London’s best burgers prove that the city’s panting lust for minced beef in a bun does not wane. For all that tacos, cacio e pepe or doughnuts try to muscle in, a glistening burger remains the capital’s number one It dish, primed — between improbably stretched thumb and fingers — for Instagram, every lunch and dinner, every day of the week. Some are twelve napkin sloppy, others four-bites-and-out. Brioche buns, homemade “secret sauces” and impeccable sourcing are unifying factors. There’s also a new, welcome asceticism to London’s best burgers, moving away from the decadent 2010s where a beef patty was a canvas for “look, there are eight toppings on it” energy and towards a more restrained union of savoury, rich beef and cheese, enlivened by onion, pickles, or heat and acidity from those sauces.Read More
The Best Burgers in London
All the prime patties in the city
1. Beer and Burger Store
With three restaurants — Willesden Green, Dalston, and King’s Cross — and a new suite of delivery kitchens, Beer and Burger Store is well set. Smashburgers here, minimum two patties per burger, with cheesecake at dessert and no overly fussy toppings.
2. Shake Shack Gatwick
Gatwick RH6 0JP, UK
There are Shake Shacks open all over the city and it’s likely Londoners will visit all of them before this one. But this entry, given the chain’s many available openings, is more of a symbol. A symbol of both how far Shake Shack — a U.S. burger monolith but still a relative U.K. upstart — has spread itself across the city, and of the fact that fine, good burgers, and, more crucially, breakfast rolls are now waiting in a place where eating can reach its lowest ebb. Prepare for take-off.
3. BaBa G's Brixton
The Baba G’s bhangra burger is an enduring success, with a deftly spiced lamb patty topped with an onion bhaji, raita, tamarind, mango, and a coriander and onion relish.
4. Lucky Chip at the Old Queen’s Head
London N1 8LN, UK
It seems redundant saying it, for it is the express purpose of this map, but Lucky Chip (est. 2012) still serves some of London’s best burgers. The El Chappo — beef patty, bacon, jalapeños and blue cheese and aioli — has been a benchmark since it debuted out of a van in Netil Market all those years ago, and the Royale Wit Cheese is the perfect riff on the “burger with the lot”, spilling with fresh lettuce, tomato and onion to cut the oozing weight of dripping beef patty and melted cheese. Also at Netil Market in London Fields, Wednesday — Sunday.
5. Patty & Bun
Joe Grossmann’s burgers are messy: forearm-dripping, nose-saucing and guaranteed to leave a faint burger scent on diners already deafened by the banging hip-hop pounding. Luckily, the elements of each sloppy, greasepaper-wrapped bun are also impeccably, hyper-locally sourced, with bread from Bread Ahead, meat from HG Walter and cheese from Neal’s Yard. Multiple locations and a new smashburger to get excited about.
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6. Blacklock Shoreditch
One of those obnoxiously “if you know, you know” dishes that made the jump from secret menu to actual menu and saved Instagram captions everywhere. The savvy here is in tossing sticky fried onions with a glug of vermouth, which adds an adult bitterness to their sweet, glossy caramelisation. The rest? It’s a double cheeseburger.
7. Burger & Beyond
Burger and Beyond’s beef comes from its own farm: Herons Farm, in Colchester, which also supplies the Rare Breed Meat Company. Veterans of the street food scene but now at home in Shoreditch, the cheeseburger and bacon butter burger are standouts, with the ‘dirty tots’ — tater tots but with bacon and cheese and hot sauce — an essential side order.
London E1 6EA, UK
Created by lawyer-turned-burger maestro Zan Kaufman, Bleecker's cheeseburger is, by most connoisseurs’ reckoning, the best burger in London. Why? Because it tastes almost exactly like a McDonald's 99p cheeseburger. Except better, thanks to impeccable free-range meat or a new vegetarian offering from Neil Rankin’s Symplicity Foods.
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9. The Duke of Richmond
The Duke of Richmond — the gastropub by chefs Tom Oldroyd and Rory Shannon — has created another great London cheeseburger. Within a brioche bun is a 6oz rib cap patty, dill pickles, chopped white onion, and thousand island sauce (imitation special sauce on top of an imitation Big Mac.) It’s the sort of size that works as a snack or a big-move starter, and then there’s “The duke” — 6oz rib cap patty with roquefort, confit shallots, and béarnaise, for those who like their burgers a little more cheffy.
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10. Slow Richie's
After a diversion into pulled pork, Slow Richie’s has its own restaurant and a renewed burger menu focussed on beef. There’s a black pudding burger, for anyone still mourning the Bleecker Black, and a haggis-topped number too with barbecue sauce.
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11. Bake Street
London fell hard for thick, mid-rare, burgers covered in cheeses and other accessories whose quality often clashes with the expression of the meat. At this small, popular neighbourhood cafe by Rectory Road overground, the smashburger is king, and currently only available at weekends. One patty, violently compressed on the flat top to a caramelised, charry smokiness, gets on handsomely with “Heinz”, “French’s”, mayo, American cheese, iceberg, and pickles. One of the few truly committed fast food-emulating burgers in the city, and one of the best to boot. There’s an awning for outdoor eating, rain or no rain, and some other very fine things in buns, including a makhani fried chicken burger and a Bajan-inspired fish bun.
12. Hill & Szrok Master Butcher & Cookshop
A new cheeseburger contender from the east London butcher shop forged in lockdown. Two aged beef patties, American cheese, special sauce — these people aren’t messing about, with the burger a staple on the lunch menu. Check Instagram for availability, which is currently Saturdays only.
13. The Plimsoll
London N4 2QW, UK
Holding out as the best cheeseburger in London at its new home in Finsbury Park, Four Legs’ form shows no sign of erring. A brioche bun that holds its structure for as long as it takes to eat the burger (not long) sandwiches a single, rich, Dexter beef patty, fused American cheese, homemade “special sauce”, diced onions, and homemade pickles. No component overpowers another — this a burger modelled on the best fast food versions, executed like no other. There’s also an occasional “matchday burger,” to herald Arsenal’s recent upturn in form.