Pub burgers, smash burgers, and burgers that might not even be burgers—we’re here to make sense of it all.Less
Say hello to our absolute favorite burger in Los Angeles right now. A perfectly-cooked Wagyu beef patty, cheddar cheese, dill aioli, fresh arugula, and a caramelized onion-bacon jam on a brioche bun - Dudley’s burger is special. It’s sweet and savory, briny and peppery, and something you’ll want to remember forever. You should absolutely come to this neighborhood Venice spot for the fresh seafood, but if you skip the burger, you’re living a lesser existence.
These are the most substantial burgers in LA’s oversaturated smash scene. From the eponymous Goldburger, which comes topped with American cheese, grilled onions, pickles, and their special garlic-mustard aioli, to the LA Special, loaded with thick cuts of pastrami, these are smashburgers that’ll keep you full well past dinner and possibly into breakfast the next day. Also, their curly fries are not to be missed.
The fact that the best barbecue restaurant in LA also happens to make one the city’s best burgers is borderline unfair. Available daily, the “Thicc Smoked Burger” here lives up to its name. A beefy, eight-ounce ground brisket patty crusted with black pepper takes a quick trip through the smoker, giving it a nice smoky flavor without overcooking the juicy, medium-rare interior. It’s topped with pickles, aioli, and thinly sliced raw onions on a soft potato bun.
The burger at Horses laughs in the face of every greasy, overcooked smashburger. It’s a pub-style beast—the patty is peppery, cooked exactly to your liking, and thick enough to warrant its own unit of measurement. It’s sandwiched between a Rockenwagner salt and pepper brioche bun with a blanket of cheddar and thinly sliced raw onions that melt into the meat. While this is not the most innovative dish on the Hollywood bistro's menu, we regret every time we don’t order it.
First off, Amboy has the best fries in Los Angeles. Golden and crispy, skinny, and served with every order. And the burgers at this new Chinatown spot are pretty stellar, too. We recommend the classic double, with a pair of perfectly smashed patties, a toasted sesame bun, cheese, and a slew of pickles, which add just a little touch of acidity. Amboy is also a butcher shop, so if you’ve got a bigger appetite, try the DH, with a fantastic dry-aged beef blend patty and garlic confit mayo.
The Window is a tiny takeout window attached to American Beauty, a steakhouse on Rose Ave. in Venice. They’re doing no-frills smash patties grilled on a flat-top with onions, topped with American cheese, pickles, and house sauce, and served on a Martin’s potato roll - all for under $5. They do innovate a bit, too: Not only do they make a great breakfast burger with egg, but the vegetarian Beauty Burger, made with an Impossible patty and grilled with onions, is savory and a just little bit sweet.
The single burger at Everson Royce Bar isn’t just a tutorial in simplicity, it’s the ultimate example of how the damn thing should be done. Don’t expect overbearing sauce, unnecessary fried egg, or soggy vegetables - ERB’s burger is just prime beef chuck, cheddar, and pickles all sandwiched between an egg brioche bun. It’s a perfect burger that we’d happily eat once a week.
There’s a lot to love about Oy Bar in Studio City. The dark, divey interior, and the pastrami quesadilla get us in the door—but it’s the burger that’s worthy of another rush hour standstill on the 101. A heavy helping of cilantro is something we’ve never seen on a burger before, but Oy Bar (from the Jeff’s Table people) proves that it might just be the ultimate accompaniment to a thick, medium burger patty.
This would be an anatomically perfect replica of a McDonald’s double cheeseburger, if McDonald’s double cheeseburgers were vegan. Fortunately, it also tastes a whole lot better. Mr. Charlie’s in Hollywood makes theirs with two Impossible patties, pickles, ketchup, and mustard. The melted non-dairy cheese sticks to the foil wrapper as you unfold it, just as the fast food gods intended. The burger’s gooey, greasy, and salty elements melt into each other, offering you a bit of childhood nostalgia.
Love Hour is worth seeking out, and you’ll usually find them behind Ddong Ggo in Koreatown. This smashburger spot keeps it simple - you choose between a single or a double (the double has the best meat-to-bun ratio), and then add your own toppings like you’re at a cookout. The edges of the burger get nice and crispy, but unlike other smash spots, it’s not overly greasy, so the bun stays intact... and that’s tougher to pull off than you think.