Los Angeles has a (pretty well-deserved) reputation as the land of kale salads, farro power bowls, and probiotic Moon Juice thermal chambers, but there’s something else this city does better than most: burgers.
From old-school Valley shacks and gourmet 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 htem. These are the top 25 burgers in Los Angeles, ranked. You can get back on the goji berries or whatever tomorrow.
Say hello to our absolute favorite burger in Los Angeles right now. A perfectly-cooked Wagyu beef 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 Venice spot for the fresh seafood, but if you skip the burger, you’re living a lesser existence.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
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.
Electric Owl is a train-station-themed bar/restaurant on Sunset that most people come to for Happy Hour, when they can drink a bunch of $8 cocktails on the front patio. And while we certainly condone that, what’s more important here is the house burger - which is also on the Happy Hour menu. And that means this giant burger on a frico bun topped with griddled shallots, pickles, 1000 Island spread, and American cheese is only $7 ($9 for a double). It’s a greasy, gooey masterpiece and our definition of the term “post-work decompression.”
Starting out 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 is arriving in summer 2022). 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.
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, 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.
When you just want a burger that looks like an emoji, there’s no better place in Los Angeles than HiHo. Yes, it’s dangerously close to the Promenade. Yes, the room feels 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.
The Window is - you guessed it - a tiny takeout window attached to American Beauty, a steakhouse on Rose Ave. in Venice. They’re doing straightforward, no-frills smash patties grilled 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.
Heavy Handed has mastered the double burger in a way that few places have. The cheese/meat/bread ratio at this roaming truck is perfect - every inch of the smashed patties is covered in melted American cheese, and it’s served on a fluffy Martin’s potato roll. The burger, made from 100% short rib, also has some sweetness from the house bread-and-butter pickles, and tang from the house burger sauce, which complements the funky patty perfectly. And if you don’t get an order of their beef tallow fries on the side, you’ll never forgive yourself. For their most up to date location and details, be sure to follow them @heavyhanded.la
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.
Veggie burgers usually fail when they attempt to taste like real meat. Luckily, Spoke Bicycle got that memo. The veggie patty at this outdoor cafe in Frogtown is made with smoked mushrooms and beets, then topped with arugula, pickled onions, tomato, and garlic aioli. The result is a burger that’s not only rich and smoky, but will actually fill you up, too. The griddled bun is also very good, and you shouldn’t miss the waffle fries.
Love Hour is worth seeking out, and you’ll usually find them behind Ddong Ggo in Koreatown. This smashburger spot keeps it simple - you choose between a single or a double (the double has the best meat-to-bun ratio), and then add your own toppings like you’re at a cookout. The edges of the burger get nice and crispy, but unlike other smash spots, it’s not overly greasy, so the bun stays intact... and that’s tougher to pull off than you think.
This retro burger spot on La Brea in Mid-City was unlucky enough to open right before the pandemic hit in March 2020, and if you haven’t stopped by yet, that needs to change. For one, they run an efficient contactless pick-up operation, and secondly, the burgers are excellent. Your eyes (and stomach) are no doubt going to go for the classic double cheeseburger first, but for us, the American is the best burger on the menu. This simple, $6 burger is topped with only American cheese, diced onions, pickles, ketchup, and mustard, and is essentially their take on the Quarter Pounder - but a vast improvement upon the original. Also, be sure to get some fries as well. They’re thick, crispy, and perfect for dipping in whatever shake you ordered.
Yes, it’s a burger without a bun. No, that doesn’t matter. This fun Japanese restaurant in Koreatown has a menu full of everything from curry udon to okonomiyaki, but everyone is here to eat the Original Hamburg. Arriving as a giant marinated ball of raw beef, you cook it on a sizzling hot stone grill, essentially turning your table into a make-your-own smashburger station (only without the bun or unneeded grease). It’s a simple, straightforward dish, but when the quality of meat is as high as it is here, you don’t need any add-ons to cover it up.
Petit Trois’s Big Mec is the double cheeseburger to end all double cheeseburgers. Topped with American cheese, caramelized onions that taste like French onion soup, and a red wine sauce that (may or may not) have foie gras in it, this is an absolute monster of a burger. The highlight is the patty, which tastes more like a steak. You’ll be very messy when you’re done with it, but also very, very happy.
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? We’ll never tell (yes, and many times). Plus, since this is a fantastic bakery, the hamburger bun it comes on is not an afterthought - soft, thick, and shaped like a sesame-seeded cloud. The third-pound of meat is slightly charred on the outside, but perfectly pink on the inside. There’s a little bit of special sauce, but not too much. They even throw in a slice of heirloom tomato, which is cool. And again, you can order it at 7:30am. They now have locations in Echo Park, Grand Central Market, and Brentwood.
Big Dean’s has been a staple of the Santa Monica boardwalk for well over 100 years, and we’re still not tired of burning through Saturday afternoons here. And while the multiple patios, relatively cheap beer, and flat-screen TVs have a lot to do with that, it’s their cheeseburger that really keeps us coming back. Two perfectly greasy patties, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and house special sauce - it’s as classic as a burger gets, and exactly what you want to be eating on your day at the beach.
Unless you’ve only lightly skimmed this guide, it should be pretty clear that street-style smashburgers are everywhere in LA right now, so much so that it’s hard to know which spots are actually worth checking out. We’ll make this very clear - go to Easy Street. The tiny pop-up in an empty parking lot along Western Ave. in East Hollywood is cooking up an excellent version. Greasy, but-not-too-greasy, crispy, but never burnt, Easy Street is the archetype of street-style smashburger. You should absolutely add some chopped grilled onions on top for $1, and keep in mind the patties are thin, so a double should be your minimum order. The fries are admittedly just OK, so if you come hungry, plan to just order two burgers instead.
Yes, In-N-Out is a mega-chain with hundreds of locations across seven states, but the fact remains that no single burger has a more profound affect on SoCal burger culture than In-N-Out. All the smash burgers you see scattered across your Instagram every day? That’s because of In-N-Out. Fancy restaurants trying to create special Thousand Island-ish house sauce to dip stuff in? That’s because of In-N-Out. And to top it all off, it’s still a consistently delicious burger at every single location. Do we even need to tell you that the only acceptable order is double-double animal style? Well, it bears repeating.
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!
The Blue Dog Beer Tavern
Blue Dog is the kind of burger-and-beer bar that every neighborhood wishes they had. Located right off the 405 in Sherman Oaks, you can show up on a Saturday at noon, and by 2pm, every person on your street is there, too, drinking craft beer, watching sports, and eating one of our favorite burgers in the Valley. There are actually several different burgers on the menu, and while you can’t go wrong with any of them, the Fire Starter is our usual order. Pepper jack cheese, crispy onions, jalapeno bottle caps, and their own honey chipotle sauce, on a giant half chuck/half brisket patty. It’s so good you won’t even care that your team is unraveling in the 4th quarter. Again.
Monty’s burger is a veggie burger that doesn’t pretend to bleed - and we like that. This mini-chain (they have locations from Weho to Riverside)) has a short menu with a single or double burger, fries, tots, milkshakes, and a kale salad (we’d advise you skip the latter). The vegan patties are griddled, the cashew cheese could almost pass for the real thing, and the non-dairy milkshakes are so good they’ll make you forget that milkshakes with dairy are even a thing, which makes Monty’s a great choice, whether you’re vegan or not. Be sure to load up on their house dipping sauces as well - they go great on the burger as well as directly into your mouth.
Can a coffee shop make a great burger? Go Get Em Tiger makes the case for yes – and an extremely compelling one. Alongside the pour overs and cups of espresso that made them a superstar in LA’s coffee scene, you’ll also find an excellent burger, made with nothing but five ounces of meat, a slice of American cheese, caper aioli, a few pickles, grilled onions, and a brioche bun. Much like the rest of the menu, this burger is pretty uncomplicated. A smashburger by definition, but made juicy by the addition of grilled onions and aioli, so it doesn’t taste like a Quarter Pounder with cheese the way so many others do. Now, if only every other third-wave coffee shop could also make burgers…
Gran Blanco is right by the Venice Boardwalk, but this trendy spot is definitely not a beach dive like Big Dean’s or Hinano. The burger, though, can stand up to what’s being served at those other excellent beachside spots. Appropriately called The Tremendous Burger, it’s two perfectly greasy beef patties covered in caramelized onions on a bun with mayo and lettuce, and it’s an excellent addition to the pantheon of Westside beach-bar burgers.
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 is one that’s pretty perfect as it comes.
The Apple Pan
The Apple Pan hasn’t really changed much since it opened on April 11, in 1947, and that’s about all you need to know. This LA institution has more than earned its place in LA burger lore, and while the classic hickory burger isn’t our absolute favorite among the old-school spots, it’s still pretty tasty. Come pay your respects and get a delicious banana cream pie on your way out.