The 10 Best Burgers in Manhattan

From an $9 fast-casual classic to an indulgent $28 stunner
November 3, 2015
by Zagat Staff

The most ubiquitous item on fast-food menus, ground-beef patties once were considered lowbrow guilty pleasure. That’s no longer the case, as numerous tony chefs are now in the gourmet-pub-grub game. For our 2015 Burger Survey, we’ve once again asked readers to help us round up the best burgers in the city. Here are the top 10 picks for Manhattan.

Bowery Meat Company
Steakhouse · East Village · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.1

The team behind Burger & Barrel and Lure “bring innovation” to this Italian-influenced East Village steakhouse, offering “interesting” choices (duck lasagna is a “must” ) and “decadent” , “top-cut” chops; a retro '60s vibe gives the space an “inviting” feel, and while tabs are predictably “pricey” , there are many reasons to “return again and again.”
Black Tap
Burger · SoHo · $
Food 4.1 · Decor 3.5 · Service 3.7

“Creative” craft burgers join an “interesting” lineup of beers at these “friendly” joints, though it’s the “Instagram-ready” milkshakes “spilling over” with “decadent” toppings that garner “insane” lines; the “tiny” digs have “minimal seating” , but still manage to pack in “a lot of wow.”
Minetta Tavern
American · Greenwich Village · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.0

“Nostalgia trip” meets “trendiness” at Keith McNally’s “energetic” Village “standout” that revives a circa-1937 tavern with “vintage” knickknacks, “snappy” service and “excellent” French fare including a “mind-blowing” Black Label burger ( “holy cow!” ); the prospect of “famous” faces in the back room keeps it a “tough table” , despite digs “more crowded than the subway.”
Keens Steakhouse
Steakhouse · West 30s · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.4

The “granddaddy of all NYC steakhouses” , this circa-1885 Midtown “temple to meat” remains “rock solid” , with “sinful” “Flintstones-size” mutton chops and other “succulent” slabs of beef in “masculine” “museum” -like surrounds with “lines upon lines” of antique pipes on the ceiling; it’s “not for the weak of wallet” , but “welcoming” service and an “endless” scotch selection are other reasons you “won't regret splurging.”
Lure Fishbar
Seafood · SoHo · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.0

Still “trendy” and filled with “beautiful people” , this SoHo staple wins ‘em over with “fresh seafood par excellence” and a “swank” , “yachtlike” setting tucked below street level; tabs “on the pricier side” don’t seem to dampen the “active bar scene” or “challenging” decibels.
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.”
Brindle Room
American · East Village · $$
Food 4.1 · Decor 3.4 · Service 3.7

It’s all about the “worth-a-trip” burger at this compact but “cozy” East Villager that also features a “small” menu of “inventive” , “always changing” American dishes; some complain about “sitting on high stools” , but at least the service and pricing are “accommodating.”
Gramercy Tavern
American · Flatiron · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.6

You can rely on “top-class” dining with “no gimmicks” at Danny Meyer’s enduring Flatiron New American, where chef Michael Anthony’s “outstanding” set menus are presented by “eminently suave” staffers in an “upscale-country” dining room arrayed with “gorgeous” flower displays; it’s “not cheap by any means” , though the front tavern offers a “reasonable” à la carte menu in a “colorful” walk-in setting; P.S. gratuity is now built into menu prices.
The Spotted Pig
Gastropub · West Village · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.9 · Service 3.9

A certified “hot spot” , this West Village gastropub is a “proven winner” where nightly “throngs” convene for April Bloomfield’s “mouthwatering” Modern European chow (including a “killer” burger) and sporadic “celeb sightings” ; too bad the “tight quarters” are always “jammed” and the no-reservations policy makes for “really long waits.”
burger joint
Burger · West 50s · $
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.2 · Service 3.4

The “gold standard” in burgers, these “dives” supply “sublime” patties with “no gimmicks” and “minimal service” ; you’ll need “patience” for the “lines” at the “grungy” original, “concealed” in the “ritzy” Parker Meridien, but the “less crowded” Village spin-off adds space and “more alcohol choices" , while Industry City's outpost is a daytime food-hall stand.