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Bred Gourmet Burger
Photograph: Courtesy Bred Gourmet

The best burgers in Boston

From straightforward to over the top, the best burgers in Boston will definitely hit the spot.

Written by
Gina McCreadie
Written by
Eric Grossman
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There’s certainly no shortage of burger options in Boston, but there are some meaty masterpieces out there that are just a cut above the rest. Some of these burgers are simply the classics done right, while others flaunt their inventive side, with elevated ingredients, unique toppings and creative flavors. In any case, we’ve prepared the ultimate guide to help you find the best, most mouth-wateringly delicious burgers in town, ranging from the budget-friendly to the pricey. Looking to get your hands on more local, hand-held specialties? Check out the best lobster rolls in Boston, the best sandwiches in Boston, and the best tacos in Boston.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Boston

A new burger concept we love so much that we welcomed it into Time Out Market

  • Restaurants
  • Hamburgers
  • Fenway/Kenmore

You'll be the talk of the table when you introduce your foodie friends to this new, innovative approach to burgers from Chef Nina Festekjian of anoush'ella. If you’ve tried Chef Nina’s take on the exotic flavors of her hometown of Beirut, Lebanon, buckle up for another taste explosion by way of her innovative beefy concoctions. Festekjian and her team have partnered with local purveyors like A&J King Artisan Bakers, Little Leaf Farms and Maitland Mountain Farm. Burgers are made using Angus beef — free of antibiotics, steroids and hormones — sourced from the best ranches. If beefy, 'Gram-worthy options like the Artisan (boursin, roasted tomato, pickled onion) and the Umami Truffle (pecorino, truffle, fried egg, arugula, aioli) don’t strike your fancy, the spicy cauliflower burger might just change the way you view veggie burgers forever.

Best burgers in Boston

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Harvard Sq
  • price 3 of 4

Chef Michael Scelfo has basically built up a cult-following for Alden & Harlow’s “secret burger,” which is offered in limited quantities and sells out just about every night. It starts with a patty consisting of Creekstone Farms ground brisket, short rib and beef, which is then topped with a cheddar cheese crisp, Scelfo’s secret sauce, little gem lettuce, salted onions and bread and butter pickles—and it’s all served atop a homemade roll. Insider tip: If you really want a bite of this A&H burger action without the risk of it being sold out, it’s easier to acquire during weekend brunch service.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Fenway/Kenmore

While Hojoko's famous bacon-wrapped hot dog usually gets all of the attention, the cheeseburger at this Japanese tavern is really the star of the show. This Fenway eatery does its best to one-up every other burger in town, starting with its umami-forward blend of chuck and wagyu short rib. Those beefy bases are then slathered in American cheese and a special sauce, and finished off with red onion and dashi pickle chips for some crunchy texture and funky flavor.

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Dorchester

Bred Gourmet was born and bred from chef-owner Tambo Barrow’s desire to make unparalleled burgers. The native Bostonian, who seasons and smashes his grass-fed burgers right on the grill, has developed an extensive menu of creative combinations to showcase these perfect patties. Choose among, for example, the Maui Burger, piled high with sliced pineapple, smoked ham, sweet plantains, crispy onions, habanero pepper jack cheese and BBQ sauce on a potato bun, or the Parisian Burger, topped with applewood smoked bacon, fried egg, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms and truffle aioli on a brioche bun. For folks who aren’t into eating meat, BRED Gourmet also serves up a veggie burger, salmon burger and ever-more popular Impossible burger. 

  • Restaurants
  • Hamburgers
  • Harvard Sq

A boisterous Harvard Square landmark since 1960, Mr Bartley’s gets as many points for its celebrity-inspired burger names as it does for the sandwiches themselves. The menu changes constantly, but we’re guessing that the Joe Biden may be there for a while, as well as the Triple D, a massive double-burger honoring Guy Fieri that’s brimming with bacon, cheese, barbecue sauce and grilled onions.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • North End
  • price 3 of 4

A seafood joint that offers one of the best burgers in town? Yep. This no reservation, walk-in-only North End institution makes our list with its Neptune Oyster Burger. Staying true to its fish-centric roots, the kitchen here tops its burger with fried oysters, cheddar cheese, garlic mayo and relish. The wait may be long to get your hands on this surf-and-turf delight, but it’s well worth it.

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Downtown

jm Curley's glorious, half-pound burger always just hits the spot. Made from grass-fed beef, the Curley Burger is then topped with cheddar cheese, grilled onions, in-house pickles and homemade Russian dressing. Regulars tend to go all in when ordering this classic, adding a fried egg, slaw and, sometimes, an additional patty.

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  • Restaurants
  • Pan-Asian
  • Chinatown

The potent Shojonator takes its inspiration from the Wendy’s Baconator, though in a far smaller package (it's honestly more slider than burger). The patty is topped with a pile of smoked bacon and kimcheese (that would be kimchi Velveeta) and, in a nod to Shojo’s Asian menu, served on a steamed sesame bao bun. Add an extra patty or a fried egg, and feel those arteries harden in delight. 

  • Restaurants
  • Hamburgers
  • Somerville
  • price 1 of 4

This homegrown mini-chain has a lengthy list of over-the-top burger varieties. Try unique options such as the Artery Clogger (deep fried, beer battered burger topped with bacon, cheese and BBQ sauce), the Hot Mess (bacon, sweet potato fries, homemade thousand island dressing, pickles, jalapeño, red onion, cheese), or the Mac Attack (4-cheese mac & cheese, bacon). As if you won't be stuffed already, burgers come with a choice of cole slaw or baked beans.

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • Somerville

While many chefs play with umami to upgrade their burgers, chef Tim Wiechmann sticks with salt to make this spot's Bronburger magnificent—specifically, with a salted pretzel roll bun that just adds a little something extra. The special bun plays bookend to the main event: a blend of beef brisket, pork belly and slab bacon adorned with aged cheddar cheese, sauerkraut ketchup and mustard. It's probably not how they do it in Hamburg, Germany, but it's definitely a delicious, Germanically influenced hamburger.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • South Boston
  • price 2 of 4

Located in the heart of South Boston, this modern American tavern serves comfort classics and pizzas alongside a variety of rustic, wood-grilled items, including the ever-popular Lincoln Burger. This beauty features a blend of prime beef and is topped with bacon aioli, Cabot sharp cheddar and caramelized French onions. Have your burger beside the well-stocked bar, which serves as a go-to hangout for a cross-section of Southie residents.

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  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • price 2 of 4

Known for its extensive beer menu, this relaxed, cozy Brookline pub offers one of the best burgers around. For the P-House Burger—an 8-oz, all-natural prime burger served on a sesame brioche bun—it’s all about the custom toppings and sauces. Build the burger of your dreams by adding, for example, a fried egg, pickled jalapenos, bacon, sauteed onions or mushrooms, or any number of cheeses. To make your burger even extra, ask for a smear of truffle ketchup or garlic-asiago mayo. Little-known hack: order Monk’s Frites on the side to make your burger-eating experience pure bliss.

  • Bars
  • Back Bay

When it comes to the BBS Burger, this place lets the beef shine (as it should) with straightforward toppings. Grass-fed ribeye and short rib are blended to form an outstanding patty. Caramelized onions, Vermont Cheddar, smoked bacon and horseradish aioli complement the meat without overpowering it. A sweet potato roll completes this perfect package.

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  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops
  • Allston/Brighton
  • price 1 of 4

Roxy's is known for its killer grilled cheese sandwiches, but this Allston spot is no stranger to a flavorful, grass-fed burger, too. Try Justin's Burger—enhanced with house-made pimento cheese and creamy chipotle mayo—or the Mushroom Burger, topped with sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, truffle mayo and arugula. Plant-based eaters will be equally pleased; the menu also features a vegetarian and a vegan burger.

  • Restaurants
  • Hamburgers
  • Fenway/Kenmore
  • price 1 of 4

The original location of this homegrown burger joint is in Fenway. The retro vibe, reasonable prices and late hours have made it a local favorite. You’ll find the standard burgers and fries, plus turkey burgers and veggie burgers for more health-minded guests. Try a refreshing, house-made lime rickey, as well as a miniature pie or shake for dessert. Tasty Burger even has doggie treats for your canine friends, and plenty of outdoor seating where they can join you.

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  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Harvard Sq

When you just want a juicy, drippy, timeless burger, this Harvard Square institution should be your go-to. The burger menu here is justifiably revered, with a mixture of both creative choices and traditional takes available. Amongst the fancier offerings you’ll find: the double Guinness cheeseburger, which is flavored with the famous Irish stout and served alongside beer-battered steak fries. However, the Upper Classic, with double bacon and cheddar cheese on a bulkie roll, makes a strong case for keeping it simple.

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