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Looking for Good Burger in Seattle

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Looking for a good place to get a burger and some beers, any ideas? I heard solid things about Two Bells is that a good place?

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  1. Palace Kitchen has a great burger for $11.

    1. I don't think they serve alcohol and the two locations are kind of dumpy, but RED MILL BURGERS has the absolute very best hamburgers in the area!

      1. I'm pretty impressed with the burgers at Sam's Steakhouse at the north end of the Eastlake neighborhood.

        Link: http://www.thestranger.com/2002-09-12...

        Image: http://www.thestranger.com/2002-09-12...

        1. Actually, 2 Bells is great...except they are just 2 damn small...tasty, though. Get their caeser with it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Fay Jai

            two bells is not great its simply one of the best if not the best for a burger and beer, just wish they had fries.

          2. I have been eating at Two Bells for 8 years. It
            is the BEST place for Burgers in Seattle. The burgers
            are thicker and cooked to order. Two Bells also has
            great soups and other sandwiches.
            Red Mill is just okay. The burger patties are the
            thin pre-fab kind and the buns are ordinary. The only reason I go to Red Mill is for the onion rings;They
            are wonderful.
            Happy Eating! BBBiscuit

            14 Replies
            1. re: BBBiscuit

              I agree - Red Mill burgers are the best. It's too bad you'll need to wait for Summer, so you can escape the HORRIBLE stench of the cigarette junkie's atmosphere and go sit outside. In winter, get a burger to go and eat in the car, I guess.

              I also agree about red mill - It's quite good, as factory-stores go, although on a good day, Burger King can make a better burger. I can't figure out what the buzz is all about. It has the quaint thing going on, maybe that's it...

              1. re: mr.nelso

                Hmmm, are Red Mill burgers (1) the best; or (2) surpassed by BK on a good day? Your post says both.

                1. re: steve

                  I was never a very good typer.
                  I meant to say TEO BELLS burgers are the best (xept for the smokers).
                  Thank you for pointing that out!!

                2. re: mr.nelso

                  my error
                  I meant Two Bells Burgers are best
                  and I agree with you, entirely.

                  1. re: mrnelso

                    The Man vs Food episode this week portrayed Red Mill as burger nirvana. After reading the reviews of diners on several sites, it appears that 50% seem to love it and the other half have issues.

                    They appear to make a mediocre 1/4 lb pattie then dress it with really excellent toppings. Fries and onion rings looked good. Wait time, no seating, cleanliness, difficult parking were all consistent negatives. Several reviewers focused on the burger as being dry, over cooked, under cooked, etc.

                    So given the mixed reviews, I'll probably pass on the place. They should offer a 1/3 lb option served with fewer toppings for burger purists. They appear to be similar to Red Robijn (1/3 lb burger dressed with a multitude of common toppings) only their burger nears 10.00. But it's a fun place ! LOL

                    I'm going to check out Two Bells and pass on the Mill.

                    1. re: TaylorRoot

                      Red mill is just about baseline for burgers. Good toppings, but they adamantly refuse to cook a burger medium rare, or anything short of beyond well done for that matter. This makes Red Mill about as good as Kidd Valley. Not bad, but not great.

                      For a really good burger in the Red Mill price range, try Roy's BBQ in Columbia City: hand-ground, hand-formed, judiciously cooked burgers in the backyard style.

                      1. re: TaylorRoot

                        Red Mill serves what I think of as a "West Coast" burger. Thin patty, with toppings. I am a big fan of the verde burger (with roasted anaheim chiles) - and the onion rings and shakes. The PBJ shake is fantastic; I like mine plus malt.

                        It's a different beast than the East Coast style fist-shaped lump of meat with minimal to no toppings. I just wish Two Bells used a bun instead of hard bread.

                        To me, it is far superior to Red Robin (greasy, not in a good way) and Kidd Valley (just bland) - but I'm partial to Dick's deluxe over any of Red Mill's burgers except the verde, at least when I'm after that kind of burger.

                        Quinn's burger is the best I've had in town to my taste - it follows the thick patty model.

                        1. re: terrier

                          Equinoise, thanks for the tips. Ok I can see the West Coast East Coast thing. The verde burger does sound good. I often make similar things at home. I'll try Quinns. I like a small choice in the burger 1/4 is fine provided it's decent meat and cooked properly. 1/3 is better with few toppigs like a classic bacon cheese. Choices are good.

                          1. re: TaylorRoot

                            We had a great burger (freshly-ground meat, hand-formed) at Queen City Grill this winter. Yum. It was as good as Quinn's and a step up from Palace Kitchen's. Then again, hard to beat the lamb burgers at Cafe Campagne.

                          2. re: terrier

                            I live near to Dick's in Lake City. After multiple tries, I recently concluded that the Dick's Deluxe is the worst burger I've ever had -- truly awful!. There are two schools of thought about burgers. One focuses on the "whole burger," and likes burgers with toppings that are given equal billing with the meat, and isn't terribly concerned about the quality of the meat per se.. The other school of thought focuses on the quality of the meat as the most important element. I'm in the latter category.

                            1. re: Tom Armitage

                              I think you're comparing the dick's deluxe to the wrong thing. It's the equivalent of a big mac. When compared at that level the burger comes out ahead.

                              1. re: vanillagorilla

                                To me the issue comes down to places that will cook burgers to order and/or rare vs. places that only cook burgers beyond well and into firm tastelessness because of liability concerns. Most local and national chains are in the latter camp, including Dick's and Red Mill.

                                It's related to Tom's point, because when you start with an overcooked puck, you have to dress it up more to make it palatable.

                                1. re: equinoise

                                  Well, when you have a thin burger like Dick's or Red Mill (or In-N-Out or McDonalds) you can't cook it rare...

                                  The thinness of the patty is supposed to retain good texture and flavor because it's so thin that it can cook to the middle in moments.

                                  Obviously a thick patty "well done" is going to be dry and flavorless, but a thin patty done that way retains good texture. (admittedly losing flavor and juiciness)

                                  I can go either way, I appreciate a good thick burger done medium or medium rare, but I like the thin patty style with interesting toppings and what not as well.

                                  1. re: GreenYoshi

                                    I agree. What I don't like are 1/4lb or bigger burgers cooked to well done. The thin burgers like dick's work when well done. Thick thicker burgers just don't.

                  2. Sloop Tavern by the locks in Ballard...good old fashioned juicy burgers. The bacon cheese burger is especially tasty. And if the fries are just out of the fryer, they are first rate. Good beer,too.
                    This is a smokey place, however...Susan C.

                    1. Gordo's down by Golden Gardens, really great beach hut style burgers.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Rocky

                        Daly's on Eastlake is a gem...if you like a messy, drippy, style burger...which I do :) You can't get beer there though...More than once have I heard that Two Bells is great, but I have yet to try it. I think Red Mill has sort of gone down hill over the years...I liked it better when it was still a secret up on Phinny.

                      2. For $12.95, the Met serves a Kobe Burger. Haven't had it, but if fancy is what you're after, this may be your place.

                        1. i haven't had one in years but the burgers at Two Bells are a near-religious experience. wow. just thinking about them...mmmmm.

                          1. Across the lake, I happen to be partial to Burgermaster myself (the one I go to is a drive-in next to 520 in Bellevue, but I believe there's supposed to be a sit-down place in Ballard as well.) I don't get over to Seattle too often though, so I'm not too familiar with the places over there.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: Vexorg

                              Can you give an address for Two Bells?

                              1. re: Joni

                                2313 4th Avenue, at Bell Street.

                                Lately all I've been discovering is places with terrible burgers, unfortunately. Apparently no one in Seattle is willing to cook one less than well-done, no matter how much you beg and promise not to sue if you get sick. In fact, begging for so much as medium seems to get you even more crusted-out extremely-well-done. It's a terrible thing to do to good beef. Worst offender so far: Julia's in Wallingford. I've tried THREE TIMES, and every time the thing I get is like a charred shoe.

                                The best burger in Seattle comes off my Big Green Egg.

                                1. re: fnarf

                                  I've had good luck getting medium rare burgers at Palace Kitchen and Circa.

                                  1. re: creepygirl

                                    I agree with creepygirl. Our Burger of the Month club found medium rare burgers at Palace Kitchen and also Maple Leaf Grill.

                                    We'll have to give Circa a try. Where is that?

                                    1. re: Lauren

                                      Circa is in West Seattle. I've been meaning to suggest it for Burger of the Month, but I haven't been able to make it to any of the gatherings. They also have a good fish and chips.

                                      1. re: Lauren

                                        Agree that the Palace Kitchen and Maple Leaf Grill are both outstanding. Red Mill is entirely overrated - skip it.
                                        My favorite burger is at the Wedgwood Broiler on 35th in north Seattle. They are the most traditional (on a bun with a slice of lettuce, onion, and tomato) and they will fix a true medium rare. Their onion rings are divine. We always eat in the lounge, which is absolutely non-trendy old Seattle. Not the world's greatest beer selection but more than adequate. See the Seattle Times review at:

                                        1. re: Lauren

                                          Although it's been awhile since I've been there, I've had good luck in getting a rare burger at The Ram in University Village. Pretty good burger too -- at least it was the last time I had one.

                                      2. re: fnarf

                                        i'll take u up on that !!! my WSM makes some mean Q

                                  2. 94 Stewart has a good lamb burger at lunchtime but the fries that come with it are pathetic.

                                    1. I'm definitely going to have to check them out. I'm also on the hunt for good fish and chips!

                                      Our next BoM is at Moxie in November. It's either going to be the 6th or the 13th, around 6 PM. I hope you can make it!

                                      1. Bad Alberts in Ballard
                                        Hale's Ale in Ballard
                                        Red Mill
                                        XXX in Issaquah

                                        1. Collins Pub in the Smith Tower does a reliably terrific burger.
                                          The lamb burger @ Moxie is yummy and available during their happy hour for a superb price.
                                          Cascadia mini burgers are great fun for happy hour, too.
                                          Hattie's Hat in Ballard used to make a superb blue cheese bacon burger but I haven't been there lately to know if it's still a) on the menu and b) all that.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Griselda

                                            I don’t often order burgers, but I was pleasantly surprised with the burger at Collin’s. I think the key is that they season their meat with Worchester and other spices. Plus the beer selection is top notch.

                                          2. Tried the burger at 2 Bells last night. Coulda been a contender but was overcooked. (We asked for medium-rare, it was definitely delivered well done.) Thoroughly enjoyed the curried-pumpkin soup and the hot sausage sandwich, though. We'll be back, and next time we'll ask for rare.

                                            1. Okay I went to Two Bells today. I got the Tavern Burger. It was a quality medium rare patty covered in onions and bacon. It came on a french baguette which put it in the almost too messy for consumption group, but still it was really tasty. After trying many places in Seattle I honestly think the best burger in Seattle can be found in Madison Park. It is called the Scoopburger served at Scoop du Jour (an ice-cream place). This place gets no pub, but for the money ($9 for the bacon cheese) I would go with this everytime; big juicy and served with some Tim's chips. Go there and give it a try.

                                              1. I've already posted about the Blue Onion Bistro having the best chicken fried steak, but they also make a pretty mean burger too. My favorite is their "weekend deluxe". Half pound patty with bacon, lettuce, tomato on a house baked bun.
                                                The chick in the picture in the Strangers latest review of the onion is eating a burger of some kind, looks pretty good too!

                                                1. Has anyone else tried Zak's in Ballard? I love their burgers, and the chocolate shakes are to-die-for.

                                                  1. Not really a burger and beer place, but if you enjoy a good burger and havent been to Dick's you need to make a point of doing so... and fast.

                                                    1. Blue Cheese and Bacon Burger from Red Mill kicks it! Be sure the pile some french fries ON the burger before consuming. And the onion rings are the best in the city.

                                                      Out of the city but worth the mention, Bennett's on Mercer Island has an all natural New York Steak/Pork Tenderloin blend burger that is out of this world. (Read: it's the seasoning salt) And no sweating the mad cow! woo hoo.

                                                      Honestly, there was a time when Dick's was truly the best. Unfortunately it was also a time when chain smoking, getting blitzed on PBR, hot pink and fast food in general seemed like good ideas. *cough Not so hot anymore. Of course, if that's your bag then by all means go for it. I'd be lying if I said a part of me can't sympathize. Chocolate chip mint ice cream at 1:45 am in the summer served me well, in the winter, a deluxe and fries. Just a tip.

                                                      Another place of the past I love is Daly’s on eastlake. When Ward's Cove was still open for business, you could go in on any given workday and eat lunch in a room speckled with surly fishermen. Now, the character of the joint is still the same. They still have malt vinegar on the tables. And pinball. And PacMan. And they still have lime as a shake flavor- a greenriver! (read: order this. no joke.) All reasons worth visiting. Oh but I do miss those fishermen.

                                                      1. Anyone else like the Deluxe on Capitol Hill or is it just me?

                                                        1. I am with jdestes. The DeLuxe Grill on Broadway in Capital Hill makes an outstanding burger. Most expensive is about 9 bucks, and on Thursdays all burgers are 6 bucks or so.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: jf_darrah

                                                            It's actually Wednesdays when the DeLuxe does Burgerama ($6.95 on all burgers except one)... it's a great deal, although it can get crowded and therefore the quality can slip compared to a normal night.

                                                          2. Two of my favorites are the Nickerson Saloon right next to the Fremont bridge (Queen Anne side) and Bing's Bodacious burgers in Madison Park. The Ram at U Village also does a decent burger and brews their own beer. Just avoid any night the Husky's are playing in town or get ready for a wait.

                                                            1. Lunchbox Laboratory, daddio!

                                                              1. I moved to Seattle two years ago and am still searching for that perfect burger. I find Red Mill to be on par with Burger King, Dicks and Burgermaster. The only fast food burger I would endorse is In-n-Out, which unfortunately is not in Seattle. While I still haven't found what I'm looking for, my current favorite is Quinn's followed by Two Bells. I would have included the mini burgers at Cascadia but they are no longer open.

                                                                1. I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Jak's Grill. Now that's a good burger.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Earl of Sandwich

                                                                      My only problem with Jak's is that they never truly get my burger medium rare. Every time I order it that way, it comes barely pink in the middle. I'd call it somewhere between medium and medium well.

                                                                    2. Agree about Lunchbox Lab and JAK's.

                                                                      1. Burger and Beer mode for me means Leny's in Tangletown or Norm's in Fremont. Not exactly gourmet fare, but I don't think that burgers have to be high end to be delicious.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Brunhilde

                                                                          Quinn's is my favorite, followed by
                                                                          the bison burger at Spur, followed by
                                                                          the burger at Roy's BBQ in Columbia City, a hand-ground and -formed patty cooked in the backyard style, with the Col. City Bakery bun. Considering that Roy's ($7 including side) is cheaper than the aforementioned ($11-15), it may be the best value burger out there.

                                                                          Was dissapointed in my last Palace Kitchen burger; never been to Lunchbox Lab.

                                                                          1. re: equinoise

                                                                            I had a burger at Quinn's for lunch yesterday. It was the right level of done, the meat was nice, and the cheese was tasty. For my money, though, (1) the bacon was too crispy, (2) the bun (roll, really) was a bit too crunchy and dry, (3) there was no tomato/lettuce/onion setup, and (4) the fries were limp.

                                                                        2. I hate to continue to resurrect a 2003 post, but if people are posting on it I'll post, too.

                                                                          My 2 cents would be the Lunchbox Laboratory. Everytime that I go (and unfortunately I live 6 blocks away), I come away too full and swearing that it is the best burger I've ever had. They are messy and large, but it works well for me. Bonus: The banana creme shake is insane.

                                                                          1. The best burger I've found lately is at the Pig 'N Whistle on Greenwood & 85th. Excellent quality beef that's Very flavorful...in fact, so flavorful you don't need an overdose of toppings, great thickness, not greasy (I've found Lunchbox Lab's too greasy), perfect bun...and they really do cook it medium rare if that's your preference!

                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                            1. re: staffstuff

                                                                              Lots of good info here. I'm taking notes.

                                                                              Know any places around here that serve a Jucy Lucy? It's a half pound stuffed burger with cheddar, sauted onions, and bell peppers. They often make them with bleu cheese or other popular cheese. Matts Bar in Minneapolis supposedly invented it. Probably not, but they like to believe it.

                                                                              If you ever eat one, poke a hole in it and let it vent. Fear the cheese! It's hot.

                                                                              1. re: TaylorRoot

                                                                                The Lunchbox Laboratory used to serve a Juicy Lucy. You should give them a call at
                                                                                (206) 706-3092 and check to see if it's still on the menu.

                                                                                1. re: ScottT

                                                                                  Entirely over-the-top juicy with madcap combination is the very point of Lunchbox Laboratory. You may not find Lucy, but on any day you will surely find a half-dozen of her equally juicy realatives.

                                                                                  1. re: ScottT

                                                                                    That's cool. Matts Bar in Minneapolois (another Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dive's feature) actually had some liability problems with diners eating them before they are cool. Hence the "Fear the cheese" sign on the wall. Getting melted cheddar on your face if very hot doesn't feel good. Thanks for the tip :)

                                                                                  2. re: TaylorRoot

                                                                                    Try Zayda Buddie's (sp?), the Wisconsin-themed place on Leary in Ballard. They have a stuffed burger; I'm not sure if it has the right combo of ingredients to qualify as a "Juicy Lucy" but given the proximity of Wisconsin to Minnesota, and their claims of authenticity...it might.

                                                                                    1. re: pusherman

                                                                                      Excellent! I'll have to check it out. What constitutes a Lucy has gotten pretty broad and that's good actually. Thanks very much for the tip.

                                                                                      Mr Nelso is correct, in that Lunchbox Laboratory had one on the menu recently but no longer. They mention it on their website. Very interesting place. They let you select the compositoin of the burger and have a great selection of toppings.

                                                                                      When I make them at home, I typically do not do the buy and grind method with brisket or other cuts of meat. I'll just do the 50/50 mix of ground sirloin with ground chuck to get a good fat/moisture ratio. Alton Jame's "Burger of the Gods". One day I'll do brisket when I'm feeling motivated.

                                                                                2. Totally agree with this one. BEST in the city!

                                                                                  1. Tried Blue Moon in Fremont today and it was both a good value and very competent burger (it's a very blue-cheese and bacon happy place, and I usually hate both items)

                                                                                    1. Lunchbox Lab all the way.

                                                                                      1. 22 Doors on the top of Capital Hill has awesome burgers, food, and drinks. Red Mill Burger is also pretty good, if you're looking for a cheaper burger. As for a few posts below about Red Mill, I do NOT think it is even close to fair to compare them to Burger King, or any other corporate fast food conglomerate. I agree that if you're looking for a top of the line fat juicy $15 gourmet burger, this isn't the place for you.

                                                                                        1. I just made it to Lunchbox Labratory. Very yummy- very meat- very overwhelming- and very loaded with topping! The burger was quality. Trail and error will result in finding what combo of theirs I am in love with- It is worth the testing. The website is a must ready before going in.

                                                                                          Regarding other favorites-
                                                                                          I have concluded that Red Mill tastes good because of the "secret" sauce, toppings, and quality bun. The meat is ok enough to not be noticed. It is better than other convinence burgers.

                                                                                          Dick's taste best late at night as an indulgent snack. It too has a tasty sauce and toppings. More than one patty is gross because you begin to taste the lower quality meat and the texture resulted from two patties.

                                                                                          The Ram use to be a favorite of mine. Their burgers are meaty and like a cheap version of a minimal Lunchbox Labaratory burger. Same with Red Robin.

                                                                                          Heard good things about ...

                                                                                          Bad Albert's in Ballard is suppose to have one of the best burgers in seattle- They serve the famous "Dock Street Burger"- I have been meaning to try it.

                                                                                          The Palace burger is suppose to be fab- is it really?

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: natalie.warner

                                                                                              Dock Street burger is great, and rich!

                                                                                              I also like the Palace burger. You can taste the quality of the meat. I prefer my onions grilled, tho'!

                                                                                              Queen City Grill on 1st also has a great burger, ground there with a house made bun. And I love the sliders at Stumbling Goat Bistro. Pricey at 2 for $14, but delicious!

                                                                                            2. Two that haven't been mentioned.

                                                                                              Smith. (somehow better than King's even though it's the same restaurant group)

                                                                                              Last Chance Chili Shack. (down South, so most of you will never try it, but it's a solid one)

                                                                                              1. Yes, the Dock Burger at Bad Albert's is excellent! The Sloop Tavern is not only a great place to have a burger but they have giant beers as well. I also like the burger at the 74th St Ale House. No french fries there though since they don't have a fryer.

                                                                                                1. Best burgers in Seattle are from Skillet.
                                                                                                  They have been winning awards.
                                                                                                  They are a mobile operation that visits certain neighborhoods one day a week.
                                                                                                  We see them on Capitol Hill on Mondays from 11-ish to 2PM.
                                                                                                  They also visit Freemont, SODO, Elliott Avenue, and John St & Boren.
                                                                                                  They use Kobe beef, with bacon jam, cambozola cheese and arugula on a brioche bun.
                                                                                                  Habit-forming it is so good.
                                                                                                  Check out their website and don't forget the hand-cut french fries with the burgers.
                                                                                                  You will love them.

                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: knatie

                                                                                                    I thought they moved off of the old kobe beef and are now just doing grass fed beef (which is, technically, going to be more tasty)

                                                                                                    1. re: jaydeflix

                                                                                                      Thanx, jaydeflix, my mistake. They have moved to grass-fed. I should have re-checked. Please except my apologies for that error and ignore my review.

                                                                                                    2. re: knatie

                                                                                                      whew...that sounds like way tooooo much rich stuff on a burger...plus a rich brioche bun...sounds a bit out of balance IMO....I'd omit the bacon jam or the arugula.....'have it my way' :-).....how thick are the fries?

                                                                                                      1. re: staffstuff

                                                                                                        It is kind of intense, but it's a small-ish burger, which helps to balance out the richness of ingredients. The brioche bun is only about 2-3 inches in diameter. The patty is pretty thick though. Definitely go hungry : ) As for the fries, they are delicious - I'm a terrible estimator of size, but I want to say they are about 1/4 inch wide? Similar to the ones at Cafe Presse, if you've had them.

                                                                                                      2. re: knatie

                                                                                                        I just want to "second" the burgers at Skillet Street as the best I've had in Seattle.

                                                                                                        Skillet Street Food and Diner
                                                                                                        1400 East Union Street, Seattle, WA 98122

                                                                                                        1. re: knatie

                                                                                                          No fancy items needed were talking a good old mom/pop kinda burger, keep your fancy burgers...

                                                                                                        2. Okay, I just tried Red Mill for the first time, and at least as of early 2009 (can't believe this thread has been going for six years!), I thought my burger was pretty mediocre, for a "good" burger. I mean, it was fine, better than Dick's and the like, but only okay.

                                                                                                          A few months ago I went to Blue Moon in Fremont and really enjoyed it. It wasn't the best burger I've ever had, but I'd recommend it.

                                                                                                          Funnily enough, Red Mill was absolutely packed, and Blue Moon was almost empty. (Different times of day, though.)

                                                                                                          1. New to the area, but concur that Red Mill doesn't merit the hype. Thought I would never find anyplace in Seattle serving nice rare patties until I randomly came across Two Bells on a stroll. Very tasty. Smallish burgers, yes, but it is a bar---I like that I can have a bite to eat with an adult bev or three and not feel the need to head home for a nap. It's a pleasant room with a good crowd, too.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                                                                                                              I don't get up to 2 Bells anymore (got a baby now, no minors allowed) but their burger is one of the best in town - except they serve it on a hard baguette-style roll that tears up the roof of my mouth something fierce. (Or they used to; I'd welcome reports to the contrary.)

                                                                                                              Try the hot sausage sandwich there next time you go, that's another winner.

                                                                                                              1. re: terrier

                                                                                                                Sorry, they're still serving burgers on baguettes. I like them as a change of pace, but I can see where you're coming from. And thanks for tip on the sausage sandwich----I'll try it soon.

                                                                                                            2. There's a stand at the U-District farmers' market these days selling burgers made with grass-fed beef from Skagit River Ranch. I haven't tried one, but I've tried Skagit's beef, which is tasty. The burgers looked delicious too -- would love to hear a report.


                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: seattledebs

                                                                                                                I was going to head there this Saturday and post about it on cooklocal.com. The lack of Sunday hours really kills me. They'd be perfect after the Ballard Market.

                                                                                                                1. re: seattledebs

                                                                                                                  Been there. Posted about it (http://www.cooklocal.com/?p=494) but, in a nutshell. Was every bit as good as you'd expect a Skagit river ranch burger to be without the need to cook it yourself. Little pricey, but, on the other hand, they are doing things I want to support so I had no problems paying.

                                                                                                                2. I fell for the Redmill Burger hype. Took hubby there as a treat. It's not bad, but it's very, very far from great, but to answer the question, I have not found a good burger place yet. Red Robin.......last time I was there, I got a dry hockey puck. With places wanting to cook burgers until they are well done, it's hard to get something that's not overcooked.

                                                                                                                  I kind of like Johnny Rockets. Their prices are reasonable and no one seems to be any better, plus I love their chili fries.

                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: tailwagger

                                                                                                                    Some can't forgive the hoagie roll (french-ish, but softer than the baguette I remember from a few years back), but those who can can enjoy cooked-to-order and quite juicy at Two Bells.

                                                                                                                    1. re: tailwagger

                                                                                                                      You tried Quinn's yet, tailwagger? What about Skillet? Stop trying the "chains" they always suck.

                                                                                                                      1. re: malarkey

                                                                                                                        Palace Kitchen and Circa will cook a burger medium rare, and they're very good.

                                                                                                                        Palace Kitchen
                                                                                                                        2030 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

                                                                                                                        2605 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116

                                                                                                                        1. re: creepygirl

                                                                                                                          I had a surprisingly good burger at BOKA Kitchen a few weeks ago. It was cooked a true medium rare and was on a soft bun with delicious Beechers cheese. I would rank it right behind Two Bells and Quinns.

                                                                                                                        2. re: malarkey

                                                                                                                          Or Kings. Or Hamburger Harry's. Or Lunchbox Laboratory.

                                                                                                                          1. re: malarkey

                                                                                                                            Thanks for those suggestions. Yeah, chains tend to...suck. I"m from NY, used to mom & pop places, but they aren't in my area, Federal Way and other nearby places are cookie cutter versions of the same chains I have in my area. I know, I need to go into other neighborhoods. I looked at reviews for Quinns, ........some not so good. I don't like places that have a lot of "off" days. NY diners had the best burgers. I miss them and good pizza.

                                                                                                                            I did venture out, went to Gorgeous George in the Phinney Ridge/Green Lake area for Middle Eastern, made a big mistake by not looking at the menu, paid $14.99 for a falafell plate which I get at my mall food court for $6.

                                                                                                                            1. re: tailwagger

                                                                                                                              Couple places in your general area: Pick Quik in Fife has a good burger. Also, Frisco Freeze in Tacoma is a good place to hit. Federal Way is a hole for most anything besides Korean.

                                                                                                                        3. Teddy's Bigger Burgers. Pretty much burger perfection.

                                                                                                                          This is a franchise from Hawaii that just opened a shop in Woodinville. Fantastic beef patty, thick with lots of pink inside, tender, juicy, wonderful flavor. Melts in your mouth. Reminded me of some Kobe beef burgers I've had but better (love the texture of Kobe but they are just too fatty for me to stomach).

                                                                                                                          I do love Two Bells burgers but those seem to be in their own category -- maybe it's more of a gourmet grilled beef sandwich to me -- where Teddy's burger is a classic burger but with a definite Hawaiian vibe. They come with a sweet yellow mustardy sauce on sweet bread buns (like King's bread if you've ever had that). You can go teri and add pinapple if you really want to go for the full ono-licious effect. Mmmm! Or if you aren't into so much sweet with your meat you can go for bacon or pastrami topping route.

                                                                                                                          The only negative I have is their fries weren't to my liking. They were crisp, with the skins on and not at all greasy (all sounds good) but I'm a Dicks fry gal. I prefer fresh potatoes with the grease. Next trip there I've decided I'll skip the fries and devote my caloric intake with an upsize on the burger. They offer 3 size patties. I had the small 5oz, then there's a 7oz and a 9oz, and then you can double up so 18oz for the monster double (that's just insane).

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: foodsnobsrunappetizing

                                                                                                                            Update on Teddy's Bigger Burgers in Woodinville:

                                                                                                                            They had their grand opening today, and we felt like some burger exploration so we drove up there for dinner. They were pretty packed, with all the tables and most of the counter stools taken. The cooks were taking lots of orders and working quickly, and they got our order out in 5 or 10 minutes.

                                                                                                                            The food: Regular burgers come with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, and special sauce. I had a 5oz. w/ American and a side of onion rings, and Mr. PG had a 9oz. w/ swiss, bacon, and mushrooms and a side of fries. The total was about $20. The veggie toppings were all fresh, and Mr. PG said his bacon was perfectly cooked. They say their burgers are cooked to medium, and they were. Very juicy and a bit messy. The buns had been grilled but weren't warm when we got them, the fries had been sitting for a bit, and the onion rings were room temp but otherwise satisfying in the greasy/crispy vein. Maybe not the best burger in the world, but good ingredients and obviously put together with care, even with the opening rush.

                                                                                                                            There were plenty of employees bringing orders around to those who had missed hearing their numbers called (like us), picking up trash from tables, etc. They seemed cheery and friendly. The owner, Todd, was walking around and checking with customers, and we got to chatting. He's a lawyer who always wanted to open a burger place, and when he was in Hawaii he met the folks who own the three Teddy's shops there. They came up with the idea of this outpost, and since the Teddy's owners are passionate about their business and this is the first franchise, they were very hands-on about manuals and training. All in all the Woodinville Teddy's is a pretty labor-of-love type of place.

                                                                                                                            Since there are plenty of places downtown and in Ballard I'm not sure I'd drive to Woodinville from Seattle to go to Teddy's, but if I lived north of the lake or on the eastside I'd make it a regular place, maybe before going to a movie at the theater next door. (Incidentally, I thought it was kind of funny that the theater mall also has a Ruby's and a Red Robin in it. Given the options I'd obviously choose Teddy's.)

                                                                                                                          2. will be in Seattle this weekend (4/2/2009) with my 7 year old and just read through this entire post. I was all set to go to Two Bells, but read deep into this thread that no minors are allowed!

                                                                                                                            We'll be staying downtown near 4th and Spring one night and 4th and University the other two nights.

                                                                                                                            If we choose just one spot to have a burger which would you choose based on our location and the fact I will be with my son
                                                                                                                            Palace Kitchen
                                                                                                                            Maple Leaf Grill
                                                                                                                            Madison Park
                                                                                                                            The Deluxe Grill

                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: alexa52

                                                                                                                              If you're going with a 7-year old, the fun of Lunchbox Lab can't be beat.
                                                                                                                              Although, I'm sure you and your kid could share a burger there and still have some left over...

                                                                                                                              They have unique sodas there too, so that should be fun.

                                                                                                                              This is assuming you have a car, i would hate to send you on an hour bus ride into the wilds of Ballard, when the burger at Palace is very, very good and a much shorter walk.

                                                                                                                                1. re: GreenYoshi

                                                                                                                                  Lunchbox Lab has kid meals now, comes w/ a drink and a side (fries, etc) Approved by my 7 year old. Ballard Bros is good, too, and cheaper. my kids like the porthole window b/c it is like sponge bob's house.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: bluedog67

                                                                                                                                    That's funny. I'd never thought of it, but yeah, it would seem like SpongeBob's house...

                                                                                                                                    Ballard Brother's is ok (but I'd drive up a couple blocks to LL). I really enjoyed their Blackened Salmon sandwich, too. (in fact, I think the past couple of times I've been to Ballard Brother's was only because LL was closed.

                                                                                                                                2. re: alexa52

                                                                                                                                  Cyclops: downtown, great burgers & fries and fun/unique for kids (booths, too). I would choose this place easily over the ones you've listed!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: alexa52

                                                                                                                                    Thanks for all the suggestions! Wanted to let you know we ended up at the Palace Kitchen. The burger was amazing! Ordered it medium rare with cheese and it was delicious. Also, my son ordered their grilled cheese sandwich- also amazing! What a great experience.

                                                                                                                                  2. There are two very distinct schools of thought about burgers. For some, a good burger is all about the blend of a hamburger patty with other flavors and textures (lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, peppers, bacon, etc.), where the key word is “synergy” and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In this type of burger, the meat is usually a relatively thin patty, which is impossible to cook rare or medium-rare, that contributes to, but does not dominate, the other flavors and textures. The other school of thought is that a good burger is all about the meat, and the other accompanying ingredients are just grace notes to the main melody. To these folks, a good burger is like a good steak. It should consist of a loosely formed (to create “pockets” that will hold the fat and juices), thick patty of high quality coarse-ground chuck with 20 to 30% fat, and charbroiled or grilled on very high heat so as to caramelize or char the exterior of the hamburger patty, but leave the inside rare to medium-rare and juicy. Like a steak, the burger should be allowed to rest after cooking to redistribute the natural fats and juices, before being eaten. Whatever other ingredients accompany the burger should be sparing and not compete with or distract from the essential taste and texture of the meat. In Washington, state law requires restaurants to cook hamburgers to an internal temperature of 155 degrees, which makes serving a rare or medium-rare burger illegal. Will some restaurants accommodate a request for a rare burger? Yes, but it is difficult. Based on my experience, even after making a big deal with your server about getting your burger cooked rare, and being promised that the kitchen will prepare it rare, the burger will often arrive cooked medium to well-done. You can, of course, reject the burger and ask the kitchen to try again, but the delay and hassle involved in this kind of exercise detracts from the overall enjoyment of the meal. I worry about publicly naming the restaurants that will prepare rare burgers for fear that this information may be used by food safety inspectors as leads for enforcement actions. So, for those holding the view that a good burger is all about the meat, the easiest alternative is to cook it at home.

                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Tom Armitage

                                                                                                                                      Do you have a reference for that?

                                                                                                                                      From WAC 246-215, 3-401.11 Raw Animal Foods:

                                                                                                                                      (D) A raw animal FOOD such as raw EGG, raw FISH, raw-marinated FISH, raw MOLLUSCAN SHELLFISH, or steak
                                                                                                                                      tartare; or a partially cooked FOOD such as lightly cooked FISH, soft cooked EGGS, or rare MEAT other than
                                                                                                                                      WHOLE-MUSCLE, INTACT BEEF steaks as specified in ¶ (C) of this section, may be served or offered for sale in
                                                                                                                                      a READY-TO-EAT form if:
                                                                                                                                      (1) The FOOD ESTABLISHMENT serves a population that is not a HIGHLY SUSCEPTIBLE POPULATION, and
                                                                                                                                      (2) The CONSUMER is informed as specified under § 3-603.11 that to ensure its safety, the FOOD should
                                                                                                                                      be cooked as specified under ¶ (A) or (B) of this section; or
                                                                                                                                      (3) The REGULATORY AUTHORITY grants a VARIANCE from ¶ (A) or (B) of this section as specified in § 8-
                                                                                                                                      103.10 based on a HACCP PLAN that:
                                                                                                                                      (a) Is submitted by the PERMIT HOLDER and APPROVED as specified under § 8-103.11,
                                                                                                                                      (b) Documents scientific data or other information showing that a lesser time and temperature regimen results in a safe FOOD, and
                                                                                                                                      (c) Verifies that EQUIPMENT and procedures for FOOD preparation and training of at the FOOD ESTABLISHMENT meet the conditions of the VARIANCE.

                                                                                                                                      Plenty of restaurants offer raw and rare delectables under such a variance, which is the root of the ubiquitous warning at the bottom of better menus statewide. I was under the assumption that restaurants that proffered the standard warning and which otherwise complied with the requirements of this variance could serve food cooked to customer request.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: terrier

                                                                                                                                        This requires either (1) and (2) OR (3), not all three -- most restaurants comply the first way with the standard warning.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: puzzler

                                                                                                                                          Thanks to both terrier and puzzler for correcting me on the legal requirements. I have been told by many burger restaurants that they are "required" to cook the burgers medium or medium-well to meet legal temperature requirements. It now appears that this is just a restaurant-imposed policy to avoid liability issues, not a matter of state law. Thanks again for the clarification.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Tom Armitage

                                                                                                                                            It's interesting that you bring that up. I've never been told that in Seattle (and, with my involvement in a Burger of the Month club on another board - I've tried them at many establishments) but I've been told that repeatedly in Vancouver, BC.

                                                                                                                                    2. Had dinner at Palace Kitchen tonight. Ordered their burger medium rare. The cheese they use is amazing - cougar gold cheese. I rarely (if ever) eat red meat, but after my husband said it is the best burger he has ever had, I tried a bite. Delicious!! And my son had the the grilled cheese- also made with the cougar gold. YUM. Yum, yum!

                                                                                                                                      Thanks for this thread. We had an amazing dinner.

                                                                                                                                      1. A place called Pik Quik <sp> is great, it is on HWY 99 just south of the Fife exit on I5. It is the best for MOM/POP burger joints.