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Los Angeles' Top 5 Burgers

Los Angeles' Top 5 Burgers

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With a few exceptions, I’ve been to every major burger establishment in the LA area, whether it’s made some kind of Top Burgers list or someone has just run up to me shouting “You’ve got to try this burger, idiot!”

Click Here for the Los Angeles' Top 5 Burgers Slideshow

I have purposely not included Pie ‘n Burger and Apple Pan because I feel they are they are a bit overhyped and not necessarily deserving. I know I may be in the minority here, and I’m willing to accept the consequences.

So, without further ado, my top 5 burgers in LA:

5. Irv’s Burger
This is an OLD school joint in WeHo, been around since 1950. Burgers are really simple, with a thick patty, and not healthy in the slightest. Owners are super, crazy friendly, and draw pictures of you on your to-go bag while you wait.

4. The Original Tops
The pastrami burger is the thing to order! It’s an enormous and juicy monstrosity. Split in two for easy sharing… if you’re into that. Featuring more of a fast-food vibe, Tops is located in Pasadena and has been fattening folks up since 1952.

3. Fukuburger
A Japanese-style, trendy burger joint in Hollywood. Burgers feature thinner patties and include unique Japanese ingredients. The combinations may seem daring but everything works. More importantly, they offer a full bar.

2. Plan Check
The hot spot on Sawtelle! Come here for some over-the-top, gourmet burger action. Just this side of being too much of a good thing. If you’ve already tried the burger, come back for the smoky fried chicken!

1. Father’s Office
While they don’t serve a traditional burger, FO just blows away all the competition. The blue cheese/bacon/onion spread sets them apart (and you couldn’t substitute it if you tried). If you ask for ketchup here, you will be executed, but what a way to go.

Click here to read the article on Menuism.

Bun Boy has been obsessed with the LA restaurant scene since he moved here 12 years ago. He visits about 4 restaurants a week, mostly never repeating any. Even in these wavering economic times, he absolutely refuses to give up one of his favorite pastimes.

This Bulgogi Cheeseburger Will Ruin Every Other Burger for You

Chef Nyesha Arrington rose to fame on Bravo’s Top Chef, but her love of cooking stretches back far further. She recalls learning to cook at the tender age of five alongside her Korean grandmother Ai-Soon Lee, and with bulgogi and kimchi as her childhood comfort foods, a French fine dining background, and the bounty of California’s produce as the tools of her trade, Arrington naturally creates recipes that blend a wide variety of influences and flavors.

To hear Arrington tell it, one of her formative experiences as a young cook was being mentored by Josiah Citrin. It was at his two-Michelin star Mélisse in Santa Monica that she developed her skills as a saucier, and this expertise was instrumental in the development of the Korean-scented braised oxtail that tops her luscious cheeseburger: comfort food to the max.

Braises, for Arrington, are “a very elegant, beautiful way to cook an inexpensive cut of meat.” Like most braises, her recipe is far from complicated, though it does demand one essential secret ingredient: time. After a low, slow simmer in a sauce infused with earthy sesame, garlic, orange and scallion, the oxtails emerge pull-apart tender and ready to serve as what Arrington describes as a “meat jam, for lack of a better word.”

The oxtail marmalade isn’t strictly Korean, but it does take a host of inspiration from the food of Arrington’s childhood.

“Korean flavors, to me are a balance between fiery, sweet and kind of these charry flavors,” she says, noting that griddled onions add this note of natural sweetness and bitterness to the burgers, which are topped with thick, sweet Japanese Kewpie mayo and good, old American cheese.

“When people eat dairy, there’s this sort of dopamine effect that happens, like crack, in the brain,” she says. “That flavor is very hard to mimic through those more artisanal, smaller-batch cheeses. While those definitely have a place, and I’m a big proponent of the cheese-after-dinner vibe that comes from fine dining, I think that American-style cheddar cheese just melts right — it has that pull. It’s just so very nostalgic.”

The result is undoubtedly a burger that would make her grandma proud.

Uncle! We give up! You win! Here are those burger recipes .

We received nearly 90 recipes in our first-ever Battle of the Burgers. Readers voted for their favorites, and we took the top 20 vote-getters and went to work in the L.A. Times Test Kitchen. We planned to print our five favorites in the June 30 Food section, just in time for your 4th of July barbecue planning.

For many of you, though, that wasn't good enough. You wanted your burger recipes, and you wanted them yesterday. Well, we heard you! We did everything we could to speed up the production process so that we could post the recipes online ASAP. This is no easy task. Each recipe is subject to repeated testings so that you can rest assured it will work in your kitchen. Recipes must then be written and recast and formatted in L.A. Times style and then edited and copyedited. And then there's the food styling, photographing, photo editing . whew

But enough of all that boring stuff. Let's get to the burgers. Here, without further ado, are our Top 5 favorites in our first-ever Battle of the Burgers:

If you try this or any other recipe from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen, we want to know about it so we can showcase it on the blog, and occasionally in print. Upload your photos of the finished dish here.

Photo: Our Top 5 burgers in the Battle of the Burgers. (You may be thinking, "Hey! What gives? There are eight burgers in that picture!" That's because the sliders are all part of one recipe.) Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

19 Essential Los Angeles Burgers, Spring 2021

Hamburgers are truly America’s food. Born from the nation’s obsession with beef coupled with the modern highway system, the humble burger can be high-end or low — grabbed quickly via drive-thru, or sought out as a destination.

It’s hard to say what makes a perfect burger, simply because there are so many different iterations of the seemingly simple beef and bun device. But nowadays, as people venture out from their homes to avoid the ongoing pandemic while still supporting local restaurants and filling themselves with comfort food, it’s good to know that there are as many different burger opinions as there are eager eaters around Los Angeles. From big, beefy concoctions in Redondo Beach to housemade vegan patties in Highland Park, here are some of LA’s most essential burgers right now.

Removed: Tripp Burgers, The Window, Honeybee, Burgers Never Say Die, HiHo Cheeseburger

Added: Corner Grille, Monty’s, Dave’s Burgers, Billionaire Burger Boyz, For the Win

America’s Best Burgers: An Essential Guide

HAMBURGER HEAVEN Democratic, economical and absolutely delicious, this is the comfort food we’re craving now. At Hiram’s Roadstand (pictured here) in Fort Lee, N.J., they’ve been doing it the same way since 1928.

Eleanore Park

AS A TEENAGER in Los Altos, Calif., one of my first jobs was at Brian’s Place, the sort of neighborhood diner fairly common in suburban America. The vinyl booths matched the covers on the menus. More than anything, the no-frills burger, served with iceberg lettuce on a squishy bun, kept me working there through high school.

You know this burger. Maybe you’ve had it at your own go-to diner, drive-thru, old-school drive-in or neighborhood tavern. With its thin patty, generally a quarter-pound or under, and minimal garnishing, this one-handed meal is the great culinary legacy of 20th-century American car culture.

As a new millennium dawned, this unpretentious and delicious burger was eclipsed by a bigger, beefier style loaded with ever more outré toppings. In 2003, Jeff Weinstein opened the Counter in Los Angeles, boasting ultra-customizable burgers with 10 different cheeses, 26 toppings, 17 sauces and 8 buns to choose from. Patties came in three sizes, the heaviest a 1-pound behemoth. This period also brought us chef Daniel Boulud’s DB Burger, a patty of ground sirloin with a core of wine-braised short rib, foie gras and black truffles.

In the last few years, thankfully, the classic diner/drive-thru-style burger has made a comeback, showing up even at fine-dining and Michelin-starred restaurants such as Lazy Bear in San Francisco and the Four Horsemen in Brooklyn. More than ever, during the Covid-19 pandemic the humble thin-patty burger is striking a chord.

“I think it’s coming back around because people are realizing that with quality ingredients, handled the right way, the burger can speak for itself,” said Guy Fieri, host and co-executive producer of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” on the Food Network. “It doesn’t need all the mumbo jumbo.”

Non-Beef Burgers: 11 Burger Recipes That Don’t Have a Cow

Despite the inroads made by alternative options like turkey burgers and meatless burgers, beef is still the defining protein for burgers by default. Still, even the most avid Big Mac munchers crave the occasional break. (Vegetarians, vegans, and the red-meat averse have their own, well-grounded reasons for avoiding cows, of course, but we’ve got them covered too.) Here are 11 burger recipes that taste amazing and contain approximately (okay, exactly ) zero beef.

If you’re making a meat-based burger, these tips for juicy burgers still apply to other proteins, but for veggie burger pointers, learn how to make your meatless burger awesome. And if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can make your own hamburger buns too.

1. Kimchi Chicken Burgers

Ground chicken patties give burgers an admirable low level of fat, but they present a challenge: How to make them taste anything other than bland? Enter this recipe. Not only does it call for ginger and garlic in the patty, but tops it with a high-flavor, optionally spicy slaw spiked up with Sriracha and kimchi. Get our Kimchi Chicken Burger recipe.

2. Breakfast Turkey Burgers

A burger—for breakfast? Absolutely. Especially when it’s made from a patty containing not lethargy-inducing beef, but relatively light ground turkey. Chopped fresh sage, fennel seeds, and a touch of sugar give it the nicest breakfast-sausage flavor. A fried egg is a must. Get our Breakfast Turkey Burger recipe.

3. Blue Cheese Chicken BLT Burgers

This is not a chicken burger for the faint of heart! We blended the two best sandwiches—the burger and the BLT—to create a twist on both, taking it a step further by stuffing the burger with a piece of creamy-salty blue cheese. Get our Blue Cheese Chicken BLT Burger recipe.

4. Black-Eyed Pea Vegan Burgers

Chowhound’s Black-Eyed Pea Vegan Burgers

Mushrooms and black-eyed peas give these vegan burgers the right moisture and density, plus bold natural flavors. Will you know you are not eating a chuck burger? You will. Will you enjoy it anyway? Absolutely. Get our Black-Eyed Pea Vegan Burger recipe.

Related Reading: 11 Best Veggie Burgers

5. Middle Eastern Lamb Burgers

Beef burgers are great, but every once in a while you might want something different to throw on the grill. Try this lamb burger: meaty and juicy, with loads of aromatic spices, and topped with a cooling Cucumber and Cumin Yogurt Relish that beats ketchup any day. Get our Middle Eastern Lamb Burger recipe.

6. BBQ Bacon Turkey Burgers

One way to give generally mild-tasting turkey burger patties some flavor personality is to slather them with BBQ sauce. That’s what we call for here—along with piling on crispy bacon, of course. These are turkey burgers for inveterate haters of such a concept. Get our BBQ Bacon Turkey Burger recipe.

7. Chicken Cordon Bleu Burgers

Chicken Cordon Bleu is a classy dish—chicken breast sandwiched with Gruyère cheese and prosciutto. It literally turns into a sandwich here: a ground chicken burger patty that meets up with Black Forest ham and Swiss cheese. Get our Chicken Cordon Bleu Burger recipe.

8. Falafel Burgers

The problem with veggie burgers is that they can come across as mushy bean patties, which—let’s face it—many are. In this twist on Middle Eastern falafel, raw chickpeas are soaked for enough hours to make them soften, then ground to form the basis of delicious parsley-tinted patties that do not cook up like mush pucks. Get our Falafel Burger recipe.

9. Grilled Salmon Burgers

These homemade salmon burgers are not the thin, mealy little pucks you may be accustomed to from the freezer case—they’re thick, juicy, and full of flavor, especially if you top them off with one of the sauces or relishes in our salmon burger guide. Get our Grilled Salmon Burger recipe.

10. Apple and Cheddar Breakfast Sausage Burgers

Remember that breakfast turkey burger up top? This is its porcine cousin: a juicy patty of sage-flecked breakfast sausage grilled alongside a maple-glazed apple slice, the two then stacked together with melty sharp cheddar cheese for a truly inspired take on the run-of-the-mill breakfast sandwich. Get our Apple and Cheddar Breakfast Sausage Burger recipe.

11. Pork and Chorizo Chile Burgers

Plain ground pork can be a little pedestrian, but mixing it with spicy Mexican chorizo lends tons of flavor and extra fat to keep things juicy. Topped with grilled chiles and mashed avocado, these burgers are a delicious change of pace—and demand a frosty beverage to wash them down. Get our Pork and Chorizo Chile Burger recipe.

To begin, in a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, ginger, garlic, and sandwich bread.

Let sit a few minutes for the bread to soften, then mash with a fork into a smooth paste.

Add the beef and scallions.

Using your hand, mix until well combined.

Divide the mixture into 5 equal portions, shaping each into loose balls. Flatten the balls into 3/4-inch thick patties about 4-1/2 inches around. Form a slight depression in the center of each patty to prevent the burgers from puffing up on the grill.

Place the patties on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill, covered, until nicely browned on the first side, 2 – 4 minutes. Flip burgers and continue cooking for a few minutes more until desired doneness is reached.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: in a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, Asian chili sauce, and sugar. (Note that this makes a spicy sauce use less Asian chili sauce for a milder version.)

Mix well, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Before serving, toast the buns on the cooler side of the grill if desired. Place one patty on the bottom half of each bun top each serving with lettuce leaves, chili-mayonnaise, and top half of bun.

The Best Burgers in America

M ark this as an historic moment: Never before in the history of burger reviewing has such an esteemed group of food writers been gathered to reveal their favorite hamburger joints. Epicurious asked renowned restaurant critics from around the country to identify their local hamburger heaven and describe the beef, buns, condiments, and toppings. Some combinations are classically simple (ground chuck on a bun) while others get fancy (want Kobe beef with that?). Buns range from sesame-seed to kaiser roll to rosemary-scented focaccia (nice idea, San Francisco!). Toppings are all over the map, too: There&aposs Gruyère cheese and Kraft American, garlic aïoli and regular mayo, grilled onions and pickle chips, Bacon Bits, horseradish, and, of course, burger&aposs best friend, ketchup.

We made sure to cover the map: Miami, Washington, DC, Seattle, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York, Santa Fe, and New Orleans. Those of you who don&apost live within driving range of any of these cities can head straight to our 21 Favorite Burger Recipes slideshow, Steve Raichlen&aposs Ultimate Burger Tips page, or our top ranked burger recipes and try grilling up a sizzling patty of your own.

The Most Iconic Recipes from Classic L.A. Restaurants Revealed

In his new book L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants, chef George Geary pays homage to dozens of classic eating establishments with historic photos, artifacts, and recipes. More than 100 dishes from the golden age of Hollywood dining come to life via thoroughly researched formulas.

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard at the Hollywood Brown Derby 1938

Photograph courtesy Marc Wanamaker/Bison Archives

Anybody who remembers (or wants to time travel to) the glory of Imperial Los Angeles of the mid 20 th century will want to grab a bowl and start whipping up a batch of Hamburger Hamlet’s Onion Soup Fondue or that hot fudge sauce from C.C. Brown’s. I’m going to agree with the “legendary” label for those (not so much for specialties like the 1970s-era spicy tuna dip from Carlos ‘n Charlie’s on the Sunset Strip).

Schwab’s Pharmacy in Hollywood

Photograph courtesy of Marc Wanamaker/Bison Archives

The book augments impossibly rare photos of Walt Disney at the Tam O’Shanter, Lucy & Desi at the Brown Derby, and Orson Welles at Ma Maison, plus matchbooks, menus, and swizzle sticks sprinkled throughout that help make these old joints jump from the page.

Actor Hurd Hatfield and Angela Lansbury at Schwab’s Pharmacy, 1945

Photograph courtesy Marc Wanamaker/Bison Archives

The secret sauce is the collection of more than 100 recipes. A handful, including Miceli’s, Musso & Frank (does Clifton’s count?) still serve the famous dishes Geary teaches you how to make, but even if the restaurant is still open, you might not be served like your grandparents were. The recipe for the Mai Tai at the Formosa Café, for example, differs from the one currently served, which I’m more than a little hesitant to order. On a recent visit to the deflavorized dining room, someone in my party ordered a Navy Grog. The bartender stared at her slack jawed for a moment before sputtering “I literally have never heard of that. We mainly serve cheap beer.”

Geary went to great lengths to replicate the antique foodstuffs—with minor concessions (no MSG) to the contemporary palate. Geary discovered the formulas hidden in vintage food magazines, back issues of the Los Angeles Times, and rare cookbooks at Central Library. His test menu had to pass the memory test before they were included. Since there were multiple recipes for Chasen’s chili, and the author had never tried the original, that dish didn’t make the book.

Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood

Photograph courtesy of Marc Wanamaker/Bison Archives

Geary is the son of a Santa Monica carhop who has spent decades teaching, touring, and lecturing about the culinary arts. With stints ranging from cheesecake maker on The Golden Girls to making pastries for Disneyland, Geary is an expert in traditional American food and an master of bringing these long-gone favorites to life. If you’re a complete addict for these kinds of things, here’s the full list. Here are a few of our favorites from in the book.

Zombie from Don the Beachcomber

Courtesy L.A.'S LEGENDARY RESTAURANTS by George Geary Santa Monica Press / October 2016

Cobb Salad from the Brown Derby

Courtesy L.A.'S LEGENDARY RESTAURANTS by George Geary Santa Monica Press / October 2016

Spicy Tuna Dip from Carlos ‘n Charlie’s

Courtesy L.A.'S LEGENDARY RESTAURANTS by George Geary Santa Monica Press / October 2016

Courtesy L.A.'S LEGENDARY RESTAURANTS by George Geary Santa Monica Press / October 2016

Hot Fudge Sauce from Schwab’s Pharmacy

Miceli's Restaurant (1949)

Miceli's, just a half block from Hollywood Boulevard, is Hollywood's oldest Italian restaurant. The dark, carved wood décor, red-checked tablecloths and Chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling are classic. The singing waiters make any occasion festive. The food is OK, but it's the ambiance​ that makes it worth a visit. They have a second location in Universal City that maintains a lot of the same feel.