The Best Burgers in 6 U.S. Cities

By Zagat Staff  |  June 20, 2013

From New York to San Francisco, the U.S. is stacked with top-notch burger options, from grass-fed and grilled to griddled and greasy. In honor of Burger Week, check out the slide show below for the top two burger spots in six major cities, courtesy of our 2013 restaurant guide.

  • Los Angeles, CA

    No. 1: The Golden State

    Go for the “revelatory”, “amazingly made” burgers and “keep the pig- out ball rolling” with sweet potato fries and Coke floats at this “tiny” Fairfax storefront where the “cool owners and staff” also “know their beer”; despite “standing in line” for counter service and “waiting for tables to open up”, diehards dub it the “hands-down best” around; P.S. Let’s Be Frank hot dogs are on the menu too.

    426 N. Fairfax Ave.; 323-782-8331

  • Los Angeles, CA

    No. 2: In-N-Out

    “The double-double animal style is the eighth wonder of the world” proclaims the “fanatical following” of this “iconic” SoCal burger chain – once again voted LA’s top Bang for the Buck – perfecting “what fast food should be” with “simple”, “mind-blowing” patties and “real shakes” served in bright “vintage” settings manned by a “smiling”, “or- ganized” team; “no visit to LA is complete without a stop”, now “if only there were a way to make the lines shorter.”

    Multiple locations

  • San Francisco/Bay Area

    No. 1: 900 Grayson

    “Prepare to confess” after meeting the “Demon Lover”, this “funky” Californian’s “sinful” version of chicken and waffles from a menu of “classics with a twist”, plus an “outstanding” burger; sure, the place is in the “hinterlands” of Berkeley, and Saturday brunch lines are “out the door”, but it’s “worth squeezing” in for such “comforting” fare and “warm”, “efficient” service; P.S. closes 3 PM weekdays and 2:30 PM Saturday.

    900 Grayson St., Berkeley; 510-704-9900

  • San Francisco/Bay Area

    No. 2: Pearl's Deluxe Burgers

    Diners who “take burgers seriously” suggest trying the “juicy” patties at this quartet of Bay Area eateries where the lineup includes “healthy options” (e.g. grass-fed beef, “buffalo, veggie and turkey”) along with “to-die-for shakes” and “O-rings”; there are “prices to match” the sometimes “exotic ingredients”, and if you’re looking for ambiance, “go somewhere else.

    Multiple Locations

  • NYC

    No. 1: Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien

    Probably NYC’s “worst-kept secret”, this burger “speakeasy” hidden behind a “giant curtain” in the Parker Meridien lobby flips “damn fine” patties in “tacky” digs quite at odds with its “luxurious” hotel setting; “lacking” service, “really long” lines and a “cash-only policy” come with the territory – and “good luck getting a table.”

    119 West 56th St.; 212-708-7414

  • NYC

    No. 2: Burger Bistro

    “So many options to choose from” is the hallmark of this “build-your-own-burger” duo in Bay Ridge and Park Slope, offering “perfectly cooked” patties accessorized with “every topping imaginable”; “friendly” service and “Brooklyn prices” keep the trade brisk.

    Multiple locations

  • Boston area

    No. 1: Mr. Bartley’s

    If “burgers are the foundation of civilization”, then “Mr. Bartley is a founding father” proclaim patty-partisans of this Harvard Square “tradition” where the “reasonably priced” namesakes are as “ginormous” as the “jam-packed” “communal tables” are “tiny” (“check your ‘personal bubble’ at the door”); it’s “frenzied”, “cash-only” and bathroom-less, but “everyone should go” “at least once” to experience the “endless choices” (each “amusingly named” after a political or pop-culture icon), “legendary shakes” and “surly” service.

    1246 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge; 617-354-6559‬

  • Boston area

    No. 2: Boston Burger Company

    If you’ve “ever desired a mac ’n’ cheese burger”, come to this “small, cramped”, “crazy-busy” Davis Square “joint” that offers a “seemingly endless menu” of “reasonably priced”, “super-creative”, “high-quality” patties; it’s “nothing special on the decor front”, but the atmosphere’s “fun”, thanks in large part to the “friendly staff.”

    37 Davis Square, Somerville; 617-440-7361‬

  • Washington DC Metro

    No. 1: Ray's Hell Burger

    “In the world of burgers”, there’s simply “no comparison” to this “incredibly well-priced” Courthouse paragon, its “epic” patties made from “quality” “steak cuttings”, with “juices dripping down your forearm”; “fanatics” will stand on line with “everyone from union members to heads of state” for the “hectic” ordering experience in this “no-frills” counter-serve “hole-in-the-wall”, and remember to “bring cash”, since it doesn’t take cards.

    Colonial Vill., 1725 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-841-0001

  • Washington DC Metro

    No. 2: Black & Orange

    “Juicy hand-formed patties” helped by “interesting spices”, “creative” toppings and “fresh brioche buns” have meatheads piling into these “spare but stylish”, industrial-looking fast-casual joints in Dupont and the U Street area; patty partisans also dig the “reasonable” prices and “late-night” hours (till 5 AM Thursday–Saturday).

    1931 14th St. NW; 202-450-5365
    1300 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-296-2242

  • Chicago area

    No. 1: Edzo's Burger Shop

    “Simply awesome” “top-of-the-line” burgers with “tons of options for customization”, plus a “fantastic selection” of “imaginative” “to-die-for” fries and ”transcendent” “thick malts in terrific flavors” earn “wows” at this counter service Evanston joint; so even with “nonexistent” decor, “short hours” (till 4 PM) and “crazy long lines”, it’s still “really hard to complain.”

    1571 Sherman Ave., Evanston, 847-864-3396

  • Chicago area

    No. 2: Kuma's Corner

    For “awesome”, “hard-core burger creations” (plus “killer” mac ’n’ cheese) served up with “a side of pounding metal music” this mid-priced Avondale “dive bar” remains the “gold standard”; “two-hour waits” (no reservations), “borderline X-rated” decor and the “sassiest servers in Chicago” might keep “conservative elderly relatives at home” but it’s “well worth” bringing “some earplugs and a thick skin” (or getting takeout) for the beefy “experience of a lifetime.”

    2900 West Belmont Ave., 773-604-8769