The UK's love for burgers shows very little sign of slowing down. And why should it? There are few finer things in this life full of care than chowing down on beautiful bit of burger, expertly handled by a kitchen that knows its onions. And Bristol can hold its head pretty darn high when it comes to assessing where the very best burgers can be found - from cheap eats doing them well to fancy creations at the city's very best restaurants. Which is why putting together this particular list was relatively easy. So take a look and get stuck in. Peak burger? Not on your nelly.
The best burgers in Bristol
If cuisine were solely judged on national accolades, then this place would have to be Bristol's best burger bar. Shortlist gave this place the perfect 5 stars. Tripadvisor rank it the second best burger restaurant in the UK. Even the Daily Telegraph rank it in their top 10. And you have to say, they aren't far wrong. The concept is simple – sit, pick a starter, and then create a tick list on their custom burger building form. Wait 15 minutes and voila, your juicy, custom made burger is brought to you with the meat, toppings and sauce of your choice. You have to say the accolades are deserved, and the custom experience is second to none.
Nestled at the back of a venue more known historically for its subs than its subsistence, Burger Theory at the Golden Lion is amassing a reputation for out-of-this-world fried goods and diner-style cuisine. The Blue Cow (£8.48) has a succulent beef and jalapeño patty lavished in blue cheese and lip smacking tomato relish. The Sheriff (£8.48) has ground bacon in the beef, oak smoked cheddar, onion rings and bourbon BBQ sauce. Burger Theory is all about the nuance and touches; the coleslaw is speckled with nostril-flaring mustard and sweet apricot. It’s this attention to detail and flavour that has so many singing Burger Theory’s praises.
The choice of (frankly excellent) burgers is refreshingly simple here, compared to the thousands of different combinations on offer elsewhere. For simplicity, stick to the house classic (£10), cooked medium and served in a brioche bun with fries and coleslaw - it's very good indeed. There’s also an 8oz ribeye steak for £16 and an excellent veggie burger (the 'bloody veggie'), which proves very popular - with commited carnivores, too.
The special recipe burgers here are succulent and lavished with toppings – the Big Tone (£9.35) for instance is a burger topped with pork and beef meatballs, pizza sauce, aged cheddar sauce in a bagel bun with side, and it is freakin' marvellous, capiche? Then there's the customary eating challenge known as the Fallout Challenge (£25, and you MUST sign a waiver). It's quite frankly ridiculous - and only for the brave, bold or stupid.
Since 2008, the guys at YoYo have been dispensing gourmet burgers to Clifton’s discerning (or as some might put it, snooty) clientele to huge success. Stepping away from the Americanised, Dave Channel style of burgers, YoYo has an international flair and a variety of menu that really sets it apart from the competition. Lobster is used in several of their finest works, including the delectable, self-named ‘YoYo’ (a heady £24.95), with a succulent whole grilled lobster, keta caviar and Wagyu beef patty kissed by Japanese, paprika laden mayo. For the beef averse, a varied selection of meats, from pork to chicken to ostrich await - and there are even rumours of a Krispy Kreme burger...
Located in the latter half of Bristol's independent haven of Gloucester Road, Ciao have become a staple of hazy eyed, post-student pub crawl goodies since 1991. Split by beef, chicken and veggie menus, there is a little something for everyone. The luxurious Double Danish (£3.79 for the burger, £5.68 with drink and fries) contrasts salty, crunchy bacon with sharp, punchy blue cheese mayo. The New Yorker (£3.80) is the quintessential beef, mustard, gherkin, bacon and cheese combo that we have all come to know and love. Embrace, and you will be saying ciao to lacklustre burger benignity.
Food at The Love Inn comes from Stove Monkey, which provides popular Sunday roast options alongside an American smokehouse menu, with all smoking, curing and BBQing done in house. Their burgers deserve particular praise - meat lovers, get your chops round the beef brisket and pickled walnut burger, while vegetarians are spoilt with one of the best mac & cheese burgers we've come across.
Carving a path a little off the beaten track, Warren's Gourmet Burger Company have now started to deliver their award winning burgers beyond their camp on Wooton Road. And their very British approach to burger making separates their large, wholesome burgers from the pack. Patties themselves are gert massive – with a selection of beef, lamb, pork and breaded chicken. And the menu is robust and no nonsense. A fusion element is expressed with the likes of the curry burger – marinated in their own spice blend and kissed by raita and mango chutney.
Ruby's Diner, situated at Bristol's popular live music haunt Start The Bus, quite simply holds some of the finest diner dinners you will find outside of the states. Stacked sliders form their Snack & Share menu (starting at £11.50 for a veggie option), the sandwiches are superb – pick up a proper NY deli sandwich for six quid, and the fried chicken is crisp, milk soaked juiciness (£8.25). Their handmade burgers are the cherry on top of a sumptuous, calorific cake. Classic flavour combos battle for your attention on a whopping menu, and frankly ridiculous pickled onion Monster Munch, emmental and thousand island (£9.45) is just the right side of bat-shit crazy to work.
Listen, we all like to be different. We all want to rally against ‘The Man’ and stick it to the big brands every once in a while. But quality should win out over almost everything. And 'Five Guys' has that in abundance. There’s a space for chorizo burgers with quinoa-infused guff, and there should be a place for proper diner burgers that drip on your jumper and are filled with things that have been fried in win. Said burger (from the £4.75 to £8.75 mark) is built to your own judicious taste via a selection of free toppings. This isn’t a first-date kind of burger joint; it’s a catch up with the mates after said first date burger joint. And that’s just fine.