The Best Burgers In LA

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

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

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 best of them. These are our top 20 burgers in Los Angeles.




$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerDate NightDrinking Good Wine
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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 come to this Venice spot for seafood (the place is located a block from the beach). But if you skip the burger, you’re living a lesser existence.

photo credit: Jessie Clapp



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If we had to draw our ideal version of a bar burger in art class, it would look like the one at Dunsmoor. Served only in the back wine bar, this decadent monstrosity features an inch-thick beef patty smothered in gooey comte cheese, topped with raw onions and a tangy onion jam on a soft sesame bun. Be warned: It’s the kind of messy burger that leads to streaks of juice running down your chin and a well-used napkin. On the side is a pile of thick, crispy duck-fat fries that might somehow be even better than the burger. The kitchen only prepares 20 orders each night, available at the bar starting at 5:30pm. So plan on arriving early—or you risk being 21st.

photo credit: Erin Mavian

$$$$Perfect For:Quick Eats

This casual mini-chain from a former fine-dining chef has five 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.

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 in Lincoln Heights 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.

Goldburger started as a pop-up in Silver Lake in 2019 and then moved to Highland Park during the pandemic. Since then, it has 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 single burger at Everson Royce Bar in the Arts District 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.

At one point, Camphor’s burger was an off-menu secret available only at the bar or patio. These days, it's an official menu mainstay, no doubt a product of how many people were coming in to get it. 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 $38 price tag is 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 think). They mostly keep their toppings simple: gooey cheese, raw onions and pickles for crunch, and an outstanding smoky-sweet special sauce. Find them at their order-at-the-counter bar in Koreatown. Weekends at their beer and wine spot can get pretty busy—expect a great patio, a bumping playlist, big birthday groups, and a free flow of people breezing through the walkway with burgers, garlic-parm fries, and bottles until midnight.

A former pop-up gone permanent, this smashburger operation bounced around the South Bay and Long Beach before landing in a breezy space with lots of seating a block from the ocean in Hermosa Beach. Burgers here are double-stacked by default, though they’ll probably let you do a single if you ask nicely. The not-too-thin patties have a nice seasoned crust that droops over the edge of the toasted potato bun, while the mayo-heavy special sauce and pickles add some tang. The best part, though, is the bird’s nest of griddled, crispy, almost-charred onions they smoosh into the patty. We also appreciate that their burgers are neatly wrapped in paper—presentation points—and arrive looking composed enough to meet your parents. Order a side of tots and a local craft beer on draft to complete the set.

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 spot—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.

Speaking of beach bars: Hinano is Venice’s best beachside dive—a place with sawdust on the floor, guys who haven’t left their seat at the bar since the ’60s, pool tables in the back, and a handful of confused-looking tourists. More importantly, it’s a place with a great, no-B.S. burger. This is another super-traditional option, one that’s grilled right behind the bar and comes in a basket with a bag of chips on the side. You could add a hot link or bacon if you want, but this one is pretty perfect as it comes.

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 in West Hollywood 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 in Cheviot Hills 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 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.

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.

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