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Best burger in Santa Monica besides Father's Office?

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ThatPat Jan 19, 2005 11:03 AM

Actually, although I've only had it once, I didn't like the Father's Office burger--you couldn't taste the meat through the rocquefort/blue cheese they insist on. So, now that I'm back eating burgers occasionally, what do you recommend in my neighborhood in terms of a restaurant style burger rather than a hamburger stand?

  1. b
    Briggs Jan 19, 2005 11:12 AM

    Cheesecake Factory's Original or Factory Burger - medium rare.

    1. p
      Pete Jan 19, 2005 11:16 AM

      The Shack on Wilshire serves a pretty darn good burger. West of 26th Street, if I'm remembering correctly.

      1. d
        dave g Jan 19, 2005 11:26 AM

        Library Ale House on Main Street makes a good one.

        1 Reply
        1. re: dave g
          t
          ThatPat Jan 19, 2005 08:45 PM

          I've heard theirs is modeled on the one at Father's Office. Do you know if that's true? Certainly would be worth a try.

        2. d
          DanaB Jan 19, 2005 11:41 AM

          Hal's on Abbot Kinney in Venice makes a good burger. Fries are good, too. Address listed in website below.

          Link: http://www.halsbarandgrill.com/

          1 Reply
          1. re: DanaB
            p
            PayOrPlay Jan 19, 2005 10:41 PM

            Second the vote for Hal's burger. Also, I believe Rockenwagner still makes a mean "pretzel burger."

          2. x
            Xericx Jan 19, 2005 12:25 PM

            Houston's on 2nd and Wilshire.

            Their hickory burger...mmm...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Xericx
              t
              ThatPat Jan 19, 2005 08:44 PM

              Never think of Houston's, but that's nearby and a good idea. Thanks!

            2. d
              David Kahn Jan 19, 2005 01:53 PM

              I generally try to stay east of the 405 whenever possible, so I'm no expert on Santa Monica restaurants; however, I occasionally make an exception and head over to The Counter (link below) for a burger (beef or turkey). They use good ingredients, and will (in my experience at least) cook your burger to the level of doneness you request. The trick here is to remember that the menu is not necessarily your friend. They give you a very large selection of cheeses, toppings, etc., and it's (again, in my experience) surprisingly easy to pick a combination of stuff that seems like it should taste good together but actually doesn't.

              Link: http://www.thecounterburger.com/

              4 Replies
              1. re: David Kahn
                d
                DB Jan 19, 2005 02:16 PM

                I've also had good experience getting a medium rare burger at Th Counter when I order one. And I also concur with the suggestion of sticking to the menu items rather than creating your own burger.

                The chili cheese fries rock.

                1. re: David Kahn
                  t
                  ThatPat Jan 19, 2005 08:43 PM

                  Thanks for the tip about the Counter. I remember reading some good reviews of it last year. Will take your advice and order off the menu.

                  1. re: ThatPat
                    t
                    ThatPat Jan 21, 2005 10:12 PM

                    Thanks again for the tip. The thing I was craving was actually hamburger with a salad, so imagine my surprise that they actually do a salad with a hamburger on top. This was a perfect lunch! I even tried the onion strings (i.e., stringy onion rings) as an extra on the salad. They actually pile them on and I only really wanted a taste but they were very tasty, if greasy (I almost never eat fried food so it was quite a splurge). Anyway, I will definitely go again when I have my burger craving.

                  2. re: David Kahn
                    westsidegal Jul 22, 2006 01:19 AM

                    the counter is my favorite.
                    the thing to remember is that even though they will let you choose four toppings to have on your burger in addition to dressing and cheese, you don't HAVE TO actually order four--i've found that ordering only two toppings in addition to the cheese is ideal.

                  3. b
                    blackbookali Jan 19, 2005 03:38 PM

                    The nook is supposed to have a good one . . . but I have not tried it yet . . . also Barney's Gourmet Burgers. Unfortunately unless you order a burger that is laced with a decadent cheese or at an overtly fine restaurant like Campanile you will find most burgers in LA suffer from being pre ground, overcooked and/or too damn dry.

                    1. s
                      Santamonica Jan 19, 2005 10:31 PM

                      If your looking for quick lunch you might want to try Big Joe's ( 20th & Broadway)its a mom and pop hamburger stand. They have a good cheese burger and crinkle cut fries combo, I also like there carrot salad.

                      Donny

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Santamonica
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                        cagey Jan 19, 2005 11:02 PM

                        Haven't eaten there in a long time, but it's been there many moons.... A nice spot for us hungry Gen'l Telephone employees from across the street. I seem to remember it being a better-than-average homemade burger joint.

                        1. re: cagey
                          a
                          Amber Jan 21, 2005 05:49 PM

                          Used to work in that neighborhood so ate there over the course of five or so years...Aside from having a decent burger, I have a sensitive stomach and never ever got sick there once - wish I could say the same about some higher quality/more expensive restaurants in town. Great, now I'm craving a burger and fries.

                      2. j
                        Joelle Jan 20, 2005 12:43 AM

                        I really like the one at Amuse Café on Main Street in Venice--and unlike Father's Office, you can actually get Ketchup if you want it there! It comes on a great roll with garlic chips or a nice green salad. You can have it with your choice of cheeses.

                        I think Brooke and Nick are doing a variation of this burger with barbeque sauce at their new restaurant Beechwood at the end of Abbot Kinney and Washington.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Joelle
                          m
                          mcspliff Jul 27, 2006 06:10 PM

                          I thought Amuse Cafe closed. No warning, no nothing, just a sign on the door.

                        2. j
                          josh Jan 21, 2005 12:11 AM

                          Hinano's on washington blvd. and pacific on the beach.....
                          great burger... chips no fries... a real manly burger joint... beer on tap.... and the crack of the 9 ball game behind you.... a classic.... no bull.... and a great burger....

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: josh
                            c
                            cagey Jan 21, 2005 09:09 AM

                            Well described. Another "unpretentious" favorite. May I elaborate on the beer on tap as "ask for a pitcher of cheap beer to go w/your burger?"

                            1. re: josh
                              m
                              Mr Grub Jan 21, 2005 11:12 AM

                              Bingo! Long time Grubfav is Hinano's: great dive bar w excellent burgers just a few steps from the sand. Bonus: wonderful spot to throw down a few while you are waiting to endure an obligatory dinner at C&O a few doors down.

                            2. m
                              Mike B Jan 22, 2005 06:25 PM

                              Not Santa Monica, but close:

                              Banderas (sp?) on Wilshire. Get the "Brentwood Burger." This place is owned by Houstons so the burger is similar.

                              Barney's on San Vicente in Brentwood and in the Brentwood Country Mart on 26th. Great selection of burgers to suit every taste.

                              1. b
                                bshakin Jul 22, 2006 12:35 AM

                                Yeah...pardon my French, but screw Father's Office! I was told repeatedly how great their burgers were, and as far as fou-fou burgers go, I guess they're pretty good...but once you get involved with blue cheese, fancy sauce and bread, and arugula, why even call it a burger anymore? And the pretention of the place is over the top. When my friend asked the waiter for some ketchup, he was told "We don't have ketchup...our burgers are MOUTH READY." I kid you not. Sweet potato fries are pretty cool though.

                                Go to Hinano in Venice for a GREAT, authentic burger.

                                1. g
                                  gourmetla Jul 22, 2006 01:28 AM

                                  I like the Counter's burger "salads." Their burger is too unwieldy to eat. The bun becomes mushy and it's just not worth it.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: gourmetla
                                    DanaB Jul 22, 2006 06:52 PM

                                    I haven't tried the Counter's burger salads, but I also found the burger itself disappointing. Something is wrong with the bun, it got really mushy and unappealing, and the whole burger fell apart. I ended up picking out pieces of burger, and leaving behind the soggy bits of leftover bun that were stuck to the burger.

                                    I also found the service there to be less than optimal. Although there were tons of servers running around, they all seemed more interested in gossiping with each other than actually providing service. Plus, they seemed a little clueless -- I ordered fries with my burger, and some server came out wandering around with fries but didn't deliver them to my table. I then had to ask three different times before my fries came, at which point I was almost done with the burger. Overall, it was not an experience I plan to repeat, especially at around $12 for a burger, fries & soda.

                                    1. re: gourmetla
                                      dynamike Jul 22, 2006 08:45 PM

                                      Diito.

                                      I used to like The Counter, but I found my last two trips disappointing. I've permanently crossed it off my list.

                                      Couple o' highlights from my last trip:

                                      1) Their bun: sucks. My bun fell apart, was dry, and not very tasty. Honestly, A BAD BUN IS INEXCUSABLE at any burger-specialty joint.

                                      2) Their meat: Flavorless. No meaty juices flowing out. A dense, gray piece of matter. Lacked freshness. A crime to burger society. Again, inexcusable.

                                      1. re: dynamike
                                        Xericx Jul 23, 2006 07:36 AM

                                        I went about 2 weeks ago to the Counter....

                                        They didn't let me order from the bar as they had the previous visits (I ended up ordering from the "counter" aka cash registered and they totally screwed my order up). The staff was a bit more clueless than usual for some reason.....and it wasn't too busy to boot at the time I went.

                                        The burger was still pretty good though. dunno if I'll be back soon......

                                    2. e
                                      eileen216 Jul 22, 2006 02:20 AM

                                      I love the Taco Turkey burger at The Counter. Yum!

                                      1. t
                                        triplecreme Jul 22, 2006 06:27 PM

                                        Houston's in Santa Monica has the California Burger, jack cheese, avocado, red onion. and mustard. Fabulous.

                                        1. e
                                          epop Jul 23, 2006 12:06 AM

                                          yes, i second the one at houston's as well...

                                          1. s
                                            stacc57 Jul 23, 2006 06:55 AM

                                            good stuff. simple. cheap. fresh. soooo delish. not really an upscale burger but their avocado bacon chedder burger is just basic and really tasty

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                                              Bria Silbert Jul 23, 2006 11:52 AM

                                              It's only open for breakfast and lunch, but Lemon Moon on Bundy and Olympic (co-owned by Raphael Lunetta of Jiraffe and Josiah Citron of Melisse) has a great burger, great catsup and great pickles.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Bria Silbert
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                                                epop Jul 23, 2006 10:37 PM

                                                i could barely eat mine at lemon moon. the meat tasted bad to me.

                                              2. sing me a bar Jul 23, 2006 03:50 PM

                                                The only burger I ever cared about was at The Apple Pan. It's worth the drive, maybe 10 min. from Santa Monica. I also nostalge about the burgers at Nibbler's. Do any Nibbler's still exist in L.A.?

                                                1. OC Mutt Jul 23, 2006 10:57 PM

                                                  It's enough already with My Father's Office. Could be the most over-rated place around, and any "burger" with sprouts, bark and twigs on it, or that doesn't have a proper bun is not a burger - it is a weird unweildly sandwich.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: OC Mutt
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                                                    epop Jul 27, 2006 05:54 PM

                                                    i second this opinion. forgetting the bread i thought the meat wasn't even all that great. i love pesto and french bread but when i want a burger i think of something else to have. sometimes tradition knows best.

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