Times are tough. And when the going gets tough, the tough get burgers. From vegan patties in Frogtown, to smashburgers in Venice, to some of the most iconic, old-school, meat-and-cheese situations in the city, here are 22 great places to order a burger in LA.
On paper, nothing about the Apple Pan’s Steakburger is going to blow you away: A thin patty, lettuce, tomatoes, relish, and some mayonnaise. But that’s why you don’t eat on paper. It’s an ideally ratioed, affordable classic that’s more than 70 years old, and it inspired a whole lot of the other burgers on this list. Once you try it, you’ll immediately be a convert. Their Hickoryburger, made with tangy house BBQ sauce, has also more than earned legendary status.
Baby Blues BBQ
There are Baby Blues locations in Echo Park and Venice, which means that no matter which side of town you’re on, you could probably pick up your phone right now and order their Bacon-Blue Burger. And you should - it’s a truly innovative patty that’s made by blending ground chuck, bacon, and blue cheese into one funky, salty, fatty burger. It’s as good as it sounds.
Belcampo Meat Co.
With locations in Santa Monica, Beverly Grove, and DTLA, chances are you’re not very far from a Belcampo Meat Co. outpost. Which is very good news, because from their In-N-Out-style Double Fast, which comes with two crispy, salty patties, to the Lamb Burger, a half-pound lamb patty with a superb black garlic aioli, you really can’t go wrong here.
One of LA’s OG burger spots, Bill’s Hamburgers has been open in Van Nuys since 1965 - and Bill has been behind the counter flipping burgers that entire time. They’re as simple as you can get: American cheese, tomato, onion, and mayo, but the meat has a great, crispy char, and at $5 for a double, there aren’t many better deals in town. Cash only.
Broad Street Oyster Co.
Malibu’s seafood shack/pirate hangout Broad Street Oyster doesn’t just serve things that come out of the ocean: They also have a not-so-secret burger. And they’ve just opened a delivery kitchen in the Arts District, so whether you’re by the water, or closer to Downtown, you can get their $12 double burger (which includes great thick-cut fries). It’s simple, but truly excellent: Two smashed patties with American cheese on a potato roll, served with just a dab of ketchup and some shio kombu (seaweed boiled in soy sauce) that gives it a salty kick. If you go to the Malibu location for pick-up, they’ve converted the dining room into an actual drive-thru, so you don’t have to get out of your car.
The newest spot on this guide, Burgers 99 will fulfill all your fast food-related desires if you’re in Hollywood or Weho. This La Brea burger joint serves the American, the closest thing we’ve had to a Quarter Pounder that’s not actually a Quarter Pounder (and don’t worry, it’s much better than the McDonald’s version). It’s got a charred, crispy beef patty on a Martin potato roll that’s slathered with ketchup, and served with diced onions on top. And, in extremely not-fast-food style, the their Vegan Burger is also really good - they make it with chickpeas, potato, and black lentil, and it’s approximately a million times better than the Impossible burger they serve at Burger King.
They’ve got “Hamburgers” in their name, but our favorite thing at Cassell’s has always been their patty melt. The griddled onions, beef, and melty cheddar (or Swiss) provide exactly the amount of grease that you want, but you’ll still be able to finish it (provided you have enough napkins on hand). Save a tiny corner of your stomach for the Key lime pie afterward, if you can. If you need something a bit lighter, though, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with their regular bacon burger.
If you’ve been in LA for longer than seven minutes, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about The Office Burger. But if all you know is that they won’t allow substitutions (and definitely don’t add ketchup), you’re missing out on a seriously great burger. Because underneath all the rules and hype is a superb dry-aged patty, perfectly balanced by crisp arugula, bacon-onion schmaltz, gruyere, and blue cheese. It goes perfectly with a Russian River beer, which they’re also offering for delivery. All three locations (Santa Monica, Culver City, and Arts District) are open.
The Golden State
Fairfax’s Golden State serves burgers you need to know about if you live in Weho or Beverly Grove. The Burger - made with high-quality beef, cheddar, and bacon - is good, but we usually go for the Lamb Burger. It’s piled with melty gruyere, roasted red peppers, dill yogurt, and curry aioli, which all go great with the lamb-y funk of the meat. Get the sweet potato wedges on the side.
Gran Blanco, Venice’s beachside burger-and-cocktail hangout, might be closed during the quarantine, but their excellent burger lives on at Great White, their sister restaurant across Pacific Ave. That burger is massive, with two smashed patties, a great vinegar-y slaw, American cheese, and some crispy fries on the side, and an absolute mess, but that’s just how we like it.
Among the best burger places in LA, HiHo has (basically identical) Mid-Wilshire and Santa Monica locations. At each, you’ll find burgers made from out-of-this-world, 100% grass-fed wagyu beef that actually taste different than regular beef burgers. Somehow, they’re only $8 for a double, though we do recommend splurging and adding the spicy onion jam for $1.50 - it gives a really great kick.
Venice’s Hinano Cafe has been around since 1962, and was Jim Morrison’s favorite hangout (he had a bar seat reserved for him by the pool table). They’re open for takeout during the quarantine, offering their full menu (along with draft beer) to go. The burger, like the place itself, is simple and fantastic - a salted patty, griddled behind the bar, and served with ketchup, lettuce, onions, tomato, and a bag of Lay’s chips. Ask for extra hot peppers on the side. Cash only, call ahead or order at their window.
A plant-based spot in Los Feliz, Honeybee serves great burgers that you’ll barely recognize as vegan. Get the Queen Bee - it’s essentially a meat-free Double-Double, with house Thousand Island dressing, griddled onion jam, tomato, and lettuce, with melty (yes, vegan) American cheese on top. Do not, under any circumstances, skip the Choco Bee tahini milkshake, either.
The legend of Jitlada is long in LA - it’s one of the best Thai restaurants in town, and so, also one of the best in the United States. But outside of all the excellent traditional Thai dishes, there’s an extremely untraditional one: The Jazz Burger. Named after the chef (she used to make it for her kids’ school lunches), the Jazz Burger involves heaps of ginger, garlic, and peppers, and is as spicy as anything else on the heat-heavy menu.
Papilles is a French bistro in Los Feliz that switched it up big time during quarantine, going in a casual direction with hot chicken sandwiches and tremendous grass-fed burgers. They’re messy, juicy, third-pound smashed patties served over griddled onions with American cheese, pickles, and house Thousand Island. And we sort of hope they keep them on the menu whenever all this is over. Pick-up only.
A great locals’ spot in Playa del Rey, Playa Provisions doesn’t usually serve a burger. But their closed sister restaurant The Tripel does, so they’re serving the Tripel Burger - one of the best in LA - out of their own kitchen. This excellent beef burger is served on a light, buttered pretzel bun, and piled high with caramelized onions, cabbage slaw with poppy seeds, and a thin slice of aged cheddar. And although it sounds fancy, it’s only $13, which is super-reasonable for a burger this good.
Chances are, if you’ve been to The Rooster on Pico - or ever encountered their truck around town - you’ve had their Rico Suave breakfast burrito. It’s great, after all. But the next time you get delivery, order the Rooster Burger. It’s a breakfast burger served on a ciabatta roll, with a thin layer of ketchup, melty cheddar, and a runny egg on top. Is it sloppy? Yes. But you’re eating it in the comfort of your own home - no one is judging you except for the dog.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
Spoke Bicycle Cafe
Serving one of the best non-beef burgers in town, Spoke Bicycle Cafe in Frogtown is the first spot we go when we want a lighter take on a burger. Their house-made vegetable patty is made with beet and smoked mushroom, with pickled onions and garlic aioli that round it out really nicely. For the record, though, their beef burger is also great - it’s made with dry-aged ribeye, aged cheddar, and smoked bacon.
Stout, the excellent burger spot in Hollywood, is open for delivery (almost) day - you can order until 2am. That means that you can get the Six Weeker Burger, with brie, fig, and arugula, for dinner during a Zoom Happy Hour, and then order the Morning After Burger with eggs, bacon, and cheddar after that Zoom Happy Hour gets way out of hand.
The Santa Monica outpost of SF’s excellent Tartine bakery somehow managed to open in the middle of the quarantine. And (unique among their LA locations) they’ve got a burger on the menu. It’s served with house-made American cheese, and lacto-fermented pickles, on (maybe the best part, considering how good this bakery is) a house-made yam bun. Pick-up in-store, or delivery via apps.
The Win-Dow, a fast food-style, well, window, at American Beauty in Venice, serves chicken sandwiches, burgers, and salads at genuine fast food prices. That means a $4 smashburger (you should upgrade to the double for $6.25, though) - it’s crispy, salty, and buttery without being greasy, then served with some onions and ketchup. If you’re looking for something quick and affordable without sacrificing quality, the Win-Dow is a great bet. Available for take-out and delivery.