27 Sep

: 5200 Dixie Road, Unit 55, Mississauga

In my continuing quest to check out any halfway decent burger near my work (which is no easy task when you work in Mississauga, a horrifying burger wasteland), I did my semi-regular “best burger in Mississauga” search, and found a top 15 by Foursquare.  Number 13 on that list: Galito’s.

Wait, Galito’s?  That Galito’s?  The peri peri chicken joint?  Do they even have a burger on the menu?

Apparently they do.  I was fairly certain it was going to be bad (because why does that place even serve a burger??), but I figured, sure – why the hell not?

Ordering a hamburger here is so bizarre that I was honestly a little bit embarrassed even asking for it; I glanced around furtively as I ordered, like a guy buying a Hustler at a convenience store.


I was asked how spicy I wanted it, which certainly isn’t a question you expect when ordering a burger.  I thought, at the very least, that this might be interesting.

Well, I don’t know what I was expecting, but what I got was a run-of-the-mill frozen patty – grilled – that had been slathered in peri peri sauce.  It was also topped with lettuce, tomato, and onion.

The frozen patty was what it was: with its chewy texture and anemic flavour, it’s identical to the hamburger you’ll find at any number of crappy old-school burger joints, hospital cafeterias, and company picnics. The spicy, lemony peri peri sauce adds some heat and some zip, which kind of helps, but there’s no saving a patty like this.

The burger came with one side — I went with the peri peri fries, which were just mediocre frozen fries that were dusted with some kind of peri peri seasoning.  With the hamburger, I can barely even blame them for going the frozen route – no one but a madman would order a hamburger from a restaurant that otherwise so single-mindedly specializes in chicken. The fries, on the other hand, I have a much harder time forgiving them for.

1.5 out of 4

Galito's - the outside Galito's - the restaurant Galito's - the burger Galito's - the burger Galito's - the burger

The Good Fork

13 Sep

: 2432 Bloor Street West, Toronto

You know what makes me sad? Burgers that should be great that are merely okay. That makes me sad. Unnecessary mediocrity. That makes me sad. The Good Fork makes me sad.

Not that they even serve a bad burger. It’s actually pretty decent. But it could have been so good without even changing that much.

I opted for the Plain burger, which the menu describes as coming with remoulade and “fixins” (which, in this case, are lettuce, tomato, pickles, and red onion).

The burger tastes really good.  The quality of the beef is obviously quite high, with an outstanding beefy flavour that’s pretty much irresistible.  The tangy remoulade adds some zip without overwhelming the taste of the beef, and is actually a pretty great condiment for the burger.

So — great burger, right?  Right…?


It would have been great.  But it was dry.  Crazy dry, with a tough, dense texture that’s the result of the patty having been ground too finely and packed too tightly.  Cooked all the way to well done and beyond, the burger never had a chance.  It was always going to be dry, and it was always going to be tough.

I feel like I make this complaint with an alarming frequency, and I really don’t know why.  This is burger-making 101.  A good burger needs a course grind, and it needs to be loosely packed.  As you cram the strands of ground beef closer and closer together, the burger becomes more and more dense, and therefore more and more tough.  And if it’s finely ground on top of that?  Then those strands are really going to become good friends, resulting in tightly packed slab of beef that feels like it’s trying to become a steak again.  Cook that to well done and it’s all over but the crying.  You’re getting a tough, dry patty, guaranteed.

Of course, that’s not to mention the use of overly lean beef, another culprit in drying out so many of Toronto’s burgers — though here, the menu states that they’re using a blend of brisket and chuck, which should result in a pretty decent lean-to-fat ratio.  But with that particular patty cooked to the edge of well done, I suspect that no amount of fat could have saved it.

It’s served on a pretzel bun, which I normally find too dense and bready for a hamburger, though in this case that was the least of this burger’s concerns.

The shoestring fries were quite good, at least.  So there’s that.

2.5 out of 4

The Good Fork - the restaurant The Good Fork - the menu The Good Fork - the restaurant The Good Fork - the burger and fries The Good Fork - the burger

Ground Burger Bar

30 Aug

: 352 Doug Duncan Drive, #2, Newmarket

I’m not gonna lie: I needed this.  I haven’t had a burger that I’ve wholeheartedly liked since April, and I haven’t had one that I thought was better than average since December of last year.  Suffice it to say, I was more than due for a really good hamburger.

Enter Ground Burger Bar, a brand new burger joint up in Newmarket that seems to be an instant hit; we came on a Friday night and the place was packed, with a wait upwards of forty minutes (reservations are advised).

The menu has the usual assortment of topping and meat choices, featuring burgers with names like “The Crazy Korean” and “The Dirty Bird’ger.”  I went with the Ground Signature, a beef burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles.

It’s a damn good burger.  It’s grilled, with a nice bit of char from the grill and a lightly smoky flavour that doesn’t overwhelm.  Most importantly, the quality of the beef is obviously above average, with a nice beefy flavour that comes through loud and clear.


Loosely packed with a nice course grind, the medium patty was a bit on the dry side, but was otherwise pretty much exactly where it needed to be from a texture standpoint.

The brioche bun (you also have the choice of pretzel, multi-grain, or gluten-free) is slightly too dense, but otherwise suits the burger quite well.

I ordered some mayo on the side, and even that was above average — I’m not sure if they make it there, but certainly, it is a step above the usual Hellmann’s.

The fries, too, were pretty great.  They’re liberally tossed with rosemary, so if you don’t like that herb you might find its presence here a little bit overwhelming, but personally I found it quite tasty.  The fries otherwise had that crispy/creamy combo you’re looking for down pat.

3.5 out of 4

Ground Burger Bar - the outside Ground Burger Bar - the restaurant Ground Burger Bar - the menu Ground Burger Bar - the burger and fries Ground Burger Bar - the burger Ground Burger Bar - the burger

The Battered Fish

16 Aug

Location: 224 Queen Street West, Toronto

Like with my last review, of the burger at Cineplex, this was probably my own fault. I mean, who gets a burger at a fish and chips place? But the signage outside of the restaurant advertises BURGERS in big, bolt font, and a poster on the inside boasts that their “gourmet burgers” are made with brisket, so I figured it was something more than just an afterthought to fill out the menu.

The place is laid out fast food style; the menu’s up on the wall, and you bring the food back to your table on a tray.  I ordered the burger as a combo with fries and a drink, and had it topped with pickles, tomato, and mayo (they threw in lettuce, too, for some reason).

It could have been worse, I guess?  All things considered, I guess I should be glad it wasn’t outright terrible.  Again: quite possibly my fault.  Go to a fish and chips joint and order a hamburger, and you’re going to get what you’re going to get.


In this case, what I got was a griddled burger with a vague amount of crust from the griddle, but not as much as you’d like.  The main thing is that it was dry.  The patty was finely ground, tightly packed, and cooked all the way to well done (and beyond), with a dense, tough chew, like a well done steak.

But it had none of the flavour of a good steak, of course.  The beef was actually pretty bland.  It didn’t taste off, at least, but then it didn’t taste of much at all — off or otherwise.

The fresh, toasted bun was quite good, and the toppings were mostly fine — though the pickles were actually sugary-sweet cornichons that were way too cloying as a topping on a hamburger.

This being a fish and chips place, I figured that at least the fries would be a highlight.  And they weren’t bad, mostly, but they had an oddly dense, almost chewy texture that I’m really not sure how to account for.  They weren’t undercooked, and I don’t think they were overcooked — at least they didn’t taste like any overcooked fries I’ve had before.  But that oddly gummy texture was a bit of a turn off, even if they otherwise tasted okay.

2 out of 4

The Battered Fish - the restaurant The Battered Fish - the menu The Battered Fish - the restaurant The Battered Fish - the burger and fries The Battered Fish - the burger The Battered Fish - the burger

Outtakes Backstage Bistro

2 Aug

: 3555 Highway 7 West, Woodbridge

What do you do if you’re planning on eating a burger before seeing a movie, and the burger joint turns out to be closed? And the backup place, too? If you’re a rational person, you’d say to yourself “Well, I guess I’m not eating a burger today,” and then move on with your life.  If you’re me?  You eat a movie theatre burger.  Because how could that possibly go wrong?

Let’s be honest: I probably shouldn’t be reviewing this.  No one in their right mind would order a hamburger at the movies, and even if they did, they’d do it with the full knowledge that they’re going to get something pretty lousy.  If you order anything other than popcorn, nachos, or candy at the movies, you are fully complicit in the food crimes that follow.

They have a few different burgers on the menu; I went with the simplest one they had, which is a plain cheeseburger topped with ketchup, mayo, mustard, lettuce, and tomato.  That’s a bit heavier on the condiments than I typically like, but in this case I figured the burger would need all the help it could get.

It’s a frozen patty, because of course it’s a frozen patty.  This is one case where I can’t even get mad at a place for taking a taste-compromising shortcut like that.  I mean, is anyone really expecting the pimply-faced teens at the theatre to grind and cook fresh beef?  The fact that they even sell stuff like burgers and chicken sandwiches at a movie theatre is kind of crazy; of course it all comes from a freezer.


Though I’m pretty sure the burger actually started its life as an above average frozen patty, it was held for who-knows-how-long in one of those stupid warming drawers that have pretty much ruined fast food, and was thus completely devoid of anything even resembling moisture.  It was sucked dry, with a salty, off flavour that didn’t even taste vaguely of beef.

The cheese — which was cold and unmelted — actually tasted like real cheddar, with a surprisingly sharp cheesy flavour that helped distract from the generic frozen patty taste.  The lettuce and tomatoes were fine, and the various condiments tried their best to disguise the burger’s flavour.

The bun was the best element here by far. It was soft and fresh, with a slightly sweet flavour and just enough substance to hold up to the burger nicely.

I’m sorry to break this to you, bun: you did great, but you died in vain.

This would normally be the part of the review where I’d talk about the fries.  I decided to spare myself.  I mean, how much awful food are you expecting me to eat for your amusement?  I think the burger is probably enough.

1 out of 4

Outtakes Backstage Bistro - the restaurant Outtakes Backstage Bistro - the seating area Outtakes Backstage Bistro - the burger Outtakes Backstage Bistro - the burger


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