The 20 Best Burgers In LA
Pub burgers, smash burgers, and burgers that might not even be burgers—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.
Say hello to our absolute 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 (a second location in Los Feliz arrived in fall 2021). 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.
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Moo's Craft Barbecue
The fact that the best barbecue restaurant in LA also happens to make one the city’s best burgers is borderline unfair. Much like watching Lady Gaga act or Mookie Betts bowl, you get the sense that Moo’s Craft Barbecue in Lincoln Heights is just flexing on us at this point. Available daily, the “Thicc Smoked Burger” here lives up to its name. A beefy, eight-ounce ground brisket patty crusted with black pepper takes a quick trip through the smoker, giving it a nice smoky flavor without overcooking the juicy, medium-rare interior. It’s topped with pickles, aioli, and thinly sliced raw onions on a soft potato bun. If you show up on a weekend, look for the somehow even more delicious Rampart Thicc Burger, a special that swaps in spicy ground brisket chili, diced onions, and yellow mustard in an homage to the iconic chili cheeseburger at Original Tommy’s
The burger at Horses laughs in the face of every greasy, overcooked smashburger. It’s a pub-style beast—the patty is peppery, cooked exactly to your liking, and thick enough to warrant its own unit of measurement. It’s sandwiched between a Rockenwagner salt and pepper brioche bun with a blanket of cheddar and thinly sliced raw onions that melt into the meat. While this is not the most innovative dish on the Hollywood bistro's menu, we regret every time we don’t order it. If you’re looking to take yourself on a weeknight date, find a seat at the bar, order a vesper and this phenomenal $28 burger. It comes with a mountain of fries and a fresh bottle of Heinz 57, which are all the company you’ll need.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
Amboy Quality Meats
First off, Amboy has the best fries in Los Angeles. 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 stellar, 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 in LA seems to have these days, but Amboy is judicious with their spread, and doesn’t overdo it. 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 beef blend patty and garlic confit mayo.
The Win-Dow at American Beauty
Win-Dow is—you guessed it—a tiny takeout window attached to American Beauty, a steakhouse on Rose Ave. in Venice (they've also operate standalone locations on the Venice boardwalk and Silver Lake). They’re doing straightforward, no-frills smash patties cooked on a flat-top with onions, topped with American cheese, pickles, and house sauce, and served on a Martin’s potato roll—all for under $5. The burger is crispy yet juicy (and a touch salty, which is OK by us), the cheese is sufficiently gooey, and the house sauce is slightly tangy, but they do innovate a bit, too: Not only do they make a great breakfast burger with egg, but the vegetarian Beauty Burger, made with an Impossible patty and grilled with onions, is savory and a just little bit sweet.
Everson Royce Bar
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.
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.
This would be an anatomically perfect replica of a McDonald’s double cheeseburger, if McDonald’s double cheeseburgers were vegan. Fortunately, it also tastes a whole lot better. Mr. Charlie’s in Hollywood makes theirs with two Impossible patties, pickles, ketchup, and mustard. The melted non-dairy cheese sticks to the foil wrapper as you unfold it, just as the fast food gods intended. The burger’s gooey, greasy, and salty elements melt into each other, offering you a bit of childhood nostalgia. What other burger can transport you back to simpler times when all you wanted was to swing by Mickey D’s on the way home?
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 think). Especially popular with the streetwear/hypebeast set, you can find them at Smorgasburg on Sundays, or at the former Beer Belly space in Koreatown on Thursday and Friday nights, conveniently located next to one of our favorite outdoor drinking spots, Ddong Ggo. Love Hour mostly keeps their smashburgers toppings simple: you choose between a single or a double (the double has the best meat-to-bun ratio), and then add your own condiments like you’re at a cookout. And throw in some of their garlic-parm fries while you're at it.
Hawkins House Of Burgers
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.
The Black Cat
LA is lacking when it comes to 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.
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 here at The Infatuation, we’ll track this classic down every time we’re near one of their locations in Culver City, Santa Monica, or Downtown. Topped with caramelized onions, gruyere and Maytag blue cheese, bacon compote, and arugula, this is the perfect combination of sweet, salty, and extremely 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!
We’d probably choose an afternoon at the DMV over dealing with parking at The Original Farmers Market, but the burger at Market Tavern definitely warrants a visit. The British pub’s menu is loosely British-themed, and we are of the belief that their “British Invasion Burger” should just be called “The Very Excellent Pub Burger.” The cheddar-topped patty is so thick and juicy that things will get drippy and require sleeves to be rolled up. We’re big fans of the glossy, nicely toasted buns, curry aioli, thinly chopped lettuce, and super crunchy pickles.
Think of this burger as a spin on the Quarter Pounder that went on a self-care journey and came out reaching its full potential. That’s what you can expect at Burgers 99, where the excellent burgers are reminiscent of the fast food classics, minus the beef patties that taste like an old dish sponge. The patties come well-seasoned and crispy with a layer of thinly sliced white onion for crunch, some crispy pickles, and tasty but not-too-thick 99 sauce. The retro theme is everywhere at this Mid-Wilshire spot, with its white-tiled walls, McDonald’s collector’s items on display, and short menu that doesn’t deviate far beyond milkshakes, thick-cut fries, and burgers.
Many people say a burger without a bun isn’t really a burger, and to them we say please find your nearest Screaming Into The Void self-help group, then try the burger at Jitlada. This legendary off-menu item at LA’s best Thai restaurant comes bun-less and loosely bound in a sheet of lettuce, drenched in a house honey-mustard-ish sauce, and topped with whatever Thai chiles they have in the kitchen at the moment. It changes slightly every time you order it, but you can count on a ton of heat and a patty with the perfect amount of sweetness.
Clark Street - Echo Park
We’re just going to come out and say it—one of the best things about Clark Street’s burger is that it’s available at 7:30am. Have we actually ordered it that early? No comment. Plus, since this is a fantastic bakery, the hamburger bun it comes on is equally impeccable—soft, thick, and shaped like a sesame-seeded cloud. Unlike most hamburger buns, it doesn’t feel like an afterthought, but rather a complement to the burger. The third-pound of meat is well-cooked. There’s a little bit of special sauce, but not too much. They even throw in a slice of heirloom tomato, which is cool. One thing to note: we prefer to get this burger from the Clark Street locations in Echo Park and Brentwood, since at Clark Street Diner in Hollywood, they serve a slightly different version without the special sauce.
The Apple Pan
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.
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 the fact that you can have a full meal, including fries and the tasty key lime pie, for under $20.