Get us in your inbox

Search
Burger and fries at Mary's
Photograph: Mitch Lui

The 14 best burgers in Sydney

We ate our way through a lot of burgs to find the pick of the bunch

Written by
Time Out editors
Advertising

A burger is a simple premise, but doing them well is a dark art. Do you go with the classic sesame seed or the more gastronomic potato, milk or brioche buns? 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 14 best in Sydney.

Feel like something different? Here are Sydney's best pizza joints and where to find the city's best doughnuts.

The 14 best burgers Sydney has to offer

  • Restaurants
  • Burgers
  • 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

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Sydney

Fans of Five Guys speak about the burgers of this popular US chain with the kind of breathless reverence usually reserved for far fancier gourmet fare. Why you may ask? Well, it's all down to the choose-your-own-adventure menu. Once you’ve selected the number of patties you want and if you want to add cheese and bacon (you should), you have free rein of 15 other toppings and condiments to pimp out their burg any way you want for no additional charge. And with so many garnishes, sauces and other yummy inclusions to choose from – including lesser-available options like grilled mushrooms, fresh jalapeños and A1 steak sauce – there are more than 250,000 possible combinations. 

 

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • 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.

  • Bars
  • 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.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Burgers
  • 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. 

  • Restaurants
  • Burgers
  • 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 cheese burger 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.

Advertising
  • Bars
  • 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.

  • Restaurants
  • Steak house
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4

It might sound like sacrilege to recommend a burger at one of Sydney's best steakhouses, but trust us, the kitchen's talents with beef extend beyond the prime cuts. Pressed from mince that has only just been ground enough to retain all its succulence, served on a toasted brioche, you won't find any fancy relishes or salad elements getting in the way. Here, meat is the master and this impossibly juicy, rare, expertly restrained burger is the proof. And because it would be a crime to pass up the steak on a visit to the Gidley, the cheese burger is a popular pick as a starter to share between two diners. 

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • 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. 

Vic's Meat Market
  • Restaurants
  • 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. 

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • 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. 

  • Restaurants
  • 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.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Burgers
  • 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).

  • Restaurants
  • 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.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Penrith

There are burgers and then there are Five Guys burgers. The concept at this American import is the ultimate fast-casual 'choose your own adventure'. Your dollars buy you the basics, namely the bun and however many beef patties you dare to devour. Everything else you top that meat with is included in the price, and there are 15 additions at your disposal. With those elements, there are literally hundreds of thousands of possible combinations, so it would be unfair to single out just one. And don't go past the fresh-not-frozen skin-on fries either.

Recommended
    You may also like
    You may also like
    Advertising

    The best things in life are free.

    Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

    Loading animation
    Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

    🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

    Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!