Food & Drink

We Found the Absolute Best Burgers in London

Haley Forest Published On 07/18/2013 Published On 07/18/2013

Given London’s obsession with American edibles, it’s no surprise that there’s been an explosion of burger joints popping up like weeds all around the capitol. The surprisingly delicate art of the burger is not something to be trifled with, however, so we went through and tested them all out… just to make sure you’re putting the best one in your mouth at all times, of course.

Honest Burgers

Brixton (& other locations)

One of the original champions of burgers in London, these guys still kill it when it comes to in-your-face taste. The classic burger, made from 100% Ginger Pig ground beef, comes loaded with smoked bacon, mature cheddar, relish, and salad, and it’s everything you want a burger to be. These guys don’t rest on their laurels, however, and mix it up with outstanding monthly specials. Also be sure to grab a side of the Rosemary fries… addictive is an understatement.

Patty & Bun

Patty & Bun

Marylebone (& other locations)

What started as a small food truck has transformed into a mini empire that’s earned a slew of awards. The darling of the burger scene (yeah, that’s a thing), it's now going on three brick & mortar spots, and its truck, Shirley, still makes the rounds to ensure that you’re never far away from delicious, delicious red meat. Using British ingredients whenever possible, all of the options are great, but the house classic, the Ari Gold, is the best place to start: a perfect combo of ketchup and smoked mayo slathered on a fresh brioche bun, with cheese and salad thrown in for good measure.

MeatLiquor

MEATliquor

Marylebone (& other locations)

While each of the MEATetc locations have their own special menu, the Dead Hippie -- the mustard-fried, double-pattied pile of juicy red meat -- is almost always available, and has earned itself a borderline cult following… which explains why this joint has transformed from a MEATwagon on the South Bank to an international restaurant group. Offering more than just burgers, it's got a pretty expansive menu across the board... meaning you have an excuse to visit them all.

Burger & Lobster

Burger & Lobster

Mayfair (& other locations)

When you only have two things on the menu (well, three, if you count the lobster roll as its own separate item), it only stands to reason that everything served should be absolutely brilliant. Luckily, the burger B&L offers stands up to the challenge, and is actually worth the £20 you’ll be slapping down for it. Using 100% Nebraskan beef, it boasts a ton of natural flavour, which soaks into the freshly baked buns... and will soon disappear into your eagerly awaiting mouth.

Dip & Flip, Battersea

Dip & Flip

Brixton (& other locations)

If a burger and a french dip sandwich had a lovechild, the result would be the Dip & Flip Burger. A top-notch burger in it’s own right, it's slathered in special cheese sauce, loaded up with thinly sliced roast beef or lamb, and served with a small bowl of gravy to dab, dip, or simply pour over the whole thing. Grab a roll of paper towels; you’re gonna need it.

Tommi’s Burger Joint

Tommi’s Burger Joint

Chelsea (& Marylebone)

If you view the burger as a starting point from which you can build something truly momentous, Tommi’s is about to become your new playground. Its classic base is great, but we highly recommend upgrading to the steak burger, and from there, loading on up with cheese, bacon, bearnaise, the works. Also keep an eye out for the ridiculous monthly specials.

Bleecker Street

Old Spitalfields Market (& other locations)

This spot started out as a food truck, made by an American gal who craved the burgers she loved in NYC, but now it's branched out to a little semi-permanent stall in Old Spitalfields Market. These burgers are full-flavoured patties made from beef that’s been dry-aged from 40-50 days over at The Butchery in Bermondsey, then covered in special sauce and classic American cheese. No nonsense, and totally delicious.

Stokey Bear's

Stokey Bears

Stoke Newington (& Old Street)

Two words for you: bacon jam. Earning a name for itself at markets led to a crowdfunding campaign for Stokey Bears, which soon led to a solid location where you can stuff your face with huge burgers dripping with delicious juices, cheese, and the aforementioned, habit-forming bacon jam. If you don’t feel up to journeying all the way east, they’ve still got a truck over at The Magic Roundabout in Old Street, where you can sit under the stars and eat in bliss.

Lucky Chip

Dalston (& Angel)

These guys have been doing residencies for what seems like forever, taking their tasty two-handers anywhere people are happy to stuff their faces. After taking over kitchens from Netil Market to Islington to Soho and more, Lucky Chip currently has a satellite over at The Queen's Head, and finally opened a spot in Dalston, with an expanded menu -- and over 100 wines that pair with classics like the Kevin Bacon (a bacon cheeseburger, obviously) or the El Chappo, which comes with bacon, blue cheese, and roasted jalapenos.

Meat & Shake

Meat & Shake

Tooting (& other locations)

The most underrated of the burger champions, these guys have been quietly making people succumb to food comas in South London for a while... before the secret got out and they were branched out up northwest. It’s a bit of a trek from central to any of its locations, but when you’re getting intimately involved with the likes of the Truffle Shuffle -- loaded with Gruyère cheese, truffle mayo, and a honey & onion glaze -- you’ll feel it was totally worth the journey.

Dirty Bones

Dirty Bones

Soho (& Kensington)

Welcome to the land where there is no such thing as too much. Want some mac & cheese with your burger? Then why not just whack it on the thing? The Mac Daddy is the very definition of bad for the heart, good for the soul, with a 6oz beef patty topped with pulled pork, a generous portion of mac & cheese, and a big dollop of the special Dirty Bones sauce.  

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Haley Forest is a food & drinks writer who believes a good burger can bring you to a special level of nirvana. Follow her adventures at @HCForest.

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1. Honest Burgers 4 Meard St, Soho, London, W1F 0EF (Soho)

So much more than a simple burger shop, Honest Burgers especially dominates the brunch game on multiple counts -- from its locally sourced, high quality ingredients and crave-satisfying menu to its airy, vibrant environment and passionate team. Even those trying to err on the waist-saving side will be thrilled by peace offerings like a radish avocado toast topped with an impeccably runny egg.

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2. Patty & Bun 54 James St, , London, W1U 1EU (Marylebone)

P & B is all about the p & b, serving up tasty burgers ranging from the standard "Ari Gold Cheeseburger" (lettuce, tomato, pickled onions, ketchup, smokey mayo, and brioche) to the advanced "Lambshank Redemption Burger" (lamb patty with coriander and chili, lettuce, buttermilk courgettes, pickled aubergine, cumin aioli, feta, and brioche.)

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3. MEATliquor 74 Welbeck St, , London, W1G 0BA (Marylebone)

By no means do you have to order something that isn't meat off the menu. But if you do, keep in mind you'll have to tell your server you're getting an item from the "Rabbit Food" section. So save yourself the embarrassment and grab a burger or chicken and wash it down with... well, liquor.

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4. Burger & Lobster 29 Clarges St, London, W1J 7EF (Mayfair)

The flagship location of the Burger & Lobster empire hasn’t let its success go to its head: high quality eats come first and foremost here. It’s a Mayfair hotspot with a steady flow of regulars who come back for the addictive house garlic butter, heavenly lobster rolls, and flavor-rich, gratuitously portioned burgers. The snug, trendy space is consistently packed for dinner, so consider making a reservation in order to get your fill.

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5. Dip & Flip 87 Battersea Rise, London, SW11 1HW (Battersea)

Whether you’re in it for the poutine or the juicy burgers, this hip Battersea joint is beloved for their ridiculously good gravy. The house-made recipe uses a slow-simmered bone-based broth with organic vegetables, and it goes with virtually everything on the menu. The beverage offerings are substantial, ranging from a rotating list of craft drafts, wines, or milkshakes (pro tip: add a shot of bourbon to the latter. You’ll thank us later).

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6. Tommi's Burger Joint 342 Kings Rd, London, SW3 5UR (Chelsea)

Icelandic restauranteur, Tomas Tómasson's burger venture is a feat of excellence between buns. Patties available in meat, chicken, or vegetarian are cooked on an American gas grill to enhance charcoal flavor, and can be dressed in classic ketchup, béarnaise and cocktail sauces. The space itself channels backcountry diners, heavy on wood furnishings, handmade cardboard signs, and entertainment memorabilia.

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7. Bleecker St. Old Spitalfields Market, London, E1 6EA (Spitalfields)

Owned and operated by an American lawyer-turned-expatriate burger enthusiast, Bleecker St. is a burger joint for those who love burgers above all else. These grass-fed patties are dry-aged, resulting in rich, succulent flavors, and served with the classic burger accouterments: fries (of both the regular and the sweet potato variety), milkshakes or beers, ranging from local brews to across the pond staples like Brooklyn Brewery.

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8. Stokey Bears 129 Stoke Newington High Street, London, N16 0PH

Take the ambience of a nightclub -- cyan and violet neon lights, pop art hung about the walls, thumping beats -- add the trimmings of rustic-meets-industrial wooden shack, and you’ve got Stokey Bears. Punning off its namesake neighborhood, this Stoke Newington spot is renowned for its burgers: deliciously juicy, huge patties, topped with its signature, game-changing bacon jam (need we say more)? The craft beers are also of note, with drafts from local brands Beavertown and Big Hug Brewing Co.

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9. Lucky Chip Burgers and Wine 23-25 Ridley Rd, Dalston, E8 2NP

Some pop-ups are too good to stop after a temporary run. That’s the case for Lucky Chip: after a series of successful residencies, they’ve finally opened up shop in Dalston, slinging their “slow food-fast” burgers for the masses. Regulars rave over standout sandwiches like the Kevin Bacon, which features -- yes, you guessed it -- Applewood smoked bacon on an aged beef patty with American cheese and house pickles. Add in the fact that there’s over 100 wines on the list and sultry, gangster hideout vibe that the maroon-walled space evokes, and it’s a great spot for an affordable yet chic dinner.

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10. Meat & Shake 47 Upper Tooting Rd, London, SW17 7TR

If you're looking for a seriously good, but also seriously under the radar burger, look no further than M&S. Its Dirty Fries (with chili con carne, jalapeños, cheese, mustard, and sour cream) are worth a trip in their own right.

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11. Dirty Bones 20 Kensington Church St, London, W8 4LF (Kensington)

If you’re a comfort food connoisseur who anguishes over whether to order a juicy burger or home-style macaroni and cheese, fret not: Dirty Bones lets you have both at the same time. This hip Kensington spot serves high quality American-inspired eats, ranging from classics like chicken and waffles to the standout Mac Daddy, a heaping burger with pulled beef rib, topped with luscious macaroni and cheese and house barbecue sauce. Combined with the trendy, Brooklyn-inspired ambience and the killer list of specialty cocktails, it’s a weekend hotspot worth checking out.

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