What is it about a great burger restaurant that makes you a fan for life? Is it the comfort in finding a regular order, the one that rolls off your tongue as soon as you walk up to the counter? Is it the knowledge that this spot—your spot—has been your go-to place for years? Is it not just the burger, but the milkshakes and the French fries and the friendly service (or not-so-friendly, if that's your thing) that comes with the place? Los Angeles is rife with fantastic burger restaurants, so we went out in search of the very best and whittled them down to these 25 burger joints that made us die-hard fans.
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Sleek leather booths and mirrored walls make this one of the swankier burger joints you'll find in L.A., but it's the colossal, juicy patties piled with toppings—and not the décor—that are the real draw here. Situated on the ground floor of the Roosevelt Hotel, 25 Degrees has a menu that draws dedicated hamburger lovers from across town. You can craft your own or choose from unique creations like the Number Four, made with yellowfin tuna, butter lettuce and crispy fried onions.
Serving as both a butcher shop and a burger joint, Belcampo Meat Co. is located in Downtown's Grand Central Market, offering customers a solid lunch spot to grab a burger or pulled pork sandwich, and the ability to pick up a pound of ground beef to bring home. The company prides itself on sustainable, organic meat, a practice that is readily apparent as soon as you bite into one of their famed cheeseburgers. Oh, and they make their own vinegar slaw, ketchup and aioli, so everything tastes like it was whipped up just for you. If you're on the Westside, check out their full-on restaurant: Belcampo Meat Co. Santa Monica.
This weekday-only, retro burger counter has been serving the Valley since 1965. Husband and wife team Bill and Hiroko grill every burger (on a well seasoned flattop) to order and their bacon cheeseburger ($5.30) could easily be the poster meal for the ultimate classic burger: a nicely seared patty, mayo, tomato, lettuce, crisp bacon strips and American cheese is sandwiched between griddled buns, and served with ridged potato chips on the side. Regulars drop in for lunch at the counter or back patio, and veterans know to add grilled onions to their orders.
Founded in the '40s just a hop, skip and a jump from its current Hotel Normandie location, it's been an L.A. burger mecca for decades, and for good cause: the patties are juicy and the service, friendly. Find classic burgers, patty melts and a new-to-Cassell's 1950s vibe, not to mention some serious desserts and house-made sodas.
Whether you're visiting the Culver City or Santa Monica location, a convivial buzz fills Father's Office with hungry diners jonesing for a burger and craft beer. The 30-plus beers on tap mainly come from California microbreweries; there's also a nice range of wines. Food-wise, forgo the tapas in favor of the fabled Office Burger. Just be prepared to eat it in the way the menu suggests: no additions and no substitutions. And definitely no ketchup.
When chowing down at Watts' prized Hawkins House of Burgers, you’ll need to harness that "go big or go home" mentality. Scores of hungry Angelenos line up at this stand-turned-casual restaurant for American classics at a bargain price. Burgers packed with high quality Angus beef, fresh ingredients and tons of flavor can be smelled down the block. Sure, this no-frills burger joint is vastly informal, but that just spotlights the Fat Chili Cheese Burger, Double Bacon Egg Cheese Burger and other tasty fare. If you want to give a whack at the Triple Burger (that’s three fully stacked burgers piled into one tower), go for it—but you’ll need an impressive pack of napkins and maybe some forks at the ready.
Fans of create-your-own-style burgers can salivate over options like sautéed jalapenos, cranberry mayo and a pretzel bun at West L.A.’s Hole in the Wall Burger Joint. This cash-only spot boasts an extensive toppings menu from protein to bun (gluten-free bread included) to toppings that’ll have you eager to craft the perfect concoction. But whether you choose a housemade veggie patty, turkey, chicken or beef, you’re guaranteed a flavorsome, juicy bite. Be on the lookout for weekly specials like the Mac & Cheese Burger, Crispy Chicken Burger and even a Thanksgiving Burger—there’s no shortage of creativity here. Plus, you can pair your succulent burger with a side of tater tots for the ultimate mid-day treat.
Southern California may have spawned the golden arches, but no other regional fast food export has a local and out-of-towner following quite like In-N-Out. "Did you go to In-N-Out?" is bound to come up in any conversation when a tourist visits L.A. And honestly, it's hard to argue with less-than-$3 cheeseburgers, late-night hours and a not-so-secret menu that offers a surprising level of customization for a fast food spot.
Perched on Pico between Westwood and the Hillcrest Country Club, Marty’s Hamburger Stand welcomes native Angelenos and tourists alike to chow down on hot dogs, burgers and hot-dog-burgers (yes, that's a thing). Known for stacking open-face links, grilled patties and classic fixings between two warm buns, this cult-classic fuses two good old-fashioned favorites in one hearty bite. If you’re looking to cure a bad hangover or simply satiate your burger cravings, Marty's has it all (including the raved-about chili cheese fries) at a wallet-friendly price.
"You can't cook love into the food, without first having some love inside," claims Mo Better Burgers. A little cheesy, sure, but the friendly staff at Mo Better channel nothing but love. After you order, be prepared to twiddle your thumbs for a bit (there's a 12-minute minimum wait time), but it's worth it. Custom burgers like the Garth Trinidad feature a turkey burger with homemade BBQ sauce, cheddar and jack cheese, turkey bacon, avocado and sautéed onions. Of course, you can always craft your own—they'll make it with just as much love.
Beneath that curbside blue roof and tiny protruding sign lies Compton’s most beloved burger joint, which attracts locals and beyond. Perhaps this neighborhood greasy spoon is named Mom’s Burgers for its backyard barbecue vibe—with a little added frill, of course. The Colossal burger, for example, isn’t your average American classic; meat-lovers flock to this gritty menu concoction stuffed with handfuls of savory pastrami atop thick patties. Find scores of munchies-approved favorites at this small, casual dive.
Journey over to The Oinkster for some extra decadent takes on American classics by well known chef Andre Guerrero. Order a slow-roasted pulled BBQ pork sandwich and crispy Belgian-style fries at this "slow fast food" joint. The garlic aioli and chipotle ketchup, made in-house for dipping fries, truly elevate the standard side. Guy Fieri may be a fan of the house-cured pastrami and slow-smoked pork, but we're also champions for The Oinkster's burgers, like The Royale (an Angus patty with bacon, chili and pastrami). Wash your food down with one of their draft beers—they have local, California craft brews to expand your culinary palette.
Maclay Avenue in San Fernando is a quaint part of town, populated by a number of shops, the San Fernando Library and the much buzzed about Compañia de Café. And then there's Old Fashioned Chiliburgers & Sandwiches, a homey burger shop with an outdoor patio where you can bite into creations like the Western (bacon, tomatoes, purple onions, BBQ sauce) or the Chiliburger, a sloppy concoction that oozes Old Fashioned's delicious house-made chili. Their pastrami is smoked in-house, pulled pork fries are on the menu (yup), and most of the burgers are under $5. We're sold.
Tommy's has earned cult status in L.A. thanks in part to its famed double chili cheeseburger. Two well-seasoned beef patties, cheese, pickles, a glop of hearty chili and a thick slice of tomato have kept this chain going since its first store opened on Beverly in 1946, and still draw crowds at more than 25 locations in California. Not into chili? They're open early for breakfast burritos and hash browns as well.
Don't be fooled by the relaxed, homey vibe given off by this throwback diner, which first opened in 1963: when it comes to burgers, they mean business. The griddle-cooked patties (topped, of course, with a secret house-made sauce) have become so popular that the owners even launched a spin-off Pie 'n Burger food truck, which regularly prowls the area. Also included on the limited menu are breakfast fare, deli sandwiches and, of course, homey pies.
Plan Check, whether in Sawtelle, Downtown or beyond, brings fried chicken deliciousness and some of the best burgers in town to Angelenos. But you won't just find a standard patty with lettuce, tomato and cheese here. Chef Ernesto Uchimura makes a K-BBQ burger topped with kimcheese (gruyére seasoned with dried kimchi), a Blueprint Burger with blue cheese and pig candy, and other crazy concoctions (like PC's famed ketchup leather). Stick around for the restaurant's signature cruller donuts, or sidle up to the bar to nurse a S&L old fashioned.
How's this for food in unexpected places: a WWII bunker. Westsiders can sit inside a free-standing, covered shelter—redone to a minimalist-meets-Etsy decor—for Hawaiian-style burgers made with "pono" (i.e. grass-fed, local, organic feed). These morally superior beauties take on flavors of the Pacific islands with wasabi mayo, pickled ginger and spicy guava sauce. Build a burger that starts with grass-fed, wood-grilled beef patty, and add on farmers market toppings atop a brioche bun. And to drink, there's craft beer on tap and by the bottle (pitchers if you're really thirsty), along with wine and some damn fine milkshakes.
Slater's 50/50 is not for the faint of heart. Home of the 50/50 patty—50% ground bacon and 50% ground beef—the burgers quickly escalate into heart attack territory. Want more bacon? Opt for the B'B'B'Bacon, featuring bacon American cheese, "bacon island" dressing and, duh, strips of bacon. Want to get weird? The Peanut Butter & Jellousy would make Elvis proud, with a Brandt beef patty topped with PB, jelly and bacon held between a honey wheat bun. There are other dishes to consider—mac and cheese, beer cheese fries, bacon poutine—but with burgers like these, you're not just coming here for a plate of fries.
With locations in Hollywood, Studio City and Santa Monica, Stout Burgers & Beer caters to burger fiends across the city. Their beef is ground in-house daily, with suggested beer pairings listed below each burger option. And veggie burgers? They have those, too. The comforting quinoa patty is bound together by mashed beans to form a burger that tastes indulgent without feeling unhealthy. The Bollywood Burger is slathered with a fiery chutney mayonnaise that achieves a great balance of sweet and hot (and will clear out your sinuses after a few bites). Peppery arugula gives it bite, and a pile of roasted tomatoes on top drops a deep umami bump.
You'll smell it before you see it: the aroma of crispy bacon and beef patties sizzling on the grill, filling the air with the promise of a respectable burger joint. Nestled on a Pasadena corner, this unsuspecting dive is host to a small ordering window, very limited seating, and the meatiest, juiciest, two-hands-required burgers. You’ll likely fall head over heels for the prices, too: $6.95 for a cheeseburger, fries and a drink. Drop by for fast-food-style grub with ultra-thick patties oozing cheese and topped with generous slabs of bacon.
Queue up and ring around a U-shaped counter at this West L.A. institution that seems to have escaped time. Burger patties sizzle on the griddle that's been around for decades (since 1927, to be exact) and served by friendly waiters that seem to have been around for just as long. The go-to order: the smoky Hickory Burger slathered in house sauce. Pair with an order of crispy fries and save room for a slice of house-made apple pie (á la mode, all the way). Be prepared to pay cash only and, on a sweltering day, opt for a seat by the door at this no-AC joint.
This casual and wildly popular burger joint offers hundreds of possible combinations, served with an array of sauces and add-ons. Some people delight in trying the most outlandish options: turkey burger with olives, grilled pineapple and brie—you name it. And because beer and burgers go together like PB&J, craft beer is on tap, along with a substantial wine list and adult milkshakes.
Follow the skaters on Fairfax into intimate burger joint The Golden State where the locally sourced burger is so mouth-watering, you’ll daydream about it weeks later. We recommend pairing yours with crispy sweet potato wedges dipped in curry ketchup and washing it down with a beer float, made with Scoops' Brown Brown Bread ice cream submerged in North Coast Brewing’s Old Rasputin stout. Bonus: Golden State sources as many fresh ingredients as possible from—you guessed it—California.
Let's face it: Umami is now in every nook and cranny of the city. Choose from one of their handcrafted classics including the original Umami Burger (shiitake mushroom, caramelized onions, roasted tomato, parmesan crisp and umami ketchup) or the vegetarian-friendly Earth Burger (mushroom and edamame patty, white soy aioli, truffle ricotta, cipollini onions, lettuce, slow-roasted tomato), served on a slightly sweet bun. Picky eaters, beware: Umami has a strict no substitution policy. Pair your burger with a craft beer and sweet potato fries—you can thank us later.