The Best Burgers in Sydney

We ate our way through a lot of burgers to find the pick of the bunch
Burger and fries at Mary's
Photograph: Mitch Lui
By Time Out editors |
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A burger is a simple premise, but doing them well is a dark art. Do you go with the classic sesame seed, potato, milk or brioche bun? Do you prefer American cheese, blue or cheddar? Caramelised onions, pickled or raw? Lettuce and tomato or cheese and pickles? Is your protein power chicken, fish, beef, or mushroom? And we haven’t even gotten to the question of fries yet. There are a thousand variations on a burger, but these are the 16 best in Sydney.

Feel like something different? Here are Sydney's best pizza joints and the best places for dumplings.

RECOMMENDED: The 50 best cheap eats in Sydney.

The 14 best burgers Sydney has to offer

1
Chicken katsu burger at Bar Ume
Photograph: Anna Kucera
Restaurants, Burgers

Chicken Katsu Burger at Bar Ume

icon-location-pin Surry Hills

Kirby Craig’s katsu chicken burger is one of the best hot sandwiches we’ve eaten in this city. The chicken thighs are wider than the sweet bun so that hot, juicy, crunchy bites stick out on all sides. The sweetness in the tonkatsu sauce is good, the subtle citrus in the yuzu mayo is even better, and they jam enough finely shredded cabbage and the right amount of raw onion to keep things feeling fresh, not fatty

2
Burger and milkshake at Paul's Famous Hamburgers
Photograph: Nikki Malvar
Restaurants

Paul’s Famous Works Burger at Paul’s Burgers

icon-location-pin Sylvania

This cash-only operation is a well-oiled machine masquerading as a ramshackle burger joint by the roadside in Sylvania. In operation since 1957, they offer Australian-style burgers, meaning a cooked through (but still tasty) patty, fresh tomato, raw onions and lots of shredded lettuce come standard, along with free beetroot if you want it. Go the Works Burger, which adds crisp bacon, a fried egg and pineapple.

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3
Burger and fries at Mary's
Bars

Mary’s Burger at Mary’s

icon-location-pin Newtown

These guys are the kings of the good quality, American-style burger with that low-brow fast food flavour. They started the trend and none have matched them for consistency or popularity. The secret is in their beef patties made by a special machine in their CBD shop. Quality beef, cheese melted over the meat, lettuce, thick slices of tomato, white onion and Mary's secret sauce and smooshed into a soft white bun, and you should consider adding mash and gravy as a dip for your fries for a carb on carb party.

4
A beef burger with jalapenos and hot sauce
Photograph: Thomas Klockseth
Restaurants, Burgers

Chilli Burger at Originals Burger Co

icon-location-pin Brookvale

On an industrial street in Brookvale they are cooking up a banger of a classic beef burger, but they have a secret weapon that makes their chilli burger stand out – they make their own hot sauce in-house from Carolina Reaper chillis and it’s a showstopper. Fresh, fruity and properly hot, but not in a sneaky way. The heat goes up in even increments, so you don’t suddenly become the mayor of a mouth volcano. 

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5
Beef and bacon burger at Bondi Beach Public Bar
Photograph: Anna Kucera
Bars, Pub dining

Bondi Beach Public Bar

icon-location-pin Bondi Beach

The pub from the team behind Icebergs and Da Orazio have opened a really good venue on the mostly-toursity section of Campbell Parade, and it's where you'll get the double squish burger. What seems like a gimmick is actually a pretty genius idea. The usually fluffy bun is compressed down (a heated iron weight is responsible), toasting the outside nicely and soaking up the juices of the double meat patty, bacon and cheese. This results in a surprisingly neat and compact burger holding in all the flavours

6
Burger Head
Photograph: ELT
Restaurants, Burgers

Cheeseburger at Burgerhead

icon-location-pin Penrith

The crew behind this Penrith burger bar have serious Sydney restaurant credentials, which goes a long way to explaining why the goods here stack up to any hot sandwich in the city. The burgers aren’t cheap - good ingredients aren’t - but their classic, American-style cheeseburger is excellent: juicy patty, tacky melted cheese, lots of pickles and onions and mustard mayo. Next time we might order the Louise, which adds lettuce and tomato to the mix, for some extra nutrients.

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7
Chicken burger and poutine at Bar Luca
Photograph: Nikki Malvar
Bars

BL chicken burger at Bar Luca

icon-location-pin Sydney

Lucky every table is stocked with wet wipes because the BL chicken burger are messy. The chicken burger has two pickle-brined-and-fried chicken schnitzels balancing on a Kraft single, pickles, lettuce, bacon, cheese and Sriracha mayo pierced with a skewer that we daren’t remove in case it all topples over. It’s a heart attack waiting to happen, but one we’d happily risk all over again.

8
Cog burger at Bondi Tony's
Photograph: Nikki Malvar
Restaurants

Classic cog at Bonditony’s

icon-location-pin Bondi Beach

The menu here is a veritable ode to Sydney rock royalty, and while you maybe tempted to try order your favourite band’s namesake sandwich, a surefire bet is the Classic Cog, which unlike prog-rock music, keeps things classic with tasty cheese, grass-fed beef, lettuce and tomato relish. Top marks for the bun-to-patty ratio – they complement each other perfectly. It’s also juicy but not a monstrous hot mess. 

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9
VicsMeatMarket_0141.jpg
Restaurants

Vic's Meat Market

icon-location-pin Pyrmont

They're famous for their 16-hour brisket rolls with coleslaw and barbecue sauce (the pepper crusted bark is amazing), but these guys are also smoking a dense, flavoursome deliciously chewy wagyu patty that they squish inside a soft white bun with pickles, diced onion and enough tomato sauce and mustard to ensure it gets over your fingers. 

10
ChurBurger-482x298-11.jpg
Restaurants

OG at Chur Burger

icon-location-pin Surry Hills

At one of Sydney's original cult burger joints, the attitude towards lettuce is more "leave it" than "take it". Pickles and a thick, acidic tomato relish are the only plants you'll find on their "OG" cheeseburger – unless you count huge swirls of butter-yellow mustard mayo as a vegetable. Those condiments and a slice of perfectly-melted orange cheese are all that graces the pink, juicy patty and soft milk bun. 

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11
A close up shot of a beef burger with lettuce, bacon, melting ch
Restaurants

Brooklyn at Five Point Burgers

icon-location-pin North Sydney

The Brooklyn takes all the best bits of your classic cheese burger – medium rare patty, sticky American cheese, mayo and lettuce and doubles the cheese, and doubles down on the mayo score, adding a chipotle chilli and a gherkin spiced version, and then adds spicy jalapeno slices to punch through all the fat. Frequent flyers will know to avoid peak times - these guys get serious queues forming from noon.

12
Shroom burger at Betty's Burgers
Photograph: Nikki Malvar
Restaurants, Burgers

Shroom burger at Betty’s Burgers

icon-location-pin Sydney

Brisbane's burger chain has opened a Sydney outpost that does a messy beef burger with cheese, and one of the best meat-free burgers on the fast food circuit. They sandwich a mix of gouda and Gruyère between big, flat, juicy field mushrooms and then crumb and deep fry it so that the shell is crunchy and the cheese molten. It's lightened and brightened by the requisite lettuce and tomato and delivered in a soft, white, sweet bun spread with the house secret sauce (a spiced mayo situation).

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13
someone holding a classic hamburger
Photograph: ELT
Restaurants, Burgers

Hamburger at Superior Burger

icon-location-pin Wakeley

There’s a big difference between cheap and crappy, and at Superior Burger they are very particuar about their ingredients. They use pasture-fed beef and chemical free chickens, and they salt-age their meat for the patties, which they mince in-house so that the result is properly nubbly, juicy and rough, not frighteningly uniform like a mass produced product. You’ll feel quite nostalgic eating here, with potato scallops on the menu, plus a classic hamburger that doesn’t go in for orange American cheese – beetroot, proper barbecue onions and smoked barbecue sauce is how they roll. 

14
Chicken burger at Batch Burgers
Photograph: Nikki Malvar
Restaurants

Chipotle chicken burger at Batch Burgers and Espresso

icon-location-pin Kirribilli

The chipotle chicken burger outshines its beefy brethren here. Structural integrity isn’t this burger’s strong suit – but what it lacks in form, it’s makes up for in tiered textures. The fried chicken is coated in a crisp batter (which is seasoned with a mix of what resembles the KFC secret 12 spices), the bacon is juicy, soft avo, lettuce and tomato add freshness while the chipotle mayo brings it back into flavour town.

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Burn off the double cheese

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A shot of the coconut quinoa Bircher with sliced mango in a bowl
Photograph: Anna Kucera
Restaurants, Cafés

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