Food & Drink

The Best Burgers in Boston You Can Inhale Right Now

Updated On 04/09/2018 at 05:02PM EST Updated On 04/09/2018 at 05:02PM EST
thrillist boston best burgers in boston
Drink | Brian Samuels
Courtesy of BRISTOL RESTAURANT AND BAR

The Bristol Restaurant and Bar

Back Bay

A burger as classic as its Four Seasons confines
The Bristol Burger is both a standard-bearer and a study in understatement. No gratuitous egg augmentations or florid aiolis here, just a full 8 ounces of chuck topped with Vermont Cheddar, lettuce, some Bermuda onion, tomato slices, and the lounge’s own pickles. It’s simple but precise -- the burger equivalent of a surgical strike.

SONYA HIGHFIELD/THRILLIST

Alden & Harlow

Harvard Square

Limited-edition, off-menu burger that’s still worth the hype
The A&H secret burger hysteria has abated a bit, but that doesn’t mean you can just waltz in and get your grubby hands on its half-pound of sheer loveliness without some work. Chef Michael Scelfo still serves just shy of 40 burgers a night, which is why people continue to line up ahead of opening. As you’re probably already aware, the burger here is made out of Creekstone Farms ground brisket, short rib, and beef encased in a housemade roll. A Parmesan crisp and drizzle of divine, secret sauce bringing it all home. And if this difficult-to-nab thing is already sold out, just know that the regular house burger is nothing to hate-tweet about.

SONYA HIGHFIELD/THRILLIST

Craigie on Main

Central Square

Arguably Greater Boston's highest-profile burger
This is the burger: a first ballot hall-of-famer that changed the city’s patty game forever. Three cuts of beef, plus suet, bone marrow, and dehydrated miso make up the actual burger; topped with Shelburne Farm Cheddar and a homemade mace ketchup, this Bon Appétit cover model is as much deity as entree.

Brian Samuels

Drink

Fort Point

Formerly off-menu, still sublime
Once upon a time, the Relais & Chateaux Menton upstairs would deliver a total of just 15 burgers a night, a Colorado wagyu beef double cheeseburger topped with American cheese, Bibb lettuce, house pickles, shaved red onion, black pepper mayo, and ketchup on a toasted Hi-Rise Bread Company bun. Now it’s part of the larger food menu; be grateful that showing up late won’t leave you hungry anymore.

SONYA HIGHFIELD/THRILLIST

The Gallows

South End

Don't worry: You can still order the poutine as an appetizer
The question is not whether The Gallows has one of the best burgers in town; the question is which of its burgers is the best of the best. The Our Way burger is a classic of the genre (onions, American cheese, pickles), and the Carpet Burger wins for sheer excess (buttermilk-fried oysters as a topper?!). But our money always goes to La Hambourgeois, and not just because it’s the best-named entree in Boston. This is umami heaven thanks to melted blue cheese, cornichons, and truffle aioli. Promise yourself you’ll return to taste the other ones later.

Debra Li

Shojo

Chinatown

It's strange, but it works
A burger so good, they had to trademark it... well, its name at least. The Shojonator™ is a small-form take on Wendy’s Baconator -- more slider than burger -- topped with a pile of smoked bacon and "kimcheese" (kimchi velveeta, basically) and encased in a steamed bun.

Townsman

Downtown

A burger worth fasting for
We’re in half-pound territory here, with a rich blend of chuck and neck meat. The American cheese and shredded iceberg lettuce to top are good, but Jennings’ secret is his pungent combat sauce, made of Kewpie mayonnaise (the Japanese cult product), minced cornichons, and gochujang. And at Townsman’s once-monthly brunch, Jenning throws an egg on top, because why the hell not?

Mimi Ritzen Crawford

Eastern Standard

Kenmore Square

Standard in name, but executed perfectly
The Standard Burger isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel; it’s reminding you why wheels are excellent in the first place. The massive blend of chuck, brisket, and rib lifter (rib-eye underbelly), enhanced by Vermont Cheddar and nestled into a brioche bun, is a city stalwart. Like Eastern Standard itself,  it’s easy to take this one for granted... but that would be foolhardy.

SONYA HIGHFIELD/THRILLIST

jm Curley

Downtown Boston

A burger that makes the case for excess
Come for the cocktails, stay for the 8 ounces of Angus beef burnished with Cheddar, grilled onions, pickles, and a homemade Russian dressing (Pop’s Russian). Great as is, but even better if you go all out, adding a fried egg, house-made slaw... and another patty to boot.

SONYA HIGHFIELD/THRILLIST

R.F. O'Sullivan & Son

Somerville

You can't order wrong off this all-patty menu
You probably first discovered it when some local offered to take you out for burgers... and then totally blew your mind. You’ve probably since done the same to countless Boston newcomers. This is strictly platonics territory (no one should attempt a first date at this place), so grab your burger buddy and tuck into the creamy blue cheese burger, dripping in spreadable blue cheese, bacon, and yet another cheese of your choice.

River Bar

River Bar

Assembly Row

Bacon spring rolls as a topping? Sure, why not?
This isn’t the burger for everybody… for instance, if you’re the kind of person who turns their nose up at bacon spring rolls, steer clear. (Although we’re sorry if your life has come to that). A bulgogi-marinated burger topped with the aforementioned rolls, making this burger a genuine feat to even get your mouth around. This one’s also not a date burger, but one of our favorites among the city’s newer entries.

Charlie's Kitchen

Harvard Square

A Cambridge institution that still delivers the greasy goods.
Not every burger needs to be an event: Charlie’s double cheeseburger menu is justifiably the stuff of legend; it’s deciding whether you want bacon, blue cheese, sauteed jalapenos, or a third patty to be your downfall. Go alone, go right for a table in the year-round beer garden, and go to town.

The Automatic

The Automatic

Kendall Square

Cult patty with its own IG account
Don’t you hate it when a hamburger has more Instagram followers than you do? But it’s hard to argue: the Flatt Patty Big Mac (@flatpattybigmac) frankly needs no filter. A play on the restaurant’s regular-menu Flatt Patty Burger, the Big Mac arrives out of nowhere and only on occasion, its availability announced wordlessly with an actual burger signal on Instagram. The deets: a double cheeseburger with American cheese and a “super secret sauce” that can be augmented with fries and a Narragansett.

Tico

Back Bay

The city's first celebrity burger is neither gone nor forgotten
Our city’s burger mania began many moons ago at Radius, Michael Schlow’s much-missed downtown restaurant, which closed in 2013. But here’s a little secret: Schlow serves the very same burger on his otherwise Latin-American dinner menu at  Tico. Cheddar, crispy onions, horseradish-black pepper sauce -- all the elements are still there,  and the burger is well worth its $22 price tag.

SONYA HIGHFIELD/THRILLIST

Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage

Harvard Square

Worth the hassle of sitting elbow to elbow with all those Harvard students
A burger joint doesn’t make it into its sixth decade without doing a few things right. While it might be tempting to order the Melania Trump (the lunch counter constantly changes its burger names and concepts based on the personalities of the moment), you can never go wrong with the Triple D: a double cheeseburger worth its cholesterol and adorned with bacon, barbecue sauce, and grilled onions.

The Blue Ox

Lynn

Regular North Shore dark horse in our annual "Best Burger" competitions
Next time you start heading to the North Shore for fried clams, consider making a detour for a burger appetizer. OK, so the limited-edition Sin burger is hardly app-sized: a sizable prime beef patty practically groaning under applewood smoked bacon, Swiss cheese, and truffle aioli. But when a burger from Lynn wins the Boston Magazine “Battle of the Burger” three years running, you know it’s worth investigating.

The Bancroft

The Bancroft

Burlington

A burger worth trekking to the burbs for
The strange thing is that more steakhouses don’t serve stellar burgers. But The Bancroft gets it right: 8 ounces of prime chuck topped with generous servings of both crispy onion rings and melted Vermont aged Cheddar, all bookended by a huge brioche bun. Just don’t trek out to Burlington for a formal dinner date: it’s a lunch and bar menu item only.

Bronwyn

Union Square

It's worth sipping the brats and kielbasa for
You might not even know about the Bronburger, a Saturday- and Sunday-only menu item that can get lost amongst the sausages. But chef Tim Wiechmann knows the simple pleasures of a perfect burger, encasing his blend of beef brisket and bacon inside a pretzel roll bun and topping it with ComtĂ© cheese, ketchup, and mustard.