From a carnivorous medium-rare wagyu to a smash-style 40-day-aged-beef griddled to crispy-edged perfection, the right patty really makes a hamburger. But there are other critical elements too—bun quality, lettuce-to-sauce ratio—and no two burgers are created equal. Whether it’s dressed up with melted cheese or slathered with garlic aioli, there’s something out there for everyone. We’ve done all the hard sampling work for you, to narrow down 10 of Vancouver’s best burgers.
Find it: 1879 Powell Street; @transamrestaurant
The lowdown: Owner and grill master Gianmarco Colannino’s 13-seat restaurant in East Van is always packed, exuding just the right amount of dimly lit grittiness in the shoebox-sized space. Bonus points go to their strict no-cellphone policy.
Must order: Le Burger. It’s an 8-oz AAA wagyu chuck patty—cooked in a seasoned cast iron pan, then finished in the oven—topped with double-smoked bacon, cheddar, and all the fixings, on a brioche bun. This is the kind of burger you find yourself still talking about three months after eating it.
Find it: 2042 West 4th Avenue; @hundyyvr
The lowdown: If Shake Shack and a social media influencer had a baby together, this pretty-in-pastel joint might be the offspring. By day, the space functions as Their There café, but at night they flip the switch into a counter-service burger joint.
Must order: They’re all good, but if it’s on the specials board, go for the Hundy Burger, a half-pound beef patty with two-year-aged cheddar, bacon jam, mustard aioli, potato matchsticks and iceberg lettuce all tucked into a squishy bun.
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Golden Era Burger
Find it: Roaming around town; the location is usually posted @goldeneraburger
The lowdown: This humble food truck flies under the radar but dispenses some of the city’s most addictive fried-to-order smashburgers. Only loyal regulars are allowed to order the secret off-menu specials, but if it’s your birthday they might let you do a triple patty.
Must order: The Cali cheeseburger with fried onion, lettuce, ketchup and mayo; add a second patty if you’re hangry. Pro tip: Let it rest a few minutes for all the ingredients to come together, or it gets drippy.
Find it: 162 Water Street; @pourhouse
The lowdown: Cocktails are the pour of choice in this Gastown room, housed in a 120-year-old building just steps away from YVR’s fave tourist trap, the steam clock.
Must order: The thick Pourhouse Burger is as juicy as they come, made from dry-aged Cache Creek beef served medium-rare and topped with melted aged cheddar, mayo, onions and a slice of pork belly. Feeling yourself? Add the foie gras option.
Find it: 1074 Davie Street; @beetboxveg
The lowdown: Veggies and vegans, this one’s for you. From the same owners of Juke Fried Chicken, this plant-based West End hot spot has been jam-packed since its October opening.
Must order: The Cheeseburger, a plant-based patty paired with fried onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles and vegan Thousand Island sauce that’s made of aquafaba (a.k.a. chickpea liquid). Also worth a try is the Fried Chick-Un Sandwich, which tucks breaded, deep-fried seitan into a miso aioli-spread bun with pickled cucumber and shaved cabbage.
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Find it: 1020 Main Street; @campupstairs
The lowdown: Located above Campagnolo restaurant (hence the name), this is one of the city’s coziest bars. It’s basically a crime to not order a cocktail with your meal here.
Must order: The Dirty Burger. Its 45-day dry-aged beef patty is topped with American cheese, lettuce and tomato, all on a house-baked bun. Add crispy fried chicken skin to go off-menu with no regrets.
Find it: 157 Alexander Street; @alibiroomvancouver
The lowdown: Chill vibes prevail at this beloved brunch, beer and dinner spot tucked away in a Gastown heritage building.
Must order: The tried ’n true all-natural beef burger with smoked onion mayo—add mushrooms and cheese to knock it out of the park. Their house-made veggie burger, which comes lathered in chili mayo, is also excellent.
Downlow Burgers at the American
Find it: 926 Main Street; @downlowburgers
The lowdown: This fall, the owners of Downlow Chicken Shack swooped in to serve their huge range of burgers at the American, a killer East Van bar lined with pinball machines.
Must order: The Fat Boy, a cheeseburger with Coney Island-style chili, or the slightly spicy South of the Border, with cheddar, guac, and pico de gallo. All burgers are served on the tastiest fresh buns baked by Livia Sweets.
Find it: 201 East 7th Avenue; @comotaperia
The lowdown: This relatively new Mount Pleasant tapas resto conjures up Barcelona vibes with a small-bite menu, lots of tins of seafood and sherry on tap.
Must order: The Morcilla and Squid Ink Hamburguesa. It’s a blood sausage patty topped with melted cheese and tucked into a black, sesame-speckled bun—that’s where the squid ink comes in. Sit at the open kitchen to watch this inventive little slider being grilled to order.
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Find it: 217 Carrall Street; @labattoir_van
The lowdown: This fine-dining mecca in Gastown is named after the French term for “slaughterhouse,” because in the 19th-century it was the site of one. It’s no surprise that the burger is divine, just don’t look for it on the dinner menu—it’s only available for weekend brunch (Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m.–2 p.m.).
Must order: The Breakfast Burger is a quarter-pound patty topped with melted cheese, a hashbrown patty and a fried egg. Stacked upon an aioli-brushed bun, this towering delight screams “don’t make plans after”—unless it’s a nap.
Burger prices: $18
MeeT’s Mighty Mac veggie burger topped with mac ’n cheese; Popina’s Crispy Free Run Chicken Sandwich with honey hot sauce; and Cactus Club Café’s Mini Burger slider trio with cheddar and bacon—it’s addictive. Thank us later.