There is nothing more quintessentially American than your classic hamburger, even though it’s widely accepted that hamburgers originated in Germany. But, that’s beside the point.
From a $3.40 double-double at In-N-Out to the $100.00 MNO (Money is No Object) seasonal burger at Umami Burger, we are a country who loves our hamburgers. We eat nearly 50 billion of them a year, which translates to three burgers a week for every single person in the United States. That’s a lot of cows.
In this week's Highway 5, the Nation salutes the L.A. Hamburger—offering my take on the 5 best hamburgers Los Angeles has to offer, for every budget and taste. Yes, you’ll have your opinion, and that, of course, is the beauty of the hamburger. There’s something for everybody. In fact, don’t be shy. Share your favorite in the comment section below.
In the meantime, here are mine:
1. Best Pub Burger: Father’s Office
What happens when you combine fine dry-aged beef with caramelized onions, Gruyère and Maytag cheeses, applewood-smoked bacon compote and arugula served on a soft roll. You get the Office Burger, arguably one of Los Angeles’s most classic burgers. Don’t bother asking for ketchup or medium heat because the owner, Sang Yoon won’t allow it. No substitutions allowed. And, yes, it’s the only burger they sell. It’s no wonder they call him the “Burger Nazi.” It comes with classic or sweet potato fries, and it’s out of this world.
Must be 21 years of age.
3229 Helms Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90034
1018 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90403
2. Best Off the Wall Burger: Eggslut
Eggslut was founded in 2011, by Alvin Cailan. He began his career with a white food truck parked on Fairfax. Today, it’s one of the most popular stalls at Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles. I probably don’t need to tell you that he’s transformed the egg from a breakfast food to an all day, everyday staple. Meet the Eggslut Cheeseburger, a delightful blend of American Wagyu, caramelized onions, sharp, vinegary pickles and cheddar cheese, all topped with an over-medium egg that turns the simple hamburger into a tour de force. If you’re in need of a challenge, swing for the fences and try a double.
317 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Grand Central Market
3. Best Chain Gourmet Burger: The Umami Burger
GQ magazine once declared it the “Burger of the Year,” and it’s hard to argue with that. You can also say it’s a burger that’s been completely reimagined. Inspired by Japanese flavors, the meat is seasoned with Umami Sauce—which contains soy sauce—and Umami Dust that includes ground-up dried porcini mushrooms and dried fish heads. On paper, that sounds disgusting. In real life, it’s amazing. Their tomatoes are slow-baked overnight with a soy-based sauce, enhancing its umami properties. Parmesan, which is also umami-rich, is offered as a cheese crisp. The burgers are served on a soft, Portuguese-style bun that has an artisanal vibe to it.
To find a location near you, visit www.umamiburger.com/locations/ca/southern-california/
4. Best traditional burger: Apple Pan
The Apple Pan should be a rite of passage for every Angeleno. And I know there are many hamburger snobs out there who tell you how over-rated it is, eager to name five better hamburgers. And maybe they’re right. It’s all subjective. But, for the money and the old diner ambiance, you can’t go wrong with the Apple Pan burger. Whether you get the Hickory Burger or the Classic Steakburger, make sure you leave enough room for a piece of apple pie. Of course, you won’t have enough room, but you should have one anyway.
5. Best Fast Food Burger: Five Guys
I know the competition is fierce. In-n-Out. Carney’s. Tommy’s. Fatburger. Burger King (kidding). And we all have our favorite. Mine is going to be a surprise and certainly not the crowd favorite. But, I like the east coast upstart, Five Guys. According to the official website, there are over 250,000 possible ways to order a burger at Five Guys. I can only think of five or six, but if they say so, I’ll believe them. Regardless, I find their burgers are juicier than any other fast food burger out there today. And they know how to do a perfect french fry. They also have barrels of free peanuts while you wait. What more could you want?
Locations across Los Angeles.
Okay, now it’s your turn. What is your favorite L.A. Burger? The Nation wants to know.