The Best Burgers In LA guide image


The Best Burgers In LA

Pub burgers, smashburgers, and anything else between two buns—we’re here to make sense of it all.

Los Angeles has a (pretty well-deserved) reputation as the land of kale salads, farro power bowls, and probiotic thermal chambers from the moon, but there’s something else this city does better than most: burgers.

From old-school Valley shacks and schmancy truffle patties to the best fast food chain in existence, there’s no denying LA knows its way around an incredible burger. And we’ve scoured the city looking for the absolute best of them. These are our top 20 burgers in Los Angeles. You can get back on the goji berries or whatever tomorrow.


Dudley Market

Say hello to our favorite fancy restaurant burger in Los Angeles. A beefy, perfectly cooked patty, cheddar cheese, dill aioli, fresh arugula, and a caramelized onion-bacon jam on a brioche bun—Dudley’s burger is special. It’s sweet and savory, briny and peppery, and something you’ll want to remember forever. You should absolutely come to this neighborhood beach spot for the fresh seafood, but if you skip the burger, you’re living a lesser existence.

Started as a pop-up in Silver Lake in 2019, Goldburger moved to Highland Park during the pandemic and has since exploded in popularity (there's now a second location in Los Feliz). These are the most substantial burgers in LA’s oversaturated smash scene. From the eponymous Goldburger, which comes topped with American cheese, grilled onions, pickles, and their special garlic-mustard aioli, to the LA Special, loaded with thick cuts of pastrami, these are smashburgers that’ll keep you full well past dinner and possibly into breakfast the next day. Also, their curly fries are not to be missed.

The fact that the best barbecue restaurant in LA also happens to make one of the city’s best burgers is borderline unfair. Much like watching Lady Gaga act, you get the sense that Moo’s is just flexing at this point. Available daily, the “Thicc Smoked Burger” lives up to its name. A beefy, eight-ounce ground brisket patty crusted with pepper takes a quick trip through the smoker, giving it a smoky flavor without overcooking the medium-rare interior. It’s topped with pickles, aioli, and thinly sliced onions on a soft potato bun. If you show up on the weekend, look for the Rampart Thicc Burger, a special with spicy brisket chili, diced onions, and mustard that's an homage to Original Tommy’s.

First off, Amboy has the best fries in LA. Golden and crispy, skinny (but not too skinny), and served with every order—they’re Goldilocks-levels of perfection. And the burgers at this Chinatown spot are pretty amazing, too. We recommend the classic double, with a pair of perfectly smashed patties, a toasted sesame bun, cheese, and a slew of pickles, which add a touch of acidity. Of course, it also comes with that In-N-Out-style sauce that every burger seems to have these days, but Amboy is judicious with its spread. This is also a butcher shop, so if you’ve got a bigger appetite (and plenty of napkins), try the DH, with a fantastic dry-aged patty and garlic confit mayo.

Win-Dow is—you guessed it—a tiny takeout window attached to American Beauty, a steakhouse on Rose Avenue in Venice (they've also got locations in Silver Lake and on the Venice boardwalk). They do straightforward, no-frills smash patties griddled with onions, topped with American cheese, pickles, and tangy house sauce, and served on a potato roll—all for under $5. What's not to like? The burger is crispy yet juicy (and a touch salty, which is OK by us), the onions are soft and sweet, and the cheese is sufficiently gooey. They do innovate a bit, too: We love their breakfast burger with egg, plus they make a very good vegetarian burger with a smashed Impossible patty.

The single burger at Everson Royce Bar isn’t just a tutorial in simplicity, it’s the ultimate example of how the damn thing should be done. Don’t expect overbearing sauce, unnecessary fried egg, or soggy vegetables—ERB’s burger is just prime beef chuck, cheddar, and pickles all sandwiched between an egg brioche bun. It’s a perfect burger that we’d happily eat once a week.

Camphor’s semi-secret, off-menu burger is only available at the bar or patio, which means if you’re heading to this French spot in the Arts District, make sure you’re seated in the right spot. This burger is not to be missed. The patty is a mix of duck and dry-aged beef, giving it a sweet, slightly gamey flavor that plays nice with the tangy caramelized onions. The soft brioche bun and savory beef fat remoulade push this baby into true decadence territory. Its $30 price tag is pretty steep, but this is a hefty burger and comes with a heap of fries and three dipping sauces. Mix the ketchup with the spicy aioli. 

There’s a lot to love about Oy Bar in Studio City. The dark, divey interior, and the pastrami quesadilla get us in the door—but it’s the burger that’s worthy of another rush hour standstill on the 101. A heavy helping of cilantro is something we’ve never seen on a burger before, but Oy Bar (from the Jeff’s Table people) proves that it might just be the ultimate accompaniment to a thick, medium burger patty. Combine it with gooey Toma cheese, hoisin ketchup, lettuce, onion, cucumber, and dijon—all on a plump sesame bun—and you’ve got a tangy, fragrant masterpiece.

Love Hour has become a fixture of LA's smashburger scene and for good reason. The edges of the patty here get nice and crispy, but unlike other smash spots, it’s not overly greasy, so the bun stays intact (that’s tougher to pull off than you'd think). Especially popular with the streetwear/hypebeast set, you can find them at Smorgasburg on Sundays, or from Wednesday through Saturday nights at their bar space in Koreatown. We also appreciate that they let you configure your toppings: choose between a single or a double (the double has the best meat-to-bun ratio), and then add condiments like you’re at a cookout. And throw in some of their garlic-parm fries while you're at it.

Hawkins makes messy, classic burgers that harken back to simpler times. And while the counter-service Watts spot does get creative with the triple-stacked Leaning Tower Of Watts, our go-to is the double cheeseburger with bacon. The angus beef patties are notably thick, and each slice of smoked bacon offers a satisfying crackle with each chew. Finishing one whole will make you want to lie down horizontally for hours, and that’s exactly how this family-run institution in Watts has been making people feel since the 1930s. Owner Cynthia Hawkins, who inherited the business from her grandfather, has flipped many of the patties herself right behind the counter.

LA is generally lacking in low-key bar burgers, but this version is a standout. Black Cat certainly didn’t invent raclette cheese, but whoever decided to put it on top of their juicy burger deserves a medal of recognition. When combined with the sauteed onions and tangy pickles on top, the result is gooey, salty, and sweet—and an ideal accompaniment to whatever you’re drinking. The casual Silver Lake drinking hole—and historic queer space—has a solid menu filled with things not often associated with neighborhood bars like crab tartine and braised rock cod. But your focus needs to be on the burger.   

If you need a dive bar and a killer burger in Manhattan Beach, Ercole's is the place to be. Regulars drink cheap beer and play pool in a space that looks like it’s been minimally updated since it opened in 1927, aside from a few faded Budweiser posters. The char-grilled, backyard-style burgers here are in the same vein as the fantastic ones at Big Dean's and Hinano Cafe, except that Ercole's sources its beef from the butcher shop next door, which means the patty here is a little thicker and beefier than its competitors (they'll even ask how you want it cooked). Between the $12 burger, the affordable drinks, and the straight-out-of-a-Jimmy Buffet-song people-watching, Ercole's is the kind of spot every beach town would be very lucky to have.

The burgers at Trophies, a casual counter-service spot on Fairfax, fall into the “fast food-style, but way better than fast food” category. They come with thin, juicy patties topped with American cheese, plus classic toppings like diced onions and pickles. The menu is small, with just three different burgers, the best being the Spicy BBQ Bacon, which comes with spicy barbecue sauce, chilies, grilled onions, and bacon. If you like your burgers equal parts salty and spicy, make this burger an immediate priority. If you’re a student, be sure to head over on weekdays to take advantage of the  “After School Special,” which gets you a classic burger, fries, and a drink for $12.

No burger in the city has caused more friendship implosions, breakups, and multi-generational family disputes than the one at Father’s Office—especially when it comes to the infamous “no ketchup” policy. But we’ll track this classic down any time we’re near one of their several locations. Topped with caramelized onions, gruyere and Maytag blue cheese, bacon compote, and arugula, this is the perfect combination of sweet, salty, and tangy. Some could argue that it’s actually just a sandwich—and they might be right - but couldn’t you argue any burger is just a sandwich? Rest, set, fight!

If you or someone you love is suffering from smashburger fatigue, you might be entitled to compensation. Just kidding, you won’t be, but eating the burger at Connie & Ted’s might help. This classic bar burger is every bit as good now as it was when this East Coast-inspired seafood spot first opened a decade ago: A juicy, inch-thick patty topped with aged cheddar, pickles, onion, lettuce, and Thousand Island dressing. There’s nothing crazy about it, and that’s exactly why we still cruise up to the restaurant's bar after a tough day to eat one.

The Apple Pan hasn’t really changed much since it opened 1947, and that’s about all you need to know. This LA institution/living museum has more than earned its place in LA burger lore, and while the classic tangy-sweet hickory burger can be divisive, it’s still very tasty and totally unique. Come pay your respects and get a slice of delicious banana cream pie on your way out.

Show up to Lingua Franca at dinner and you’ll likely see a podcast host in designer eyewear, girlfriends drinking rosé, and various well-dressed people enjoying a funny-looking burger. The latter is our top reason to eat at this buzzy Frogtown spot. Served on a housemade english muffin, this burger’s grass-fed patty is offered medium rare only and slicked with pepper mayo, a gooey blanket of caramelized onions, plus aged toma cheese. The quality of the meat (a juicy combination of ground brisket and beef chuck) shines through in every bite. The whole thing oozes brown butter and meat drippings, so sop it all up with the paper-thin matchstick fries on the side.

When you just want a burger that looks like an emoji, there’s no better place in LA than HiHo, a growing local mini-chain with four locations around the city. Yes, the Santa Monica one is dangerously close to the Promenade. Yes, they feel a little too much like a fast-casual restaurant. But no, none of that should stop you from coming here. The bun is squishy, the double patties taste like the grill, the cheese and onions get all over your hands, and there’s only the tiniest bit of lettuce involved. Also, we appreciate that you can have a full meal here, including fries and a slice of key lime pie, for under $20.

Eating the burger and sipping a martini alone at the bar (no reservations required) then quietly leaving this upscale seafood spot on the Sunset Strip is our favorite version of an Irish Goodbye. The hefty, melt-in-your-mouth beef patty is topped with gruyere, avocado, and a tangy, mayo-y dressing. There are similar burgers around town, but Saltie Girl’s version is the one we continue to prioritize. Does the tiny piece of fried lobster on top add much flavor? Not really, but we always appreciate a statement hat.

This casual mini-chain from a former fine-dining chef has three other locations across LA, specializing in smashburgers with beefy, fresh-ground patties and a very good fried chicken sandwich. Among LA’s surplus of smashburger options, we like that For The Win strikes a nice balance between a juicy, flavorful patty and crisp, lacy edges. Plus, the melted cheese-to-potato bun ratio that’s spot on. Our standard order is the double stack, which is surprisingly light, with jalapenños, bacon, and their slightly spicy fry sauce. They always taste best straight off the grill, so plan on grabbing a table to eat your order as soon as possible.

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photo credit: Jessie Clapp

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