The burger; it’s an American institution. It’s a classic, in every sense of the word, and its timeless appeal has as much to do with its dependability as it does with the flavor profile. But that simplicity can sometimes obscure the fact that the burger is incredibly versatile, rising to meet the challenges of new chefs, new cultures, and new cuisines. And where better to experience a mix of the time-honored standards and the burger avant-garde than perhaps America’s best burger city, the glory of Los Angeles? Sure, there are many great burgers in LA, but these are our favorite new, under-the-radar heavy hitters that are ready to satiate you the the next time a craving hits.
400 S. Main St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Let’s start with a classic done right (actually, done damn near perfectly). The Ledlow burger starts with a seasoned, house-ground patty (you can double or triple it if you’re so inclined), and builds the flavor with both American and cheddar cheeses, dill pickle, onion, and a Dijon and garlic aioli. Served up in a hip, yet relaxed space, the Ledlow burger strikes the perfect balance between elevated and no-nonsense from the first bite to the last, and has just enough sophistication to keep you coming back again and again.
317 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Another tour de force of elegant simplicity, there’s a good reason The Grand Central Market’s Belcampo has patty is close to the gold standard: they source it themselves (responsibly and sustainably) from Northern California. There’s little more to this burger than the perfectly seared, dry-aged beef: cheddar cheese, leaf lettuce, and carmelized onions on a seriously seeded (and seriously delicious) bun. But when your beef is this good, who needs to be flashy?
426 N. Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Sure, everyone knows about Father's Office, its terrific. But it's not the only craft beer-loving gastropub in the city. Smaller, more humble, but equally, if not more delicious, Golden State has the no frills beer and a burger combo down to an absolute science. Built around impeccably sourced, local ingredients and a focus on simplicity, Golden State proves you don't need 87 tap handles and burger secrets to make a damn fine meal. Don't miss the sweet potato fries!
108 W. 2nd St. #104
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Badmaash is fusion done right. By combining northern Indian cooking with a dose of 90’s hip hop and a modern vibe, this cultural mishmash always excites; and their burger is no different. This Indian play on a classic burger is a textural delight: a loosely-packed, slightly spicy lamb patty topped with crisp Iceberg lettuce and red onion, all set inside a toasted brioche bun lathered with paprika mayo. It integrates flavors from traditional Indian dining with a classic American staple, recontextualizing the burger experience in the process. A must have. You didn’t think every burger has to be beef did you?
206 N. Western Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Looking for something a little more adventurous? Consider Koreatown’s weirdest and most wonderful burger: the Biergarten Chosun One. The patty is a blend of beef, pork, and tofu (trust us, it works), and it’s topped with grilled spam, kimchi, gochujang aioli, American cheese, and plenty of mustard, all on a Hawaiian bun. It’s a strange, salty, messy, tangy creation -- like In n Out meets Korea on an acid trip -- and it just might be your next favorite burger.
435 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
And now for something filthy (in the best possible way). The aptly named Boner Burger, a new addition to the already preposterously fantastic Animal menu, is unlike anything else on this list. First off, there’s no bun; instead, they use marble rye from the nearby Diamond Bakery. An incredibly juicy patty (a blend of chuck, short rib, and bone marrow) is topped with caramelized onions, jack cheese, poblano chili, and a kind of secret mustard they call 420 sauce. The result is a dripping mess of delicious fattiness cut by the tangy bite of the mustard and chili. If a flavor explosion could be encapsulated in one delicious fatty bite, this may be it. Warning: life decisions may questioned, goals re-evaluated, and bouts of crying may ensue.