The Very Best Burger Places in LA
Daglas Drive-In Since the 70s
A longtime favorite in the San Fernando Valley, the Daglas Drive-In has been serving burgers on LA's signature white buns with shredded lettuce since 1979; Daglas’s yellow sign touting charbroiled burgers on bold display the whole time. Ask any local folks for directions to Daglas, and they'll probably tell you it's right by the equally famous Cupid's Hot Dogs, which has been there since 1946.
The Royale Treatment at the Oinkster
Despite its name, the Oinkster isn't all about pork. Though you can get a pretty awesome BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich there. And their Reuben Sandwich with house-cured pastrami is legendary. But the Eagle Rock eatery is just as well known for its burgers, which draw on the Filipino heritage of the Oinkster's chef Andre Guerrero. His most popular creation is the Royale. Those brave enough to take on this behemoth burger will delight in a 1/3 pound patty of Angus beef, Andre's house chili, plus piles of pastrami. And you'll probably want to pay the extra 75 cents for Gruyère cheese.
Tradition at Pie ’n Burger
Don't expect a massive burger to arrive if you order at Pasadena's Pie ’n Burger—unless you ask for their Big Ben double-stacker. This traditional place serves traditional-sized burgers just as they have when they started out in 1963. Burgers with house-made thousand island dressing have kept locals coming back for generations, as have milkshakes from an old-fashioned machine and hand-stirred sodas. Though Pie ’n Burger has changed with the times and now offers turkey and vegetarian burgers along with their beef classics. And for dessert? As you may have guessed, Pie ’n Burger has some of the best fresh-baked pies in town.
Goldburger Smashes Onto the Scene
A much more recent entry on LA's burger scene, Goldburger began as a pop-up operation on Sunset Boulevard in Silverlake in 2018. But last year they stepped things up to a brick-and-mortar deal with a walk-up window in Highland Park. Specializing in made-to-order smashburgers (which literally get smashed on a searing grill), Goldburger has earned fans with their toppings that include pastrami, chilies, chargrilled onions, and a smear of garlic-mustard aioli. Plus, they have pies!
A Unique Meatless Experience at Burgerlords
As there are lots of diners in LA who don't eat meat, veggie burgers are particularly popular. But not all veggie burgers are equal. Burgerlords set itself apart from the veggie-burger pack in that they don't buy commercially made plant-based patties like most places. They make everything in-house. With two locations, in Highland Park and Chinatown, Burgerlords blends 30 different ingredients—vegetables, nuts, grains, and spices—to create veggie patties unlike any others you'll find. Served on sponge buns with dairy-free cheese, their burgers reign with vegans.
Hickory Heaven at the Apple Pan
There may be no more a nostalgia-inducing spot to get a burger in LA than the Apple Pan. Not much about the westside institution has changed since they first started serving in 1947. Big meaty burgers slathered in tangy hickory sauce are the big draw here. Belly up to the counter, grab a stool and enjoy the old-school aesthetics of a classic diner, with fries and sodas served in paper cones and homemade apple pie to top off your meal.
A Taste of Hollywood Heritage at Hinano
Countless beachgoers have probably walked past Venice's Hinano, located about a block from the sand, without taking note. Without knowing that it was rock legend Jim Morrison's regular drinking spot. That the Beach Boys hung out there and that Bonnie Raitt was the in-house performer, just to name a few of the famous folks who have hung out there since it first opened its doors in 1962. Many also don't know that the dive bar ("dive" in the best sense) serves some of LA’s best burgers by the beach. Hinano’s burgers are big messy charred wonders that can come topped with a grilled hot dog if you like. Perfect for enjoying with a cold beer amid LA's seaside history.
Bill's in Van Nuys
Last summer we saw a For Sale sign on the iconic burger stand that's been serving in the Valley since 1965, still being manned by Bill Elwell, now in his 90s. But Bill’s is still open—through COVID-19 and all! Don't expect anything exotic at Bill's, it's a traditional burger joint in the best sense. Just settle onto an outdoor stool and enjoy burgers the way Los Angelinos have for decades. Hopefully when Bill does stop serving the new owner will keep up the tradition.
Have you worked up an appetite? There’s no need to hold off, awesome burgers await at amazing burger places in Los Angeles.Written by William McCleary for Knockaround.