Sure, we all love our veggie burgers and fried chicken sandwiches, but sometimes nothing replaces a classic, beefy burger. With that in mind, we set out to track down the best burgers in L.A. We scoured retro greasy spoons to fancy French bistros—and, yes, even some nostalgic fast-food fare—to find the best burgers around. Just add a side of French fries and you have the makings of an all-time great meal. You might want to grab a few extra napkins before you devour this list.
The 27 best burgers in L.A., ranked
This is a burger purist’s platonic ideal. Unassuming but beloved by all, E.R.B.’s Single Burger—still somehow, years in, just $10—is proof that less is more. Nearly impossible to savor slowly, this burger disappears in seconds, probably due to that perfect balance of salty, juicy medium-rare beef to squishy bun to dairy. No visit to this Arts District bar is complete without ordering at least one for the table, but good luck leaving without ordering another. E.R.B.’s single is simplicity at its finest: a solitary gound-chuck patty made from prime beef that gets covered in stringy, melty Tillamook cheddar. That’s it. That’s the whole shebang. Well, we guess there’s also the dill pickle, a special sauce and brioche bun, but OK, now that’s it. It’s the simple things in life.
This bistro burger/Big Mac hybrid arrives a picture of decadence so large and enticing you don’t even know where to begin. (We recommend starting with a fork and knife; it’s that or like 40 napkins.) This the high-low of gourmet burgers: Soaking in a rich bordelaise, this thin-pattied beauty features bougie ingredients while also sporting perfectly pedestrian American cheese. Factor in those caramelized onions and garlic aioli and you have one of the city’s absolute finest—and messiest—burgers, bar none.
One of L.A.’s newest burger contenders is already right at the top of the food chain—and we probably should’ve seen that coming, considering one of the best local butcher shops is behind it. Jered Standing’s grass-fed beef patties are some of the heftiest in town, griddled in beef fat under a tent on the sidewalk each weekend in front of his butchery. They’re made from premium steak cuts and ground onsite (and at the rate they sell, they’re practically ground to order), then topped simply with ketchup, mustard and pickles, or with the bacon-laced “million island” sauce. Without fail, you’ll find crowds faceplanting into these American-cheese–topped singles and doubles from 11am to 3pm along Melrose, and wherever else Burderdaddy pops up.
The not-so-secret menu at In-N-Out is rife with burger combinations, and fans of the burger chain will defend to the death their own go-to order. Here is our call: the Double-Double (Animal Style, obviously), boasting two mustard-griddled all-beef patties with lettuce, tomato, cheese and an extra helping of In-N-Out’s blessed thousand island dressing, along with pickles and grilled onions. Argue with this classic, we dare you.
A shining, beefy example of L.A.’s smashburger trend, Love Hour slings crisp-edged, pressed-thin patties on potato buns with a handful of topping options “for a good time.” You can find these singles, doubles, triples or more—someone’s even done a 10-patty burger—in the old Beer Belly space on Thursdays, outside of the LINE hotel in K-town on Fridays and Saturdays, where their stand turns things into a late-night party, and on Sundays at Smorgasburg (but keep your eyes peeled for pop-ups around town, too). Love Hour also offers a range of absolutely killer seasoned fries, tossed to order in flavors like BBQ, garlic-parmesan, and sour cream and onion, making for the ultimate burger-and-fries combo.
We know the seafood at Connie & Ted’s is where it’s typically at, but hear us out: The Hook Burger is one of the best things on the menu, seafood or no. It’s juicy, it’s perfectly seared, it’s topped with thousand island, pickles, onion and lettuce, and it’s a burger we would eat daily if we didn’t consider our health from time to time. The majesty doesn’t stop there; it’s parctically smothered with Hook’s four-year-aged cheddar, which adds a sharpness of flavor to every gooey string that pulls from the burger to your mouth. Now you can even add Nueske's bacon, a product from the family who claims to have brought applewopod smoking to America. Pro tip: Stop by the bar at happy hour and find the miniature slider verions at a fraction of the price.
Often imitated but never duplicated, backyard pop-up gone permanent restaurant Burgers Never Say Die can largely be credited with sparking L.A.’s smashburger frenzy. These stacks caused so much commotion that they’ve wrapped three-hour lines around the block and even caused a fan to hire someone to wait in line for them. That success probably has something to do with founder Shawn Nee’s quest for perfection, and it’s paid off. Now, fans line up at this walk-up Silver Lake brick-and-mortar for buttery, paper-thin patties pressed so hard, the crisp edges almost resemble lace. Topped with pickles, raw white onions and a drizzle of ketchup and mustard, it’s like the best fast-food burger you’ve ever tried. Supplement with some CVT soft serve and a styrofoam cup brimming with beef-tallow fries and you've got one of the best, most nostalgic meals in L.A.
Pie ’n Burger knows that when you’ve got a good thing going, sometimes it’s best not to mess with it. This classic L.A. burger spot’s been serving up that good thing since ’63, offering griddled burgers using the same methods and sourcing—when possible—for more than 50 years. Careful when you lift these stacked burgers to your lips; they practically ooze that house-made thousand island, and the lettuce, tomato and onion are so packed in that they practically spring out. If you're really hungry, opt for the Big Ben: a double patty that's stacked extra high. It’s probably best to grab some extra napkins before digging in. (We’re just lookin’ out.)
A longtime secret-menu dinner classic, Animal’s cheekily named Boner Burger ($19) can also be found full-time on the brunch menu. It folds bone marrow into the patty—hence the name—but we’re pretty sure there’s another reason they went with that: An arrousing combo of melty jack cheese, caramelized onions, poblano peppers and Animal’s 420 sauce top the perfectly cooked patty, and it’s all sandwiched between two toasty slices of marbled rye. Schwing!
Queue up and ring around a U-shaped counter at this West L.A. institution, which has somehow managed to escape time. Burger patties sizzle on the griddle that’s been around for decades (since 1947, to be exact) and get served by friendly waiters that seem to have been around for just as long. Don’t miss the smoky hickory burger, which comes slathered in secret house sauce (think: sugary, smoky tomato). Pair with an order of crispy fries served in a paper cone, 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.
Allen Yelent gives fans the best of both worlds: a still-juicy center but with ample crust, thanks to extra pressing of the edges as the meat sizzles on the flat top. This pop-up’s patties get topped with American cheese, a little mustard, mayo and either raw or grilled onions. If you’re lucky you just might find the occasional patty melt special, where the beef layers onto some Bub and Grandma’s house loaf with cheese, or you might find an even bigger ode to L.A.: a special where pastrami perches on top of the patties. Keep your eyes on Instagram to find Goldburger popping up at coffee shops, wine bars and neighborhoods near you.
The crunch of the rye, the ooze of the cheese, the char of the grill—Cassell’s patty melt might just be the best in the city, so much so that just thinking about it makes us drool. This throwback burger joint has old-school charm in spades—we’re looking at you, rotating pie case—but it’s the simplicity of that third-pounder with swiss or cheddar and ample grilled onions that really takes us back to a ’50s burger counter, whether you’re in K-town, DTLA or LAX.
L.A.’s home to a lot of gastropubs, but a gastropub that nails a perfect burger? Now that’s more of a rarity. At neighborhood spot Electric Owl, the smashburger is king. The patty—made from wagyu and dry-aged beef—is a little heftier than the smooshed-thin kin you’ll find cropping up around town, but it’s got a perfect, even char, and comes draped in house-made American cheese. Top it all off with pickles, aioli and griddled shallots, then throw it onto a fluffy bun, and you’ve got yourself one of the city’s most underrated burgers, smashed patty or not. (Note: Electric Owl even offers a healthier variety, made with a blend of Impossible Foods’ “beef” and regular beef—for half the cholesterol.)
A Bill’s burger is a thing of beauty, much less a time machine. Take a bite and get transported to the mid-’60s, when this classic L.A. burger shack first fired up the flat top. The bacon cheeseburger is exactly that: griddled burger, American cheese, crispy bacon. There’s lettuce and tomato, and you can (and probably should) add grilled onion, but don’t get too crazy; the idea here is simplicity—because by God, Bill makes one hell of a burger. Just remember to bring some bills—Bill’s spot is cash-only.
To call this burger iconic almost feels like an understatement. Chef-owner Sang Yoon was one of the first to give L.A. burgers a gourmet spin, and he did it with a now-famous but still-polarizing rule: No substitutions. No matter how much you might love ketchup, just order this burger and do it his way—you’ll be glad you did once you sink your teeth into dry-aged beef topped with caramelized onions more akin to French onion soup than the simply sautéed variety. Of course there’s also arugula and blue cheese, and that garlic-butter-toasted bun. Wash it down with one of this gastropub’s 30-plus beers and call it a night.
The burgers at HiHo aren’t groundbreaking in flavor, but they’re practically groundbreaking when it comes to sourcing: The meat is entirely wagyu, grass-fed, non-GMO and non-antibiotic, and the beef comes from cows raised by the certified-humane collective First Light Farm. The result? Tender, perfectly seared beef that almost melts on the tongue and is easy on the conscience, too. You can go either double or triple (sorry, no singles here), and either classic (cheese and ketchup only), or as the mustard-grilled HiHo standard (onion jam, cheese, house-made pickles, ketchup and lettuce). Either way, it goes best with a side of those hand-cut, twice-fried fries.
The Oinkster is Chef Andre Guerrero’s playground, and it’s on the Royale where he really lets loose. (But perhaps not as loose as our belts need to be by the time we’re done eating it.) The Oinkster patriarch starts with a 1/3-pound Angus patty and doesn’t stop until it’s stacked with pastrami, bacon, house-made chili, thousand island dressing, lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles. It's a classic L.A. burger, in more ways than one: It nails the simple throwback fast-food ingredients, then adds pastrami, another civic staple. Whew. No napping under the tables, please.
Combining a classic flat-top patty smothered in American cheese with a bit of a gourmet twist, Studio City’s mid-century-inspired spot brings us one of SFV’s top burgers. This burger has flipped from one patty to two and back again, but whatever the number might be on your visit, the meaty pile gets brightened by pickled Fresno chilies while a few grilled green onions add even more texture and char. Each bite is unique and nostalgic, while still feeling fresh. It’s all served on a garlic-aioli–smeared potato bun, which is impossible to argue with.
You cannot eat the Whipper Burger at Hawkins House of Burgers without a fork and knife. It’s just not possible. And while some behemoth burgers aim more for quantity than quality, the Whipper manages to encompass both. Two well-seasoned, tender patties are topped with a pile of expertly fried pastrami, along with sausage links that delightfully snap when you bite into them. It’s a mess. It’s kind of ridiculous. But it’s worth the half-hour wait and the curious looks that go along with ordering it—and the additional curious looks from fellow diners when it lands on your table.
The Tripel Burger fast became one of Playa del Rey’s must-order dishes, and it should come as no surprise. The acclaimed wife-and-husband team of Brooke Williamson and Nick Roberts walk that perfect sweet-salty line with their new classic: a pork-and-beef patty with duck confit, topped with truffled pecorino, house apricot jam and peppery arugula, all on a brioche bun. It’s sticky and sweet and so good that you won’t even mind it when this delicious beachside burger runs down your hands. (Just jump into the ocean, it’ll come right off.)
Plan Check Burger’s PCB is everything we love about the gourmet-burger trend. High-quality meat? It’s wagyu. What about artisanal toppings? How does Chef Ernesto Uchimura’s “ketchup leather” sound, especially when we tell you it’s made from fresh, dehydrated tomatoes for non-soggy-bun bliss? Care given to the bread? It’s served on the "crunch bun," a panko-topped milk bread. It also features the umami-packed dashi American cheese, plus pickles and schmaltz onions. Help, is it lunchtime yet?
What happens when one of the city’s best Spanish restaurants tries its hand at a burger? Thankfully, now we know. Otoño’s happy-hour and late-night chorizo-spiced hamburguesa is rich and filled with deep flavor, thanks primarily to an incredible house-made jamon-and-onion jam that tops the beef. There’s also gooey tetilla cheese oozing down the side, plus a scattering of crispy shoestring potatoes for some crunch. Our tip? Bite off the tip of the accompanying pickled peppers and squeeze their juice onto the burger to brighten the whole thing up and add some heat.
Sure, Belcampo offers the totally respectable Fast Burger, which is for the thin-patty lovers, but if you want something swith a little more heft, spring for the Belcampo Burger with its thick, juicy slab of ground grass-fed beef topped with caramelized onions and cheddar. You’ll know why you’re paying $15 for a burger ordered at a counter—or $18 at one of the full-service restaurants—as soon as you bite into Belcampo’s namesake version. The beef is rich, dry-aged and juicy, and the cheddar and caramelized onions piled on top only add fuel to the discussion that this has to be one of the best burgers in the city.
Alhambra’s metal-themed, meat-slinging burger shop doesn’t serve a single patty that’s not obscenely dressed, and the Napalm Death tops them all. A medium-rare, half-pound patty gets drenched in gooey pepperjack, pickled jalapeños and cream cheese, then it's all topped off with fried jalapeño poppers and habanero aioli. It’s what we’ll dine on when the valkyries carry us over the rainbow bridge to Valhalla (which may be because it kills us as we’re eating it).
What’s in a name? For Fred and Max Guerrero, the self-proclaimed “burgerlords,” it’s telling: It’s hard to argue that the pair knows burgers, and their pared-down setup proves that they know it’s all in the execution. Their In-N-Out-inspired menu somehow managed to improve on much of the icon's menu, with classics like the double cheeseburger—also available vegan. It's a local option when you're craving the In-N-Out taste without the massive lines, and we'll be honest: Burgerlords have better fries. There, we said it.
A quick glance of this stacked-high burger shows that the name is certainly fitting, but eating it is somehow even more daunting than your eyes led you to believe. Between the fluffy buns you’ll find a mound of bacon-onion jam, dijonnaise, melted American cheese, an extra-thick beef patty, a juicy slice of heirloom tomato and a cluster of butter lettuce. Oh, and if that’s still not enough, feel free to add a fried egg, too—this burger’s only available at brunch, after all.