The LA Smashburger Power Rankings

The city's crispiest, sauciest, most satisfying smashburgers, ranked.
Smashburger stack

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Like it or not, smashburgers have Los Angeles in a full-on chokehold. It's hard to pinpoint the exact moment when much of the city decided the ideal burger form involved patties that look like they were run over by a flatbed truck, but few can deny there's something about a saucy, American cheese-y, crispy, meaty (and yes, a little greasy) double stack that scratches a certain itch. So in the interest of public service—and to settle the debate once and for all—here's our guide to the city's best-known smashburger spots, in order.

photo credit: Erin Mavian



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Your Order: Double Cheeseburger ($11.50)

We’d never thought we’d call a smashburger “balanced” but here we are. Opened by a former fine-dining chef, For The Win’s burgers nail the tasty middle ground between juicy, flavorful patties (that actually taste like beef) and crispy, lacy charred edges that peek out like a meat skirt. Their standard double on a soft potato bun—with Thousand Island-ish sauce, snappy pickles, and wispy grilled onions pressed into the patty—is a perfect poem of a burger by itself, but adding bacon and jalapeños is like putting a rear spoiler on a ‘03 Corolla: unnecessary, but an undeniable improvement. FTW now has four locations around town (including one at Grand Central Market), but the original in Hollywood is our go-to.

Your Order: California Classic ($11)

Goldburger, which has locations in Los Feliz and Highland Park, was founded by a guy who used to rigorously document LA burgers on Instagram, which should tell you the level of obsession happening here. Well-seasoned patties and shaved onions are smashed in a way that creates thicker middle and crispy tapered edges, like a flying saucer or those high-end frisbees professional frolfers use. What keeps Goldburger from the top spot is their controversial use of an “award-winning” garlic-mustard aioli on the house burger, which doesn’t lend enough sweet tang to balance the savory, rich burger. The good news is that their double-patty California Classic—a suped-up Big Mac riff with special sauce, fresh pickles, shredded lettuce, and diced onion—is phenomenal enough to make us forget.

Your Order: Double Burger ($10)

This is a burger-focused guide, so we won’t give Love Hour extra points for being attached to a bar, but it doesn’t hurt, either. This Koreatown takeout window serves one of the most sizeable smashburgers on the list, making it one of the few places where a reasonably hungry person would be content with a single (though we still prefer the double). The style here involves frilly-edged, beefy patties, gooey cheese, raw onions and pickles for crunch, and an outstanding smoky-sweet burger sauce—served on a soft toasted bun that’s the proper size. We also like that these burgers aren’t too messy, which would make them a great lunch option if Love Hour wasn’t only open at night (here’s hoping).

Your Order: PS Burger ($10)

A former pop-up gone permanent, Proudly Serving bounced around the South Bay and Long Beach before landing in a breezy space 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 (Oklahoma-style) into the patty. We also appreciate that their burgers are neatly wrapped in paper and arrive looking composed enough to meet your parents.

Your Order: Double Cheeseburger ($7.50)

The Win-Dow’s burgers could be classified as smashburger-adjacent: the patties aren’t super flattened, but they are pressed down hard enough to get a nice sear. Those crispy edges hold up under a blanket of gooey American cheese, griddled onions, pickles, and bright pink house sauce. None of the ingredients between their soft potato buns stand out on their own, but together they make for an all-around great burger. The most notable thing about this takeout-friendly mini-chain is its price, but since the $4 single cheeseburger is a bit small, you’ll probably wind up ordering the double (and a side of very good fries) to make a full meal.

Your Order: Double Amboy Classic ($12)

Although we prefer the medium-thick burgers on the menu at Amboy overall, their “classic” thinly smashed patties hold their own in terms of juiciness and flavor. The most memorable part of any burger at this casual spot inside Chinatown’s Far East Plaza, however, is the classy bun, a toasted sesame-speckled beauty made by local bakery Breadbar. Although we wish their house burger sauce had a little more tang, Amboy undoubtedly puts the bliss of beef and cheese on display up front. There’s also a truffle smashburger on the menu—topped with parmigiano reggiano and black truffle aioli—but we’ve yet to try it. Seems like putting a top hat on a mullet.

Your Order: Double Slider, Chris’ Way ($5.50) x 2

Chris N Eddy’s is the Brendan Fraser of the LA smashburger scene—it might have been a minute since you’ve heard their name, but they clearly can still bring it. The interior of this spot on Sunset in East Hollywood looks inspired by a '90s Nerf commercial, but we appreciate that they’re open until midnight daily and offer excellent value. The menu calls their burgers “sliders” but they’re at least 75% as big as a typical smashburger, and two juicy doubles will fill you up unless you’re a professional bodybuilder. Just avoid the single, which given the thin patties might as well be a grilled cheese. Also, we prefer ordering them Chris’ Way (raw onions and pickles) over Eddy’s Way (grilled onions).

Your Order: Double Short Rib Burger ($11)

As the lone smashburger option in Santa Monica, this small yellow walk-up window on Main Street is a destination for touristy types on the Westside, and that’s before you factor in their dipped soft serve cones, beef tallow fries, and a long list of craft beers on tap. The strongest burger traits here are the beef (substantial, flavorful ground short rib) and bun (a buttery toasted potato roll). The rest is divisive: the patties are more seared than smashed, the onions are squishy and caramelized rather than griddled, and the combination of a worcestershire-heavy special sauce and sweet housemade bread-and-butter pickles is a little jarring. Would we still destroy one of their doubles in seconds after an afternoon at the beach? No question.

Your Order: The Hot & Heavy ($13)

Let’s get one thing out of the way: Wanna Smash—which sounds like a text you’d receive from an unknown number at midnight—is a terrible name. And the cringe-inducing, sex-themed names of the burgers on their menu aren't much better. But if you can put all that aside, the over-the-top housemade sauces and topping combinations make this tiny counter-service spot in Van Nuys stand out. Plus, despite being squished on a flat top within an inch of their life, the griddled meat here still maintains its juiciness. We go with the Hot & Heavy (groan), a double cheese gussied up with bacon strips, sliced jalapenos, pickles, and two kinds of sauces, piled on a potato bun that somehow holds together under the strain.

Your Order: Double Oklahoma Burger ($14)

Burger She Wrote in Beverly Grove has a short two-smashburger menu, available as singles or doubles (plus a grilled cheese and fries that are complete afterthoughts). Flavor-wise, we like these burgers. Structurally? They’re a big mess. The pressed patties are nearly twice the size of the bun, with a juicy center and edges that crackle like burnt toast. Rather than some sweet-tangy Thousand Island sauce, you taste dill pickles and a ketchup-mayo-mustard combo that oozes out the sides. We’d strictly come for the Oklahoma Burger, topped with a mountain of onions mushed into the salty patty. They add a nice caramelized sweetness, but also make the whole thing so heavy it collapses in your hands after two bites.

Your Order: Three Stack With Cheese ($13.35)

Along with its list of rules for ordering and somewhat standoffish social media presence, Burgers Never Say Die in Silver Lake is famous for smashburgers that are more or less nostalgic dupes of the five-bite ones you’d find at the Golden Arches. The problem is they're a little too close to McD’s level, at more than double the price. The standard-issue bun is toasted and buttered but a bit dry, the ketchup-mustard ratio is slightly off, and the finely minced onion all but disappears under the cheese. Plus, the salty, squished patties are so thin and brittle, they're closer to beef wafers. The regular comes with two, but we usually need a triple just to feel moved.

Your Order: Double Jalapeño Monster ($12.50)

This spot in Studio City is best known for getting a rare 10/10 rating from food influencer Keith Lee, the same guy who thought ordering a salmon chopped cheese from a NYC bodega was a good idea (no comment). Suffice it to say, we weren’t as impressed. Though these burgers aren’t terrible, the main issue is the chewy, spiderweb-y, overcooked patties, which arrive less “smashed” and more “maimed in an industrial accident.” They’re also served open-faced, which means having to fold the squishy too-sweet bun in half like a poorly made taco. The saving grace here is topping options like fresh sliced jalapenos, but considering the upcharge for those (even grilled onions cost an extra $1) and the long wait times even during off-hours, we prefer other smashburger options a short drive away.

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