dill pickles, and a signature “Gulf Islands” dressing. Take note: this stacked meal definitely requires two hands.

White Spot Restaurants

405 Dunsmuir St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1X4

We can’t talk about burgers without mentioning the founding father of Vancouver’s hamburger culture. Whether to-go from a Triple O, on the ferry, or in their latest restaurant — their flagship on Dunsmuir — White Spot’s legendary burger with the pickle on top is a stand-out favourite among Vancouverites young and old. The recipe hasn’t changed much since Nat Bailey was flipping burgers on Kits Beach, and that’s why it’s as iconic as it is. Well, that and its super-secret Triple O sauce.

Moderne Burger

865 Broadway W, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1J9

A retro malt shop from another era, Moderne Burger will have you feeling nostalgic with its 1950s-inspired decor (think vinyl booths, checked black and white flooring, and the requisite jukebox) and its simple burger shop menu. Classic hand-pressed patties are made with single-cut beef and are topped in a straightforward fashion with lettuce, tomato, red onion, mayo and house sauce. If you wanna get a little fancy, try adding cheddar and grilled onions, or bacon strips and homemade barbecue sauce. A generous pile of fresh-cut made-to-order French fries and a creamy vanilla milkshake are ideal accompaniments.

Romers Burger Bar

1873 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6J 1M4

Who doesn’t love options! When it comes to burgers, this local Vancouver chain does it right with an extensive menu of more than a dozen burgers made with fresh-ground organic B.C. beef or a variety of patty alternatives (think quinoa, turkey, blackened salmon, jerk chicken, or braised short rib), if you prefer. Served atop a fresh-baked brioche bun, classic patties are elevated with a range of gourmet ingredients, such as herb garlic Boursin cheese, mole aioli, apple ginger slaw, sautéed Portobello mushrooms or edamame guacamole. Craft brews and nightly drink deals round out the good times.

Save On Meats

43 Hastings St W, Vancouver, BC V6B 1G4

Given the name, its no surprise the meaty menu at this Gastown diner is designed to appeal to those with a carnivorous culinary palate. From pulled pork mac and cheese to chicken and waffles, the menu at Save On Meats is stacked with comfort food classics. If your cardiac health isn’t a concern, skip the classic patty and double down on the Fully Loaded Burger, a meaty monstrosity that weighs in with two double-sized patties, two types of cheese, fried avocado, onions, jalapenos, pierogies, fried egg and a double order of bacon.

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