Honestly, what more do you want from a burger than a decent meat patty, good relish and a bit of lettuce? Which is pretty much what you get at Brodburger, with just one decision to make - blue, brie, Swiss or cheddar?
Brodburger had all the street cred you could ask for when it operated from an illicitly parked red caravan beside the lake.
When it was moved on by the National Capital Authority, the entire operation could have gone pear-shaped, but Joelle Bou-Jaoude and partner Sascha Brodbeck were handed a very cool diner-style eatery out the back of the Canberra Glassworks.
This meant Brodburger got bigger and the queues got immeasurably longer and more torturous, but the rewards are more often than not worth it.
The basic Brodburger is a half-pound beef patty, flame grilled, with lettuce, tomato, onion, and homemade aioli and tomato relish ($13.50), but you can get fancier, with a salmon fillet instead, or bacon and eggs, or a vegetarian option.
The burgers come in a red basket, wrapped in paper, with chips on the side and a beer or glass of wine, and a view of the car park and the apartments along the foreshore.
Canberra Glassworks, 11 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston (entrance at back), 6162 0793.
Ox Eatery's excellent burgers are ''sliders'', so you get a row of little burgers ($5 each), made for one-hand eating.
The meat inside these dense little buns varies depending on what is turning on the French rotisserie, but on any given day, you might find a hunk of roast pork with apple sauce and crackling; chicken with aioli; beef with mustard cream or caramelised onion; or even Bangladesh chicken with chickpeas. These are for eating in, as an entree, or alongside a gin in the bar, where, frankly, it’s a toss up whether to order the bone marrow on toast instead. The solution? Bone marrow with the first gin, sliders with the second.
East Hotel, 69 Canberra Avenue, Kingston, 6178 0041.
My Rainbow Dreams
This vegetarian and vegan cafe lives its message down to the superfood green smoothie made with barley, spirulina, wheatgrass, apple, lemon, ginger, mango and blueberries ($7.50) to start your day.
The burgers are firm favourites: Indian-spiced lentil burger with satay sauce; a tofu burger with Tuscan bean pate, carrot, alfalfa and tahini dressing; or falafel burger with hummus.
The burgers ($9.90) come on good little dense buns (which is something you can say about few Canberra burgers), or you can choose an organic wrap.
Our favourite is the lentil burger, with satay sauce, beetroot, carrot and other salady bits. It's really delicious. and achieves that rare feat of combining health with mouthfilling moreishness, and filling you up to boot.
My Rainbow Dreams is run by students of Sri Chinmoy.
Shop G1, Dickson Chambers, Dickson Place, 6247 8591.
These guys are a chain, but believe it when we tell you that if you're at the Belconnen mall and dinnertime is looming, you're doing a good thing by stopping by Grill'd on your way to the car park to grab some burgers to take home.
The buns could and should be better, which is what you would say about most burger joints. However, overall it's a decent-sized, good-tasting burger using grass-fed meat, with relish and mayo - a burger that treats both the genre and you with respect.
You can get fancy by choosing lamb or chicken, and adding salsa or satay.
There is also a decent offering of vegetarian burgers, but we've been happiest with the basic simply grilled ($9.50). Grab a mini me for the littlies.
Grill’d is also in Manuka and Woden. We didn’t have the same success on our visit to Manuka and haven’t been to Woden. Opening soon in the Canberra Centre as well.
Westfield Belconnen mall, level 3 (next to Target), street entrance of Lathlain Street, Belconnen, 6251 1588.
Phat Burger Cafe
This was a new discovery for us, but a worthwhile one. The only problem is the drive to the Farrer shops, and it's only open at lunchtime. The burgers are huge and freshly made in a simple manner by Lily Borza, who runs this little cafe, owned by her partner, Chris Kilpatrick. Order a beef burger ($11.50), and out comes a large meat patty, freshly made on the day, and on to the small grill. On goes a locally made relish, caramelised onion, lettuce, and slices of beetroot and tomato. Old school, the cafe says, ''not dainty and small'', and that sums it up.
Farrer shopping centre, Farrer Place, 6290 1086.
Smoque is dedicated to meat, serving great slabs of smoked meat in different guises, and pretty indelicate at that, which is possibly why it’s always busy and popular. But while your boy is ordering too much from the meat menu, set your sights on the vege burger ($12.90). It’s piled with smoked mushroom, pumpkin, onion, zucchini, rocket and buffalo haloumi, takes two hands to eat, and is, by all accounts, everything a good burger should be.
Baileys Arcade, Shop 2, 131London Circuit, 61623350.
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