From the quick and easy drive-through of In-N-Out; Out to the airy and chic atmosphere of 25 Degrees in the famous Roosevelt Hotel, Los Angeles' increasingly vibrant burger scene offers an unmatched diversity you will have to taste to believe.
LA boasts literally hundreds of bars, restaurants, pubs, and fast-food joints. Southern California is home to the original McDonalds, In-N-Out and the famous California Burger, topped with avocado, jack cheese, bacon and a creamy chipotle sauce usually found on a sourdough bun.
The term Hamburger originally derives from the German city of Hamburg, but the beef sandwich was perfected in Southern California, constructing a meal that can be both fast-food and a culinary delicacy. It may be because California is an agricultural haven with some of the finest, freshest ingredients on the planet. While much of the state's farmland is dominated by agribusiness, Los Angeles foodies clamor for the finest ingredients around, with heirloom fruits and vegetables and grass-fed beef resulting in fantastic burgers.
The Habit Burger Grill
Not quite fast-food, and not quite restaurant, The Habit is relatively new to the burger scene but has true blue fans who won't accept anything else. The chain restaurant has locations sprouting up everywhere, with constantly long lines. Getting straight to the point, the burgers are basic; the fries thick; the onion rings hand-battered and the real-ice cream shakes are thick and perfectly sweet. Sometimes simple really is better. The Habit claims to use the leanest beef of any burger, but still yields juicy and pleasantly greasy grub.
- Related Guide Links
- Various locations through Southern California
The Apple Pan
It may look a bit questionable from the outside, with a shack-like appearance, stools only and cash registers that look like they belong in an antique shop. This no-frills restaurant is an LA landmark for foodies. The burgers are perfect and messy, the service is hilariously grumpy, and the crowd well-mannered -- well, for a burger joint. Simple menu, classic burgers and delicious deserts; the hickory burger is a popular choice for barbeque sauce lovers and the French fries are fresh and hot. The only downside? Cash only.
- Location: 10801 Pico Blvd Los Angeles, CA
- Phone: 310-475-3585
- Website: www.applepan.com
Located in the upscale Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, 25 Degrees could be the restaurant that best epitomizes the revitalization of Hollywood. The restaurant is named after the difference in temperatures between a medium rare and a well-done burger.The retro Hollywood glam decor with crystal chandeliers and polished wood add elegance to this hip all-night burger bar. Don't miss the onion rings and the pomme frites, perfect for dipping into any of the dozen different gourmet sauces. Soup, salad and sandwiches are also offered, but the burgers are their specialty. Try the #2, a tasty burger patty combined with grilled prosciutto and topped with cheese and pesto. Unfortunately, it's not cheap, but what do you expect of a burger joint inside the Roosevelt?
- Location: The Hollywood Roosevelt. 7000 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood, CA
- Phone: 323-785-7244
- Website: www.25degreesrestaurant.com
The valley is not generally known for its dining establishments, but this neighborhood gem is a hidden secret. Almost any night of the week, you'll find locals packing the tables and aisles long into the evening. The decor includes flooring reclaimed from a 1920s industrial warehouse, a butcher-block bar, and exposed brick. Patrons order off chalkboards at the bar and can choose from a dynamic selection of 16 American microbrews on tap, or for the wine lovers, a dozen wines by the glass highlighting West Coast boutique labels. The juicy hickory burger is almost a perfect meal with a beef patty dressed in caramelized onions, Tillamook cheddar and a smoky sauce served with peppered steak fries.
- Location: 11938 Ventura Blvd. Studio City, CA
- Phone: 818-506-0777
- Website: www.laureltavern.net
Tommy's is the quintessential burger joint in a city that made burgers an enduring part of American life, and has a cult-like following. While, the burgers themselves aren't much, the topping is a sloppy blob of impressively tasty chili that seems to have magically addictive powers. No matter what hour of the day or night, you'll find a crowd. Everybody from movie stars to local residents eat chili burgers along the makeshift counter that lines the parking lot.
- Original Location: 2575 W. Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
- Phone: 213-389-9060
- Related Guide Links
- Various locations throughout Southern California
Taking the 'have it your way' mantra to the extreme, the Counter creates a safe haven for even the pickiest eater while managing to serve up great food fast. The concept is basic: check off your choices on a paper menu pad. First your burger: organic beef, turkey or veggie; then choose the size: one third, one half, or a staggering full pound burger. Then onto toppings and sauces, with over 24 choices including Danish blue cheese, garlic aioli, corn, black bean salsa, and peanut sauce. As for fries, try the fifty-fifty, a side of fries and shoestring onion rings. The sweet potatoes are delicious. It's the perfect size for two, without feeling a grease overload. For the Atkins fanatic, there's also a burger-in-a-bowl option that features your favorite burger served in a lettuce bowl.
- Locations: (Santa Monica): 2901 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica, CA, (Pasadena): 140 Shoppers Lane, Pasadena, CA , (Studio City): 12117 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA
- Phone: (Santa Monica): 310-399-8311, (Pasadena): 626-440-1008, (Studio City): 818-980-0004
- Website: www.thecounterburger.com
If you can snag a table at this always crowded restaurant, the burgers and fries are delectable, and there is a huge selection of beers on tap. With only one burger made just one way, many argue that it is the best burger in LA. The flavorful beef patty is topped with caramelized onions, blue cheese and arugula. The sweet potato fries are served with aioli sauce.
- Location: (Santa Monica): 1018 Montana Ave. Santa Monica, CA, (Los Angeles): 3229 Helms Avenue, Los Angeles, CA
- Phone: (Santa Monica): 310-736-2224, (Los Angeles): 310-736-2224
- Website: www.fathersoffice.com
Founded in 1948 in Baldwin Park, CA by Harry and Ester Snyder, this burger joint was the first drive-through hamburger stand of its kind. The Snyders' business philosophy was simple: 'Give the customers the freshest, highest quality foods you can buy and provide them with friendly service and a sparkling clean environment.' This philosophy has remained largely the same. Everything is made fresh to order, with no microwaves or freezers. The 100% pure-beef patty is divine, the veggies are crisp and flavorful, the milkshakes made with real ice cream, and the French Fries are the epitome of freshness. The entire process is visible to the customer.
- Original Location: 13850 Francisquito, Baldwin Park, CA
- Related Guide Links
- Various locations across Nevada, Arizona and Calif
Redwood Bar & Grill
A burger always tastes better in a bar with pirate decor. Come to Redwood Bar & Grill to eat, drink and people-watch among the 'Ahoy Matey!' paraphernalia. An old haunt for journalists, editors and politicians (it's said that JFK ate here), this refurbished gastro pub serves excellent burgers, fries and sides. Try the special redwood burger, touted as the Best Burger in Downtown by the LA Downtown News.
- Location: 213 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA
- Phone: 213-680-2600
- Website: www.myspace.com/theredwoodbar
Lucky Devils in Hollywood
The tag line reads: 'Devilishly Delicious.' This statement says it all. Try the Kobe Bacon Blue burger with a combination of gruyere and blue cheese, bacon and Kobe beef, or perhaps the Fresh Veggie burger made with over 26 ingredients and topped with cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and a special secret sauce. While the burgers are delicious, the 25 microbrewers from noted West Coast Brewers are the icing on the cake. This joint is also known for its famous desserts, including a toasted pecan shake. The burgers are scrumptious, albeit a bit pricey, and the funky atmosphere is part of the fun.
- Location: 6613 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood, CA
- Phone: 323-465-8259
- Website: www.luckydevils-la.com