burgers toronto

The Best Old-School Burgers in Toronto

The best old-school burgers in Toronto are made the same way they were made generations ago, without the need for upgrades. With quality beef, pillowy buns, fresh toppings, and the brand of know-how that comes from decades of patty slinging, these what-you-see-is-what-you-get offerings never disappoint.

Here are the best old-school burgers in Toronto.


Johnny's Charbroiled Hamburgers
1

Johnny's Charbroiled Hamburgers

Scarborough has been home to this compact spot since 1967, where burgers are charbroiled, service is swift, and prices are appetizingly low. Join the steady stream of people racing in to pick up grilled burgers, cheeseburgers, and bacon-topped banquet burgers with sides of fries, poutine, and rings.

Burger Shack
2

Burger Shack

The hefty homemade burgers at this Yonge & Eglinton spot put trendy smash burgers to shame, thanks to six-ounce-patties and a flurry of toppings. Along with the stained glass lamps, vinyl benches, and backlit menu signs, they seem to have undergone few changes since opening in 1981.


Golden Star
3

Golden Star

Follow the literal gold star to this spot in Thornhill, and order from a menu that's as refreshingly uncomplicated as the retro décor. Made from fresh beef, burgers here are charbroiled, juicy, a little messy, and best hoisted to your mouth with two hands.

Square Boy
4

Square Boy

The type of chaotic, family-owned restaurant that spawns loyalty and nostalgia, this casual spot on the Danforth is a local treasure that's been a favourite for 60 years. Homemade banquet burgers (with one, two, or three patties) are substantial all-beef offerings that are kissed by fire, topped the way you want, and delicious any day of the week.


Jumbo Burgers
5

Jumbo Burgers

Since 1972, people have been escorting their hunger to this restaurant with locations in Etobicoke and the Junction. Hearty offerings live up to the sign outside, whether you go for a classic hamburger, veggie burger, or double banquet burger.


Harry's Drive-In
6

Harry's Drive-In

They don't make most things the way they used to, except for the burgers, fries, and other menu items at this Scarborough relic. Lean into the nostalgic feel by paying with cash (they don't accept anything else) for your hot hamburger, fries, and gravy served with a side of old-school charm.

Apache Burgers
7

Apache Burgers

Life changes, except at this Etobicoke spot where dedication to comfort food favourites has translated to decades of customer satisfaction. A well-loved '50s décor scheme and menu of greasy-spoon burgers sporting classic toppings doesn't need an upgrade (and won't get one anytime soon).


Shamrock Burgers
8

Shamrock Burgers

You don’t need the luck of the Irish to score a loaded burger at this Scarborough spot. An edgy demeanour adds to the appeal of signature items like the Lucky Mountie with peameal bacon, and the double-decker grilled cheese, a gut buster where a beef patty, bacon, red onion, lettuce, and tomato are squashed between melty, buttery cheese sandwiches.

Dairy Freeze
9

Dairy Freeze

Ice cream isn't the only draw to this timeless spot at St. Clair Avenue West and Caledonia. Here, shakes and cherry-crowned sundaes exist alongside burgers with a discernible whiff of char, with the entire place smacking heavily of the 1950s.

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns, Janet Kwan of Harry's Drive-In


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The Best Old-School Burgers in Toronto

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