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The 10 Best Burgers in LA That You Need to Try Right Now

By / April 25, 2017
   LWYang
   LWYang

More often than not, burger chefs seem to operate on a kind of “more is better” logic, cramming their buns full of meat, cheese, and whatever novelty items they can find to give them an edge. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

But a burger doesn’t have to be bigger to be better. Greatness is often achieved by paying attention to the little things: the quality of the meat, the special sauce, or avoiding the temptation to add blue cheese.

With so many great burgers in Los Angeles, it’s hard to narrow it down to just 10—but we’ve done it anyway. Here are the 10 best burgers in Los Angeles.

 

Facebook/Hache LA

10. Shackburger at Shake Shack

GLENDALE

Perhaps it’s sacrilege to bump In N Out for Shake Shack on a West Coast burger list, but c’mon—you’ve done In N Out a million times. The chain’s flagship Shackburger is definitely worth a momentary lapse of loyalty. On paper, it’s a simple proposition: a grass-fed beef patty, cheese, lettuce, and tomato on a deliciously soft potato roll with a little “secret” Shack Sauce (basically a mayo and mustard mix with a few spices), but there’s something about the combo that makes it more than the sum of its parts. Add the old-school crinkle-cut fries and you’ve got yourself a worthy contender.

 

9. Mess Burger at Mess Hall

LOS FELIZ

Perched inconspicuously on the corner of Hillhurst Avenue and Los Feliz Boulevard, Mess Hall seems to fly under the radar of a lot of burger lists. Perhaps it’s better known for its cheap oysters and breakfast menu. But take a seat by the fire pit and order a Mess Burger with a side of fries—you won’t be disappointed. This deliciously moist burger is smothered in a smoky sauce which perfectly complements the pickles, cheddar, slow-cooked onions, and soft brioche bun.

 

8. Habanero Burger at Haché LA

SILVER LAKE

The real draw-card at Haché is the deliciously beefy patties, which give the burgers a real home-made flavor. There are many contenders on the menu, but the habanero burger is definitely a winner, with a slow-building heat that features the light citrus flavor of the peppers, and only really hits on your last bite of the burger. Combined with the queso fresco and garlic mayo, it’s pretty damn tasty.

 

Facebook/Belcampo Meat Co.

7. Fast Burger at Belcampo Meat Co.

DTLA

The quality of the meat really can make or break a burger. If you’re the type of person that rolls your eyes when you see words like “organic” or “grass-fed” on the menu, then it might be worth a trip to Belcampo, where you really can taste the difference. A bargain at $4.99, this classic burger is all about the quality ingredients, and features a thin beef patty, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a delicious ketchup/mayo-based house sauce.

 

6. Pie N Burger

PASADENA

Like The Apple Pan and In N Out, Pie N Burger is a Californian landmark. Even though the price has steadily increased over the years, you’d have to say that this is still one of LA’s best. The Hamburger is a classic LA burger with Thousand Island dressing, kind of like a super-sized In N Out burger.

 

5. Cheeseburger at Everson Royce Bar

ARTS DISTRICT

I’ll admit that when you first see it, it may not look that impressive, but this super minimal cheeseburger is somehow unbelievably delicious. There’s no lettuce, tomato, onion, or bacon—just a simple beef patty, cheese, and mayo sauce with a little zing. Combined with a cold beer, it’s definitely a ticket to satisfaction.   

 

Facebook/Mess Hall LA

4. The Burger at The Golden State

FAIRFAX

“The Burger” has been a staple of the LA burger canon since the restaurant opened around 10 years ago. Using high-quality local produce, including Harris Ranch beef and Fiscalini Farms cheddar, smoked bacon, arugula, aioli, and ketchup, this burger is simple yet incredibly satisfying. As a bonus, a side of fries is included in the price—you can go for regular fries or the more popular sweet potato wedges with garlic aioli.

 

3. Beef Burger at Mo Better Burgers

MID WILSHIRE

Mo Better Burgers is an unassuming joint tucked away in a strip mall in Mid Wilshire, but don’t underestimate the power of their burger. They only do one beef burger here, and the choice is really how big you want it: 3 ounces or 5 ounces. In terms of ingredients, it’s pretty simple, with lettuce, pickles, mustard, mayo, tomato, and onions, but there’s something about the home-cooked flavor of the burger that kicks it up to the next level.

 

2. Hickory Burger at the Apple Pan

WEST LOS ANGELES

I know they’re on every list, but the Apple Pan’s classic and deliciously simple burgers are like the archetype for great LA burgers. If you’ve been doing something for the better part of a century and haven’t needed to change it that much, it must be pretty good, right? There are only two burgers on the menu, the Steakburger and the Hickory Burger, the difference being the delicious homemade BBQ sauce on the Hickory burger. Other than that, it’s a pretty simple affair, with lettuce, pickles, and onions on a soft bun, but it’s a time warp back to a pre-Ray Kroc era of burgers.

 

1. Classic 1/3 Pound Burger at The Oinkster

EAGLE ROCK

Full disclosure: I’m probably biased as The Oinkster is tied up with all kinds of nostalgia for lazy Friday night burger runs for me, but honestly it’s hard to argue that their classic burger is not one of the best in LA. The quality Nebraska Angus beef combined with the Thousand Island-style sauce in a moist, compact burger will definitely leave you wanting more. Add a little gruyere for 75 cents and fries with their incredible garlic sauce, and it’s definitely the winning combination.

 

By

Matthew O’Shannessy is a writer living in Los Angeles. He grew up in Tasmania, Australia and moved to LA via Melbourne where he joined an art collective and worked for the Melbourne International Film Festival. His work has been published in various magazines and he’s currently co-editing an arts anthology. He lives in Echo Park, but you can often find him scouting out the San Fernando Valley.

More articles by Matthew O'Shannessy

Comments

32 Comments

  1. Father’s Office doesn’t make the list?? For shame….also Oinkster should be well outside the top ten…greasy and way overrated. I like the rest of the list though!

  2. OsoPeligroso

    You need to try Forman’s Tavern on Riverside in Burbank. Meat is ground fresh daily, and their buns are fresh daily brioche. also, Blue Palms in Hollywood. Both should be on this list.

  3. Jay Dan

    Why would Father’s Office be on the list? They make one burger. No alterations. And if you don’t like your burgers sweet your #&@^ outta luck. Father’s Office is just another overblown and over hyped. Wendy’s can make a better burger.

  4. Really ? Apple Pan – one of the worst/ nothing/ boring burgers around. Overpriced and almost no meat patty – I don’t know one person who thinks they are good.

  5. Apple Pan – am dumbfounded. I would put it on the list of 10 most overrated burgers. Overpriced tiny boring burger. I don’t don’t know one person who likes them.

  6. Delilah Cotto

    Unfortunately he got it all wrong, as the top burger in LA, is easily at PONO KITCHEN on sunset blvd in West Hollywood. All grass fed, organic beef, cooked by wood fire. Straight from the farm to your plate, never touches the refrigerator and if you like Spivey their Kuawa crunch burger is incredible. Hawaiian inspired flavor. It simply doesn’t get better than this!

  7. Seriously…this list is completely bogus. Oinkster is FAR from #1. Good pastrami…but definitely NOT the top burger! Like, what? I second Father’s Office! Can’t believe how they didn’t make it in your top three…but not even being in the top ten is ridiculous? Someone needs to either get out more or stop taking kickbacks for these phony lists..smh

  8. Hollywood Burger has hit the LA burger sence and has quickly became my new favorite burger spot!! Might want to check it out! Keep up the great work Matthew!

  9. I second Father’s Office. I’d say it’s one of the best in LA. It’s on people’s top 10 in the US. It not making the cut makes this list suspicious.

  10. Not sure where you heard that Shake Shack’s burgers are grass-fed. No where on any of their menus – online or at locations, is it stated that they use grass-fed beef.

  11. The Bowery on Sunset at Vine in Hollywood is the best burger I’ve had in Los Angeles. The Oinkster’s classic is a very good burger but overrated. Thanks for the list, I can’t hardly wait to go to DTLA and check those places downtown!

  12. Barry Woods

    These lists need to be linked to an easily readable/printable version. Perfect to keep handy and hand out to guests at AirBnb properties for recommendations. Love the list, no disagreements

  13. Dude, you gotta go to a neighborhood that isn’t white. There are at least three places better than this just in Leimert Park. PS Father’s Office has the worst attitude of any place on the Westside, which is saying a LOT.

  14. You really omitted the cheeseburger at Westside Tavern?? Maybe you focused only on skinny CA-style burgers. Go have a voluptuous juicy treat at Pico and Westwood.

  15. L.A. is a big city and it’s hard to cover the whole place, but West L.A. was barely mentioned except for the long-time favorite, Apple Pan. I would add Shaka Shack at 17th & Ocean Park in Santa Monica. Hawaiian themed with Kobe beef.

  16. Come on, really Pie N’ Burger? Overrated.. the whole theme is you just leave “full” because you can order a pie for dessert after you’re average burger. How is Plan Check not on here? And if you went to Pasadena for Pie N’ Burger, you should’ve known about Rounds burgers which is by far one of the best burgers in LA. The thing is, how can you mess up a burger? But these burgers on this list are just pretty generic. Islands has been making burgers for years, and they make some great burgers. Alta Eats in Pasadena also makes a great Bison Burger with a berry spread that is awesome.. man you I should write column for best burgers…. this was whizack….

  17. SAINT

    Okay. You must come to WATTS!!! There is a place called HAWKINS HOUSE OF BURGERS!!! On Imperial Hwy east of Central Ave. You MUST COME. They make home made sweet potato fries. Look at the pictures on google images. Then, there is Fresh and Meaty Burgers on Florence Ave @ 8th Ave. You come on by South Central. Come and get these very, very serious burgers!!! I had my first Hawkins burger, my goodness, taaaaasssstttteeeeeeeee!!!! Fresh and Meaty was delicious too.

  18. Margie

    26 Beach Restaurant is the BEST! They’ve won awards for their burgers — 25 different kinds. But, personally, I go for the 20 different varieties of French Toast! I’ve been going there for over 20 years. Small restaurant but great atmosphere and a terrific staff. Located at 3100 Washington Blvd, Venice, CA

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