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Best Burger?

  • j

Any suggestions for the best burger in the DC area? Family tradition dictates that Passover ends with a burger and I'd like to find a good one...

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  1. g

    Without a doubt, 5 Guys.

    8 Replies
    1. re: GuinnessDrinker

      Morton's has a really good burger on their lunch menu - it is huge and comes with great shoestring fries. not sure if they offer it at dinner.

      You'll probably all scream at me - but I'm also a huge fan of a burger from Chili's. I get the Oldtimer with cheese and a side of their chili to slather on it. Man - I'm hungey just thinking about it!

      1. re: GuinnessDrinker


        1. re: Kooky

          A third for 5 Guys.....I don't go for the "gourmet" burgers like at Morton's or Harry's.

          I plead guilty to liking Chili's burgers....

          1. re: zelda

            Visited the Penn. and DC area last week and I also agree that 5 guys is great; we need one in New York. I also had a bite of my husband's burger at the Old Ebitt Grill and thought that burger was pretty tasty.

            1. re: FITZHAMM2000

              Old Ebbitt ranks right up there for me.

              Don't laugh, but Fuddruckers was awesome when rare and medium-rare were not forbidden.

              I had a pleasant surprise of a wonderful burger a couple of weeks ago at Tunnicliff's on Capitol Hill.

              Five Guys tends to disappoint me. (Of course, In-and-Out does, too, so what do I know?) But I do think the fast-food category is where the thin-pattied Five Guys burgers should be compared, not the restaurant category.

              1. re: BW

                You are right!!!!! Not to mention, it is such a pleasure to enjoy a burger in a nice restaurant setting compared to a fast food establishment and often (5 guys costs a lot more than McDonalds) you are not paying much more (except for tip).

                1. re: BW

                  The first time, years ago, that I ate at Fuddrucker's--the Baltimore one--I thought it was amazingly good. Fairly recently, I ate at the one in DC, and though not amazing (maybe I'm more jaded now), it was still very good, but too expensive for what it is.

                  I kind of agree with you about Five Guys. They're OK, but nothing to write home about. I think they could use more seasoning, but maybe that's what draw is, that it's a simple, straightforward burger.

          2. re: GuinnessDrinker

            burgers at Five Guys are not that great to me. I`d say Palena right now is making the best ones.

          3. Well, Palena probably makes the best burger, but it's closed on Sundays, IIRC. But lucky you -- Sunday night is burger night at the Colorado Kitchen, which is definitely in the top two or three.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Marty L.

              Agreed on Colorado Kitchen. One of the better deals in the city.

              1. re: Bob

                I keep hearing this and I just don't get this reccomendation. I have no axe to grind against this place (many seem to); but I just found their burger remarkably mediocre (not flavorful, a little dry); no better than what the average bachelor could fry up at home.

              2. re: Marty L.

                Agreed, Colorado Kitchen is the choice.

              3. For me, it's still the Sign of the Whale on M Street. Conveniently located in the same block as two strip clubs (although I think one may be undergoing renovation), they offer several different burgers with different toppings, or you can create your own. My favorite is the cajun burger, blackened, with hot pepper cheese, bacon, and remoulade sauce. My wife prefers the one with blue cheese and mushrooms on it. Any of these will make you happy. If I recall correctly, they have half-price burgers Sunday and Monday nights, so you'd be set for the end of passover.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Jim Rice

                  I will throw in a second for Sign of the Whale's "Whale Burgers". I get the Islander - cheddar, grilled onions and 1000 Island.

                  Their French onion soup is tremendous as well.

                  1. re: cf

                    Thirds here. And they cook to order. Order medium-well and that's what you get. You can have the best beef in the world but if some idiot burns it all to hell....

                2. Chadwick's in Friendship Heights and Georgetown make excellent burgers. The FH branch is more kid-friendly IMHO, with white paper tablecovers and crayons.

                  1. Harry's Tap Room in Arlington (near Courthouse)

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: The Bear

                      Harry's is down the street from the Clarendon Metro stop.

                      1. re: AngelV

                        Sometimes their supposedly Wagyu beef seems strangely tasteless to me. And they consistently undercook the burgers--we order well done to get medium rare! Not to change topic entirely but their fried shrimp are outstanding.

                        1. re: Amy B.

                          The only good thing i had to say about that burger was beef quality. Its a shame, because they got teh most important thing right, and everythign else wrong.

                          The mussels were nice though. :)

                          1. re: foodgeek

                            Ok, NOW I've tried 5 guys. Very good burger for a fast food burger. :) The fries were soggy and greasy,

                            1. re: Foodgeek

                              I've had soggy or lukewarm fries handed to me at Five Guys. I'll always asked for a fresh order (they always accommodate) and when the potatoes come right out of the fryer, they're top notch. It doesn't take very long for French fries to go soggy.

                              Even a small order is about twice what I can eat with lunch. I take the leftovers home, give them a touch-up in a wok and they're good for dinner.

                      2. re: The Bear

                        That oen I've tries. Harry's uses wugyu beef, and the meat itself was very good, but the execution was off. Soggy bun, overripe tomatoes, the burger was too thick, the fries were limp, etc... I had high hopes because they were rated well in a burger article once, but was dissapointed.

                        I'll have to try that gaffney's rec since I had a good po'boy there once.

                      3. Lindy's in Fogggy Bottom is good as well. 20th and H st.

                        1. If you're near Herndon, Jimmy's Old Town Tavern is excellent on burgers.

                          1. I'm partial to the burger at Southside 815 in Old Town. They don't shy away from cooking it rare or medium rare and it's delicious.

                            1. Ugly Mug is hard to beat, but they are a bit different (mimiburgers served several on a plate with "shoestring onion rings"). Located on Barracks Row (8th St SE) in Capitol Hill

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: johnb

                                These are way impressive!

                              2. Gaffney's in Ballston makes a great hand-formed chargrilled burger -- and the fries are great too.

                                They are located in N. Arlington on Fairfax Dr between Taylor and Utah Streets. Also, just one block from Ballston metro stop on the Orange line.


                                1. My vote goes to The Guards or Childe Harold.

                                  1. I haven't been in a while but the Post Pub (a little hole in the wall on L between 15 and Vermont NW) had what they called The Sir -- a sirloin burger served on a French roll. The burger itself was great and they had those big steak fries too.

                                    1. The Robert the Bruce Burger at the Royal Mile in Wheaton. Or, for a drive, the Big Joe at Twin Kiss just outside La Plata.

                                      1. If you are in Silver Spring, check out the burgers at the Quarry House. And the onion rings are wonderful.

                                        1. Arties in Fairfax Circle. Their John Masson Burger is great and you can get it as rare as you like.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: BeerMan

                                            I'll vouch for the John Mason burger. I used to work at Artie's many years ago. I found the burger to be delicious. I've been to Fuddrucker's as a comparison, and they didn't seem better. Tasty perhaps but not as good. Maybe it is because I like my burgers medium-rare? Forgot if Fudds allows for that.

                                          2. Can't vote for best burger unless it comes with great fries and my vote goes to Smith & Wollensky.

                                            1. Five Guys in in Alexandria on the corner of Beauregard and King St. The best burgers in the metropolitain area hands down! Never been to the other recently opened locations.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: marianne

                                                Five Guys remains the best. I must be very very lucky cause it's good every time I eat there. The only complaint I have is the Tyson's Mall location is (or was) cheap on the fries. Only the cup worth.

                                              2. s
                                                Steve R Silver Spring

                                                Of all places... Nick's Chophouse in King Farm, Rockville. It blew me away! Angus burgers are the bomb there. My friend agreed and he's eaten lots of burgers. This is such a passionate subject, isn't it!

                                                Also, Smith and Wollensky on 19th St (?) in DC is just as good. Seems like steakhouses have the best burgers. I love Houston's Restaurant burgers too.

                                                Steve R

                                                1. Definitely the Quarry House in Silver Spring. It's also incredibly cheap.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: jb

                                                    It is really good. Great bar too. Although I would call it incredibly cheap. lol

                                                    1. re: jb

                                                      BIG up to the Quarry House burger - astounding. It comes with tater tots, a nice twist on the good ole fries, and EXCELLENT beer at the bar too ... btw someone else above on this post also mentioned Quarry House.

                                                    2. Wendy's or Checker's smokes 5 Guys. Sign of the Whale still creates the best burger in DC. Go for the Islander.

                                                      1. We ordered burgers (not on the menu) for our kids at Mi Rancho in Germantown. Oddly, these were delicious, juicy, wonderful burgers. We gratefully ate the kids' leftovers! Much better than other burgers we've had in the area.

                                                        1. Charlie Palmer's sliders at the bar, great fries too.

                                                          or Cheeburger, Cheeburger.

                                                          Have yet to try Joe's Burger yet in McLean, but it's on the top of my list.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: ktmoomau

                                                            I went into Joe's last week. They weren't very busy, but I was handed a menu and waited and waited and waited to order. The wait gave me too much time to think about the cost and I walked out before ordering. I would expect a $10 burger at Charlie Palmer's (where they're probably $15) but I just didn't have that much trust in this little and new place yet.

                                                            Also, an honest 8 oz. burger is now too much for me to eat, and I haven't figured out anything creative to do with leftover cooked hamburger that I might take home.

                                                            1. re: MikeR

                                                              Yeah, but they have ostrich burgers as a special. I love ostrich. I don't know why, but I find it really addictive. I have never had an ostrich burger, I normally get other cuts, but thought that was a try.

                                                          2. My Favorites: (1) Urban Burger Company in Rockville, (2) Clyde's, and (3) Surprisingly enough...Bullfeathers, located on Capitol Hill, less than a block away from the Capitol South Metro stop.

                                                            1. Just had an amazing burger at Sweetwater. Super tender and flavorful meat on a bakery-fresh bun. And great shoestring fries to boot. Superb eats, all in all.

                                                              1. Sonoma in Capitol Hill has a great burger; I like it better then the Palena burger. It used to be made with Wagyu beef as well, and was fantastic. Now it is made with (I think) an organic beef from a local farm. Not as good as the Wagyu beef, but still excellent. I think they grill the bun with a little truffle oil, too! Note: they do not have fries but serve it with grilled red potato wedges.

                                                                1. I couldn't possibly say best, since I haven't tried enough. But since no one's mentioned it, the burger at Cafe St. Ex is good (I haven't been there in ages though).

                                                                  Just had the Palena burger for the first time, and it wasn't quite as transporting as I expected, but good. Loved the fries there.

                                                                  Wow, this is an old thread!

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: mselectra

                                                                    The burger at St Ex used to be amazing, however I Haven't been back since Bart left for Hook

                                                                    1. re: cleveland park

                                                                      Yeah, me neither, that's why I was a little hesitant to recommend it. Hope to get back there soon, though.

                                                                  2. A Washington Post Staff Writer's take on the great burger debate. Worth a read:


                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: dzherbst

                                                                      I vote for Quarry house in silver spring(great toppings, and great tots), although palena's burger is pretty good as well.