While burgers in Los Angeles might be a harder sell than, say, pizza in Boston, visitors to the City of Angels might be surprised by how committed these folks are to a decent burger. With an array of higher end burger chains and some distinctive, experimental gourmet burger joints , L.A. has more than its fair share of great burger restaurants from the reasonably priced to the celeb-inspired splash out. Los Angeles is, in fact, making a name for itself among America’s gastronomic elite as competitively innovative, with the city’s A-listers keen to be in on the cutting edge foodie trends. That pioneering culinary approach is evident at these five best burger restaurants in L.A.
25 Degrees is situated right on Hollywood Boulevard but its touristy, crowded location doesn’t do justice to the truly gourmet burger offerings on the menu. With impossibly soft buns and frankly enormous beef patties, this franchise (like the best Hollywood stars, it has an exotic home in Bangkok and a hip pied-à-terre in Chicago) has gained a reputation as providing some of the best burgers in the city to tourists and locals alike. The build-your-own menu has a fantastic selection with exhaustive cheese options.
Dating back to the ’40s, the Apple Pan in West L.A. has an unaffected, retro feel that provides an All-American escape from the often overwhelming pretension of the city’s gourmet eateries. Despite its unassuming appearance, this is a lesser known gem of a burger restaurant; the Hickory burger, which comes with a house special apple / ketchup relish, is a beloved favorite among the diner’s regulars. Pull up a seat at the counter (there aren’t any tables here) and grab a $7 burger with a paper cup of your favorite soda. The apple pie for dessert is a must-try – it’s arguably what put this diner on the map.
The Rustic Canyon Wine Bar is an upmarket restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica. With low lighting, a formidable wine list and the eponymous rustic vibe, it’s ideal for a lingering romantic dinner. This image might not gel with the idea of a massive, stacked burger but perhaps surprisingly the restaurant is famous for its Rustic Canyon Burger. An indulgent construction of mature cheddar, onion fondue and herb remoulade, the burger comes on a soft brioche bun. It’s tasty, juicy and satisfying, and it remains a menu standout despite competition from some of the much more gourmet dishes served up at Rustic Canyon.
Father’s Office, not originally a downtown L.A. boast, started off in Santa Monica. It’s been welcomed to Helms Avenue in L.A. with open arms by the trendy foodie crew, and its strict no-substitutes stance has earned it the respect and awe of many. With a list of restrictions that extend to its over-21s only policy, its anti-ketchup regime, and a regulation against birthday cakes, you’d better hope Father’s Office has the goods to back this up. It does: The burgers, made with impossibly taste-filled dry-aged beef, are carefully constructed for a refined palate. With combinations clearly designed by a master chef, you’d find it difficult to justify taking away the blue cheese and replacing it with mayo. But if you want that freedom, this isn’t the restaurant for you.
Hole In The Wall in Santa Monica is the antithesis of the aforementioned Father’s Office, with a menu expressly designed to allow its patrons to construct their own burger. It’s a literal check-box operation all the way from the choice of meat through to the condiments and cheeses . From pretzel buns to brioche, from beef patty to chorizo burger, all of the standard or more exotic options at Hole In The Wall are fresh, handmade, and hormone free. Incredibly, you can get the whole thing for a square $10 – evidence that value needn’t be compromised for quality ingredients.