If you’re a burger lover who hasn’t met Virginia yet, it’s time to head over to Eminönü for an up-close-and-personal encounter with one of the first restaurants to start the gourmet burger craze in Istanbul. This tiny eatery tends to have long lines out the door on weekends, and with good reason. The restaurant’s specialty is the Virginia Burger, which comes with a 120-g, 200-g or 240-g patty (as well as a 55-g mini version) made out of beef from the rib section. The burger also features onions caramelized in soy sauce and brown sugar, a double serving of cheese, and a layer of smoked beef as the final touch. The basket of French fries is best enjoyed with homemade mustard. Even though Virginia has a second branch in Nişantaşı, the original location still holds a special place in our hearts.
Talented chef Nusret Gökçe is best known as Istanbul’s “meat celebrity” who employs a philosophy of “minimum intervention” when bringing out the meat’s flavor. He continues to build on the reputation of Nusr-et Steakhouse with his latest restaurant, Nusr-et Burger. The Lokum Burger should be the first choice for anyone looking to try Nusr-et’s famous lokum, an unbelievably tender cut of beef you won’t find elsewhere. If you’re more of a traditionalist, you’ll want to go for the hearty Nusr-et Burger, which comes with a perfectly seasoned beef patty.
The ‘concretes’ aren’t your average ice cream; calling them dessert would be better suited. For example, the ‘Boğaz Esintisi’ is a dessert consisting of vanilla custard, Divan’s honey macaroons, peanut butter sauce, and bananas. This is only one example of their many dessert varieties.
This reasonably priced burger joint and steakhouse in Karaköy serves beef procured from Angus cattle raised in Balıkesir, Bursa and the Trakya Region. The menu might seem familiar to those who’ve been to Virginia Angus before, as it also features burgers and prime cuts of beef. The prices of the burgers vary depending on their size, and all of them come with a lean beef patty that doesn’t fall apart, served between freshly baked buns that have a crispy crust, soft interior and slightly sweet flavor. The Black Burger and Hollywood Burger, both of which come with home-cut fries, are the most popular items on the menu.
One of the oldest burger joints in Istanbul, Jumbo Burger (aka J. Burger) has been drawing crowds to Çiftehavuzlar since 1977. The key to this burger joint’s success is its beloved, secret-recipe burger sauce. If it’s your first time trying Jumbo, you’ll either love it or hate it, depending on how you feel about blending sweet and savory. The restaurant’s refused to use commercial bread since day one, and the burgers are still served without any garnish – instead of classic ingredients like tomatoes, lettuce and onions, you’ll find only a sweet, mayonnaise-based sauce. In addition to double-decker burgers with names like New York, California and Texas, you’ll also find the spicy, garlicky Şark Burger and Eggburger on the menu.
The winner of the Best Burger category at the 15th Time Out İstanbul Eating & Drinking Awards, Jimmy’s Burger is the brainchild of three friends who hail from different professional backgrounds. Ali Battal, Oğuz Engin and Berk Gökdağ’s cozy burger joint in Yeniköy procures meats from its own farms in the Çanakkale and Balıkesir Provinces. All of the burgers come with 150-g or 200-g entrecôte beef patties, while the restaurant’s specialty, Jimmy’s Burger, also includes beef bacon. Those seeking something simple would do well to try the aptly named Just Burger, though the menu also includes unconventional finds like the spicy Mad Burger, the bread-free Yeşil Burger with pesto sauce, the Kral Burger with tapenade, or the Sucuk Burger with grilled peppers, sea salt, arugula and sucuk (spicy beef sausage). Can’t make up your mind? Look no further than the trio of mini burgers to mix and match flavors.
Reinventing the humble dürüm (wrap) with gourmet influences, chefs Kaan Sakarya and Derin Arıbaş say that what sets the quality of their dürüm apart is their meat cooking technique as well as the spices and sauces they use. The ribs in their beef dürüm are slow-cooked for seven to eight hours, while the pickles and mustard sauce served alongside it are made using the chefs’ own recipes. Basta! also serves dürüm with homemade chorizo, smoked chicken and a daily-changing variety of vegetarian ingredients. The chefs’ talent really shines through in the desserts, like the vanilla sütlaç (rice pudding). The prices are decidedly kept reasonable: “At the end of the day, we’re selling street food” says Sakarya.
The originator, owner, chef and occasional waiter at Eat Box is Eren Bursalıgil, one of the lucky minority who’ve known what they want to do with their lives since childhood. The scenario behind Eat Box is this: you’re home, you’re hungry, and you want to grab a bite to eat without resorting to the internet or changing out of the couch-appropriate clothes you’re in. Devised as an alternative to neighbourhood kebaplocales, Eat Box is worthy of leaving the house for a breath of fresh air and some American fare – if you happen to live in Abbasağa, that is. Owner Bursalıgil’s CV reads at odds with this low-key vibe, with stints at W Hotel Minyon and Corvus Wine & Dine in Istanbul and Sofra restaurants in London. Yet we’re more than happy he felt the need to leave all that behind and open this restaurant-cafe-delicatessen on the corner of the park. In keeping with the simple and decidedly small space, Eat Box offers dishes portioned into small service plates. Our favourite has to be the cheeseburger, which comes with juicy 80-, 120- and 180-g beef alternatives, topped with caramelised onions and cheddar cheese well done enough to rival some of the most popular burger joints in Istanbul. Those in the mood for a less messy option are recommended to try the Steak & Cheese or Sloppy Dürüm. The Steak & Cheese keeps the cheddar cheese and caramelised onions but swaps the beef in favour of sliced veal steak. The Sloppy Dürüm, on the oth
Opened by Yeditepe University Gastronomy and Culinary Arts alums Naz Tiryaki and Emre Çeri, this snack bar specializes in mini burgers that resemble the American slider. Five of the six burgers on the menu come with 70-g beef patties, and most feature a variety of toppings – with the exception of the popular şamburger, which comes with pistachio sauce so bold that it offsets the need for any cheese or additional garnishes. The spicy burger leaves more of a hot-and-sweet taste in your mouth, making it perfect for those who shy away from too much heat. Mini Eatery also serves a vegetarian burger that includes zucchini, red onions, coriander, fresh mint and chickpeas, which help hold the burger together and give it a chewy center that perfectly complements the crispy exterior.
From what we can tell based on the menu, Biber Burger is trying to find its own in a mostly-mainstream burger market. The basics are all in place here. You can choose from five hamburgers (Biber burger, Romesco, Amarillo, Louis, Roquefort and Classic) or the chicken burger, or you can opt for the 180g meat patties, which are thick, filling and, to our delight, juicy. The breads also win our seal of approval, as do the caramelised onions, which aren’t overly sugary or molasses-flavoured like in many other joints. The fries arrive crispy yet soft-centred, and each table gets served the restaurant’s namesake dried peppers (‘biber’ meaning ‘pepper’ in Turkish). What set Biber’s hamburgers apart are the sauces and cheeses. Our favourite offering at Biber, the Romesco gets its name from the romesco sauce, made with almonds and red peppers, which suits the cheddar cheese quite well. The Amarillo burger features Edam cheese and aji amarillo, a sauce that incorporates jalapeño peppers and Parmesan cheese. The multitude of cheeses isn’t overwhelming but tastes just right. The Louis burger (14.50 TL), by contrast, blends the sweet red pepper and French onion flavour of Louisiana sauce with cheddar cheese and mushrooms. The result is satisfying. While we’re at it, let’s clarify that Biber isn’t on some sort of mission to offer only pepper-based sauces, as is evidenced by the Roquefort burger (16.50 TL). Since the sauce is naturally heavy, pairing it with cheddar is a bit of an
The Hard Rock Café menu features many classics. Enjoy the Jumbo combo with friends, one of the indispensable starters, which features Santa Fe spring rolls, hickory-smoked chicken wings, onion rings, potato skins and tupelo chicken tenders. The Hard Rock Nachos, served on fresh corn tortilla chips with special sauce, is a favorite among big groups. For burger-lovers we recommend the Legendary Burger served with spicy French fries.
This new eatery on Ihlamurdere Caddesi pays homage to one of New York’s most notable burger locales through both its name and quality burgers. As can be expected, Burger Joint’s trademark is the 160-g meat used in the hamburger and cheeseburger. The venue favours a classic burger, choosing not to accompany the meat with any sauces that detract from its taste nor any competing flavours like caramelised onions – all you get are tomatoes, lettuce, onion and pickles, which enables you to taste the meat with every bite. The same goes for the cheeseburger, which doesn’t let anything get between the praise-worthy meat bought from Bebek Kasabı (Bebek Butcher) and the cheese that goes so well with it. For those who aren’t hamburger fans, Burger Joint also offers wraps made with rump meat sliced in chunks. The eatery’s also ambitious when it comes to chips, which go through a three-stage frying process to achieve their golden colour. Yet another surprise at Burger Joint is the complimentary mint and rocket with pomegranate molasses, a nod to Hatay cuisine. All in all, Burger Joint’s got our vote for one of the best gourmet hamburger locales around the city in terms of its price/performance ratio.
The breadA true burger bun. Made exclusively for Burger Project, this bun doesn’t soak up the sauce or crumble apart as you’re eating to leave you grasping at your meat patty. This soft and lightly sweetened burger bun also comes in a whole-wheat variety, but if you’re not dieting, we recommend sticking with the original. The pattyThe ground beef comes from the rib of heifers. In addition to salt and black pepper, it’s kneaded with a tiny bit of cream to ensure that the meat patty stays juicy. Follow the chef’s recommendation and order yours rare or medium-rare to get the full flavor. The appealAlthough Armutlu may seem a bit out of the way, it’s actually close to both Etiler and the Baltalimanı shore. The chefs also put plenty of thought into ensuring that their food travels well for deliveries, from packaging design to choosing potatoes that will stay crispy in transit. The menuThe good news is that you won’t be confused by an overabundance of sauces. The Project Turco comes with a 130-g meat patty, spicy pastrami, hot sauce and fresh kaşar cheese. In addition to classic hamburgers and cheeseburgers, you’ll also find options like the Project Roquefort & Funghi or the Project Argentina with a spicy chimichurri sauce. If you’re still undecided, you might want to try the mini burger trio of cheeseburger, Argentina and Roquefort & Funghi. Make a meal out of it with a drink as well as French fries or onion rings, or skip the fries and opt for coleslaw or a potato-green appl
Mm&g’s burgers owe as much of their flavor to the sourdough buns as they do to the tasty patties. Made with chickpea flour, these buns are perfect for those who enjoy their buns a little rich in texture, and they manage to envelop the patties without falling apart. The burgers come with 160-g patties as well as pepper jack cheese and smoked beef bacon, both of which are produced in-house. Don’t forget to try the Orfa-brand sauces, which are also available for purchase by the bottle: our favorites are the ultra-spicy mustard, creamy garlic and Santa Fe. Mm&g’s also makes its own (truly delicious) hot dogs.
If you’re a fan of burgers with plenty of sauce, you’ll love this gourmet burger shop in Nişantaşı. It might look more like a small, elegant bar than a restaurant, but Burgerhood identifies as a classic neighborhood eatery: the meat comes from a nearby kasap (butcher shop) and is then ground in-house and kneaded with a little salt and pepper to enhance the flavor. Still, the most memorable thing about the burgers are the toppings like homemade mushroom ketchup and creamy Parmesan. Indecisive eaters can also order the mini burger trio to sample a little bit of everything. While you’re there, don’t miss out on Burgerhood’s French fries garnished with truffle oil and Parmesan.