Make Cheeseburgers in a Muffin Tin, Because More Is Always Better
One of LA’s best burgers also comes from one of its most unlikely places: the Asian-leaning menu from the Starry Kitchen duo at the video-game-laden gastropub Button Mash. A year was spent researching other burgers to nail this one, which is double-decker a la In-N-Out and smashed to give it crunch; it bashes you with all-American flavor (and also goes great with dan dan noodles).
The Fairfax institution’s Boner burger (so named because the blend includes bone marrow, so get your mind out of the gutter) started out an off-menu secret but has become a standing favorite, its declaration of decadence boldly stated by its short-rib-chuck-marrow blend, poblano chilies, a zangy sauce, gooey cheese, and grilled onions on toasted, buttered rye.
This reopened and revitalized version of the long-closed LA classic nails their burgers, which are made from grass-fed ground beef and topped with Thousand Island, tomatoes, onions, and pickles on a Parker House bun. Order the two-third-pound size for a perfect ratio -- and next level it by going secret menu, with the Louie burger (encased in crispy griddled cheese) or the stuffed Juicy Lucy.
It seems that no one really knows the proper name of this blink-and-you’ll miss it, postcard-sized, Oxnard Street stand, but it doesn’t matter: what you do know is that Bill'll be there (like he has been for the past 50-something years) and, maybe more importantly, Bill’s grill’ll still be there too; the perfectly seasoned flat-top adds an extra something-something to griddled double cheeseburgers that simultaneously taste like childhood and the best thing you’ve had since then.
Redondo Beach & Hermosa Beach
The original Redondo Beach location is in the back of a liquor store, and is named because, well, that’s all there is. But the burgers here -- massive patties, with stacked toppings like braised short rib -- have made it a favorite not just for local beach-dwellers, but a destination for burger lovers as well.
Fairfax (& other locations)
Originally based in Culver City, this mini-chain emerged during the same burger craze that gave us Umami Burger -- and then blasted past that now-ubiquitous chain quality-wise, with bigger, juicier patties that are consistently, gorgeously drippy. You can’t go wrong with any of their options, from their classic PCB (with the much-lauded “ketchup leather,” essentially a solid version of the condiment) to the just-dropped Chef’s New Favorite, topped with Swiss, bacon, chopped chilies, and avocado spread.
Culver City and Santa Monica
“But,” you may argue, “the Father’s Office burger was the best burger in LA, like, 10 years ago, grandpa?” OK, that’s true. But knocking the FO burger is sort of like knocking Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: without it, all the greatness that came afterwards would never be able to exist. And it still tastes (and sounds) pretty great.
So this is smart: This steakhouse takes the leftover choppings from their wagyu steaks and grinds them together for this beast, and then abets that patty with dry-aged ragu, Camembert, Cheddar, tomato, red onion, and marrow mayo, all on a miso Dutch Crunch bun. Hit it at “social hour” from 5-6:30pm, when the price drops from an unreasonable $26 to a mostly-reasonable $16.
Can you imagine the outcry if we didn’t put this Westside staple on a list of the best burgers in town? This all-American, perfectly salted, freshly made patty is the best late-night option near the beach and tastes even better topped with a hot dog, especially if you’re a few drinks in when you get it.
Nearly immediately after opening this Downtown gastropub started getting raves for its deceptively simple burger, which comes from a Mozza alum and is a smaller sandwich with Tillamook Cheddar, a fresh-chuck single patty, and mayo. And that’s about it -- but in one bite, you’ll realize you don’t need much more.
It’s easy to forget this no-frills Fairfax institution, especially since its owners have gone on to open superlative restaurants in other categories (looking at you for BBQ, Bludso’s; and pizza, Prime; and breakfast burritos, Cofax!) But their burger still remains among the city’s best, mostly because it’s always cooked to perfect medium-rareness, and their ratio of patty-to-bun-to-cheese-to-bacon is impeccable.
This brunch spot has been a quiet burger-game contender for years, since the restaurant’s sandwiches are often overshadowed by its (stellar) scrambles. Don’t sleep on these monstrous burgers, though, especially the weird ones -- spicy tuna may seem like an oddball topping for a burger, but it seriously works. Seriously.
Chef Marcel Vigneron recently won $10,000 for this burger on Top Chef Duels -- which is why he’s calling the egg-topped, avocado-spreaded, brioche-bunned monster the 10K burger. Which is also probably what you’d have to run to work it off.
Another LA classic that hasn’t changed in decades, and for good reason -- when you sit down at the bar here and order a Hickory burger (some people may tell you to get the Steakburger; those people are wrong), you’re hit with nostalgia for a time you probably never even experienced, when burger joints were called soda fountains, everyone behind the counter was a gruff old man, and the sweet, savory taste of smoky sauce and crisp iceberg was as heavenly as it could get.
This newish casual spot from the guys behind the Spare Room has a veggie-friendly menu, which means you can take your non-meat-eaters there and then totally rage this monstrous burger in front of them to make them jealous: its flavor comes not just from the grass-fed beef but also from unique pickled shallots and a crisped, seeded bun.
You’re shaking your head right now, because there’s no doubt in your mind that this burger stand on the Santa Monica Pier is a straight-up tourist trap. Yeah, we were skeptics once, too. Go there. Get the double. Take a bite. Your mind will be instantly 100% changed. Guaranteed.
Our National Burger Critic Kevin Alexander called it the Best Burger in LA, and, look, we’re not gonna argue with anyone who holds the job title “National Burger Critic.” It’s a stone-cold, simple classic, but once you eat it once, you have to eat it again. And again.
This family-run, hole-in-a-hole-in-the-wall strip mall joint has moved locations a couple of times, but what hasn’t changed is its burgers: a loose-grind, thick-pattied choice that’s overflowing with veggies and flavor.
The Hinoki Okonomiyaki burger’s become a thing of legend, not just for its unique flavors (charred, with the premium-cut rib-eye deckle as part of its grind, topped with bonito flakes and seaweed mayo among pickled jalapeño and carrots, as well as other oddball-but-delicious ingredients) but for its rarity: it’s only available during happy hour, 5:30-6:30pm, Tuesday through Friday. Mark your calendars accordingly.
You may not think we should count the NoMad Truck’s NYC-imported Chicken burger on this list, since, duh, chicken. But you’d be wrong -- it’s packed with a hearty wallop of umami flavor, plus once a month a big-name chef comes in to do their own take on it, with the revenue going to charity, keeping the flavors constantly fresh.
Hollywood and other locations
Disciples of the Oinkster crow on and on about its classic Angus beef-pattied burgers, and they’re absolutely right to do so. The mini-chain’s essentially perfected the burger that Five Guys thinks it has, with a perfect salt-to-meat ratio that makes it a shame there aren’t even more locations where you can grab it.
This ultra-spicy burger was famously off-menu for years, but the colorful Owner/Chef Sarintip "Jazz" Singsanong has finally added her eponymous patty to the actual menu; the beef is marinated in palm sugar and garlic before being topped with Thai basil and chili, and is wrapped in lettuce instead of buns, for extra crunch (and no extra carbs) (which means you can also order the pad Thai).