Fiamma Burger is one of my favorite restaurants in Bellingham, Washington. I went to college in Bellingham (go Vikings) and actually lived in the area when Fiamma Burger opened in 2007. The owners already had tremendous success with a pizza place in town called La Fiamma – Wood Fired Pizza, and they followed their passion to sell high quality sustainably produced burgers as well.
Full disclosure, I’m not completely independent in this review. About 10 years ago one of the owners (Dan) sponsored my bocce team in a local tournament. We did poorly, and I never heard from him again. By my count I’ve more than repaid the favor through my patronage of both the pizza and burger shops, but I’m still embarrassed by our performance while wearing his t-shirts. Sorry Dan, we let you down.
The burgers at Fiamma Burger are exceptional. They grind the beef in house and use top notch ingredients. Not least of which are the brioche buns baked in their own bakery down the road, delivered by cargo bike to the restaurant. I love that. Most of the ingredients are local/organic/sustainable. If you don’t care about any of those things then take comfort in the fact that the burgers are delicious. Up for trial today were their chili cheese fries.
Unfortunately, I forgot my calipers so I couldn’t get a real measurement on the fry thickness. I’m guessing they were about a 7 or 8mm. That’d be a medium thickness. They have a little bit of light colored skin on the ends which didn’t effect the taste but made for a more interesting appearance. My kids were with me on this trip so I ordered a couple large baskets of plain fries in addition to the small order of chili cheese fries. That was a mistake. The large baskets are gigantic!
I enjoyed the plain fries. They went well with the spicy ketchup, were served at the right temperature, and were fairly crispy. Nothing extraordinary about the fries, but nothing to criticize either. The chili cheese fries came served in an odd little ceramic pot almost like a centerpiece bouquet of frites. This became fairly awkward with the meat and bean chili poured on top.
There are a couple of issues with this, but they might be personal in nature. Issue one is that the likelihood of dropping gooey fries and chili all over the table is about 98%. In my case, it was 100%. A lot of the fries end up perched on top of the pot in a sort of pick-up-sticks configuration so that when you pull one out 6 others might fall to their doom. Issue two is that this sort of chili is really better suited for eating on its own, not as a sauce on top of skinny fries. Either that or you need a wider bowl and and then just accept that this’ll be a smash and mix sort of meal. The dainty ceramic wasn’t conducive to incorporating the thick and beanie chili into the fries and I was left with quite a bit of residual chili at the bottom with no fries to assist.
With that said, I thought the chili was tasty. And the fries were tasty. The whole thing was good, but I wish I had gone for the poutine instead. Or just a cup of chili and dipped some of my fries in along the way. The chili was more or less a classic interpretation, but it was satisfying nonetheless. My wife’s B”Ham” Burger was a cherubic gift from the burger gods! It had shoestring potatoes, prosciutto, a smokey sauce, and an egg. It’s divine. My Green Chili Bison Burger was fine. I’ve tried it a few times, but I’m convinced now that I prefer beef over bison. My heart’s a bitter buffalo (it’s a Modest Mouse reference for those in the know).
In summary, Fiamma Burger is a must visit in Bellingham. Or La Fiamma Pizza. Whichever, they’re both great. However, the Chili Cheese Fries at Fiamma Burger are only a 7 out of 10 for me on my rating scale. I’ll be back again for the poutine, don’t worry.
Catalog: Sampled in October 2017 ($3.95 for the small)