Saltyz Grill

Location: 2075 Lawrence Ave E, Scarborough, ON M1R 2Z4

Website:  https://www.saltyz.ca/

Price: $29-ish

What We Ordered:

  • Lebanese Burger
  • Swiss Mushroom
  • Sweet potato fries
Exterior of Saltyz in Scarborough
Exterior of Saltyz Grill in Scarborough, Ontario

Burger Review:

The hubs suggested we try Saltyz Grill after learning of its existence somewhere online. The reviews looked good and I really wanted to try the Lebanese Burger. So I hopped in the ol’ Jeep and trekked through the first snowfall of this season for take-out. The place was not busy at all, and there was plenty of parking out front.

The Lebanese Burger was better than I thought it would be. It tasted like a shawarma plate, which is perfect for me. It does have fries in the burger, but they were hardly noticeable. What really stood out was the nutmeg flavour of the sauce, the sweet n’ saltiness of the pickles, and the coleslaw.

My only couple of complaints was the sauce was so runny that my burger was desperately soggy by the time I got it home even though we don’t live too far. And my other complaint is they use styrofoam containers and non-biodegradable bags for the burger.

The take out is not in eco-friendly containers
The Lebanese Burger unwrapped shows how saucy it gets

Meat: Patties are thin, but they stack them twice with a slice of cheese in between. The hubs thought his was a bit too well-done for his liking. But I found mine to be perfectly medium-well. They tasted fresh and formed on-site (ie not pre-fabbed frozen), but I didn’t ask to confirm. That’s just my hunch.

Toppings: The Lebanese Burger comes with fries, pickles, cheese, coleslaw, ketchup, mustard, and house sauce. I was worried I wouldn’t like it with ketchup and mustard, but if it was indeed on there at all, it wasn’t overpowering and blended right in. I don’t know what magic they put into their sauce, but it came out tasting like Shawarma with that hint of nutmeg. YUM!

Bun: The bun is a sesame seed bun. It wasn’t bad or anything, but it didn’t stand out as anything special. I might even lean towards saying it was a bit too big and fluffy. But it worked well with this burg. Unfortunately, the bottom was very soggy by the time I got it home to chow down, so I’d suggest consuming asap.

Cross-section of the Lebanese Burger
Cross section of the Lebanese Burger

Other Food

I did have a taste of the Swiss Mushroom burger and it was just ok. But I’m not a huge mushroom fan, so maybe that had more to do with it. The hubs had a sample of my burg and we both agreed the Lebanese Burger was where it’s at. He decided if he orders from here again he’d get the Lebanese burg for sure. We also had some sweet potato fries which were chunky and delicious. They didn’t come with any dip though which is normally a nice little touch I like to see since sweet potato fries work great with aioli, but aioli is not something most people typically have at home.

Sweet potato fries from Saltyz

Atmosphere & Staff:

The place is in a little plaza with other restaurants and shops. There was plenty of parking at the time, but I can see how it might get crowded if there was an event going on nearby or when we’re no longer pandemic living. The staff was very friendly. I was greeted at the door by a guy unloading supplies and carrying them in. The lady behind the counter was nice and friendly, and at one point another lady peak out from the kitchen to give a smile as well. The interior is very spacious and glamourous. It looks recently done. The picture below is only showing the back half of the restaurant and there’s a whole front section as well. The place would be perfect to host a birthday party or some other celebration (post-pandemic of course).

Interior of Saltyz
The interior of Saltyz is very spacious

Final Verdict:
4 stars

The Lebanese Burger is definitely worth heading out for if you’re into fusing your craving for a burg with the deliciousness of Shawarma. I know I’ll be back for this mash-up.

Avengers Burger

Location: 41 Lebovic Ave A121, Scarborough, ON M1L 4W1

Website:  https://avengersburger.com/

Price: $39.50

What We Ordered:

  • 2 x Avengers Assemble
  • Hi, I’m Peter
  • 3 x fries
Interior of Avengers Burger
Avengers Burger inside the somewhat abandoned Food Court

Burger Review:

Avengers Burger is tucked away in a little Food Court in a recently opened Mega Plaza that never quite took off. The Plaza is pretty barren, other than a bank, three burger joints, a few other restaurants, and a smattering of retail outlets. Plenty of parking but very few customers.

This joint uses a Marvel Avengers theme to name their burgers after the comic book heroes. I’m surprised this place is not in an epic legal battle with Disney over the character infringements. They’ve named their burgers things like Iron Man, Hulk, Spiderman, and Scarlet Witch. But it seems there is no reason to give the burgers these names as the toppings don’t match up with the characters. For example, the Scarlet Witch on the menu is a double beef patty, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, & rosemary garlic aioli. But Scarlet Witch is a twin with serious telekinetic powers from the fictional country of Sokovia (think real-life Kosovo). If I was crafting a Scarlet Witch burger, I’d either go with something that feels Balkan, like feta cheese and a fresh tomato chop, or lean into the “scarlet” theme and get hot with some chili pepper jelly or hot sauce. As it was, the names of the burgers didn’t match up with the characters so it seemed kind of pointless to open the owners up to get their butts sued off.

Avengers Assemble burger
The take out comes in eco-friendly containers

Meat: Patties are formed on-site from Costco ground beef. That’s right, Costco. They’re grilled and steamed on a flat-grill under a metal bowl. This gives a nice crust on the burg, although it does come out perhaps too well done. There doesn’t appear to be any seasoning other than salt in this patty. It’s fine.

Toppings: The Avengers Assemble comes with iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato, round pickle slices, and rosemary aioli. I added onions and ketchup. I think rosemary aioli is not the best choice for burgers, as rosemary gives the meat a meatball taste that I’m not crazy about. Overall, it wasn’t mindblowing.

Bun: The bun seemed like a bakery brioche. It was good, but seems like something you can pick up a nice local bakery spot.

Cross section of the Avengers Assemble
Cross section of the Avengers Assemble

Other Food

The fries were spectacular. They cut them fresh on-site and they seem double fried. They’re thin with a lovely caramel colour. They’d do well with some malt vinegar.

Atmosphere & Staff:

The place is in a Food Court in an outdoor strip mall. But the strip mall is relatively new, and since the pandemic started not many shops have opened up to fill up the Food Court. There was only one other restaurant in the Court, so it was pretty lonely and empty. The guy working the counter seemed friendly enough, if not pretty bored from long bouts of being solo in a seemingly abandoned Food Court.

Lebovic Food Court
Outside the Lebovic Food Court

Final Verdict:
3 stars

Avengers Burger is decent if you’re in the area, but I wouldn’t go out of your way to add to your burger tour. Although, the fries are pretty good.

Bill Peyto’s Cafe

Location: 203 Village Rd, Lake Louise, AB T0L 1E0

Website: https://hihostels.ca/en/about/hostels/bill-peytos-cafe

Price: Was too delirious to recall

What We Ordered:

  • Angry Peyto’s Burger

Burger Review:

We went to Lake Louise in Alberta to hike the Tea Trail.

The trail is rated “moderate” and takes “most people 1-2 hours”. Which I assumed was “totally doable if you’ve got a working pair of legs and takes at most 2 hours round-trip”.

But what it really meant was “Over 2 hours of relentless incline at a higher altitude than your soft Ontario body can handle and slip-sliding the way down for another 45 minutes on a snowy trail.”

We fool-heartedly started our journey hungry (thinking we’d only be an hour or so) and were starving, wet, and aching by the time we got down 3 hours later. We punched in “restaurants” on our map and drove to two different spots in town that turned out to be closed before finding the Peyto’s Hostel Cafe. By then we didn’t care where we ate, it just needed to not be up a hill or stairs. Thankfully Peyto’s had a ramp leading to their cafe.

I ordered the Angry Peyto Burger with fries. My sister ordered the Quesadila. I’m not ashamed to say that while we waited for our meal we closed our eyes and dozed off a bit. Once the food came, my sister ate hers and half my fries so fast I thought she’d hurl on the way home. She didn’t.  

My issue with the angry burger, other than the cheap patty, was the jalapeños were just pickled straight from the jar and there was way too many. It would have been a more thoughtful burger if the jalapeños were breaded and fried, or chopped up as a salsa type thing. As it was, this wasn’t a carefully planned burger made by a chef expressing their creativity. The only effort going into it was opening a box of frozen patties, fishing jalapeños from a jar, and peeling off a slice of cheese along with chopping some lettuce and tomatoes before squeezing on off-the-shelf condiments. Anyone can do that. Still, it was welcomed fuel after a long hike.

How the Angry Peyto came to the table

Meat: I’m guessing from frozen box burger. It did say it was Alberta beef but I almost wish it hadn’t because this patty did not do the Alberta beef reputation any favours. Seemed to be grilled, which is nice. It was not as bad as my WestJet cafeteria burger, but not nearly as good as the 360 patty.

Toppings: Monterey Jack cheese, jalapeños, lettuce, tomato, onions, chipotle mayo, and a pickle on the side. The onions were too sharp and the jalapeños were way too many out of a pickle jar. But the lettuce and mayo were good and I love me a side pickle. I had to add my own ketchup. The main issues with the toppings was they were off the grocery shelf rather than thoughtfully prepared.

Bun: The bun was good and had a buttery fluffy texture. I believe it was a brioche bun. But I can’t say it was made fresh on site or anything fancy. It looks delicious in the cross section below. 

Cross section of the Angry Peyto Burger

Other Food:

Fries were good. They have the skin on which is a nice touch. We also had a brownie which had nuts in it (gross) with a scoop of ice cream (yum). I had about two bites, which was plenty for me since it was way too sweet for my tastes.

Atmosphere & Staff:

The place has an outpost kind of feel with a large fireplace lined with vintage hiking boots. It’s in a hostel which had lots of activity and chatter coming from the entrance not far from the restaurant and upstairs they were playing some loud game that made the floor shake and later in our meal there was a wellness conference happening. Lots of kids and teens milling about. It seemed like a fun place to stay. The staff were friendly and attentive.

Inside the Bill Peyto Cafe. That look from my sister tho

Final Verdict:
3 stars

Peyto’s was a welcome respite from the cold mountain trail. They had warm, simple comfort food. If you need a place in town to recoup with a burg, then come here.

WestJet Food Court

Location: 22 Aerial Pl NE,Calgary, AB T2E 3J1

Price: $9

What We Ordered:

  • Classic Burger with Cheese
Outside WestJet headquarters in Calgary, Alberta

Burger Review:

I’ve made it to Calgary, Alberta. I’m visiting a WestJet employee, so upon landing I head to WestJet headquarters to meet them for lunch. They have a food market with some reasonably priced items for their staff and visitors. After a much needed Starbucks pick-me-up from their food court, I got the burger obviously. Except the line was so long it took forever to finally place my order. Then after waiting for a long time and noticing people who came after me picking up their meals, I asked where mine was. Turns out they never told the guy on the grill to whip mine up. Good thing I asked or else I might have been there all day patiently waiting for my burg. 

Seems like a boxed burger. The meat was a bit overcooked. The bun was really good tho. Nice and toasty, perfect size. I’m not sure they would even bother making this burger better. I mean, it’s a cafeteria after all. In a cafeteria you’re usually aiming for speed and convenience over flavour and artistry.

How the burger arrived
Mmmm look at that toasty bun

Meat: I’m pretty sure the patty is just a boxed burger. It didn’t do Alberta beef any justice. It wasn’t very good overall.

Toppings: You can get what you want on this burg. I got the works with lettuce, onions, tomato, pickles, mayo, ketchup, and cheese. The onions were sharp, and the toppings were all on the bottom of the burger stack. I dislike that arrangement. But it is a cafeteria so I didn’t have high expectations.

Bun: The bun was the saving grace of this burg. It seemed to be a brioche style bun that they toasted the crap out of. It was delightfully crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle.

Cross section of the WestJet cafeteria burger

Other Food:

We had sweet potato fries on the side with a chipotle mayo. They were very good. Nice and crispy.

Atmosphere & Staff:

The guy taking orders was trying bless his heart, but out of his element managing the orders flying in and going out. The guy on the grill seemed a bit irritated by the lack of order management skills. They were doing their best. I found the flow of the market very congested but the seating area had ample tables and was bright and spacious. It’s WestJet so you know the employees are all cheery and polite. 

Inside the WestJet food court

Final Verdict:
2 stars

Do travel WestJet, but don’t get the burger.

JW Marriott The Rousseau Muskoka

Location: 1050 Paignton House Rd, Minett, ON P0B 1G0

Website: https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/yqajw-jw-marriott-the-rosseau-muskoka-resort-and-spa

Price: $18

What We Ordered:

  • JW Signature Burger with Balderson aged cheddar
Outside JW Marriott in Muskoka
Outside the JW Marriott in Muskoka
View of a lake in Ontario
View from the back of the JW Marriott, just outside the lounge

Burger Review:

Here I am in beautiful Muskoka, Ontario in November. It’s not the worst time of year to visit, but it’s not the rip-roaring height of summer fantastic when you most want to be in a Muskoka type environment with the lakes and the nature and the late-night camp fires. I had to grab a bite to eat before heading into a conference so I stopped at the ol’ bar n’ lounge for a burg (as you do).

Their burger is the JW Signature Burger with lettuce, tomato, and onions on a potato scallion bun with the option of adding bacon, cheese, or egg. I got the cheese because it was Balderson cheddar. Balderson is a town in Ontario with a place that makes wonderful cheese you can find in grocery stores. Their retail outlet in Balderson is next to an Amish furniture store. Last time I drove through there I got a 9 year old cheddar that was wonderful, a totally addictive peppercorn sausage, and I almost bought a table. I’m going on and on about the cheese because it was one of the things that saved this burg from total disaster.

The meat was delicious, but I would love to see this patty wrapped in better surroundings because it could have been a 5-star. If you’re doing Balderson cheddar cheese, which is rich in flavour, I’d suggest doing caramelized onions, bibb lettuce, and a bacon fig jam on a brioche bun. Trust me, it’ll be fantastic. But alas, they did not do that so this burg lost some serious points.

The Signature Burger when it arrived
The JW Signature Burger when it arrived at the table. Looks gorgeous, doesn’t it?

Meat: The patty was really good here. It’s one of the aspects, along with the cheese, that gave this burger the star power. It was perfectly seasoned with just some salt and pepper on the outside (as a burger should be). There was no old-meat taste or any hint that the beef was questionable. It was cooked just past medium-well into the realm of well without being too dry or chewy. I’m a fan of that if it’s done right, and this patty was done right.

Toppings: Here’s where I had to take away some stars. The cheese was fabulous. It has that rich and slightly smokey flavour that Balderson cheddar gives you. But the rest of the toppings made me want to throw my hands up and yell “Come on, Marriott!“ out of frustration. The bibb lettuce was fine, but the tomatoes were out of season and the red onions were super sharp. Why do burg joints insist on putting tomatoes on their burgs when they’re not in season? Just don’t bother. All you get is a gritty, stiff, flavourless slice of tomato when they’re not ripe. Put tomatoes on the menu when they’re in season. Otherwise, do something else. I’m also very cautious about red onions on a burger because if they’re too sharp, it can ruin the experience and give you the worst breath afterwards. It’s been many hours since I ate this burger, and my breath still tastes like onions (and probably smells bad too). If you do want to go for red onions, it’s important they’re sliced very thin otherwise they can be hard and overpowering, or grill them to soften them up to release some of their sugar. They did all the wrong things with the onions, and they were hard and sharp. Unfortunately this burger had no sauces to help it, so I added some ketchup.

Bun: Another potato bun! The most recent post before this had a potato bun too. This one is a potato scallion bun and was significantly better than my last potato bun, but it was still a potato bun. And I’ve become a firm believer that the potato bun is not the ideal bun for a burg. It’s too dense, filling, and often dull. This bun did not help with any points on this burg but it was nicely toasted. I would have loved this bun with a turkey Swiss sandwich, but not with this burger.

Cross section of the JW Signature Burger
Cross section of the JW Signature Burger. Look how thick those red onions are. Wowza.

Other Food:

The choice of sides are french fries for normal people, salad for people who‘d rather eat fries, and soup for… Wait, who eats soup with a burger? Weirdos. I contemplated the salad, but I got the fries because a burger demands fries. They were thick with a slight skin on which looked hand cut, but they tasted like they might have been from frozen. They put some kind of shaved rock salt or something on them that was delicious. I wish I had asked for malt vinegar because they would have been great with that. I enjoyed the fries but as always, it was way too much food and I didn’t finish them all.

Atmosphere & Staff:

It’s a swanky resort in Muskoka, so it’s stunningly beautiful obviously. But the chairs! Oh, the chairs. Most were too low for the table, making it awkward to eat anything, let alone a burger. I had to move tables to sit on that wall bench in the back left corner of the photo below to get some height on my meal. My waiter was nice, but they tried to charge me $18 for the burger plus $3 for the cheese. But the menu said $16 for burgs and $2 for cheese. That would have been a hefty hike for a so-so burger. When I pointed it out, my waiter apologized and went away for a little too long to correct the error. But the view was nice while I waited.

Interior of the lounge bar and restaurant
Interior of the JW Marriott lounge and restaurant

Final Verdict:
3 stars

This burg would have been great if not for the bun and some of the toppings. Plus if it is $21, it‘s certainly not worth the price. But you should absolutely come to Muskoka because it’s an iconic place littered with lakes, pink rocks, tall pines, and Canadian culture.

Zanders Fire Grill and Brew Lounge

Location: 190 King George Rd, Brantford, ON N3R 5L3

Website: http://www.zanders.ca/

Price: $14.99

What We Ordered:

  • The Trooper
Outside Zander’s Fire Grill and Brew Lounge
Outside Zander’s Fire Grill and Brew Lounge in Brantford, Ontario

Burger Review:

I was driving out of town when lunch struck me as a necessity since I had 2 hours to go before reaching my destination. I asked my GPS to suggest some restaurants near me. Zander’s was not far from the highway and had a 4.5 rating. So I thought I’d give it a go. The menu is extensive and took me a while to decide what to get. I asked the waitress what she recommended. She said “….everything is good. Our owner is Greek so anything Mediterranean is a good choice and we’re known for our burgers.” That last statement was all I had to hear to know that this place was going to turn into a burger blog post. 

They have 15 burgers on the menu. Everything from your classic cheeseburger to a pulled pork monstrosity on a triple bun. I went for The Trooper, which is cheddar cheese, onion tanglers, bacon and BBQ sauce on a potato bun with a side o’ fries. They all sounded good, but failed to deliver. The bun was too heavy and the patty was sub-par. The bacon was delicious but it wasn’t enough to rescue the burg. I felt gross and stuffed for hours afterwards, even though I barely ate half.

The Trooper Burger from Zanders
How The Trooper burger came to the table. It was bigger in person. This burg was huge!

Meat: The patty is “made in house from 100% pure chuck”. Normally chuck is a good choice, but this came out like one of those frozen banquet burgers that are kind of chunky and way too dense. It was cooked well done, but I bet this meat comes out grey at any doneness. The seasoning reminded me of meatloaf and I took it out about 1/2 way through to make a bacon sandwich with the toppings.

Toppings: The burg comes with orange cheddar cheese, chopped iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato, dusted and fried red onion strings, thick-cut bacon which had a nice maple flavour, BBQ sauce, and I added pickles because pickles. The fried onions were made of red onions which means they have that tart taste red onions have. They should use sweet onions when doing their tanglers. The bacon was good, but not enough to rescue the patty and bun.

Bun: It’s a potato bun, which I have had before at other burger joints and enjoyed elsewhere. But this potato bun was huge, stale, and heavy. It was just too much overall and ended up costing this burg points on the delicious scale, sending it crashing down to a 2-star burger when combined with the patty.

Cross section of the trooper burger
Cross section of The Trooper

Other Food:

Fries were thick cut and I’m guessing fresh made in-house. They lent themselves well to malt vinegar and salt. Very yummy but I could barely eat half of them there were so many.

Atmosphere & Staff:

The interior is decorated in guitars, motercycles, paintings of rock legends, and TV’s . Like a family-friendly version of a biker bar.  There is a worn feeling to the furniture but overall it felt clean with a mix of booths, tables, and hightops. The baseball game was on the TV while rock n’ roll quietly played in the background, barely noticeable over the din of conversation from the many other patrons. Most people were over 50 years old having the wing special that day. Including an elderly woman who chowed down on her wings like she’d been looking forward to it all week. The staff was nice and there’s free parking out front.

Interior of Zanders
Interior of Zander’s

Final Verdict:
2 stars

Take a hard pass on adding this stop to your Canadian Burger Tour. I’m sure there are great things on the menu, but the burg is not one of them.

Local Leaside

Location: 180 Laird Dr, East York, ON M4G 3V7

Website: http://localleaside.com/

Price: $17.50

What We Ordered:

  • Brooklyn Burger
Outside the Local on Laird Drive in Toronto (East York)

Burger Review:

I was meeting my Mumzie for lunch and she suggested the Local because (as per her text) “The Local is good” and she had an errand to run close by. There’s free parking in the back and I’m down for going anywhere as long as there is free parking. They had some really nice salads on the menu. But this isn’t a salad blog. It’s a juicy meaty burger blog. So I got the burger, natch.

They have a few burger options, but the Brooklyn Burger jumped out at me because A) I’m a fan of New York and B) there is Red Pepper Jelly on it. I loooove red pepper jelly and was excited to try it on a burger. This burger did not disappoint! I really liked it and would totally recommend it. My first bite impression was peppery (black pepper, not the red pepper jelly), and the cheese reminded me of a classic grilled cheese which was delicious. My only issues with this burger is they cook it well done and there wasn’t enough of that yummy red pepper jelly on it so there were a few bites that felt it was lacking in the sweet and vinegary flavours that I like to have in my burg. But I didn’t have to add ketchup – which is usually a good sign of a near-perfectly topped burger.

How the Brooklyn Burger arrived at our table

Meat: Their patty is ground off-site and hand pressed into a mould and is cooked from fresh (not frozen). I wasn’t asked how I like it cooked which isn’t unusual in Canada but I think if I did have the option to get this cooked medium instead of well-done it would have made a world of difference to improving the patty overall. My first bite I could taste lots of black pepper, but it was not too salty. The patty was a size I like (not too thick), but the bun overpowered it at times due to the thinness.

Toppings: These toppings were perfect together. It comes with mayo, rocket lettuce, onion ring, aged white cheddar, house-made red pepper jelly. My only issue with the toppings was that there wasn’t enough red pepper jelly which meant some bites were missing that sweet/vinegar taste. But other than that, I can’t complain. It was good!

Bun: The bun is a baked in-house brioche bun which was so light and fluffy. I later learned this is because they don’t use egg in the recipe. They top their bun with black and beige sesame seeds and poppy seeds. Maybe some other seeds too but I couldn’t tell. The bun was slightly too big for the thickness of the patty so the breadiness overtook the overall flavour on some bites. But it was a treat to have a well thought out bun that was clearly crafted with lots of love and care.

Cross section of the Brooklyn Burger

Other Food:

The burg comes with fries on the side. They were ok. Very thin and lightly fried. I didn’t feel super heavy after eating them or anything. There was very little salt on them which I think is a refreshing change. About halfway through I wished I’d gotten some salt and vinegar to liven them up a bit. Actually, they would lend themselves really well to being tossed with parmesan cheese, garlic oil, and herbs prior to serving. If you’re reading this Local, think about it!

Atmosphere & Staff:

The atmosphere is industrial cool with lots of TVs and big bright windows. We got the last booth during the lunch rush which was good for us because otherwise all their seating is uncomfortable high-tops. They bring a jug of water to your table right away. I adore getting a jug so I don’t have to fuss for refills. The staff were very friendly and cheerful. And there’s free parking in the back (bonus!)

Inside the Local

Final Verdict:
4 stars

This burger was close to a 5-star for me. Maybe I caught it on an off day because very minor tweaks that were related to preparation would otherwise send this burger into the hall of fame. Not to say the cooks did a bad job at all because I would totally recommend this burger any day. I’ll be dreaming of that red pepper jelly. Yum!

The Stone Cellar

Location: 71 Gore St E, Perth, ON K7H 1H7

Website: http://www.thestonecellar.com/

Price: $49.50

What We Ordered:

  • Bison Burger
  • Mary’s Lamb Burger
  • Fish & Chips
Outside The Stone Cellar in Perth, Ontario. Image from their Google Business Page.

Burger Review:

My youngest brother got hitched in Perth, Ontario. So we packed up the kiddies and drove north through winding roads lined with colourful fall trees. The wedding was in Stewart Park which we learned at the reception (held at the former Stewart Manor) was donated to the city by the widowed Mrs. Stewart decades ago, provided they maintain it and “never charge people” an entry fee. It is a beautiful park with a river running through it. There were six weddings happening that day and much comradery between each party. Prior to the ceremony, one group passed by a couple dozen meters away and we all cheered and shouted congratulations to each other. Later, when we cheered our bride and groom, another group across the park erupted in celebration with us. Weddings certainly are fun and joyous occasions.

The reception was supposed to be at The Stone Cellar but was bumped due to a “double booking”. That worked out in our favour because the venue we ended up at was the Perth Manor Boutique Hotel and it was way better than The Stone Cellar’s event space. The Stone Cellar’s space was just a long room upstairs from the restaurant. The PMBH however gave us the run of the main floor of a 150+ year manor complete with solarium and gardens. So besides the burger review, if you’re looking for an event space in Perth, the hotel is a better bet.

But this post is about the burger at The Stone Cellar which we went to for lunch the day after the wedding. They have several burgers, including pork/beef combo, lamb, bison, and vegetarian (nut based). I had the Bison Burger. The cheese had a wonderful smokey flavour and is made a few kilometres up the road in Bladerson, Ontario. I liked this burger and the ingredients are all local and fresh. But I think the toppings weren’t quite right combined with the bison patty. Overall, it was missing some moisture, acid, and sweetness. I think a few tweaks would make this burg really sing.

How the Bison Burger came to the table. The sides are sweet potato fries and soup of the day (carrot soup).
Bison Burger ready for eating.

Meat: The Bison Burger is made with bison meat (surprise!!). It is sourced locally and made in-house. It seemed to be grilled rather than flame-broiled, but I can’t confirm that. It’s just the way it looked and felt that makes me think that. It was not too salty which is so refreshing when that happens. But the patty was over cooked and a bit too peppery. I find bison a little meaty and lean which is why the toppings play an important role to tie it all together. The meat is so dry that I might have liked to see this burger split into two thinner patties cooked fast on a hot grill with the cheese in the middle and drizzled with a bit of butter while grilling. That might have helped moisten up this meat.

Toppings: This is where the burger fell apart for me. It comes with bibb lettuce, vine tomato, homemade ketchup, Balderson smoked cheddar, and dijonnaise. On paper, those all sound delicious. But bison is a powerful tasting meat that is leaner than beef, so the toppings have to account for that and be in the right order. The order in which you place toppings can have a big impact on the flavour. To improve this burger I would have: put the homemade ketchup on the bottom (and made it a little sweeter) to moisten the patty, added caramelized onions, then the patty, smoked cheddar, added house-made round-sliced pickles, discard the vine tomato, yes to bibb lettuce, and garlic mayo instead of dijonnaise on the top bun. If you’re listening Stone Cellar, give it a try!

Bun: The bun was wonderful. Had a delightful crust on the outside and we could tell it was fresh and made locally.

Cross section of the Bison Burger from The Stone Cellar in Perth, Ontario

Other Food:

Not too far from Perth is Lanark which is the maple syrup capital of Ontario (or so they claim) and the side of sweet potato fries feature that pure maple syrup drizzled all over. It’s as delicious as it sounds. I also tried the carrot soup, which was very creamy. I had a bite of the Mary’s Lamb Burger. It was unmistakably lamby and they had some kind of jam or something on it with some herbs that reminded me of Christmas. I also ate some fish and chips. The fish was light and not too greasy at all. The food is all fresh and local and really good. I do recommend coming here for the food.

Atmosphere & Staff:

The atmosphere is cozy and quiet. There were two other tables with friends all 65+ years old. I suspect the place attracts an older crowd most of the time. There is a glass room at the back of the restaurant filled with wines and a fireplace in the middle of the restaurant. There is an event space upstairs which is basically a long open room. There was one waitress and she was friendly and nice. Heads up, there are no baby-changing stations in any of their bathrooms. I had to use an armchair in the upstairs bathroom to change our little guy.

Inside The Stone Cellar on the main floor

Final Verdict:
3 stars

This burger didn’t hit the mark. The ingredients were outstanding local fare, but the cooking and combination of toppings failed this otherwise good-on-paper burg. But I liked the restaurant, and would be happy to go again if I was ever in town.

Jollibee

Location: 15 William Kitchen Rd, Scarborough, ON M1P 5B7

Website: http://jollibeecanada.com/

Price: $11.85

What We Ordered:

  • Amazing Aloha Yumburger
  • Crispy Fries
  • Pineapple Juice 
Outside Jollibee in Scarborough Canada
Outside Jollibee in Scarborough, Canada

Burger Review:

I’ve been wanting to try Jollibee since it came to Canada in 2018. If you don’t know Jollibee, it’s a famous Filipino fast food joint. I’ve heard of long lines that snake outside into the parking lot on busy days, especially when it first launched. Thankfully, the line up today didn’t go out the door but it was deep.

I noticed almost everyone had an ice-filled yellow drink with their meal, so I knew I had to try that. I also wanted to try the burger and the fries so I got the Amazing Aloha Yumburger combo with the yellow ice drink (which turned out to be pineapple juice). They had someone in line taking pre-orders so everyone could move along faster. Once you order and pay, you get a buzzer so you can sit down and relax while they whip up your meal.

I did not like this burger. Maybe it’s an acquired taste because people do like eating here. I noticed though that it seemed like most people were eating the chicken or spaghetti so maybe even the regulars know not to get the burger and I wasn’t in on the secret. I felt awful afterwards, my heart was pounding and I got a headache shortly after my meal. I had to take a walk in nature and drink plenty of water to deal with my Yumburger hangover. I will absolutely never go back again.

Jollibee food on tray
This is how the meal comes. Why are the fries in a plastic bag? I have no idea.
The Amazing Aloha Yumburger with a side of fries and Pineapple Juice.

Meat: The Amazing Aloha Yumburger comes with two patties with a slice of processed cheese in the middle. The patties are somewhere in between the McDonald’s regular patty and quarter pounder in thickness. It is super salty and the seasoning reminds me of bad meatloaf. I feel like there was some MSG in there too, but I can’t confirm that. It was probably the worst patty I’ve ever had.

Toppings: This burger comes with honey mustard dressing, pineapple slice, lettuce, American cheese, and bacon. The bacon was gross, and I ended up pulling it out and throwing it out. But the rest of the toppings were good. The pineapple was a nice addition and the honey mustard was sweet.

Bun: The bun was ok. It’s a standard fast-food burger bun, no sesame seeds. I can’t say much about it, it was pretty unremarkable.

Cross section of jollibee burger
Cross-section of the Amazing Aloha Yumburger from Jollibee. I didn’t have a knife so I carved this out with a fork which is why it’s all wonky.

Other Food:

The fries tasted exactly like McDonald’s fries. I think the only difference was they were slightly thicker, but just a hair. If you put them in front of me and said they were McDonald’s fries, I would believe you. I liked the fries but the Yumburger was so heavy and gross that I only managed to eat about a quarter of what they gave me. The pineapple juice was the saving grace of the whole meal. It was delicious with a generous portion of ice. Perfect for a hot day.

Atmosphere & Staff:

It’s busy here. Be prepared to eat and run to avoid the crowds. The interior reminded me of McDonald’s because they have the same red and yellow colours with trendy greys and beige walls and seating. The staff was friendly and they really work hard to get everyone through the line quickly by taking pre-orders and giving out buzzers for when your order is up. Many of the tables are shared space like you’d find in a Shake Shack or similar. So you may find yourself cozying up with a stranger for your meal.

Interior of Jollibee in Scarborough
Interior of Jollibee in Scarborough

Final Verdict:
2 stars

I felt super gross after this burger. I liked the pineapple and honey mustard but the meat was not good. Both the bacon and the patty were awful. I would not come back here unless I was forced against my will. If that happens, I would just have the pineapple juice and a side of plain rice to save my tummy and taste buds from abuse.

PORT

Location: 1289 Wharf Street Bay Ridges, Pickering, ON L1W 1A2

Website: http://portrestaurant.ca/

Price: $18.50

What We Ordered:

  • Cheeseburger
Outside PORT restaurant
Outside PORT restaurant
PORT restaurant patio view
View of the wonderful patio at PORT

Burger Review:

I had a lunch with some long-time friends at PORT restaurant in Pickering. Since it was my first time there, I had to try the burger. Their only option was a classic cheeseburger with american cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, aioli and a side of fries. It was good, but not something I’ll crave or make the trip to go back for. The place was incredible, with a view of Lake Ontario and the weather was warm enough to sit outside. The patio chairs were slightly uncomfortable and mine was a bit wobbly, but otherwise it was nice to have a bite outside before winter descends upon us. Plenty of free parking on-site. They’re right on the waterfront so you could go for a stroll after your meal.

PORT cheeseburger
Cheeseburger from PORT

Meat: This beef patty is cooked how you like it. I got mine medium. The patty is thick and they did a good job of making a nice crust on the outside with a pink center. The patty was a bit salty for my liking, but overall it was fine. It was not something I’d go out of my way to come back for.

Toppings: They only have the one burger option and it was definitely a classic cheeseburger. There was shaved iceberg lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, American cheese, and aioli. I added some ketchup to my burger too because that’s how I like it. The toppings suited the burger well. But overall it’s just a traditional burger.

Bun: The bun was really good. It had good structure from a light toasting with a nice soft inside. The bun is always hard to nail, and I think the bun was the saving grace of this burger.

Cross section of burger at PORT

Other Food:

The fries had some kind of olive oil drizzle or something similar and herbs with some nice sea saltiness. It comes with mayo on the side if you like your fries that way. They were really good. We also had the hummus. It tasted homemade, which I thought was nice. But it was not mind blowing. There were olives in the middle with a drizzle of olive oil and some spices sprinkles on. It came with pitas which we shared between three people and they lasted through all of us eating so there was definitely enough to go around.

Atmosphere & Staff:

We made reservations online to sit on the patio near the water. When we goth there, they did have our reservation, but the host escorted us to a table in the middle of the room. I mentioned our reservation was for a water view, and they said they can’t take reservations for specific tables. Which kinda defeats the purpose of a reservation. I have been to restaurants with views who do let you reserve a table with a view. But anyway… other than that the staff were polite. The food took a while to come out but the host let us know beforehand that they were a bit behind. I got the feeling a cook arrived late for their shift or something. The place is stunning with a view of Lake Ontario. Their were dozens of swans out swimming around which was lovely to see while we enjoyed our meals. I do recommend coming here for the overall atmosphere.

Our view from the patio. This is not the best picture since the waiter is cleaning a table, but it was all I could manage as we were leaving and I remembered to snap a pic.

Final Verdict:
3 stars

This burger was fine, but it’s not a place to travel to for the burger. PORT is magnificent and the patio was lovely to hang out on with some friends. So I do recommend you check it out for date night or a day out with your best buds.