Calorie bombs they might be, but the burger is one of those indulgences we can’t seem to give up, no matter the time of year. Check out our list of the top 10 burgers in the city so you’ll know exactly where to go the next time you get a craving
This small café is best known for its sandwiches, prepped by owner and chef Osman Kemal Sözer with creative combinations of top-notch ingredients on focaccia bread. Bubada’s Portobello burger is particularly popular and comes with a 120-g beef patty, mushrooms, arugula and Roquefort sauce. All burgers here are served with French fries, though we recommend saving some room for the delectable meringue as a sweet ending to your meal.
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.
This burger shop in Armutlu is the brainchild of Yağız İzgül and his partners Ceylin Atay, Selim Onan and Bahadır Gürcüer. In addition to classics like cheeseburgers, Burger Project also offers unconventional flavors like Project Turco, which comes with a 130-g beef patty, pastırma (seasoned beef pastrami), sp’cy sauce and fresh kaşar cheese; Project Roquefort & Funghi, which includes Roquefort cheese and mushrooms; and Project Argentina, which features spicy chimichurri sauce. The chewy, slightly sweet burgers are served on real burger buns produced exclusively for the restaurant (those watching their figure can opt for whole-wheat). If you’re struggling to make a decision, we also recommend the trio of mini Argentina, Roquefort & Funghi and cheeseburger.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.