Taipei has a surprising number of burger joints. Many of them feature massive super gourmet burgers that are stuffed with an vast assortment of fillings — wagyu beef, grilled chicken, fried chicken, whole pickles, onions, lettuce, five different types of cheeses, mushrooms, honey mustard sauce, peanut butter — you name it. They can be exciting for the taste buds but also extremely heavy, making you swear off burgers for at least a few weeks.
California Grill at the end of Yong Kang Street (if you assume the Xinyi Rd end as the start) in Taipei bucks that trend. While they still have the gourmet stuff, the burgers are generally smaller and plainer, but equally tasty. Importantly, you get to decide how much ketchup and mustard (and tabasco) you want to add, so if you are feeling like a light meal, you can go easy, or if you feel like drinking sauce, you can go all out.
We were lucky to head over to California Grill early on a weeknight, so the tiny place was almost completely empty.
Their signature is the Mofo Burger (NT$195), which has beef and bacon in it, but we ended up going with a regular cheeseburger (NT$165) (not a huge fan of bacon, unfortunately) and a teriyaki chicken burger (NT$155). They also have tofu burgers and salmon burgers!
I have to say, the burgers don’t necessarily look spectacular, but they are. California Grill focuses on the original flavour of the ingredients, so what you get is a genuine, honest, flame-grilled hamburger that simply tastes awesome. The beef and chicken is succulent and juicy, the lettuce and tomatoes and fresh and crispy, and the cheese is not that plasticky crap. It might be a little small or plain for those used to the gourmet stuff, but it’s the type of place I can see myself returning to over and over again.
In fact, it might be my favourite burger joint in Taipei.
Address: No.53-1, Yongkang St, Taipei
Phone: (02) 2343-5111
Open 7 days
Note: there is also one on Dunhua South Rd.