A definitive list of Canada's fast-food burgers ranked from worst to best

May 28 2021, 3:00 pm

The classic hamburger, it’s something you can easily prepare and cook at home.

But for some reason, this traditionally greasy treat always tastes better when someone else slaves over a hot grill to make it for you.

Sure, you could fire up the BBQ, wait 15 minutes, and then sear the you-know-what out of a burger patty, or you could just swing by your closest drive-thru.

Canada has plenty of fast-food burger options out there. Some are strictly regional, while others fall into the “fast casual” category, which disqualifies them from this particular list.

That leaves a mere handful of fast-food burgers readily available to most Canadians. Here is a definitive ranking of fast-food burgers in Canada ranked worst to best.

6. Dairy Queen


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One should always be leery when ordering from a chain that isn’t known to specialize in the burger game, but rather for its frozen treats. The DQ burger is okay, I suppose. It’s standard fast-food fare, but they get no points for creativity or originality. The burger I had featured a grill-like char, but only on the edges, which was perplexing. Otherwise, it had the consistency of a microwaved burger. It’s the cafeteria food of Canada’s fast-food burgers.

5. McDonald’s


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McDonald’s comes at a disadvantage on this list because anyone will tell you … Mickey Dee’s is known for its fries and chicken, not its burgers. If your strategy is “slather in ketchup and onions in the hopes they won’t notice,” then your burger game is flawed. McDonald’s also suffers from the worst meat-to-everything-else ratio with its paper-thin burgers. The closest approximation to a standard burger would be the McDonald’s Quarter Pounder. Even if you do order one of the larger burgers, they don’t stack up to the rest of the fast-food joints on this list.

4. Burger King


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Make no qualms about it, Burger King prides itself on being a burger-first chain. Heck, “burger” is right there in the name. However, it’s middle-of-the-road when it comes to fast-food burger offerings. At least with Burger King, you feel like you’re getting a hefty burger patty with your order. Yes, you could do better, but if a BK is the only place close by, it’ll suffice to get your fast-food fix for a burger.

3. Wendy’s


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Wendy’s is famous for its square “fresh, never frozen” burger patties. Is that enough alone to discern itself from the crowded list of fast-food burgers? The problem with Wendy’s is every one of their burgers is just a slight variation of Dave’s Classic Single. They use the same patty for every burger on the menu. If you dig Wendy’s classic burger, you’ll be fine with any option on their menu. But if you aren’t fond of the signature square patty, you may as well just order the Spicy Chicken and save yourself some heartache.

2. Harvey’s


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Quality-wise, Harvey’s burgers aren’t really that much different from many of the offerings on this list. Where it elevates itself is the ability to customize your burger toppings. Go plain Jane or stack everything you possibly can on top of that beef patty. I’ve heard that pickle people are particularly fond of Harvey’s full-length pickle slices, which is something you won’t find at most fast-food places. No matter how you dress your burger, it’s one of the best fast-food burger options out there.

1. A&W


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This is as close to fast-food burger perfection as you’ll get. Real cheddar cheese, real bacon, a toasted sesame seed bun, and the symphony of flavours and textures in this burger work in perfect harmony. Fun fact: If you’re looking to save yourself some calories, did you know you can order a teen burger protein-style with a lettuce wrap instead of the bun? The only criticism of the teen burger itself is that it’s a little on the expensive side. So, just spend the extra few bucks and get the onion rings and root beer and call it a day (and then take a nap afterward).

Ian HunterIan Hunter

+ Dished