Restaurant: Romer’s Burger Bar
Last visited: August 21, 2010
Location: Vancouver, BC (Kitsilano)
Address: 1873 W 4th Ave
Price Range: $10-20
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Food: 4 (or 3.5)
- Gourmet burgers
- All natural, range-fed Angus beef
- Fresh, seasonal ingredients/menu
- Cheapest beer (across the board) in Kitsilano
- All burgers can be changed to chicken
- Lettuce “bun” option
- Good for sports/game nights
- Attracts all ages
- Private rooms available
- Busy, line-ups at peak hours
- Popular to locals
- Pub/Bar/Lounge style
- Homemade desserts
- Take out available
**Recommendations: Maple Bacon Pork Burger, The Standard, and I have high hopes for the Man’s Man Burger but I haven’t tried it yet. The garlic dill dip and chipotle aioli dip with fries, mango mint iced tea, and drunken donuts for dessert. If you want to be “picky” order the Righteous Rib Burger with a pork burger patty and shredded short ribs on an extra-toasted brioche bun (I don’t even know if they’ll do it, but I’ll try)
Romer’s Burger Bar is one of the newest burger joints serving gourmet burgers in Vancouver, BC. It’s located in Kitsilano and it’s definitely reasonably priced for the area, making it a place that people can go to more than once in a while. Burgers and fries have been a classic combination for years, but just like hot dogs and mac n’ cheese they’re always undergoing makeovers and gourmet twists. Romer’s Burger Bar takes burgers to the next level by using all natural, range-fed Angus beef, seasonal ingredients and fancy cheeses and sauces. You can even “pimp your burger” with a selection of their housemade mayos, mustards, or even foie gras pate.
If you don’t think a burger needs to be fancy, or Amber Ale Cheddar and Aged Cheddar is the same to you, or you like a basic burger without the glitz and glam, or you prefer a bang for your buck, than this place is not for you. However if you enjoy gourmet burgers and a fancy $10 burger sounds reasonable to you, then this place is for you and you’ll find it worth it. However sides are not included, so while the price of the burgers sound reasonable to me, the sides were a bit expensive and everything added up very quickly. The burger is a good size and the sides are decent enough to be shared though, so overall it’s fair.
Romer’s Burger Bar really emphasizes fresh ingredients and everything from their drinks, patties, pickles, olives, dips and desserts are all made in house. I wouldn’t say it’s the best burger I’ve ever had, but it was very good and I would go back to try other things. It only opened recently and I do think it’s here to stay because they know what they’re doing and they’re approachable without being pretentious.
On the table:
- This is one of there non-alcoholic concoctions and it was awesome!
- It was refreshing, cooling and I could taste a great balance of mint with fresh mango puree. It wasn’t too sweet and I could taste real tea flavour as well. It’s better than I expected.
R Tomato and Fresh Basil Soup – 4/6
- Grilled panini cheese croutons $4
- This is a bit hard to “rate” because I had the last bowl of the night and it was luke warm and on the watery side. My friend who orders it every time she comes said that it’s usually thicker and better. I could see where the taste was going and had it been served fresh I think it would be a 5/6 and I would recommend it.
- The soup tastes like Campbell’s tomato soup if it was homemade with fresh ingredients; and I like Campbell’s tomato soup. It was sweet, savoury, and tangy and topped with freshly chopped basil. I could really taste the fresh tomatoes – the pureed skins, the seeds, the pulp and everything. It wasn’t necessarily creamy but it was well textured and still light as an appetizer. I thought the portion and price was very reasonable, and despite the bowl I got, I would order it again.
- My favourite part was the mini grilled cheese croutons! They were so cute! Although it seems like a copycat of Society‘s tomato soup also with grilled cheese croutons (see their menu), which I haven’t tried yet. These ones st Romer’s were very crunchy with aged cheddar in the middle, but it would be even better if they used the brioche burger bun for the bread part.
- The manager was super accommodating and took the soup off the bill when we brought it to his attention that the consistency and taste was off.
- Dills, nuts, and olives $7
- Pretty reasonable if you like the combination of these appetizers. They’re all good eaten alone or as a simple snack before or during your burger.
- By the pot $2
- Nice and crunchy and sour as a dill pickle should be in the beginning, however the spice comes after and it lingers. You don’t notice it until 6-8 chews in and then it just hits you like Frank’s Hot Sauce. The spice is infused throughout the pickle and you can’t tell from the outside. If you like spicy pickles – then this is it!
- Spicy, served warm from the oven $2
- For $2 (separately) this would be worth it. You get a royal nut mix with Brazilian nuts, almonds, hazelnuts and cashews. It was about 60% peanuts so it was very reasonable.
- They were served warm and they were very well toasted which just made them even more buttery and tasty, but they weren’t spicy. They were maybe a tad smoky with perhaps a little paprika, but not spicy. Actually, they were barely even salty. They could have been more seasoned because the most dominant flavours were the toasted nuts themselves.
Amazing Garlic Green Olives – 3.5/6
- Apparently the recipe for these olives is one of their grandma’s recipes. To be honest, they were just regular salty green meaty olives marinated in parsley, minced garlic, and maybe a little vinegar. They were good, and I really like olives, but these were nothing “amazing” for me.
- The garlic was slightly sweetened by the marinade so there was no garlic bite although the garlic flavour was throughout the olive… you’ll taste this in your breath… for a while too.
- All-natural beef, thick-sliced applewood bacon, braised short ribs, sweet onions, Gorgonzola garlic sauce, fresh thyme leaves $12 (Without sides)
- It took me a long time to decide what to order, but I went for the big one and it seemed most worth it. I also wanted to compare it to the db Moderne Burger made with top sirloin and filled with braised short ribs for $29.
- This Righteous Rib Burger is recommended for meat lovers. This is a super meaty burger and I knew that reading the ingredients, but I still wasn’t prepared for how much there was. It was more worth it than the db Modern Burger, but it wasn’t executed as well. I’d more likely come back for the Romer’s one overall though.
- The patty was made from coarsely ground beef, layered with 2 strips of thick bacon, and then 2 slices of short ribs that were pretty fatty. Since there was so much meat, the burger actually comes off a bit dry because there’s so much chewing involved and the meat isn’t as tender so it doesn’t melt in your mouth.
- The sweet onions are actually semi-cooked and still very crunchy. They’re not caramelized and it actually sits underneath the patty.
- I really liked that I could taste each layer of ingredient and every flavour, but I think it would be better if the patty was thinner and made with their regular ground meat. I also would prefer the short ribs to be shredded rather than in thick slices because the fatty parts were in sections which made each bite taste different.
- The super soft brioche bun (egg bread) is one of the highlights of the Romer’s Burger, and although I did really like it, it’s a bit thick and I would prefer it thinner. It was very fluffy and I loved the glossy buttery top, but next time I will ask for it to be more toasted since it was barely toasted.
- The fresh thyme that was oven baked was actually one of my favourite parts. They were so crispy and lemony and I loved the flavour it brought to the burger. It was sweet from the onions and the bun, savoury from the meat with a salty bite of bacon and fresh from the thyme. I just wish the meats were juicer since there was so much of it.
- I also loved the Gorgonzola garlic sauce, and it’s stronger in garlic than in Gorgonzola so don’t be afraid even if you don’t like the taste of Gorgonzola (which is similar to Blue Cheese).
- Feta, crisp watercress $4 (Seasonal)
- While this was very good, it’s also something you could easily make at home. There was nothing to it except for what’s listed in the ingredients and some salt.
- If you’ve never had watermelon with salt, try it. It just makes it sweeter. I loved the sweetness of the watermelon with the salty bite of Feta and then the crispy peppery watercress that leaves a radish like flavour on the palette at the end. It’s a very fresh and summery salad that I really enjoyed.
- Excellent salad, but I don’t think I would pay for it again since it’s so easy to do at home and the portion is quite small, although there’s quite a bit of watermelon.
**Maple Bacon Pork Burger – 6/6
- All-natural pork, maple bacon, grilled frisée, green apple matchsticks, Gorgonzola garlic sauce $10
- Holy bejeezus… this was the clear winner. Don’t underestimate the power of pork at a burger place… this one will impress you.
- The pork patty was excellent compared to the beef patty that was good. The pork patty had more flavour and it was juicier. It was so well seasoned and I could taste fennel seeds and even some toasted cumin seeds giving it a licorice and smoky flavour.
- This burger was a perfect combination of sweet and savoury. I loved the sweet and tart shredded apples, sweet and salty bite of bacon, slight bitterness from the frisee, and then delicious Gorgonzola garlic sauce over the top. The raw apple reminded me of a sweet radish – and overall this apple and pork combination reminded me of my Maple Leaf Prime Pork Recipe – Pork Chops with Apple and Rosemary Crumble. (Please vote daily for my recipe! 🙂 )
- The Gorgonzola sauce is shown on the side because my friend wasn’t sure if she would like it since she doesn’t like Gorgonzola. We ended up using the whole container of sauce on the burger because both of us liked it so much. Again, it’s more garlicky with a slight but obvious creamy Gorgonzola cheese taste. It’s pungent, yet salty but not overpowering and it was great with the burger.
- There was no flavor that stood out more than the others and everything was well balanced.
Wicked Deadly Cheeseburger – n/a
- All-natural beef, plenty of cheese, red onion, Tuscan greens, tarragon Russian dressing $10
- I didn’t try this one, but you have to like more than just Cheddar and Mozzarella cheese to like this. You probably have to like a slight licorice taste as well.
The Standard (“Make Mine Green” ) – 4/6
- All-natural beef or veggie option: vine-ripened tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, onion, pickles, R sauce $9 (sub. free-run chicken + $1)
- All the burgers are available with iceberg lettuce in replace of the delicious brioche bun… so why replace it? Despite this not really being a real burger (this was not my order), I was actually impressed with the “make mine green” option. I was expecting 2 leaves of lettuce to make the bun, but instead they almost gave the whole head of lettuce! It was super fresh and crisp and it was really sturdy as a “bun”.
- The standard burger patty is actually really good! I liked it better than the coarsely ground beef patty in the Righteous Rib Burger. It was more moist and more tender with finer ground meat.
- The R sauce is definitely inspired by the classic In-N-Out Burger sauce. It tastes like a house made Thousand Island dressing, but it’s a bit more sweet and chunky with some relish in the mix. I would order the standard burger with the Gorgonzola garlic sauce or even the chipotle mayo, which I thought were both better than the R sauce.
- The standard burger would be great in the bun and it was a delicious burger, but if I compare it to the In-N-Out Burger, then I prefer In-N-Out.
Truffle Oil Reggiano Fresh Cut Fries – 2.5/6
- The fries are hand cut with the skins on and they’re double fried so they’re very crispy. It was a fluffy fry so I’m quite sure it was a Russet Potato, however I like red potato fries better where the texture is creamier like they do at La Belle Patate. These were good, but not the best fries I’ve had.
- The Reggiano was finely grated and then mixed with truffle oil so the texture was almost dry and the cheese didn’t stick to the fries. The truffle oil was very subtle, however it also masked the saltiness of the Parmesan so overall it almost tasted like powdered Parmesan cheese. The fries weren’t really salted to begin with, so I just wasn’t feeling it, and not for $7 either. The bottom half of the fries were also the stubs (really short fries) and they didn’t pick up any Reggiano.
- I don’t think these fries should have require additional sauces or dips, but they did, otherwise it was quite bland.
- I even added the real gravy to make a truffle like poutine, but it didn’t work. I prefer the truffle poutine from La Brasserie.
- **Garlic Dill Dip – 5.5/6
- The garlic dill dip was better than the Truffle Oil Reggiano. I got more flavour from the dip, which tasted like tzatziki. It was a yogurt based tangy dip with lots of minced fresh garlic so it had a spice to it and the dill helped to freshen it up.
- **Garlic Dill Dip – 5.5/6
- Real Gravy – 1.5/6
- This didn’t tastes like real gravy to me. It was very thick and clumpy and almost bland. This is the same gravy that goes on the poutine, and in that case I’d much rather have the truffle poutine or even a Fritz poutine. All the other dips and sauces I tried had more flavour than this gravy.
- Real Gravy – 1.5/6
- House Made Truffle Mayo – 4.5/6
- This is actually a sauce for the burgers, but I ordered it as a dip for the fries. I could definitely taste the truffle oil in this more than I could in the truffle Reggiano. It’s salty, rich, creamy and tangy from some lemon and overall a solid sauce.
- **Chipotle Aioli – 5/6
- It was an excellent chipotle aioli that was salty and more smokey in flavour with the spiciness coming at the end. This would be a great sauce for a burger as well.
- House Made Truffle Mayo – 4.5/6
- Decadently fried, powdered sugar, Kahlua Nutella, Limoncello, Maple Whiskey $5
- Don’t miss out! These donuts are a signature dessert and they’re tres excellent!
- They were the most intense powdered sugar donuts I’ve tried to date. It takes powdered sugar to a whole other level. Instead of letting the donuts rest and dusting them with powdered sugar, they toss the donuts into powdered sugar right after they come out of the fryer.
- The powdered sugar just creates a thick coating around the donut that’s almost like an icing or chunky glaze. They look a lot sweeter than they actually are and the powdered sugar isn’t hard, it’s semi-soft and crumbly and just melts in your mouth.
- The mini donuts are crispy on the outside and very soft on the inside. It’s a cake donut rather than a fluffy donut like the ones from Round Rock Donuts.
- The dips were equally as exciting as the donuts – especially the Maple Whiskey dip, which was the best one.
- Maple Whiskey (left) – the base was almost like a caramel dip and I could taste an equal balance of Maple and Whiskey. The Whiskey made the Maple not as sweet and the Maple took the bite off the Whiskey and the alcohol was cooked off well, yet still apparent. I would have loved to roll the mini donuts into bacon bits after dunking them into the Maple Whiskey Dip – it would taste like the famous Bacon Maple Bar from Voodoo Doughnut.
- Limoncello (middle) – this tastes like a cold lemon curd and it’s sweet and tangy. It’s quite watery and tastes like melted lemon sorbet, but thicker.
- Kahlua Nutella (right) – it’s quite watery and tastes like cold chocolate milk sauce or melted chocolate ice cream. I couldn’t taste much Kahlua or Nutella.
- This doughnut + dip idea reminded me of the doughnut holes from Society Restaurant and Lounge.
Call me cheap but burgers over a certain threshold start to look less and less appealing no matter how “good” they are. Making it “fancy” takes away the spirit of the burger. >_<
See then your one of the ones that qualify in the “this isn’t for you” category lol – you’re not cheap… just personal preference!
Mijune, have u tried Burger Heaven in New West?
Their burgers are more old-fashioned style, but I just loooveee them..
Services are great too 😀
@Ms. Azalea – nothing wrong with an Old Fashioned Burger! I appreciate both! That’s why In-N-Out Burger is so great! 🙂 I have heard a lot about Burger Heaven and it’s been on my radar for ages! I just need to plan a day to make a trip out JUST for it though since I’m rarely in that area. I REALLY can’t wait to try it! Thanks!
I read your review before I went there today as I trust your opinion on food. The Maple Bacon Pork Burger, Drunken Don and the Mango Mint Iced Tea all deserved 6/6!
@David!!!! – Thank you soooo much!!! You just made me so happy!!! YAY!!!! I’m so glad that we have the same tastes and I hope to continue to bring you good food!! Thanks for your trust and support!!
Well, Romers is most definitely over-rated at least the Fraser River location. It was 1/2 decent when it first opened up; however, the owner and manager seems to have a “devil may care attitude”.
As a resident in the area, I can attest that they do not have any regard for the residence in the area. This has been a frequent talk amongst the “locals”. Romer’s made absolute no effort to introduce himself into the neighborhood. Perhaps the two year lease on the building may have something to do with it?
One day, Romer’s just opened up after long time construction. The business hours on the door have an ambiguous closing time of “late”. Most of the people who ventured to try this burger joint actually drive to this location. They are not usually the residence. Of course, as is with human nature, the local residents are curious. Many have tried this place, but very few have returned.
Now about the food and service. Staff tends to be nice. Food started out ok when they first opened up. Perhaps Romer’s was tipped off of Mijune’s visit or presence and her experience was less than what other guests experience. By and large, that’s not what people experienced. Check out Google reviews and Urban Spoon.
Burgers steadfastly over the few months after they opened went from average at best to dry Simply put, the outrageous in toppings and options makes the burgers rather ridiculous. The burgers are a la carte. Garlic fries are different, not to my liking and often are spread with very potent garlic that makes them unpalatable.
There is considerable more bang for your buck out there and much closer options nearby. If one wants a decadent tasty burger, there is Cactus Club on Byrne Road. If one wants a simple tasty traditional burger there is also White Spot and even Red Robin nearby as well. All of these places mentioned are superior in many ways then Romers Burger Bar.
Romer’s in my opinion is an epic fail. I can’t wait for something else to open up in it’s place.
@sammy_J – Oh no! The Fraser River location is so community based too, so too bad your service wasn’t great. Personally my experience was pretty good, but I haven’t been back since this visit. I’ll have to retry it, but I hope the quality hasn’t deteriorated as much as you say. There are lots of chain restaurants serving burgers which are pretty good, but if I can opt for a non-chain usually I will try to. Thanks for sharing Sammy_J.
Mijune, just curious. Have you been back? We tried it again a few weeks ago. It was the same as I mentioned it. I too try to avoid the chains but unfortunately, more often then not, they usually offer a more consistent quality and experience. I’d like to hear more of what burger places you recommend 🙂
@Sammy_J – I haven’t been in a while, but here’s a few more to try! 🙂
Pourhouse and ReFuel has one too!
PS: You can also click on my tabs up top: “Cuisine” —> “American” —> “Burgers & Hot Dogs” 🙂