By Riva Soucie
The Place: Itching to leave the city, but still on the clock at work? Slip on the espadrilles at lunch hour and take a quick spin over to Baja Burger Shack right on Ottawa’s own true blue beach. The canteen is housed in a low-slung building decorated with a dried grass fringe. Sit on the shady patio with reggae pumping and pretend you’re far, far away as you gaze out over Britannia’s sandy shoreline.
The Deal/The Dish: CTV viewers just voted Baja’s burger the best in the city, and they seem to know what they’re talking about. This is one of the best burgers I’ve had in recent memory. What’s behind it? For starters, Owner Les Richenhaller says a bit of pink in the middle isn’t anything to worry about (and he’s right). The burger meat is laced with plenty of black pepper and cooked only until medium with the juices still running. Each patty is layered on a big, egg bread bun, which hangs out on the griddle long enough to become crunchy and sweet as candy (thanks to lashings of butter). With The Baja Burger, you get paper-thin red onion, chopped romaine, sliced ripe tomato, and a slathering of “baja sauce” (which tastes suspiciously like good old fashioned mayo, but still tasty). Ask for The Kahuna if you want to make it a double. Or just order a paper bagful of house fries. They’re cut thick, then double-fried, the way God intended, and served piping hot with vinegar, ketchup, and salt for dousing.
Later in the summer, when beach traffic heats up, the shack expands its menu, adding chicken and beef tacos and blended margaritas, but for now, the burgers are it. And the fries. Oh yeah, there’s also pineapple coconut shakes and cold bottled beer to keep you chill as a pill and loose as a goose.
The Price: $7.99 for the Baja Burger, fries, and a bottled water
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
Baja Burger Shack, 100 Greenview Ave., Britannia Beach, 613-613-2233