What could be more perfect than finely ground meat placed between two sweet slices of bread with cheese and pickles? Nothing, that's what. Whether you like them stacked to the nines, fat-rich and salty, veggie or vegan, here are the best burgers in Sydney.
Order the luscious beef patty with tomato relish, mayo and pickles on a soft, sweet bun. It's at least a five napkin job – the giving bun and patty kind of meld into each other and the sauce is all but guaranteed to run down your arm. Chase it with a salted caramel milkshake spiked with bourbon for an all-carb-and-dairy snack attack.
If you can bear to look past the beef brisket sandwich (which might be made by angels), the wagyu cheeseburger will not leave you disappointed. Upon a dense, full-flavoured patty sits American cheese, finely chopped onion and crinkle-cut pickles, all enveloped by a soft, bouncy, Aussie-style bun.
The food options at this North Shore bar are typical booze food: burgers, hot wings and pulled pork. Go for the cheesy bacon burger – it’s equal parts juicy, greasy and good. The bun is soft, the beef patty is well seasoned and the bacon is crisp. And it's one of the best burgers we’ve had in this neck of the woods.
The burger here is a doozy: a proper medium-rare beef patty with cheddar melted on top comes secured in a well-toasted sesame seed bun. A little rocket, caramelised onion relish and a smoky savoury tomato relish are welcome additions, but it’s the swirl of béarnaise sauce that takes this humble burger from rags to riches.
Out of all the fine tastiness that comes our way, it’s the juicy cheeseburger that keeps this café front and centre in our hearts and minds. A thick patty of grass-fed black Angus beef wears an overcoat of melted Gruyère, tomato relish and aioli, all sandwiched in a soft bun with a side of smashed-then-fried potatoes.
Soul Burger is entirely vegan, and the burgers are epic. If you’ve got a hunger on, go for the Sumo burger. It’s a beast: the meat-free Gardein patty is paired with soft, buttery, chargrilled field mushrooms, a pepper-spiked (plant-based) sausage and silky swathe of roast red capsicum, lettuce, tomato and a fresh tasting tomato relish. It's so tall that it’s almost impossible to eat as a burger. Instead we Jenga that shit right up and nibble on bits and bobs as we go. And it’s excellent: each ingredient has been cooked perfectly, making it smoky, textural, and full of contrasting – complementing – flavours.
The burgers at this food truck change every week, but the night we line up it’s the Truffe, and the moment we bite into it we understand why the queues here are so damn long. A big-ass beef patty sits on a bed of caramelised onions, and is topped with properly melted cheese, peppery rocket and truffle oil-infused mayo. The patty is excellent: thick and chunky and cooked medium, the meat coarsely minced so that it retains a nubbly texture while remaining super-moist. The brioche bun isn't too sweet and holds the burger in place perfectly. Eat it from the half-pocket of silver foil it comes in, though; this is one messy sanger.
These guys are doing one of the most culty burgers in town right now. BBJ is a nomadic pop-up, so you have to seek them out, but when you do, hit up ‘The Infamous Primo’, which features two 160g-wagyu patties; double melted American cheese (the same brand that In-N-Out use); chipotle mayo; a layer each of super-crisp bacon and beer battered onion rings, a pile of spicy pickled jalapeños and few token leaves of iceberg lettuce. It’s a freaking monster. It’s so big in fact that it’s almost impossible to eat – like a game of Jenga, but played with your mouth. It is however, damn delicious: the seasoning spot on, the burgers just pink and smoky from the grill, sauce dripping down your wrist as you eat. Go for it.
These guys are darn creative with their burgers. In fact, every Wednesday they experiment with a new-fangled flavour combo – one week it might be a fried chicken burger with lemongrass chilli, slaw and crispy chicken skin, the next a chorizo burger with cheese and harissa mayo. But we love the regularly available ‘OG’ burger – 200g worth of tender beef patty layered up with American cheese, salad and the ubiquitous McClures pickles. Add some smoked streaky bacon to take this guy to the next level.
Order the Blame Canada. It's a thick, pink-centred beef patty topped with crisp, maple-glazed bacon, double American cheese, poutine (fries and cheese curds soaked in gravy) and maple aioli. This is a bloody good burger: nubbly meat, crunchy bacon, and creamy mayo that's not overly sweet. As if we were not already persuaded by their delightful Prime Minister, we don't blame Canada; we support it.
The bacon cheeseburger at Jacks is so juicy that the whole thing drips helplessly onto our laps as we eat it. The patty is super-tender and gently seasoned (owner Jack Fonteyn has worked with Anthony Puharich from Vic’s Meat to get the perfect ratio of meat to fat). It's topped with bacon that tastes powerfully of the smoker and generously portioned, melted American cheese. The sauce is hot and punchy with mustard, with coral lettuce and slices of tomato bringing freshness. The buns are sweet, soft and robust; which is just as it should be. Meat not your bag? Check out the veggie burger here, because it is seriously excellent.
It’s salty, fatty and the kind of burger you crave when you need to refuel after a brew too many. The work that goes into this burger is disguised by its trashiness (wide and flat, it looks like you sat on your Maccas) – the patty is made with two parts chuck, to a part each of brisket and rump. The optional bacon, smoked in an (unused) bin, is a must.
Sydney’s hottest burger joint lives up to its name. Order the Bronx – a charred but tender patty cooked medium-rare is sandwiched between two melted slices of American cheese, sweet onion jam, a whole heap of sour pickles and a big, crunchy leaf of iceberg lettuce. It sounds like it’s going to topple over but the sturdy, soft Brasserie Bread milk bun keeps things in check.
It’s the best burger in town, and Heston Blumenthal’s pick for best in the country. We’re talking about Neil Perry's buttery, full blood wagyu hamburger. Topped with bacon, Gruyere cheese and pickle, the brioche bun is just sweet enough, without reaching overkill. Order it rare (trust us), settle in at the bar with an Old Fashioned, and get ready to experience food nirvana.
And for the home cook
Introducing Castello's new Burger Blue: this wonder of cheese technology has all the bold, umami-intensive blue-cheese taste you'd expect from Castello, but it comes pre-sliced with an easy-peel pack, that makes it perfect for melting over your beef or mushroom burger patty. A first for Australia, this is the end of awkward cheese crumbs and the beginning of a beautiful, blue, thinly sliced square future. Grab it from the dairy aisle of major supermarkets.