The Best Burgers In Philly guide image


The Best Burgers In Philly

The 20 best burgers in Philly, according to us.

When you want an excellent burger, skip the drive-thru and head straight to these restaurants, bars, and counter-service spots in Philly. There’s no bad time to dive into a juicy meat sandwich that’s oozing with cheese and sauce, and to keep you from wasting your time, we put together a list of our 20 favorites. You'll find burgers drenched in a spicy aioli, topped with crispy bacon, or simply squirted with ketchup. 


River Twice

Hiding among the Koji butter, golden trout roe, and Firefly squid at River Twice in East Passyunk is Philly's best burger. And while it’s not complicated—two patties, Cooper Sharp, and toasted buns—it’s an absolute must-order. What makes the Mother Rucker at this tasting menu-only spot so special are the crispy edges and perfectly-pink middles on the all-beef patties, topped with pickled red onions, and a slathering of everything-seasoned mayo. It doesn't matter that the pre fixe is four courses. Go ahead and add this one on, too.

Village Whiskey is a perfect place to drink some sort of dark liquor and eat a lot of meat. You can order any of their five burgers off their dinner and brunch menus, but it’s their eight-ounce Village Burger that's the showstopper. That’s because it’s thick, incredibly juicy, and the toppings-to-meat ratio is as good as it gets. It comes topped with tomato, bibb lettuce, and a house made Thousand Island sauce, all served on a sesame bun that somehow stays put. Plus, you can go for some add-ons like cabot cheddar, applewood smoked bacon, or a mound of crispy duck fat fries for a couple extra dollars. 

The Boucherie Burger at this Old City spot is so good that we’d fake a throbbing headache just to get out of work early and eat it as soon as they open at 4pm. Their burger is super juicy and tangy because of the bone marrow drippings and melty gruyère, not to mention the bun is perfectly toasted. Soon, you’ll be trying to make up stories for your friends to tell their bosses just so you can get your whole crew to come with you. 

Fishtown’s Middle Child Clubhouse has some of the best sandwiches in town, but it’s their cheeseburger that you should prioritize when you come for dinner. With a few “This is not Burger King, try it our way” signs around the restaurant, it’s clear they take the art of burger making seriously. “Their way” means you can only order it medium-rare or well-done, and that it comes slathered in a homemade creamy Russian dressing. It’s good enough to eat without the bun, and you’ll probably set a record for the time it takes you to down this thing.

If you judge your cheeseburger by how many napkins you need to have on hand when you eat it, then Brewerytown’s Spot Gourmet Burger is the place for you. Their Santa Fe burger is loaded with avocado, pepper jack cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, lettuce, and Mexican hot sauce, and because of all that, you may not want to eat it while rocking your favorite shirt. Enjoy it at the handful of tables inside or make it an essential piece of your picnic on nearby Kelly Drive. 

Show up to Rouge and you’ll probably see athletes or coaches from a Philly sports team, a DJ randomly doing a set in the corner, and a bar area that gets as crowded as the pit at a Paramore show. But one bite into their Rouge Burger and you’ll be prepared to sit through any of the wild things going on here just to keep eating it. The patty is super meaty, topped with caramelized onions, gruyère, housemade dill pickles, and lettuce for an extra crunch. And it all comes together on a light and pillowy brioche bun. 

The bun is an essential part of every good burger, especially the one from Lucky’s Last Chance in Queen Village. The toasty brioche bun impressively holds together two thick patties with melty cheddar, bacon, BBQ sauce, a duo of raw and fried onion strings, and a copious amount of sriracha aioli, all without getting soggy. And since this thing is so big, only get a basket of jalapeño cheddar tots or fries if you have some friends coming with you to share.

Having a meal at a bar usually means settling for average food in exchange for cheap beers and drinks. That’s not the case when you stop by Standard Tap in Northern Liberties. Their smoky seven-ounce patty is made from a blend of chuck and brisket, and then has cheddar, house pickles, and a creamy aioli piled on top. Work your way through the accompanying fries at the bar or on their covered outdoor deck. 

The Dandelion in Rittenhouse is a British-style upscale pub with a slightly pricier burger ($21.50) than most spots on this guide. But the burger is worth it, with an eight-ounce patty that’s made up of a mix of dry-aged New York strip, chuck, hanger, and short rib. Then they put some crackly smoked bacon, cheddar, and Churchill sauce (which is pretty much Thousand Island but tangier) on top. It all comes together to make a burger that’s perfectly balanced and good enough to make you forget there are no TVs in this bar. 

Juicy, well-seasoned, no frills, six bucks. Need we say more? No, but we will. The East Passyunk bar makes one of the best burgers in town and serves ‘em up alongside craft beer, organic wine, and vinyl tunes. You’ll need to check their Instagram to know exactly what’s on tap, or you could just go in blind and be surprised—either way, you won’t be disappointed.

Most people come to Center City’s for things like their whole branzino, chicken liver terrine, or a bowl of pasta. Since the fine-dining bistro cooks everything so well, though, it’s no surprise that they make good burgers. The patty has a nice char on it, reminding us of a backyard cookout, and has some super salty cornichons to give it some texture. The bun is a toasty one from High Street Philly, and it keeps all the meat, American cheese, and dijonnaise nice and compact. This burger is big enough to split in case you want to save room for a chocolate tahini cake or maple lavender panna cotta to end your night. 

Ummi Dee’s in North Philly is one of the rare places in the city where you can get a truly excellent burger for around $10. All of their options are perfectly cooked, but we always go for the brunch burger with a thick brioche bun, melted American cheese, turkey bacon, tomato, and a runny fried egg. Grab a side of fries with it, just make sure you have some sauces like sweet potato glaze, sweet jerk, or teriyaki to dip them in.

Even though you can create your own burger at this East Passyunk spot, you should go for one of their dozen specialties that get loaded with things like smoked gouda, double garlic bacon, or cusabi slaw. Our favorite of the bunch is the goat cheese and bacon jam burger because of the copious amount of meaty-but-sweet sauce that soaks right into a brioche bun, making it a little juicier. It’s also topped with caramelized onions and chunks of creamy goat cheese that combine for a messy meal—which you won’t care about at all once you taste the peppery, sweet, and tangy mix. 

Simple burgers with a slice of cheddar are usually the best 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, add in some 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 is what takes this thing to the next level. 

This colorful and casual Fern Rock store 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. If you feel like going a little wild, they have a quadruple burger challenge that makes our jaw hurt just thinking about it. 

Craftsman Row Saloon looks like every dive bar you’ve ever been to. But instead of a forgettable burger, these are seriously stacked with two quarter-pound smashed patties that are a little greasy in the best way possible. There’s melty American cheese on top of both patties, but the real star is the fluffy and challah-like potato bun. Pair it with any of the beers on their long list while watching the Sixers, Phillies, or any of our other sports teams that you know are gonna let you down. 

There aren’t a lot of Brazilian places where a burger is our favorite thing on the menu. And yet, that's the case at this Northeast spot that sells everything from chicken bladders with brothy black beans to crispy yuca. We come here for the Mineirinho Burger where the red pepper, crunchy green cabbage, melty cheddar, and fried egg are the perfect complement to the beefy patty. The bun is thick and large, which makes the entire burger so filling that you could probably skip breakfast the next day. 

The best burger here is named after the restaurant’s neighborhood: Whitman. This option uses a mix of melted Swiss cheese and lemon garlic aioli, which in turn makes the burger almost ooze with creamy drippings. The bun is light and airy, the patty has a blend that’s smoky and steak-like, and it all gets balanced out with the caramelized onions and arugula it’s topped with. One of the best parts about Wolf Burger is that you can come here, down a few beers and a cheeseburger before noon, and find at least five people at the bar doing exactly the same thing. 

It’s not entirely surprising that somewhere known for serving up slabs of steak, cured meats, and juicy rotisserie chicken makes good burgers. But Butcher Bar really delivers with the Royale with Cheese and its two, four-ounce patties topped with American cheese, lettuce, pickles, and a special sauce that tastes like smoky spicy mayo. Named after that iconic scene in Pulp Fiction, this is a burger we know Vincent Vega would approve of. 

When you want a late-night burger, that usually means hitting the drive-thru and yelling into a half-broken speaker. Thankfully, you can get a great one at Khyber Pass Pub until 1am every day. The Old City spot has an angus beef burger served on a poppyseed bun, which goes great with the grilled barbeque onions, bacon, creole mustard, and the perfect amount of pimento cheese on there. In other words, this is a beautifully stacked burger that you can (and should) eat before (or after) your bedtime.

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