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Best hamburger in DC/NOVA area

  • m

Does anyone have suggestions for a good hamburger place in DC or Northern Virginia area? I'm craving a good one!

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  1. Before the inevitable 5 Guys contingent chimes in, the best sitdown burger I've had in DC is at Sign of the Whale. Good size, fresh ground beef, excellent fries, and most importantly, cooked to order. You want it rare/medium rare/medium/medium well, that's what you get. And half price on Mondays.

    2 Replies
    1. re: wg

      Sign of the Whale also has a Virginia location in Loehmann's Plaza on Rte 50 in Falls Church.

      1. re: Steve

        Yes -- it's been a few years but I always liked the burger at SOTW. I doubt it's changed much.

        Nice crunchy grease-free onion rings too.

    2. Cowboy Cafe used to have some good ones. I think they're half price day is Monday, but it's been awhile.

      If you're in Herndon, then hit Jimmy's in oldtown.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Dennis S

        Cowboy Cafe does have good burgers but their service is beyond atrocious.

      2. t
        The Inevitable 5 Guys Contingent

        Need I say more? 5 Guys. True story here - I was in Morocco at the beginning of April on business. I'm sitting in a meeting with some senior government officials, and all of a sudden I get bombarded with e-mails from friends, all including copies of the Washington Post's article on the 5 Guys franchising expansion.

        And damn if I didn't start craving a bacon cheeseburger made my way with a side of fresh-cut fries right then and there.

        Go to 5 Guys.

        - Andrew Langer

        1. t
          The Inevitable 5 Guys Contingent

          Need I say more? 5 Guys. True story here - I was in Morocco at the beginning of April on business. I'm sitting in a meeting with some senior government officials, and all of a sudden I get bombarded with e-mails from friends, all including copies of the Washington Post's article on the 5 Guys franchising expansion.

          And damn if I didn't start craving a bacon cheeseburger made my way with a side of fresh-cut fries right then and there.

          Go to 5 Guys.

          - Andrew Langer

          1. Call me crazy, but my favorite burger is at Chili's. Get the Oldtimer with cheese and a small side of chili and YUM!

            I'm also a fan of Five Guys. But, my thing is I like a flame grilled burger and Five Guys is kind of the fried kind. So, Chili's still wins out.

            Another place for a good grilled burger is Hooter's.

            1. The only answer to your search is in Falls Church at Elevation Burger. This coming from a native Southern Californian, which means I have a PHD in Burgeronomy.

              1. Elevation has a fair burger, but the special sauce makes it a soupy mess. The fries are bland and the chains to corral you in are kind of lame. Five Guys on Beauregard has it just right, nothing fancy, casual atmosphere, but they do a great burger done right on a good roll, with free peanuts and excellent fries. No comparison.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Ziv

                  Every time I go to 5 Guys and order the fries, I'm handed a cup full of soggy grease with some flaccid "fresh cut" potatoes in it. I do not understand going to the trouble of getting fresh potatoes and frying them poorly.

                  The difference between 5 Guys fries and those cooked at almost any bistro or Belgian fryshop (cooked twice, once at 350, again at 370) is night and day.

                  Also, if you want a rare/medium rare burger, you won't find it at 5 Guys. Well done only.

                  1. re: wg

                    5 guys is a great fast food style burger. Thin patties, well done. You tell them what fixins you want. Oh, I agree about their fries, since I don't like them.

                    Harry's Taproom uses excellent meat in the burger...but the one time i got a burger there...the bug was soggy and the veggies were too thick. All in all, a mess, with really good meat.

                    1. re: wg

                      Once or twice (over many visits over several years, going back to when there were just a couple of shops) I was served limp fries at 5 Guys. I took them back to the counter, asked for some fresh ones, and a new cup was brought to my table with a smile, fresh out of the fryer when the next batch came up.

                      Like at any restaurant, if you're not happy with the way what you're served came out of the kitchen, don't hesitate to ask (assuming it's within reason - you're not going to get a rare burger at 5 Guys) for a replacement. When you're talking about fries, it only takes a couple of minutes.

                      1. re: Mike

                        Very well said. I've asked for replacement fries a couple of times and ALWAYS got replacements brought to the table quickly.

                        And while 5 Guys must cook 'well done' the burger is never super dry. Maybe they're not the best, but they give a consistently good product with service to match.

                        Thanks,

                        Kevin

                    2. re: Ziv

                      Someone (maybe it was you, in another posting) mentioned the "corral chains" at Elevation Burger. Why does this bother you? It keeps people from bunching up at the counter. If you've ever been there during busy times, I can assure you that the ordering station does get busy, and some form of organization to keep people moving is necessary.

                      I've seen similar "corral chains" at other fast food restaurants. If you don't like it, don't eat there. But I think you should have a better reason not to eat there other than the way that they handle crowds. It's not all that bad for most of us.

                    3. Has anyone ever been to Harry's Essential Grille in Vienna? Just wondering how that place is for burgers. I read a write up about it in the Washingtonian that it was ok.
                      Also, I'm looking for a good, meaty burger - not a thin patty. Something I can sink my teeth into! My husband said I get to pick where I want to go for my birthday - and burgers it is! My 80 year old mother and I have fun trying to find the best burger when I go to visit her in Sacramento, CA - so now I'll try Virginia. Thanks for all your suggestions. I'm writing them down to try.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Mary

                        Colorado Kitchen in DC. Served at lunch, Fridays only. But always call them before heading there to make sure they are open.

                        1. re: Steve

                          CK's is great -- served not only Fridays at lunch, but also Thursdays and Sundays at dinner.

                          The other world-class area burger is at the "cafe" at Palena.

                        2. re: Mary

                          Again to mention Jimmy's, they use some meat for their burgers. Nothing thin about them.

                        3. i'll toss a vote in for Tonic in Mt. Pleasant, NW DC. The burgers at Tonic are big, nicely seasoned and served with tater tots.

                          1. I like the burgers at Red Robin (locations in Chantilly, Fair Lakes, Dulles, Potomac Mills). Above Five Guys/Elevation prices, but good quality and served rare, if you like. There are something like 25 variations, but I usually stick to the classic or the barbecue burger.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Elizabeth E.

                              I have to admit that I enjoyed my mushroom burger at the Chantilly Red Robin recently. The fries were very good too.

                              What I didn't enjoy was the price. I think my burger was $8.79. The tabs at these "casual" dining places can mount up pretty fast.

                              1. re: Bob W.

                                The problem I've had is actually getting into the Red Robin. I'm usually stuck at the front door while tvs blair and some clown at the front desk tells me how long the wait is. At which point, I turn around and leave.

                                Why are there no Fatburgers/Wattaburgers/Elevation Burgers in this burg?

                            2. Sign of the Whale and the Meeting Place make two of the best burgers I have found in DC. Both are large and cooked to order. Whale burgers are served on a great, toasted onion roll with excellent fries. Try the Golden Triangle with melted jalapeno cheese.

                              Roy Rogers makes a much better burger than 5 Guys and Roy's fries are essentially extra long McDs clones - no grease.

                              1. I can't believe that nobody has mentioned Morton's downtown - a world-class burger, but only available at lunch.

                                Palena's burger in the "cafe" is a very very close second.

                                1. The cheese-stuffed burgers at Childe Harold and The Guards get my vote.

                                  1. When in Vienna, try Foster's Grille in the Magruder's Shopping Center on Maple Avenue. Great charred, thick burger, includes fries and drink for about $8. Walk up to the counter, circle your topping choices on the paper menu, pay and wait for your two fisted burger to be delivered to your table.

                                    I can't understand the fascination with Five Guys - it's just a thin, fried burger - nothing exceptional.

                                    1. When in Vienna, try Foster's Grille in the Magruder's Shopping Center on Maple Avenue. Great charred, thick burger, includes fries and drink for about $8. Walk up to the counter, circle your topping choices on the paper menu, pay and wait for your two fisted burger to be delivered to your table.

                                      I can't understand the fascination with Five Guys - it's just a thin, fried burger - nothing exceptional.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Vera

                                        I don't get Five Guys either, but they'll do in a pinch.

                                        I was in Tampa recently and tried my first Fatburger. Pretty decent burger (slightly larger than a Wendy's patty, fresh beef, really juicy), but what was outstanding was their fresh baked bun. A soft kaiser type roll.

                                        I wish more specialty burger chains besides Fuddruckers came to DC and started giving Five Guys more competition. They may end up suffering the same fate as Burrito Brothers.

                                        I heard Red Robin has a decent burger, but I've been twice and had to leave because there was a huge line or the music was deafening.