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best burger in philly

foodrun Feb 20, 2010 04:54 PM

My friends birthday is coming up and she is not much of a foodie. I on the other hand am. She prefers burgers and fries to gourmet meals. I read Rouge has the 4th best burger in the country but it looks a little uptight. Any recommendations for a comfortable place with a good burger but options for foodies?

  1. p
    Philly Ray Feb 20, 2010 05:33 PM

    Good Dog Bar.

    And actually, I had a very good burger at Capital Grille recently. It was served with fries doused in parmesan cheese and truffle oil.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Philly Ray
      foodrun Feb 20, 2010 05:43 PM

      It seems that the capital grille only serves the burger for lunch. Plan on going out for dinner on the weekend.

      1. re: Philly Ray
        njfoodies Feb 22, 2010 06:38 AM

        YUM! Is there anything better than truffle oil on fries? I found a gourmet shop online that sells both white and black truffle oil, and we use it as if it is going out of style. They have a black truffle salt also that is to die for! So good! -mJ

      2. AgentRed Feb 20, 2010 06:40 PM

        Firstly, there's no such thing as the best burger in Philly. You can ask for places with a good burger, but the best? It's all subjective, what appeals to you may not appeal to someone else.

        Saying that, my favorite burger is at Village Whiskey, there's a varitey of toppings and the burger itself is juicy and flavorful and anyone who likes burgers will be more than happy with it. The rest of their menu is not huge but they had really interesting looking options, the duck far french fries are great and the desserts (all three of them) are tasty to boot.

        1. b
          barryg Feb 20, 2010 06:48 PM

          Royal Tavern has a fantastic burger and lots of other good items. Check out the specials. It's the kind of place that makes bacon-wrapped tatertots into a sublime experience.

          Never been to Village Whiskey; there is a perpetual 1.5-2hr wait no matter what time or day of the week. They don't take reservations. I love Garces but I don't dig this Manhattan-style bullshit. One day, I will make it there, tho.

          9 Replies
          1. re: barryg
            barryg Feb 20, 2010 06:51 PM

            Oh yea if you like burger porn, check out the slideshow on this link:

            1. re: barryg
              AgentRed Feb 20, 2010 07:09 PM

              I dig your concerns about the waiting time, but I wouldn't go so far as 1.5 to 2 hours. I've never waited longer than 20 minutes, and if it's just two people and you're willing to sit at the bar you can walk right in even if there is a line.

              Agreed on Manhattan bullshit on the other hand... I went to my favourite doughnut place just south of Orchard last weekend and there were 20-30 people waiting in line. It was just ridiculous, there's this excuse that "Oh they're rich trust fund babies/bohemian NYU students with nothing to do all day except wait for doughnuts" but that just makes it worse, these people have nothing better to do with their youth/money than wait half an hour for a god dam doughnut? Ridiculous....

              1. re: AgentRed
                barryg Feb 20, 2010 07:19 PM

                Thanks for the heads up, I think I've only tried to get in with 3-4 people. Will have to try it with just me or someone else on a weekday.

                Yea I waited over 2 hours to get ramen at Ippudo recently. It was very good ramen, but I mean, really. In this case I didn't mind since I was with a large group of friends and someone else picked it. I heard they even make you wait if there are tables available, to keep the illusion of exclusivity (and keep you buying drinks at the bar). That would never fly in Philly. Unless it was a Jose Garces ramen joint.

                1. re: barryg
                  Delucacheesemonger Feb 22, 2010 04:29 PM

                  True, Ippudo at inception on 4th Ave decided to make the bar the focus and you will note after waiting for a long time at the bar, and l think it is a really nice bar, that many tables are open in the back. Remember the drinks are far more expensive and profitable than the ramen

                  1. re: barryg
                    FattyFatMan Jul 1, 2011 06:27 AM

                    The only time to go to Ippudo is 11am or 3pm. Otherwise it is a hot hell.

              2. re: barryg
                foodrun Feb 20, 2010 07:19 PM

                will have to check the website for royal tavern but will have to pass on village whiskey due to the wait. Thanks for the tip

                1. re: foodrun
                  G Goo Feb 21, 2010 04:19 AM

                  The Royal Tavern's Angus Burger is fantastic. My favorite in the city by a mile. Great bar atmosphere also.

                2. re: barryg
                  SJCPHL Nov 6, 2010 05:11 AM

                  My secret to getting into Village Whiskey- Sundays! Like, no wait at all. They had the hostess standing outside the other Sunday looking BORED. I used to get a table outside in the summer at 5:30 pm with no wait when they did not open for brunch. It is as if the world has forgotten about VW for a moment.

                  1. re: barryg
                    mscoffee1 Jun 14, 2011 05:00 PM

                    Two of us went to WV on a weekday at about 3 and there was only a 30 min wait for a table. There was plenty of room at the bar and that is where we sat. It did take a while to get food, I think probably 30 min. The bar was nice and the bartender was great. The burger was wonderful, but the fries were not hot enough and they took it off the bill. Timing is everything I guess.

                    Monk's for sure. Burgers, fries, great beer and wine and a delicious duck salad.

                  2. l
                    lone369 Feb 21, 2010 02:17 PM

                    I actually love the Good Dog Burger at Good Dog on 15th Street between Walnut and Locust. Thick burger with carmalized onions and rochefort cheese, served on a wonderful roll. It is serves with potatoes and sweet potatoe fries. Very VEry Good.

                    1. u
                      urbanfabric Feb 22, 2010 05:31 AM

                      You might also try South Philly Tap Room, and if you want some burger reviews, check out the posts from Philly's Burger Club:

                      1. njfoodies Feb 22, 2010 06:36 AM

                        I have yet to have a great burger in Philly. My go to's are Rossi's in Trenton, or the bar at Anton's at the Swan in Lambertville, NJ. There's gotta be a good burger in Philly somewhere. -mJ

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: njfoodies
                          Bacchus101 Nov 6, 2010 11:26 AM

                          Interesting comment! Perhaps the operative word is YET. Our fellows here have given a number of opinions regarding where one might find that good burger. Just wondering how many of these places, mentioned here, you have tried. Agreed, I am sure there is a good burger in Philly! My bet is you will find a good one, perhaps not the equal of Rossi's in Trenton, but at least good.

                          1. re: Bacchus101
                            njfoodies Jan 22, 2012 10:39 AM

                            Best burger I have had so far in Philly has been at Village Whiskey too, and I can say that I have never had to wait very long to get in. Even on a Friday night we waited maybe 10 minutes, and then 2 seats opened up at the bar. I've been there for lunch a few times as well with no wait now.

                            Other places I've tried include Butcher and Singer. and I thought they had a good burger as well. The burger at the bar at LaCroix was pretty darn tasty as well. Still have tons of other places to try. -mJ

                            1. re: njfoodies
                              njfoodies Jan 23, 2012 10:21 AM

                              Matyson also has a good burger on their lunch menu.... -mJ

                        2. m
                          mazza3 Feb 22, 2010 07:10 AM

                          if you aren't up for the wait at village whiskey (and who can blame you?) i would recommend sketch. it is a little hole in the wall joint in fishtown, but their burgers and fries (and shakes) are excellent. they also make awesome specials, including texas tommys, chili cheese fries, truffled mac and cheese (dated, yes, but delicious). as for a good basic BASIC burger, i would recommend the dark horse. not a place for a foodie, but a good place for a solid burger and decent pub food.

                          1. Rondo Feb 22, 2010 05:22 PM

                            If you are concerned about the wait at Village Whiskey then I heartily recommend the Royal Tavern recommendations. My wife and I thought Royal had the best burger in town till we tried the one at Village Whiskey. We still go to Royal Tavern though. It's definitely easier getting a table there than at VW.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Rondo
                              JanePond Feb 24, 2010 06:16 AM

                              Tried one of the "Best" burgers at Butcher & Singer. Burger was generous and cooked rare to my taste, but the bun could not stand upto the beef juices and disintegrated while I ate. The fries were standard and over-fried, hard as nails.
                              That, and the wait staff continues to call me 'Hon' and I am old enough to be their grandmother. This is consistent each time I go, and I am tired of trying to fix this disrespect one server at a time. Never going back.

                            2. coookie Feb 24, 2010 12:39 PM

                              put me down as a vote for village whiskey. if there's a wait, leave your name and number, and walk two blocks to franklin mortgage and trust, a speakeasy-style bar at 18th and sansom.

                              i thought the rouge burger was lame and more about being seen.

                              1. sockii Feb 24, 2010 02:48 PM

                                Pub & Kitchen!

                                If you're willing to trek to Village Whiskey, it's only a few more blocks south to Pub & Kitchen for an amazing burger. They get my vote for best in city currently. I basically can not order anything else when I go there.

                                That said, they have lots of other options for foodies searching beyond a burger solution.

                                1. l
                                  Lizette Feb 27, 2010 11:32 AM

                                  I guess you haven't heard of Monks cafe. It made Philly Magazine's top burger for several years. It also features hundreds of Belguin beers. Try the raspberry frombaise and the burgers are to die for. I come in from the burbs just to have their burgers and fries with dipping sauce.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Lizette
                                    Rondo Feb 27, 2010 12:09 PM

                                    Love me some sarcasm on a Saturday afternoon Lizette. Yes, we've all heard of Monks. The fact that it made Philly Mag's top burger is of no moment. In fact, in my opinion, it would be a deterrent. We go to Monks for the moules, the frites, the beers and next time it will be for the wings which my son says are outstanding.

                                  2. d
                                    deipnophilly Feb 27, 2010 03:46 PM

                                    I know this is stretching it a bit, but if you are mainly looking for good beef with cheese on bread, then I would highly recommend heading to Amada, sitting in the bar area, and ordering the shortrib flatbread (Costillas De Ternera). It cost about the same as most of the burgers mentioned above and it's almost as addicting as crack. Sooo delicious.

                                    1. gina Feb 28, 2010 04:18 PM

                                      My votes for the best burgers in Philly:

                                      Vintage and Time (same owners)
                                      Oyster House
                                      Race St. Cafe

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: gina
                                        bonappetite Mar 1, 2010 08:41 AM

                                        So funny you mention Vintage.......was there for happy hour on Friday and was thinking of this thread as i drooled watching 2 people eat what looked like an excellent burger!!

                                        1. re: fuhgettaboudit02
                                          gina Apr 10, 2010 04:44 PM

                                          Why not?

                                        2. c
                                          croissantanyone Feb 28, 2010 05:39 PM

                                          Village Whiskey has an average burger. Far better is their "pickles" and whiskey menu. Yet, if your friend is a fries aficionado, and who among us isn't, it is worth mentioning that Village Whiskey has duck fat fries. They're good. For my money, though, the best burgers are from Royal Tavern, Grace Tavern, Standard Tap, and Memphis Taproom. Another advantage of all these places is there fantastic beer selection--the perfect burger accompaniment.

                                          1. b
                                            Buckethead Mar 1, 2010 09:00 AM

                                            Rouge's burger is one of the city's most overrated and overpriced food items. My personal favorites are Village Whiskey (the $9 Village Burger, not the ridiculous $24 Whiskey King), Pub and Kitchen, Good Dog, and South Philly Tap Room. PYT serves a good west coast style if you like that type.

                                            Oyster House and the Royal Tavern both serve a pretty good burger that is marred by the toppings and execution: in OH's case it's the pointless fried oyster, at the Royal it's the crappy bacon and the burger's bun and size, both of which combine to make the burger impossible to fit in your mouth unless you take some toppings off or squish the burger down. A lot of places around the city have this problem. Last time I had a burger at the Standard Tap it was cooked unevenly, give me a break.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Buckethead
                                              gina Mar 6, 2010 05:17 PM

                                              Agree about the fried oyster at OH being pointless, I like to take it off.

                                              I would have added Pub and Kitchen's burger to my current list (I've enthusiastically recommended it to others in the past), but the last one I'd had was unpleasantly salty. Similar story with Good Dog; my last burger there was just all around off. I'm sure those visits were on off nights, but I have not been back to either place yet to experience for myself.

                                            2. b
                                              Bigley9 Mar 1, 2010 09:31 AM

                                              Have to say I like the burgers at Sketch on Girard Ave but you have to like them messy!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Bigley9
                                                BeerFreak Mar 1, 2010 07:10 PM

                                                Sketch gets my vote too- anyway from the Center City Burger Wars, which I would lump PYT into (although Tommy Up's got a great west coast offering)...Sketch's american Kobe with harissa aioli, L, T and pickle on le Bus. A nce thick vanilla shake and some hand cut fries....So good

                                                funky vibe in honest to goodness fishtown makes it taste even better

                                              2. f
                                                fuhgettaboudit02 Mar 23, 2010 02:01 PM

                                                royal tavern nuff said

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: fuhgettaboudit02
                                                  Bacchus101 Nov 6, 2010 06:38 AM

                                                  You guys really know your burger places! I am re-ordering my list based on those spots which have a consensus in the comments above. I too will start with the Royal Tavern, where ever that might be. Thanks great information.

                                                  1. re: Bacchus101
                                                    Bigley9 Nov 8, 2010 10:07 AM

                                                    Passyunk Ave between Washington and Christian!

                                                2. b
                                                  barryg Jun 14, 2011 04:32 PM

                                                  New entry: "My Burger" at Catahoula.

                                                  1. gina Jun 19, 2011 06:54 PM

                                                    The Revolution Burger at the brand-new Revolution House in Old City...juicy, messy, and comes topped with a fried egg.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: gina
                                                      lockwoa Jun 27, 2011 11:04 AM

                                                      Catahoula's is delicious! I also love the burgers @ the perch pub.... I'm all about toppings and the perch double has the best in my opinion....

                                                    2. l
                                                      Luc2308 Jun 27, 2011 01:41 PM

                                                      My bf had the burger at Farmer's Cabinet the other night and said it was excellent. I did not have it, however, it looked exactly how he described. We've had great burgers at Village Whiskey, Pub and Kitchen, Monks, and Rouge.

                                                      If you feel Rouge looked too uptight, I wouldn't try Capital Grille, as I think it's even more uptight.

                                                      As far as the wait at Village Whiskey, everyone is right. It's usually a 1.5-2 hour wait. My suggestion is to put your name in about 2 hours prior to when you want to eat, they take your phone number and text you when your table is ready. Last time I was there, I walked down there, gave them my number, went home and got dressed and had a few drinks with friends and they text me when my table was ready. It's not like the old days when you actually had to stand around and wait til your table is ready.

                                                      1. b
                                                        barryg Jun 27, 2011 01:42 PM

                                                        Had a burger at Nifty Fifties this weekend. Completely different than the other burgers listed here--but delicious, and only $4.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: barryg
                                                          mlane Jun 29, 2011 05:08 PM

                                                          Diner burgers may be a differnet thread, but equally delicious! Esp with a shake!

                                                          1. re: mlane
                                                            tzanghi Jan 24, 2012 07:00 AM

                                                            +1. Revisited this place over the weekend. Best Burger that I can remember in a while, especially for the price. And at how cheap they are, you can't beat it. The real star there are the shakes, though.

                                                          2. re: barryg
                                                            Bacchus101 Jan 28, 2012 04:34 AM

                                                            Completely different? As you did not mention how it is different: I would suspect it may be that it is your basic burger with none of the "stuff" other than that which is normally available for topping a burger. At the four dollar price that would seem to make sense. Right?

                                                            1. re: Bacchus101
                                                              tzanghi Jan 28, 2012 05:14 AM

                                                              It's not as big as a restaurant burger. The patties are much thinner and fit on a normal hamburger roll. They come with a variety of toppings depending on what you want. I've had a triple chili cheeseburger, a double pepperjack cheeseburger, and a double mushroom-swiss cheeseburger. It's supposed to be in the spirit of a 50s diner, so think that type of burger.

                                                              1. re: tzanghi
                                                                barryg Jan 28, 2012 07:38 AM

                                                                Yea exactly. Thin griddled patty, plain white roll, a little greasy. Nothing like a bar or steakhouse burger, more like a fast food burger, but much better.

                                                          3. t
                                                            toddfood Jun 28, 2011 06:54 PM

                                                            Let's expand our horizons to the burbs.
                                                            The cheeseburger at White Dog Cafe in Wayne is hands down the best burger I have ever had.
                                                            For a classic with very fresh ingredients in a relaxing atmosphere try JB Dawsons in Langhorne.

                                                            1. m
                                                              mlane Jun 29, 2011 05:07 PM

                                                              The Churchill Burger at Pub and Kitchen is a beautiful burger! The caramelized onions are done proper "french-onion-soup" style and are perfection (Thyme-Sherry-Butter). The beef is amazing. Do not add cheese! Rare - Med Rare for this one. I rarely think $18 is justified for a burger....but in this case, it is. Just try it!
                                                              That being said...Kraftwork, Sidecar, Royal Tavern, Grace Tavern, Monk's, Good Dog....all great!

                                                              1. m
                                                                maybejb200 Nov 21, 2011 10:08 AM

                                                                Votes for best burger:

                                                                Prohibition Taproom
                                                                The Belgian Cafe

                                                                1. s
                                                                  sjgray Nov 27, 2011 01:07 PM

                                                                  Sketch is the best burger in Philly hands down. I've been to all these other places and the frou-frou nonsense you can get there is replaced with real quality, a reasonable selection of upscale toppings, and simple devotion to greatness.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: sjgray
                                                                    Papa_Georgio Jan 23, 2012 08:43 AM

                                                                    My vote:

                                                                    Lucky Old Souls Food Truck.

                                                                  2. b
                                                                    barryg Jan 24, 2012 09:15 AM

                                                                    Since the thread is back up, I had a great burger at Copa on South Street recently. I think my burger tastes are against the grain a bit--P&K and VW don't impress me that much. I love the Royal Tavern and Catahoula burgers (haven't been to the latter since the chef change), I guess I'm into burgers with toppings more than strict focus on the beef.

                                                                    1. l
                                                                      LindaKay1 Jan 26, 2012 12:12 PM

                                                                      Love the burger at "For Pete's Sake" corner Christian and Front......

                                                                      1. t
                                                                        twlaz Jan 27, 2012 03:42 PM

                                                                        Honestly, I'm all for the Village whiskey burger(had it and its good), but in all honesty, no burger(except maybe the black label burger at Minetta Tavern in NYC) is worth paying over 15$(fries, toppings, burger included...I know its priced as 11$ on the menu). Also, I took one look at Sketch burger and was immediately turned off by the fact that they sell a 'Kobe beef' burger. Would anyone be able to offer up any wisdom as to a burger joint that serves a good burger with non of this added nonsense.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: twlaz
                                                                          Bigley9 Jan 27, 2012 08:57 PM

                                                                          The no added nonsense burger is, IMHO, the Square Burger. That said, I love the sketch burgers and while I have had many of them (beef, turkey, vegan) I have never had the kobe. Don't fuss so much - gotta offer people what they want - sometimes that's kobe, but check out the rest!

                                                                          1. re: Bigley9
                                                                            cwdonald Jan 28, 2012 05:00 AM

                                                                            And to be fair, aren't most "kobe" burgers actually made with domestically raised beef (wagyu) anyway. Too bad there isn't an embargo on using the word kobe.

                                                                            I personally am still a great fan of Good Dog's burger, and looking forward to Shake Shack coming to Philadelphia.

                                                                          2. re: twlaz
                                                                            barryg Jan 28, 2012 07:40 AM

                                                                            LIke I said upthread I am also not into these overly fancy burgers... try CopaBanana on South Street or your local diner.

                                                                          3. m
                                                                            mlane Jan 28, 2012 05:54 AM

                                                                            Had the burger at Parc the other day. It was perfect, as were the frites. Ask for Ailoi for the frites. A little overpriced as is everything at Parc.

                                                                            1. f
                                                                              FoodBuzz Apr 29, 2012 08:09 PM

                                                                              The Chipotle Cheeseburger at Gypsy Saloon in West Conshy is very tasty. Great spot to have brunch (with some outdoor seating) or watch the Flyers in the playoffs.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: FoodBuzz
                                                                                dfishhead May 3, 2012 07:01 AM

                                                                                Had the Bacon Cheeseburger at Royal Tavern a couple of weeks ago. It was truly delicious. They put about 3 or 4 slices of bacon both on top of burger and under it! When it came out I thought, OMG there is no way I can eat all of this burger, but I couldn't stop because it was so good. Always loved the stuffed cheeseburger at Good Dog, but this burger is a whole new level. Great place, Royal Tavern, while my wife and I were waiting for our table, I ordered some drinks at the bar, struck up a little conversation with a couple people sitting at the bar and next thing I knew we had two shots of some whiskey in our hands. Philly people are the best, that is why I love coming to this great city.

                                                                              2. m
                                                                                maybejb200 May 15, 2012 08:48 AM

                                                                                Spencer ETA Burger In University City I had the Gobbler, It was boss.

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