Regional Cuisine / The Best Hamburger in Merida

The Best Hamburger in Merida

The Best Hamburger in Merida

3 February 2015 Regional Cuisine 11

Editor's Note: We heard about this quest to find the best hamburger in Merida. A few of our friends had been looking for the best burger for months. So when we heard that they had ended their quest and come up with a winner, we felt it was a great idea to share this with our readers. Enjoy!!

How It All Started

We all know how different subjects come up in conversations with your friends when you're just sitting around shooting the breeze. This happened to John, Barry, and I while we were were sitting at a downtown coffee house, sipping our ground beans of choice one lovely but rather warm Friday morning in July. We had been meeting for coffee almost every Friday morning, feeling it was a good thing for us, especially since the women in our lives seemed to think so too. On this particular coffee outing during one of the few lulls in conversation, someone posed the question "Who do you think has the best burger in Merida?" It was at that point that we decided that we would go on a quest to find the best burger in Merida.

Half the Fridays

Our Burger Quest started on July 18, 2014 and ended at the end of January 2015, which means out of 28 possible Quest Fridays, we actually ate hamburgers on half of those days. Not a bad average considering that we are all retired, we like to travel and we have wives or significant others. Add to that the occasional medical thing or two that comes along from time to time at our age!

So who says that we are qualified to determine the best burger? After all, I may not like what you like and how do you compare taste? In the end, we decided it came down to the fact that it was our quest, so we got to choose! Additional questing is open and available to all who have the time.

The Hamburger Quest Process

After some discussion, we decided that to play it this way: each Friday afternoon, one of us would choose a place to go and that person drove and picked everyone else up around 1:00 PM. There would need to be three of us in attendance. We have been hanging out together for many years and we knew that we may very well need a tie breaker! That rule became easier when our mutual friend Reg came down for the winter from the big “D” (Detroit), because then we had four people, making it easier to create a quorum of three each time.

Upon arrival we would order one burger, medium rare with nothing on it and have it served only with the bun. We referred to this as a “naked” burger. We then cut the hamburger into three equal pieces and we each ate a third. During the eating process, we would discuss, comment, judge and share our opinions.

Next, we would each order a burger the way we like to eat a burger. There was no sharing this time, as we could not seem to agree on the best toppings for a burger. We ate our burgers and made comments as necessary. This second tasting was for our own decision making process and carried no weight with the other judges, nor would it be a major part of the overall evaluation and rating. The second tasting was just lunch!


On or around the second restaurant visit, the term “Burgerteer” was coined. It seemed fitting since we were three friends, like the Three Musketeers, on a quest. So we adopted the name and wore it with pride.

Even We Have Limits

As the weeks passed, we came to the realization that we had taken on a daunting task. This led us to decide to stop our Burger Quest after twelve restaurant visits. Those twelve visits took us up until Thursday the 22nd of January 2015. On that date we revisited our top four favorite burger restaurants and that marked the end of our quest.

The Final Four

The final four, in no particular order, were La Rueda Parrilla Gaucha Norte, La Cabaña Sonorense Steak House, La Recova Montejo Parrilla Argentina & Contemporanea and La Pamplona Steak House by Salamanca. The aforementioned names are the full names of each restaurant.

On the last day, we went to each restaurant in that order... not by preference but by time constraints and ease of flow from one to the other.

It is interesting to note that every quest in life changes the way we look at things. I like rare meat. Most of my compatriots liked their burgers less rare, but over the course of our quest, my fellow Burgerteers started to lean towards the rarer side of things and found themselves rewarded by the flavors they experienced. Don't get me wrong... there is nothing wrong with having a burger or a steak cooked well done (or bien cocido, in Spanish), but... ah... uh...choke....yes there is! It just ruins the flavor! There, I said it.

The Final Analysis

Our final analysis was based on numerous factors that we agreed should be considered. The flavor of the meat and the bun were paramount! Other major factors included the quality and type of meat to be compared, the burger-to-bun ratio, the consistency from the first to second visit, and the wallet effect or, as it is better known, the "bang for the buck"! This last consideration had to be included, since we did not have a sponsor with deep pockets. Maybe next time!

And The Winner Is...

Our final choice for the best burger in Merida was.... envelope, please!

(drum roll....)

La Cabaña Sonorense Steak House!

Please stop by when you get a chance and tell Pedro that the Burgerteers and Yucatan Living sent you. He and his family will appreciate your business and your taste buds will be glad you did!

In the End...

Our top four restaurants would not have been chosen as the final four if they had not previously impressed us. Setting aside the inconsistencies that we all know arise in many of the restaurants in Merida, we Burgerteers felt that all of our Final Four restaurants are very good places to have a burger and each one offers their customers a different dining experience.

In addition, the Burgerteers want everyone to know that our Burger Quest was not meant to be, nor is it, the final word on burgers here in Merida. Needless to say we did not frequent any of the burger places that are open only in the evening, and certainly we did not eat at every restaurant where burgers are sold. However, we stand united in our belief that our findings will tickle your taste buds and give you reason to smile! And maybe, this will even start you on your own quest!

We have been asked by many if there will be another quest. We have discussed what a future quest might be and in the top spot right now is a Pizza Quest. But at this writing, no definitive plans have been made.

In closing, the Burgerteers are pleased to be able to pass on the information about various restaurants that serve burgers here in Merida. We hope that you find our information useful and that we helped you find a great burger!

"All for one burger and a burger for all"!

The Burger Quest went to the following twelve Merida restaurants:

La Rueda
La Recova (Prolongacion Montejo)
Pamplona Steak House
El Tio Ricardo
Union Jack's
Canada Burger
The Roadhouse
Salamanca Grill and Lounge
La Cabaña Sonorense

The details and links of all the Burger Quests can be viewed at Tom Kuhn's Blog.


  • Robert Martin 8 years ago

    "Why do expats always try to recreate what they left behind?"
    This was the quote I intended to paste here. By accident , used something a friend had left behind on my computer.
    But I did intend to say the rest!

    • Lindsay 7 years ago

      I wish expats & foreigners would get over this phobia - like, trying to be "more local" than the other expats. I've only seen westerners do this, come to think of it - I never see Mexicans living abroad trying to avoid all things Mexican. I think I was into that when I first traveled at the age of 18 (like, not hanging out with any other expats, staying exclusively in local hangouts, never speaking English,) but I got over it by the time I was 21 or so. It's kind of the same thing as this bizarre backpacker competition where everyone is trying to rough it even MORE than the other backpackers (you have to be sleeping on a log on the beach and surviving solely on street tacos - if you're paying a whopping $12 for a hostel then you're some kind of posh 5 star hotel tourist who can't get into the local scene.) Yes, if you hide out at home and only eat your native food, and never attempt to learn the local language, then you probably have problems with culture shock. If you like to eat food from back home from time to time, you're probably a normal human being. How many Mexicans have I met living abroad who wouldn't love to find a great, authentic taco place? Zero. (the prices killed them though, so they could only bear to eat the brutally expensive tacos on occasion...but of course they yearned for their native food.)

    • ellen 8 years ago

      Generally I would agree with you. But sometimes, you just crave the food you are used to. Or sometimes, you just crave a hamburger!!

  • Kidd Karibe 8 years ago

    Went there last night (Friday, Sept. 4 2015) easy to find - almost on the corner of Av Aleman &
    Cto. Colonias.

    Had the burgers and they were very good, but there are other places in Merida with equally as good or better. They use a low fat grind so they are not the juicy messy diner style burgers that most people crave. Having worked in and owned restaurants I know that most of the top places use no less than an 80/20 blend, that is how you get a juicy burger. The fries are crinkle cuts out of a bag, and there is really no reason that I see why they couldn't use fresh and cut there own steak fries. It would make the meal so much better.

    It seems that they have scaled down their menu, no lamb burgers last night.

    They only had one other group of people dining and at 9 pm on a Friday that in itself says a lot.

    The owner seems to be a really good host and spent a lot of time chatting with us, and for you non spanish speakers he does speak good english.

    So now for the bottom line . . .
    Would I go back - yes - the burgers are good and the prices are very reasonable
    The owner a good host
    The restaurant very clean
    and with just a little tweaking they could be a really standout place

  • Alice 8 years ago

    Why do expats always try to recreate what they left behind?

  • Deborah S. Hamilton 8 years ago

    Did you try their steaks? If so, any opinions about tenderness, cooked to correct temperature, flavor, etc.??

    Many thank!!

  • Joan Minarik 8 years ago

    Great adventure, makes me hungry for a good burger

  • sharron 8 years ago

    Where is La Cabana Sonorese located? I´ve not heard of this restaurant until reading your article.

  • Stephen 8 years ago

    I have to agree. We visit Cabana Sonorense about once every week or two. Cant agree more. And Pedro, his wife and the staff and their service is good too.

  • Debi 8 years ago

    nice article, fun idea!

  • Todd Mosley 8 years ago

    Such great fun ! Thanks for taking us on your journey ! And thank you for the important info !

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