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Jun 16, 2008 02:37 PM

Defining "The Burger" Best in LA

Ok, so I know there is much discussion of the "Best Burger in LA" [ ] but there needs to be some clarification to define what is a great burger. There seems to be so many burger joints that make my mouth water and keep me coming back for another.... IMO, the best burgers need some categorization. Also here are a few of my favorites….. how about yours?

1. The "Fast Food" Burger - inspired by Mcdonald's but refined to please any foodie. $
In-N-Out, of course.
If you live in the SFV I have found a hidden jewel.
Bill's Burger: No signs, No Frills, outdoor seating only. Bill has been serving up these amazing burgers for over 40 years. He, Hiroko and Sharon are only there M-F 8-4. Only go for the burger and the quirky group. Don’t expect fries, just a killer burger. Bill is old and this place will not be around much longer.
Bill’s Burger
14742 Oxnard Street
Van Nuys, CA 91411

2. The "Home Cookin’ Burger – this is something you might be able to make at home, the juicy one that gets all over your face. $$

A fine plump burger. I like it with grilled onions, bacon,avocado and the standard fixins. Comes with good fries that you should ask to be cooked, well done. All this for about $10.
The Pineapple Hill Saloon & Grill
4454 Van Nuys Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

3. The “Gourmet” Burger – The finest beef and freshest condiments put together with superb creativity. $$$ - $$$$

My top picks:
Lucky Devil’s
The Village Idiot
Boneyard Bistro
25 Degrees

Also, check out the July 2008 issue of Bon Appetit for some great ideas for grilling burgers at home.

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  1. I don't understand why you call #2 the "Home Cookin' Burger." At home, I can make both a "Fast Food" burger (by pressing down hard on the meat as it cooks to gray death) and a "Gourmet" burger (by purchasing top-quality meat, grinding it at home, and making the burger unpleasantly thick and monotonously uniform).

    In any case, I've never had a #1 or #3 that I really liked. My current favorite #2 is from Pie 'N Burger.

    Pie 'n Burger
    913 E California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91106

    2 Replies
    1. re: Mel Gee

      I'm a burger nut and am always looking for substitutes for my favorite burgers (Corner Bistro in NYC and Dottie Dumpling's Dowry in Madison, WI). Here are my choices:

      1. Fast food burger: Indulge Cafe. Pie and Burger.
      2. Home Cooking Burger: Hinano. Tastes like a really good backyard burger to me. I also like Mary and Robb's in Westwood.
      3. Gourmet Burger: I guess I innately don't like this kind of burger. I tend to walk away feeling like I got robbed. That said, I recently tried 25 Degrees. It would've been great if they hadn't overcooked my burger. I was not impressed by Lucky Devils or Redwood. Haven't had Father's Office in five years or so, but I wasn't too into it when I had it.

      Here's the thing: I can make a better burger than 99% of the places people tout on these boards. Go to Bristol Farms. Get fresh ground lamb. Add fresh mint, feta, some smoked jalapenos, spices, etc. Make a yogurt mustard sauce. Serve with crisp iceberg, tomato, and red onion on a toasted egg roll. Or go to the Original Farmers Market. Get the Nancy Silverton hamburger blend from Huntington Meat Market. Add diced Stumps hot olives, a little garlic and some grated Wisconsin Harvati. Serve on a good roll (also to be found at the o.g. farmers market) and the usual fixings. So good. I'm sort of sick of going to a restaurant where people say the burger's great, blowing $40-plus bucks for two, and leaving disappointed (I'm talking to you, Redwood).

      1. re: countdeville

        great suggestions and your burger recipe sounds incredible! i am looking forward to trying it.

    2. I tend to break it down into burgers and hamburgers. Hamburgers involving waiter or waitress service at your table. No real reasoning behind that, it's just how I think of it.

      So far as burgers go, my faves are:Hawkins House of Burgers on Imperial Hwy east of the 110, Master Burger on Western at 44th, and as far as chains go I like The Habit pretty well and think In-N-Out is horribly overrated.

      In the realm of hamburgers, I'm partial to: Gary Bric's Ramp at Hollywood Way and the 5, Arnie Mortons and Ye Rustic Inn on Hillhurst in Los Feliz.

      1. I haven't sampled enough burgers in LA to feel comfortable opining on what's "the best" but I will say that one burger in the "gourmet" category that doesn't get enough love on these boards is the burger at Spago.