Food & Drink

We Ate Our Weight in Burgers to Find the Best in Portland Right Now

Published On 08/01/2016 Published On 08/01/2016
Toro Bravo Burger
Toro Bravo | David L. Reamer

House Bacon & Manchego Burger

Toro Bravo

Address and Info

Northeast Portland

Out of all the burgers in Portland -- greasy, trendy, spicy to the bone -- this one reigns supreme. While most are cheddar/American cheese happy, this burger is a cut above the rest, due in part to the deliciously nutty manchego cheese that cuts through to your taste buds instantly. The patty is oh-so-moist without dripping a gallon of juice onto the plate; the bacon adds more meaty texture; and the pickles are actually homemade zucchini pickles... because no decent burger is complete without tangy pickles, damnit.

Woody Royale


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TILT's claim to fame is "food and drink for the American workplace," which is secretly code for "burgers you want to stuff in your mouth as quickly as possible." While a quick glance at the menu is enough to make even the most timid burger lover hot and bothered, the Woody Royale is the king. It’s a giant helping of a chuck patty topped with an onion ring, tender brisket, jalapeño slaw, bacon, and sharp cheddar that manages to hit a variety of notes -- sweet and spicy, hints of smokiness in the bacon -- before it makes you shout, "AAAAH, YES, AT LAST," in public. The slaw offers great relief against the triple-meat surprise, combining with sharp cheddar for a perfect creamy finish.

Rebecca Reinke

Candied Bacon Burger

Doug Fir Lounge

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Lower Burnside

Doug Fir is so much more than just a venue. It’s also home to a special bacon-topped beauty called the Candied Bacon Burger, a delightful concoction with a wagyu beef patty thrown together with fried onion straws, Gruyere cheese, a roasted shallot aioli, and, of course, candied bacon. This candied bacon is everything you’ve ever wanted in bacon: tenderly smoked, caramelized to perfection, and with great texture and sweetness that plays nicely against the wagyu patty. The best part about this burger is that it’s well-balanced, so you can taste the quality of the patty without it being overwhelmed by the bacon. Bonus points to the nicely spiced, hand-breaded shoestring onions, the house-made pickles, and those impressive buns, for staying buttery and fluffy despite so much meat.

Jade Melissa Sheldon

Regular hamburger

Little Big Burger

Address and Info

The Pearl (& other locations)

Fancy burgers crop up now and then, but Little Big Burger is a hamburger purist’s dream. It’s a cheap, deliciously simple vision of patty-meets-bun, complete with a ¼lb burger made of Cascade beef, brioche buns, and its signature Camden’s ketchup -- a notch above all other ketchups in quality and taste. You can get fancy add-ons like goat’s cheese or bacon, but really, this is a patty best savored in its simplest form.

The Boar Burger


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The first thing you see are the Los Roast Hatch chiles, which not only make for a pretty plate but adds worlds of flavor. The chilies are sweet, with a hint of spice that builds without being overwhelming, and are paired with a creamy queso botanero that’s infused in-house with more chilis. The boar patty itself isn’t gamy, but rather tastes like a mouthwatering combination of beef and pork. Add the lightly pickled jalapeños and a Grand Central potato bun to the mix for one hell of an addicting burger you’ll be coming back for time and time again.

courtesy of Hobnob Grill

Brisket Burger

Hobnob Grille

Address and Info

SE Morrison

Hobnob Grille knows how to make a mean burger. All of the patties are made with a combination of select black Angus top sirloin, chuck, and applewood smoked bacon, meaning that the patty itself is the star of the show around these parts. If that isn’t quite enough protein for you, the brisket burger adds on a layer of Hobnob’s BBQ brisket for an extra dose of smoky, caramelized meat piled on high. The Thousand Island dressing gives a much-needed counterpoint against the daunting tower of meat, and a layer of Swiss blankets the entire thing in melty delight. The slaw on here has nice hints of charring, so even your veggies are a thing of wonder. Bonus: Hobnob introduces new burgers pretty often, so check out the specials each week for more awe-inspiring burger selections.

Double Cheeseburger

The Woodsman Tavern

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Just looking at this burger is enough to send hearts into overdrive. An homage to the humble In-N-Out burger on steroids, this voluptuous burger consists of two giant patties topped with American cheese and cooked medium rare. The patties are incredibly moist and give off their own juices that blend with the house sauce and cheese for a creamy, dreamy bite of heaven. The sesame seed brioche bun is also perfectly buttered, and the pickles (made in-house, of course) are packed with lightly spiced, zesty flavor. Get this thing in your mouth NOW.

Little Bird Burger

Double Brie Burger

Little Bird Bistro

Address and Info


For a mere $5 during happy hour, this burger is an absolute steal. It’s not one, but two generously sized patties nestled between lightly charred brioche buns and topped off with a nice helping of brie cheese, pickles, and spiced ketchup. The brie adds a nice tang and makes the entire ensemble extra decadent and creamy, which -- especially when paired with the spiced ketchup -- is a recipe for a happy hour burger we’d be happy to devour just about any day.

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1. Toro Bravo 120 NE Russell St, Portland, OR 97212

A perpetually packed spot in Eliot, this Spanish-inspired restaurant serves up small, shareable plates of succulent beef, pork, lam, and duck with vegetables made every which way to make their way around the table. With rustic red-brown walls and polished wood floors, the unpretentious vibe here makes you feel like you're in the home a good friends, unlike most upscale tapas restaurants.

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2. TILT 1355 NW Everett St, Portland, OR 97217

Tilt's self-proclaimed blue-collar cuisine is surprisingly more upmarket than you'd think -- the best handcrafted burgers in Portland are fresh beef patties on three-layer buns with global inspiration like the Carne Jefe with avocado and jalapenos and the pastrami-based Koolakofsky. Hand-carved sandwiches and homemade pies are made in-house and offer up an experience somewhere between a diner, a dive bar, and a five-star bistro.

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3. Doug Fir Lounge 830 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

This triple-threat bar, lounge, and restaurant near Buckman stuns with an entirely wood interior (right down to its chandeliers) with a rustic and interior vibe ideal for date nights. The American fare offers modern takes on staples like mac & cheese and bar food like buffalo wings, along with some of the best burgers in the city. The Fir Burger's decked with local cheddar, house-made pickles, and bacon on a soft brioche bun.

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4. Little Big Burger 122 NW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97209

Little Big Burger is a no-frills sustainably minded chain specializing in burgers that are made with 1/4 lb. of Cascade Natural beef, brioche buns, local cheeses, organic vegetables, and Camden's Catsup on top. The simple menu is small, consisting of beef burgers, veggie burgers, fries, and shakes- but it's the herbed Parmesan truffle fries that truly complete the meal here.

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5. Interurban 4057 N Mississippi, Portland, OR 97227

A partnership between the dudes behind Toro Bravo and Prost, Mississippi's Interurban straddles the line between bar and restaurant, with a great cocktail program and full dinner menu. Outside is covered during the winter, but in spring, the roof is removed, exposing the entire back patio for sunny happy-hour drinking. The place evokes a cozy feel with rich wood and leather chairs. If you come with a group, consider ordering the bottled cocktails that are perfect for sharing.

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6. Hobnob Grille 3350 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214

If the name alone doesn't convey HobNob's old-school vibe, then its worn, wood interior and classic American fare sure will. Their fare is simple with dishes like steaks, pastas, and sandwiches, but the presentation still screams gourmet with bright colors and drizzled sauces galore. The specialty burgers, which are some of the best around, dominate the menu and tastebuds with creations like the Volcano with its spicy bleu cheese and pickled habanero patty.

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7. The Woodsman Tavern 4537 SE Division, Portland, OR 97201

The Woodsman Tavern is a gastropub delivering upmarket takes on American favorites like fried chicken, broiled cod, and New York strip steak, all the while slinging craft beer, vintage bourbon, win, and a handful of house specialty cocktails. The burgers here are unforgettable and some of the best in Portland -- the two stacked patties come straight from Lanet Family Farms and meet raw onions, pickles, and lettuce on a toasted bun.

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8. Little Bird 219 SW 6th Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

From the accolade-bagging dudes behind Le Pigeon, Little Bird plays to the strengths of their Eastside bistro with a simple menu of gourmet-level poultry and seafood dishes like chicken-fried trout and seared duck breast at super affordable prices. The swanky bi-level restaurant stays open until midnight, making it an ideal spot to camp out on the weekends with a large glass of vintage or valley wine or a craft cocktail.