Do we really need an excuse to scarf down a juicy patty with our favourite toppings (preferably in a brioche bun of course)? Probably not, but we’ve got one anyway: 24 August is National Burger Day. With this illustrious occasion looming in our calendars, it seems particularly apposite to take a look at where to get Britain’s best burgers. Here are the top 20 patty purveyors in the UK, according to Harden’s survey reporters…
LONDON’S TOP 10 BURGER JOINTS
“Burgers are to die for, and service is slick and fast” at these “easy and effective” pitstops, where “some of it is self-service” (“you queue up for ordering and paying”). “Loud music and dim lighting” helps make them “cool and trendy” too.
“To-die-for”, “messy” burgers – amongst “the best in London?” – are to be had at these “super hip”pitstops. “Count yourself lucky if you get a table at the James Street original!”
“Simple, perfect burgers… simply the best!” – the survey’s top slot, certainly amongst the bigger burger brands, goes to this “cool” chain, whose “to-die-for, salty rosemary fries” help inspire addiction; expect “huge lines”, but “their app allowing you to queue virtually is genius”. Top Tip – the original Brixton branch remains a destination in itself.
“Undeniably the best burger in London, if not the UK and/or world!” – so claim devotees of former New York corporate lawyer Zan Kaufman’s “basic”pop-up-gone-permanent in Spitalfields (and still also trading at various market locations). Their “simple, juicy beef patty in a bun doesn’t try to be fancy or different, but ticks all the burger boxes”.
“Amazing burgers” mean this Lewisham joint is “so popular you can’t always get a table” – in fact, “the only criticism is that it’s too small!” (“although they do a takeaway service now, too”). The veggie burgers and craft beers are excellent, “and the freshly made lemonade is out of this world”.
Get 20% off burgers at Rox Burger on 24 August.
“Might they be London’s best burgers?” query fans of this new foodster-favourite: the permanent, diner-style home by Dalston’s Ridley Road Market of a pop-up that’s been spotted at various Hackney sites. (One or two other menu options too: steak, chicken parmigiana, and some funky, dude-ish bites).
“Highest quality” rare-breed burgers – “I am American, so you must take it as an article of faith that the Bobo burger is the best burger ever” – win high praise for this small town-house conversion in Fitzrovia. Critics say the decor is “too try-hard” but fans find it “refreshing”.
“For juice-up-to-your-elbows eating” this “fun and noisy” Hoxton Square outpost of the ‘Meat’ franchise is just the job: melting burgers of course, plus “superb monkey fingers”, “heavenly chilli cheese fries”, and “excellent cocktails”.
“Sloppy and full of flavour” – the keypoints on the ‘dirty’ burgers at this well-known Covent Garden grungefest (“the Dead Hippie is especially great”). The rum cocktails slip down a treat too.
“What burgers at Byron hope to be when they grow up: juicy patties, awesome brioche, and fries to die for!” This excellent small group is also “not hostage to the political correctness of so many others who refuse to serve medium-rare meat”.
Newcomers: Burger places to look out for that haven’t been rated by our survey just yet…
Bite-sized burgers with vaguely suggestive names (Duck Me – a duck patty, truffle mayo and smoked hoisin; or there’s Pluck Me – a buttermilk fried chicken burger) are served up by chef Adam Rawson at this new burger bar on Kingsway. For those who don’t know Rawson he’s an ex-Pachamama chef with a winning record in London’s Slider Decider competition.
Baba G’s Bhangra Burgers EC2
Indian spiced burgers and ‘naanwiches’ – already familiar to Baba G’s fans at Pop Brixton and KERB Camden – are coming to the City’s latest foodie venue, a shipping-container village in Finsbury Square. Technically, it’s a pop-up, as it’s in a temporary location, but as it’s for at least 14 months (until late 2018), we’ve included it here.
UK’S TOP 10 BURGERS (according to our annual survey)…
“The best burger ever” along with “a fine selection of craft beers” is provided at this Digbeth dive – or as they sell themselves ‘Patty Pimps and Purveyors of Filth’ – currently the top of the tree for a burger in Brum.
“Great burgers, fries, cocktails etc” – that’s the simple but powerful pull of the Northern Quarter original of this small NW chain of ‘dirty’ food pitstops.
“If you’re not bearded you might feel out of place” at this “achingly hip” Northern Quarter hang-out: “one of the most innovative outposts of the north west’s ‘dirty food’ movement”. “There’s no doubt their burgers are amongst the best”, even if “some items are over-complicated and trying a bit hard to be too exciting”. Also in Didsbury, Prestwich and most recently Preston.
This “subterranean haven” of “great burgers, cocktails and really cool music” has “a great vibe” (even if “the dive bar ambience can be a bit trying at times”) – “what more do you want from a burger joint?”
Hip (and tiny) North Laine spot – essentially a take-away with a few seats – inspiring limited but excited feedback; “I almost don’t want anyone else to know about it, as the queues are bad enough already, but the burgers are too good to stay quiet about!”
“On Hastings Old Town seafront, with outdoor seating for those fine days”, this quirky US diner-style venue makes a “great breakfast or brunch spot”; “book upstairs for a view of the sea while you tuck into traditional burgers with the most divine side of coleslaw”.
“If you can find out where they will be” – presumably easier now that “the secret’s out”, and they’re “operating two vans” – then “make an effort to try one of their burgers: it doesn’t get better than this!”; it’s “far too popular though, so you have to queue”.
For an “amazing array” of “fabulous burgers”, look no further than this “busy” spot; the “only trouble is trying to get a table… it is just much too popular”; now serving breakfast too.
“The most fun burger place in the galaxy!” (well, nearly) – “so much better value than the ubiquitous chains” and with “excellent cocktails”.
“The very best burgers are well served in this small dining room in trendy Stockbridge”; “I’ve been going for 34 years, from a time when nobody bothered making ‘gourmet’ burgers: now the ersatz variety are everywhere?!”
Top of the tips: Burger places to look out for that haven’t been rated by our survey just yet…
We hear very good things about this burger shop by A Rule of Tum in the heart of much-lauded Hereford beef country, but it hasn’t graced the pages of our guide just yet. It certainly impressed Jay Rayner on his visit – although he’d probably be the first to admit he’s a sucker for this humble dude food.
Occupying a former industrial space in Glasgow’s St Vincent Street, this popular joint serves up proper poutine as well as bacon chips alongside its classic burgers. There’s also an offshoot in Edinburgh.
This burger bar in a converted pub, not far from the university’s main campus, has quite a following of trendy Bristol types. As one would expect from the city that brought us Banksy, there’s plenty of street art adorning the walls. Founders Rory Perriment and Oliver Thorogood call themselves the ‘creative burger people’ meaning there are no limits to what can go on one of their burgers.
Is there a burger joint in your area that you feel deserves to be on this list? If so please tell us about it by taking part in next year’s Harden’s survey. Find out more.