The Whippoorwill

1285 Bloor Street West, Toronto

NOW Toronto recently called the burger from the Whippoorwill the best burger for over ten dollars in the city; it wasn’t even on my radar before that proclamation, but obviously once you make a statement like that I’m pretty much obligated to check the place out.

I showed up at around noon on a Saturday and the place was packed, so they’re obviously doing pretty well.

My dining companion ordered the burger as well, because how can you not order a burger that’s been called the best in the city by a reputable source (even if it is by popular vote, which can sometimes result in questionable results)? You have to. You have no choice.

The Whippoorwill Burger, as per their menu: “ground prime beef, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, Russian dressing, on a buttered bun.”

The waitress (the spitting image of Mila Kunis, I should note) asked if medium was okay for the patty; I prefer medium rare, but if I’m reviewing a burger, I’ll take it however the restaurant wants to serve it. Anyway, medium is certainly better than the ubiquitous well done, so I’m not complaining.


The burger was quite good, that’s for sure, but best in the city? That’s questionable. For one thing, it was a bit dry. The pinker part in the middle was reasonably juicy, but closer to the gray, well done edges, it became lamentably dry. It’s a thick patty, and the edges required a bit more chewing power than I’d typically like to expend on a hamburger.

I also don’t think the quality of the beef was high enough for this to be considered as a truly top-shelf hamburger. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but it lacked that satisifyingly beefy bite that you get from really good quality meat.

It probably doesn’t help that there’s a little bit too much going on, flavour-wise. Specifically, the assertively-spiced Russian dressing is completely overpowering, and pretty much punches all of the hamburger’s other flavours in the face. It’s the star of the show when it should clearly be a supporting player.  Another supporting player muscling its way to the front of the stage: the sharp cheddar cheese.  Though it was perfectly melted, it’s probably not the best choice for a hamburger.

I never thought I’d say this, but the bun was too buttery. Normally I love a buttered bun on a hamburger, but this one was greasy and soaked through with the stuff. Even with all the other flavours, the butter taste was pronounced and a tad overbearing.

It was brunch, so instead of the usual fries the burger came with home fries. They were deep fried with a delightfully crispy exterior. The inside, however, was overcooked; it was crumbly and dry, and borderline inedible without the provided ketchup to lubricate things.

I should probably note that they clearly have consistency issues, so your mileage may vary. My burger came haphazardly assembled, with the components falling out and everything askew. My dining companion, on the other hand, got a picture perfect burger and was raving about how juicy and delicious it was, so who knows. Maybe I got a bad one.

The Whippoorwill - the restaurant The Whippoorwill - the restaurant The Whippoorwill - the burger The Whippoorwill - the burger
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