Food & Drink

LA's Best Off-Menu Burgers

Published On 05/23/2016 Published On 05/23/2016
Doma Kitchen | Cue the Critic

Double Chicken Burger

Doma Kitchen

Address and Info

Manhattan Beach

Angie Corrente, Stan Mayzalis, and Chef Kristina Miksyte debuted Doma 2.0 in Manhattan Beach in 2015 and they quickly expanded focus from Uzbek and Eastern European specialties. The off-menu Russian-spiced double chicken burger is quite a departure from their somewhat exotic menu, and features two grilled chicken patties, Provolone cheese, guacamole, tomato, and lettuce on a brioche bun.

Brianne Chan

Boner Burger

Animal

Address and Info

Hollywood

Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo just took home Best Chef: West at the James Beard Awards, but even though the duo now owns fancy medals, they’re not above busting out stoner-friendly burgers at their first restaurant, Animal. The “Boner Burger” doesn’t refer to, uh, a boner, or even Richard “Boner” Stabone, Mike Seaver’s best friend on “Growing Pains” -- instead, the bone in this case is bone marrow, which is folded into a chuck and short rib patty and joins messy, creamy 420 sauce, Jack cheese, Poblano chilies, and red onion on marble rye bread. (FWIW, this burger is on the menu at weekend brunch -- but totally off-menu at dinner.)

Courtesy of Dog Haus

Old Town Dog-style Burger/Freiburger

Dog Haus

Address and Info

Burbank & other locations

Whisper your order for the Haus burger “Old Town Dog" style, and this mini-chain will deliver a double patty topped with smoked bacon, caramelized onions, roasted jalapeños, chipotle aioli, and cotija cheese. They also have an off-menu Freiburger, topped with a double patty, chili, molten white American cheese, fried egg, Haus slaw, fries, and mayo.

Joshua Lurie/Thrillist

Deluxe double cheeseburger

Fundamental LA

Address and Info

Westwood

This comfort food spot may not have a burger on their lunch menu, but, uh, guess what, they actually do: griddled patties made with brisket, chuck, and short rib provide a canvas for caramelized onions, melted American cheese, Thousand Island dressing, and punchy pickled mustard seeds on a toasted brioche bun.

Courtesy of Hey 19

Spicoli Burger

Hey 19 Public House

Address and Info

Torrance

Hey 19 is a retro Torrance gastropub from Demi Stevens that name checks a classic Steely Dan song. She and Executive Chef Vasili Tavernakis preach the gospel of organic and humane products, but they’re not above busting out a burger that honors Jeff Spicoli, Sean Penn’s burnout character from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Each Spicoli burger features a tater tot waffle, mac & cheese sauce, and bacon bits. And, yes, a burger patty. Damn.

Lisa Thompson

Jar burger

Jar

Address and Info

Hollywood

Jar, the modern chophouse from Chef Suzanne Tracht and longtime culinary running mate Preech Narkthong, has become a mid-city mainstay since opening in 2001. It might take some convincing to skip their fork-tender pot roast, but the Jar burger is a seriously great off-menu alternative. The burger features balsamic red onions, lettuce, tomato, and aioli on a brioche bun and comes with a side of signature Jar fries with garlic and parsley.

Jazz Burger

Jitlada

Address and Info

Hollywood

They don’t always have it, but you gotta ask if they do -- this Thaitown staple (and favorite of Jonathan Gold) does their burger with fresh ground tri-tip, marinated, grilled, and plated on iceberg lettuce with tomatoes, basil, red onion, green Thai chiles, and secret sauce.

Matt Anaya

Scotch Egg Burger

Ledlow

Address and Info

Downtown

Chef Josef Centeno concentrates his creativity in downtown’s Old Bank District, with Ledlow as his forum for nouveau retro American cooking. He’s managed to fuse two seemingly disparate comfort foods to great effect with his Scotch egg burger. Spicy house-made fennel pork sausage encases a gooey seven-minute egg. The round patty is panko-breaded and emerges crispy, but slice and you’ll still find a runny yolk. Each burger comes on a house poppy seed butter bun with Dijon mustard, garlic aioli, lettuce, pickles, and onions. 

Joshua Lurie/Thrillist

Downlow Burger

Love & Salt

Address and Info

Manhattan Beach

It took convincing from an insistent regular for Chef Michael Fiorelli to offer a burger at Mar’sel. He insisted that the customer keep the burger on the “downlow,” but of course the creation caught fire. Now the same burger is available off-menu during dinner, and on the weekend brunch menu, at Love & Salt. Twin Wagyu patties host caramelized onions, tomato aioli, pickles, and Fontina on a buttered Larder Baking Co. brioche bun.

Boys’ Club Burger

Ox & Son

Address and Info

Santa Monica

Available only at lunch and brunch, the Boy’s Club’s a substantial 8oz patty, supporting raclette cheese, sunny egg, pork sausage, Nueske’s bacon, leek hollandaise, and truffle aioli. This sloppy burger may be named for the bros, though Ox & Son promises this combo is a “delicious meat treat for the uninhibited diner, regardless of gender.”

Cheeseburger Machismo | Courtesy of Plan Check

Cheeseburger Machismo/Royal With Cheese/Tommy Lasorda Burger/Lakers Pride Burger

Plan Check Kitchen + Bar

Address and Info

Mid-Wilshire & other locations

Don’t just check the menu at this mainstay: they always also offer several beef-based, off-menu burgers. Their Cheeseburger Machismo might cause your mouth to ignite thanks to the habanero cheese, bacon, spicy mayo, jalapeño escabeche, and batter-fried onions. The Royal with Cheese would no doubt impress Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield with the additions of braised short rib, truffle cheese, truffle aioli, sweet onion rings, and red wine reduction. Two burgers honor local sports heroes. The Tommy Lasorda Burger includes a butterflied hot dog, raw onions, tomatoes, lettuce, Americanized dashi cheese, mustard, and bacon spread. And the Lakers Pride Burger features a pair of 3oz patties, pig candy, habanero mayo, a red wine reduction, and cheese that proudly displays Lakers colors -- yellow Americanized dashi cheese and purple Port-infused Gruyere & Parmesan.

Courtesy of Slater's 50-50

Donut Burger

Slater’s 50/50

Address and Info

Pasadena

During football season, when Slater’s 50/50 opens early for breakfast, founder and “baron of bacon” Scott Slater offers an off-menu donut burger. This sweet and savory behemoth features Slater’s signature 50/50 blend of beef and bacon. American cheese, a sunny-side-up egg, and strawberry jelly join the party between a pair of glazed donuts sourced from Ca’ d’Oro Bakery.

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1. Animal 435 N Fairfax, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (Mid Wilshire)

Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook's OG restaurant is a stone-cold classic in Los Angeles known for a constantly changing menu that's always creative and never stale. As the name suggests, Animal specializes in head-to-tail eating and meat-centric plates; past and present hits include a bacon crunch chocolate bar, a barbecue pork belly sandwich, and a short rib and bone marrow-blended burger.

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2. Dog Haus 3335 S Figueroa St Ste D, Los Angeles, CA 90007 (Downtown)

This fast-casual spot is the place to go for gourmet-level sausages, hot dogs, and burgers. The hot dogs are all-beef, the sausages are hand-crafted, and the burgers are a blend of chuck and brisket. The funky menu dresses each up in bacon-wrapped ways, and if meat isn't your thing, don't worry, veggie versions are available upon request. Just don't forget to order chili cheese tater tots on the side.

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3. Doma Kitchen 3562 N Sepulveda, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

This family-owned restaurant in Manhattan Beach (where it relocated after first opening in Redondo Beach) serves European and Central Asian dishes in a colorful and homey spot. Expect hot and cold small plates alongside kitchen specialities like Uzbek rice braised with veggies, lamb stroganoff, and borscht. Every menu item is made with farm fresh ingredients and house-made spices. As for seating, a long communal table takes over the center of the dining room.

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4. Fundamental LA 1303 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024 (Westwood)

Fundamental LA is an American-style sandwich shop and restaurant in Westwood with minimalist decor. At lunch, sandwiches are elevated versions of American favorites, like grilled cheese with caramelized onions and crispy shallots, and a fried chicken sandwich with honey mustard aioli and apple cider slaw. The potato chips are fried to order and the potato salad is “dirty,” loaded with bacon, egg, dill, and mustard. At dinner, California-influenced cuisine takes flight with dishes like a kale market salad, roasted root vegetables with grapes and spiced honey, and, naturally, a burger with American cheese. As for beverage, wine is king, with fortified wine and wine-based cocktails to support the extensive list.

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5. Hey 19 Public House 4525 Calle Mayor, Torrance, CA 90505

Named after a Steely Dan song, this Torrance gastropub is a laid-back neighborhood place that takes local and organic ingredients and greases them up into wonderfully delicious pub food. The menu has its salads and vegetable small plates, but it's also got fried chicken, mac & cheese croquettes, and an insanely juicy burger. Walking into Hey 19 feels like taking a trip back in time to the days of pop art, Farah Fawcett, and Star Wars thanks to its funky decor.

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6. Jar Restaurant 8225 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

Top Chef Masters contestant Suzanne Tracht is the woman behind this Mid-Wilshire nouveau steakhouse. Jar is known for its beautiful cuts (including a 36oz porterhouse for two and a Wagyu NY prime) and modern comfort food, like the signature pot roast. The upscale dining room is classic mid-century LA with wood paneled walls and white tablecloths. If you didn't know, now you do: Jar has a special rotating bar menu filled with small bites like tacos and sliders.

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7. Jitlada Thai Restaurant 5233 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

If this East Hollywood spot didn't have a cult following for its over-the-top spicy Thai food, it would easily go under-the-radar thanks to its nondescript strip mall exterior. Everything on Jitlada's super-long menu will take you out of your comfort zone, like the spicy catfish salad and green mussels curry. Speaking of curry, there are plenty of varieties, all of which are pretty darn spicy. The best thing about Jitlada, aside from the occasional celebrity sighting, is the affordable price.

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8. Ledlow 400 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Downtown)

From Chef Josef Centeno, Ledlow is a bright and airy cafe in DTLA that takes American comfort food very seriously. Expect handmade pastas, small plates, and an insanely delicious burger (available as a single, double, or triple) at dinner, and next-level sweet and savory plates at brunch. The restaurant has a vintage sensibility that feels part European, part turn-of-the-century Californian.

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9. Love & Salt 317 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Love & Salt is an Italian restaurant with a California soul. Try its breakfast-meets-lunch options, which include Nutella toast with strawberries & sea salt, a smoked fish board with housemade bagels (the chef is from New York, so you know these will be good), and wood oven-baked eggs with grilled bread.

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10. Ox & Son 1534 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403 (Santa Monica)

An ode to the butcher father who first taught him how to break down an animal, Ox & Son is chef Brad Miller’s eclectic meditation on hearty, meat-driven fare. Set in a rustic space with floor-to-ceiling windows, the Santa Monica restaurant serves daily oysters, surf and turf specialities, and a burger topped with raclette cheese, pickled onion, and truffle aioli. It's also a brunch destination thanks to inventive breakfast sandwiches, customizable omelets, and bottomless mimosas.

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11. Plan Check Kitchen + Bar 351 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (West Hollywood)

This sophisticated gastropub -- with a few locations across Los Angeles -- is acclaimed for its burgers, whiskey, and craft beer. The namesake Plan Check burger, topped with pickles, onions, and Americanized dashi cheese, is famous for its layer of Ketchup Leather, which is a square of dehydrated tomato paste that melts over the patty like a layer of cheese. Plan Check’s comfort food vibe makes for a hip and social ambience, complemented by tall communal tables and plenty of bar seating.

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12. Slater's 50/50 61 N Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103 (Pasadena)

Slater's 50/50 is a burger restaurant with a serious mission: burgers made from 50% ground beef... and 50% ground bacon. A stunning array of burger options and an impressively long beer list keep the experience fresh after every visit. This is, by far, one of our favorite chains in Los Angeles area.