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ISO Great Burgers in SM

I'm in search of outstanding hamburger spots (or restaurants with outstanding hamburgers) in Santa Monica. I already know about Father's Office and the Counter -- I'd like a few suggestions to places that won't require a long wait.

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  1. I heard that the 26th street cafe on Montana does a pretty good one. But I have to say that I just went to Lucky Devil's on Hollywood Blvd in the city and had the most outrageous kobe burger ever. It's worth the trip!

    1 Reply
    1. re: kproq323

      Thanks. I've heard that about Lucky Devils -- I also here they have great milkshakes. Unfortunately, that would have to be a weekend trek for me. Traveling into Hollywood from the Westside on a weeknight is near impossible.

    2. I know I've posted this before, but Houston's on Wilshire in Santa Monica makes a great bacon cheeseburger.

      2 Replies
      1. re: dinami

        You may be thinking of the late great Hickory Burger, which much to my sorrow they removed from the menu a couple years back. Or do you add bacon to the regular cheeseburger?

        1. re: aching

          I have them add bacon to the cheeseburger. :)

      2. Cora's has a great burger. Breakfast and lunch only.

        1. Try 26 Beach Restaurant, Angus, Kobe, Turkey & Veggie. They make their buns on premise and cut their own fries. One of the servers just told me they make their secret sauce, i got some on the side to dip my fries in and it was really good!

          26 Beach
          3100 Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292

          1 Reply
          1. re: Burger Boy

            If sweiner is going as far north as 26 Beach, I'll throw in a rec for Beechwood. Really excellent burger.

          2. Try Snug Harbor. It's a cozy storefront cafe that's been there for about 4 decades. The seductive aroma from the food that's cooked on the grill here is enough to draw you into this place if you're nearby. They serve a good, generous size burger with a mound of grilled onions along with everything else that deserves to be on a good burger. The fries are pretty decent also, as is the breakfast fare.

            2323 Wilshire Blvd
            Santa Monica, CA 90403

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sam D.

              Thanks so much. These are all excellent suggestions. I love Snug Harbor for breakfast and didn't realize they were open for dinner. 26 Beach sounds great as well.

            2. I had the burger from Cafe Del Rey for brunch once. It was awesome. Kobe beef, shitake mushrooms and heirloom tomato. Ridic.

              1. It is only my opinion, but this "kobe" or "angus" label on burgers seems just an excuse to charge $12-15 for a burger that should be $7 or under. I prefer chuck, freshly ground, fire-grilled, and well-seasoned. Library Alehouse has a very nice patio, and the burger was good, but in no way worth spending $20 with tax, tip and a coke. Houston's is nice and thick, but appears to be factory stamped into a patty, and their burger came with unannounced mustard on the bun.

                I've had good luck with The Shack, on Wilshire and 25th. Their large basic burger starts around six or seven, and you can get a double, bacon, or a grilled dog on it for under $10. Several fine lunches there, though once the burger was barely warm and seemed reheated.

                Several people have had good experiences at the San Francisco Saloon on Pico in WLA (close to Santa Monica, east of Barrington). I think they have a happy hour discounted burger, and also turkeyburger options. But I've read more than one complaint that people got prepared-in-advance burgers.

                As a couple of 'Hounds have commented, I can't let a westside burger thread go by without mentioning the burger at Philly West, the divy bar on Westwood just south of Santa Monica Blvd. Great, juicy, big oblong cheeseburger served on a cheesesteak roll for about $6 with all the trimmings including grilled onions.

                1 Reply
                1. re: nosh

                  SF Saloon doesn't do their happy hour burger deal any longer (a few months ago it changed to some other items that we don't eat for dinner) unfortunately. I think their beef burger isn't quite as good as it used to be, but their turkey burger is still great and I love their fries. They give you a very generous amount of fries with your burger (or potato salad or green salad - both of which are also quite tasty) and if you order a side of fries then you get a much bigger order - which isn't true of a lot of places that give you just the regular amount of fries that you would ordinarily get with your meal.

                2. definitely not as casual as the other places mentioned, but if you want to splurge [it comes with a hefty $27 price tag]...josie does a crazy gourmet buffalo burger stuffed with gruyere, topped with foie, served on brioche with truffle fries.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    One of my favorites there--but Josie is only open for dinner.

                  2. A bit out of SM, but Manhattan Beach Brewery makes great burgers.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Food Good

                      Instead of Manhttan Beach Brewery I would recommend Ebizos. They make all of their burgers medium rare unless you state otherwise, so be aware of that. They use mid-tier kobe beef, but it is a very tasty burger. Throw in Kirin Reserve and you are in good shape.

                      Also Ercoles dive bar has an awesome burger. In my opinion, Manhattan Beach Brewery cant compete with the local competition.

                    2. Barney's Burgers in Brentwood - actually make a pretty serious hamburger - think it's actually a chain

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: paulfromla

                        second barney's.

                        yes, it's a chain that originated in s.f...but they do a good burger a lot of different ways.

                        added bonus...they'll cook it medium rare for you, which is harder & harder to come by these days.

                        Barney's Hamburgers Brentwood
                        11660 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          I like the regular chuck bacon cheeseburger from Library Alehouse.
                          The Beechwood burger is also very good.
                          I've had a few very enjoyable burgers at Babalu as well and a couple of average ones.
                          A different dining experience from the above--I've had very tasty burgers from the Fatburger on the Promenade.
                          Hinano--I've always been too inebriated to give a creditable review, but if you're drinking and want a burger, it hits the spot.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Perhaps things have changed but when I went to the Brentwood location of Barney's Hamburgers (shortly after it opened) and requested that my burger be cooked 'rare' I was told that all of their burgers were cooked at least to 'medium' which may be the way they like em but it's not how I like em!!!

                            1. re: sel

                              i've ordered - and gotten - a medium rare burger from the one on san vicente in brentwood twice in recent months. maybe i was just lucky...?

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                Cool, I'll try them again sometime soon.

                                1. re: sel

                                  ok, but don't blame me if they overcook it :) like i said, maybe i was just lucky.

                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              btw, since the op asked for places in s.m., there is also a barney's on 26th just south of san vicente [i believe it's in the brentwood country mart].

                          2. I like Barney's in Brentwood but good luck if you are going there for lunch- always a line. I would echo recommendations for the Library Alehouse because you can get an interesting beer to go with your meal (if that's your bag) but with the wait, you might as well go to Fathers Office.

                            1. In addition to the ones mentioned, the Arsenal does a good burger. I haven't tried it yet, but the burger on the pretzel bun at 3 Square looks very good.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: mollyomormon

                                I thought the Pretzel Burger at 3 Square was so good on Friday that I took GF there for one on Saturday! And don't get me started about the bakery goodies next door that we devoured on our walk around Venice after lunch!

                                1. re: mollyomormon

                                  The Arsenal is a really good suggestion. Wonderful sirloin sliders and they have a killer kobe burger that is outstanding. Just 3 blocks east of the Santa Monica city line.


                                2. Hal's, which is officially in Venice (but close enough) has one of my favorite burger/fries combo in LA. I think Father's Office is a bit overrated and too souped up to count as a real burger... 26 Beach is good but doesn't touch Hal's. Also, Montana Cafe makes a better burger than most places. SF Saloon was a big disappointment for me personally... I wouldn't go back there again.

                                  1. If you're looking for a more divey experience and a non-gourmet burger, never rule out Hinano on Washington. Reports are they now offer bacon....

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: ElJeffe

                                      that place seems to get a lot of love on this board for their burgers. i'm gonna have to try it one of these days.

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        It is one of my all time favorite burgers and I love Hinano. Be warned, it is a total dive with sawdust on the floors and a colorful cross section of locals and tourists.

                                    2. barney's is good. the buns are nothing special, but the overall burger is good.

                                      1. To add to all of the above suggestions: Patrick's Roadhouse.

                                        1. try the sliders or turkey burger at the Parlor!