The LA burger landscape offers everything from classic roadside burger shacks to gastropubs with strict rules about ketchup. When the options are this plentiful, it’s not easy to determine which purveyor is king, but that doesn’t stop Chowhounds from rolling up their sleeves and defending their favorites. Here, listed alphabetically, is a list of restaurants with burgers that local Chowhounds are willing to swear by.
1. 25 DEGREES
7000 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles
412 Walnut Avenue, Huntington Beach
You have two options here: build your own fancy burger (cheese options range from Point Reyes blue to Emmi Gruyère from Switzerland), or opt for a house-designed one, like the Number Three, made with ground sirloin, Mezzo Secco Jack cheese, and green chile. With such high-end ingredients, the $12 burgers are sort of a steal.
2. 26 BEACH RESTAURANT
3100 Washington Boulevard, Venice
With over 25 burger options on the menu, this is not a place for the indecisive. All are made with 100-percent Angus beef and served on delicious homemade buns. The 26er, a classic burger with the usual fixings, is a favorite.
3. APPLE PAN
10801 W. Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles
Grumpy waiters in paper hats, an antique cash register, and counter-only seating are part of the charm at this treasured, one-of-a-kind diner. The Steakburger (pictured above), served with lettuce, pickles, mayo, and Apple Pan’s own sauce, hasn’t changed much over the years (the prices have, of course). Save room for banana cream pie.
4. BIG JO’S
1955 Broadway, Santa Monica
People wait in line for cheap char-grilled burgers at this very casual corner stand. A hamburger will set you back just $2.85; $3.10 for a cheeseburger. Seating consists of plastic lawn furniture behind a roll-up garage door. Open mornings and afternoons only.
5. FATHER’S OFFICE
1018 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica
3229 Helms Avenue, Los Angeles
Chef Sang Yoon is infamous for banning ketchup from his gastropubs and for declining substitutions. No one seems to mind his bullheadedness, though. Throngs of people fight to get a table at this first-come, first-served establishment each and every day, and the guests are all after one thing: The Office Burger, topped with caramelized onions, bacon, arugula, Gruyère, and Maytag blue cheese.
6. THE GOLDEN STATE
426 N. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles
As the restaurant’s name suggests, this burger favorite sources main ingredients from its own fair state. Harris Ranch beef and Fiscalini Farms cheese mingle with aioli, applewood smoked bacon, arugula, and ketchup to yield one incredible burger.
7. PLAN CHECK
1800 Sawtelle Boulevard, Los Angeles
This bar and kitchen is one of the Sawtelle Strip’s newest additions. Staying true to the neighborhood, the menu has subtle nods to Japanese cuisine (the Plan Check Burger has Wagyu beef and dashi cheese). The “ketchup leather”—solidified ketchup that melts in your mouth—is a notable component that keeps the bun from getting gummy.
8. RUSTIC CANYON
1119 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica
The high-quality burger at this bar and restaurant is composed of a grass-fed beef patty topped with sharp cheddar cheese, onion fondue, pickles, and a special house-made rémoulade.
9. TOMMY’S ORIGINAL WORLD FAMOUS HAMBURGERS
2575 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles
Tommy’s red burger shack has been a Los Angeles tradition since 1947. All menu items are served with the famous chili on top, making for a deliciously sloppy meal.
10. UMAMI BURGER
850 S. La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles
Though not known for their size, Umami burgers hold their own in flavor. A testament to its popularity, the chain has quickly replicated. Fans on CHOW rave about the Truffle Burger, built with house-made truffle cheese and a truffle glaze.