Best Burgers on the Upper East Side

American classics
February 27, 2017
by Zagat Staff

From the classic, no-frills burger served up at J.G. Melon to the custom LaFrieda blend at the Penrose, we've rounded up some of the most mouth-watering burgers on the Upper East Side.

Shake Shack
Burger · East 80s · $
Food 4.0 · Decor 3.2 · Service 3.4

“Premium fast food” is the draw at this “widely syndicated” Danny Meyer chain, offering “mouthwatering” burgers, “rich shakes” and other “upgraded” eats (plus beer and wine) at a “manageable price” ; they’re “a magnet” for “legions of fans” who can create “hectic scenes” and “insane lines” , especially at the “landmark” Madison Square Park shack “where it all started.”
Burger · East 70s · $$
Food 3.9 · Decor 3.4 · Service 3.7

A “relatively guilt-free” option for “getting your nom on” , this “wholesome” burger chain “stands out” with organic, natural patties (beef, veggie or “outside-of-the-box” game meats) “personalized” with a “plethora of toppings” ; the “green” pedigree costs a “few extra bucks” , but that barely dents its “popularity.”
Cafe D'Alsace
Breakfast · East 80s · $$$
Food 4.0 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

This “unpretentious” Yorkville brasserie is a “bustling” standby for “stick-to-your-ribs” Alsatian fare paired with an epic beer menu that merits its own sommelier; given the “too-close” quarters and “high decibels” , many opt to sit outside, weather permitting.
JG Melon
Burger · East 70s · $$
Food 4.0 · Decor 3.4 · Service 3.7

“Now and forever” , this circa-1972 UES “preppy haven” is a “fixture” where the “classic burgers” , “addictive cottage fries” and “mob scene” are as much a “tradition” as the cash-only policy; the separately owned Upper West Side (accepts credit cards) and Village outposts ”authentically replicate“ the menu, and ”you can usually get a table without waiting.”
Jones Wood Foundry
European · East 70s · $$
Food 4.0 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.0

An “inviting” “neighborhood haunt” , this Yorkville pub supplies “solid” British staples (think “fish ’n’ chips as it should be” ) chased with a “big selection of craft brews” ; the “spot-on” staff and “unhurried” style suit the regulars found in the “lively bar” and garden out back.
The Penrose
Brunch · East 80s · $$
Food 4.0 · Decor 3.9 · Service 3.7

A “hip spot” in the “otherwise unhip Upper East Side” , this “lively” gastropub lures “younger” types with a “trendy” scene fueled by “delicious burgers” and other “enjoyable” American bar bites; a “Brooklyn vibe” and “rustic” looks make it a “welcome alternative” in the neighborhood.