The Best Burgers In Philly, Ranked

The 10 best burgers in Philly, according to us.
This is the burger at Royal Tavern.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Why eat sad, floppy patties when you could cradle a burger drenched in spicy aioli, topped with crispy bacon, or classically paired with just a kiss of ketchup? The next time you want an excellent burger, skip the drive-thru and head straight to these Philly restaurants, bars, and counter-service spots.


photo credit: Gab Bonghi


East Passyunk

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River Twice in East Passyunk messes around with plenty of koji butter, golden trout roe, and firefly squid on their four-course tasting menu. But they also make Philly's best burger as an add-on element on Mondays only. It's not too complicated—just as burgers should be. Two beef patties with crispy edges and perfectly pink middles are topped with Cooper Sharp, pickled red onions, a slathering of everything-seasoned mayonnaise, all between toasted sesame seed buns. All thriller, no filler.

This Fishtown restaurant has a sign that says, “This is not Burger King, try it our way." And, as it turns out, their way is better. American cheese tops the patty and holds the whole thing together like glue. Sour pickles and white onion give a little snap. Cherry pepper mayo brings out a creamy tang. If you double up your patty, the flavor of each component doesn't come through quite as evenly as it does with the single. But maybe you're a "more meat is more" kinda gal. And that's just fine by us.

Bar Jawn in Manayunk makes our favorite smash burger in Philly. Maybe it’s the Fishtown Pickle Project’s habanero dill pickles, the blanket of melted cooper sharp, the "special sauce” that adds a tangy heat, or all of the above. But something about the double patty on a soft, seeded bun has a certain uncomplicated magic. It also comes with a stack of quarter-sized cottage fries, which we don't see too often in this city.



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You could come to Center City’s and have a great time eating branzino, chicken liver toast, and pasta. But if you don't order the saucy, dijonnaise-drenched burger on a toasty High Street bun, you're not doing the place justice. The patties are juicy, the American cheese is melty, and the cornichon relish gives it a great kick.

The burger at Queen Village’s Royal Tavern is attractive enough to garner a few swipes on a dating app. The beautiful stack has smoked gouda, crispy bacon, caramelized onions, and pickled long hots, all held together by a buttery seeded bun. If you eat meat (you're reading this guide so, uh, you do, right?) order one every time you come to Royal Tavern. Especially because it's available until 1am, and tastes even better when you're drunk.

You might have read the rest of this list and thought we don’t appreciate a thin, crispy-edged smashburger. You would be wrong. Huda’s Smash Burger, served “animal style” with caramelized onions, tangy pickled green tomatoes, and Huda sauce stands up to the thick boys any day of the week. The Rittenhouse sandwich shop serves lots of delicious combos on their house made golden milk buns, but this is one of the best. Add an extra patty, side of fries and house dijonaise sauce when you’re especially hungry.

Juicy, well-seasoned, no frills, six bucks. Need we say more? No, but we will. The thick-patty burger at this East Passyunk bar is not so different from a burger someone would hand you on a paper plate at a BBQ, what with a slightly sweet potato bun, some iceberg lettuce, slice of tomato, and gloopy cheese. In this case, though, you get to eat in one of Philly's great bars, ideally with a glass of chilled red or a pilsner and crispy, brunette-colored fries.

When the burger mood strikes, you’re usually not pulling up Resy and planning a sit-down meal. Except in the case of Alice. This Bella Vista New American restaurant stacks a smoky, dry-aged patty with sweet vidalia onions, cheddar, and a yogurty white sauce akin to what you'd find at a halal cart. Despite all the toppings, you can still taste the quality of the beef, which is dripping through a soft, squishy challah bun. Plus, this burger comes with a briney pickle that we mumble about in our sleep, probably. 

Simple burgers with a slice of cheddar are usually the crowd-pleasers. But what if you want something a little more creative? That’s where Midtown Village’s Good Dog Bar comes in. They take a mound of beef, stuff it with super sharp and stinky roquefort cheese, top it caramelized onions, and throw it all into a subtly sweet challah bun. We love the crispy edges that form around the patty, and the creaminess from the cheese.

This casual Fern Rock spot serves a burger with patties so thin, we usually stack them in doubles or triples if we’re really hungry. The menu keeps it simple with those options, but they also have a specialty burger called the Kraby Patty. It’s straight out of SpongeBob Squarepants with american cheese, lettuce, tomato, and the special secret sauce of Squidward’s dreams. Between the two patties, gooey sauce, and squishy bun, it all combines for a burger that's better than the sum of its parts.

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Suggested Reading

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The 12 most creative cheesesteaks in Philly, when you need a break from steak, onions, and cheese.

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