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Sep 2, 2010 05:18 PM

Best Burger in Seatown?

Why is it so hard to find a good burger here in Seattle?? any suggestions appreciated. And please do not mention Dick's burger.

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  1. If you want an inexpensive, grilled burger made from fresh-ground chuck, oozing with cheese, perhaps topped with Mama Lil's peppers or just some good old fashioned bacon, I highly recommend Zippy's Giant Burgers in West Seattle. Have some great hand-cut fries and/or crispy onion rings alongside, a cane sugar soda or hand-dipped shake, and you're good to go!

    Beware, there's not much parking or seating, but if there's a line it moves fast.

    1 Reply
    1. re: voodoobec

      Seattle is a great place to get high end "gourmet" burgers (I guess this would kind of correspond to the steakhouse burger, but sometimes have unusual toppings), I have had some of the best $10+ burgers here I've had anywhere. I really like the burgers at Palace, but also can't go wrong with Quinn's, Smith, Lunchbox Lab, and if you can handle the chaininess of it, Counter Burger.

      There is no cheap fast food category to speak of; Dick's is vastly overrated (in my mind) and that's about it. If you can stomach a $8-10 hamburger, I like the ones at Elysian quite a bit, Red Mill is OK, and I have a soft spot for the McMenniman's locations (Dad Watsons / Six Arms), but maybe that's more because you can get tater tots than anything to do with the actual burgers.

    2. I have found the burger at Two Bells tavern to be strangely satisfying. The burger at nearby Palace Kitchen is outstanding, but comparatively spendy.

      Palace Kitchen
      2030 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

      3 Replies
      1. re: Leper

        I recently very much enjoyed a Two Bells burger! I'd prefer a regular bun to the bread they use, but overall it was juicy, messy and tasty (all things I look for in a good burger).

        I'm looking forward to hearing other people's input, tho' -- having lived in Seattle for only a couple of months now, I'm definitely on the lookout for best burgers & everything else.

        1. re: Bax

          Regular bun? - A "regular bun" can't handle a Two Bells burger.

        2. re: Leper

          Not sure what is "strangely satisfying" about the Two Bells burger. It's a flat out great burger. And one of the few places in Seattle you can actually get a pink patty. I guess I can understand wanting a regular bun, but to me it's a most welcome change of pace.

          Was at this brewery in Tacoma on the way to hiking around Point Defiance on Labor Day, and was pleasantly surprised they actually asked me how I wanted my burger done. Having had far too many "medium rare" burgers come to the table medium-well out here, I asked for straight-up rare for the first time in my life. What arrived was the color of elephant skin (happy elephant skin, not circus elephant skin) through and through. Why ask? Why ask and get my hopes up? Broke my heart.

        3. I think it depends on what type of burger you like...

          If you're into crazy toppings and acceptable burger, you're going to love Lunchbox Lab.
          If you're into a thin patty fast food style burger done really well, you'll be a Red Mill fan.
          And if you're into big, messy, delicious meatball between a bun style burger (that's me), I'm not sure Spring Hill can be beat.

          Spring Hill Restaurant & Bar
          4437 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116

          4 Replies
          1. re: GreenYoshi

            Excellent insight. There are those who favor the “diner burger” for its combination of flavors (e.g., lettuce, tomato, cheese, ketchup, etc.) where no one element dominates, including the meat (usually a somewhat thin patty of only 3 or 4 ounces). (A “diner burger” is different from a “fast-food burger” or “store burger,” made with molded, pressed, frozen disks of inferior meat that are cooked to the consistency of cardboard.) Then there are those (like me) who think a burger is all about the meat, and favor a “steakhouse-style” burger, often 6 to 8 ounces of good quality meat, with minimal to no toppings or frills. For an attempt at a taxonomy of burgers, see Discussions about “the best burger” often break down into advocates of diner burgers vs. advocates of steakhouse burgers, or as one writer put it, meat burgers vs. fixings burgers. The better option, which you have shown us, is to find the best examples of each. Nice job.

            My question is, isn’t there a better option for a diner-style burger than Red Mill? A place that custom grinds good quality beef, cooks the patties on a grill that is hot enough to sear the exterior without overcooking the interior, etc.? In the Los Angeles area, my model for this type of burger is Pie ‘n Burger in Pasadena. Is there some place like this in Seattle?

            1. re: Tom Armitage

              I love the Oregon beef burgers at Etta's - sometimes with blue cheese, sometimes with Beecher's flagship. But this is a spendy burger. The best non-spendy, custom-ground, perfectly cooked burger is at the Wedgwood Broiler on 35th Ave NE. Eat in the bar - get a beer and onion rings to go with the cheeseburger. Old Seattle at its finest there. The meat is really fresh and they will leave it a true medium rare if you ask for that.

              1. re: Tom Armitage

                If you love a diner style burger, than get yourself straight to Zippy's in White Center I know the area gets a bad rap.. but now that it is home to Proletariat Pizza, Full Tilt Ice Cream and now the new LARGE home of Zippy's. Well worth the trip.
                I have lived near the area for 7 years, and never managed to get a Zippy burger as they used to be in a tiny space with no seating, and usually a line out the door, or even ran out of ingredients the few times I went by. Finally, last week I went to the new location just off Roxbury on 14th SW. They have lots of seating, and still a never ending line, but I got waited on in just 3 minutes, and my order came out in 5-6 min.
                I have been dreaming of that burger ever since I ate it, and have to restrain myself from going back there every day (just - cant- eat- that - so - often!).
                They grind their own beef daily, and have wonderful toppings like Mamma'Lil's kickbut peppers, and Smoked cheddar (5 kinds of cheese choices). The bun was soft, but stood up to the juicy, nicely grill-smoky meat, and the toppings and 'special sauce' were just perfectly balanced. The onion rings were awesome! Can;t wait to go back!
                You can even take it to go, and go a block down the street to Big Al's Brewing down the street and eat your burger with a great cult local brew!

                1. re: Tom Armitage

                  " In the Los Angeles area, my model for this type of burger is Pie ‘n Burger in Pasadena"

                  and I would add Apple Pan in West LA. Have heard great things about Pie 'n Burger but have not been there. In my own search for such a creature you have described I have yet to find it in the great NW. It's elusive, like the Sasquatch.

              2. My current favorite burger is at the Nordstrom Grill downtown in the back of the downstairs men's department. Huge burger plus excellent skinny fries and a horsradish sauce for like $10 (I add white cheddar). YUM. SO and I shared a burger and their grilled veggie salad for lunch last weekend and OMG was it perfect.

                Was not a huge fan of Zippys - very greasy and not particularly flavorful. I'd go back, but mostly because they make malts! Red Mill always sounds better than it is - also extremely greasy and absolutely loaded with salt (and I love salt, but that level of salt content makes me feel off for the rest of the day!).

                3 Replies
                1. re: akq

                  If Red Mill didn't have their onion rings, I wouldn't ever go.

                  Nordy's Grill gets a surprising amount of love, huh?
                  I've been meaning to try their Fish & Chips based on recommendations as well.

                  1. re: GreenYoshi

                    I've tried to temper my enthusiasum for the burger, but frankly since I work right next to Nordies I want to eat it for lunch every single day...but then I'd spend every afternoon napping under my desk. All the food I've had at Nordies grill is good to excellent. Their salads are great, their burger is great...I've even had really nice hallibut there. Thank goodness I've already eaten lunch today otherwise I'd be heading over right now... :)

                    Oh, and it's been a while but I used to love Schultz's burgers (just don't get to the U-District as often these days). They grind their own meat fresh in store. YUM.

                    1. re: GreenYoshi

                      It's funny you mention Red Mill a few posts above as a "fast-food style burger done really well" and then say you wouldn't go if not for the onion rings. Like you, I am generally a fan of the messy-meatball-on-a-bun burger. But I do from time-to-time fancy a thinner patty. And no matter how much I try and talk myself into it, Red Mill just never comes through. The meat is always overdone (yes, you can sear a thin patty without overcooking it---especially if you have a commercial exhaust fan), and there is just far too much dry bland bread drowned in completely uninteresting dressing and toppings. In theory, I don't even mind the meat-to-bread ratio (thinking of a great bahn mi): Red Mill just doesn't do it very well.

                      Frankly, I'd rather have Dick's, which is a much more well-proportioned and balanced diner burger. Just don't ask me to walk into the Uptown location without offering a hot shower before and after.

                  2. Lamb burger at Jules Maes in Georgetown.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      Ha! I didn't want to mention Jules because I go there all the time and am probably not very objective, but yeah, they do have excellent burgers IMO. They do grind their own beef (not sure about the lamb) as well. Good quality stuff.

                      1. re: TheCarrieWatson

                        Hi, TCW:

                        You go next time, look for my Javalina headmount over Ladies' Room door, hiki no?

                        Been a pig there many...good...times. Today in fact.


                        1. re: kaleokahu

                          I certainly will. I live in Georgetown and used to be at Jules daily, but have scaled it back to a few times a week. I just love that place.