HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


best burger - west side, or LA in general

  • n

My idea of a great burger

1/4lb or under
Flame grilled
Slightly sweet sesame seed bun - grilled
Slice of raw red onion
American cheese
Crisp cold iceberg lettuce
Fresh sliced tomato
Dressed with 1000 island style sauce


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. apple pan or in n out.

    1. Go to the Shack in Playa del Rey or Santa Monica. You could have them do that burger for ya..they're pretty good over there.

      1. Apple Pan or Pie N Burger IF the lazy cook doesnt overcook the burger b/c you asked for no cheese and it came with cheese anyways and he gets ticked off and ruins what should have been a great meal. I like the Juicy Lucy at Fred 62 but dont go late night - it gets inconsistent. Actually Juicy Lucy wins if they actually cook it to order. Hmmm, now Im hungry.

        1. We go back again and again for the burgers at the SF Saloon on Pico Blvd. just a block or so west of Sawtelle Blvd. on the north side of Pico in West LA. The come with either excellent fries or really good pasta salad or a well put together green salad with lots of goodies. It's a bar with good food so the drinks/beer are good too if you are interested.

          2 Replies
          1. re: WLA

            i concur with the sf saloon sugestion. that is one tasty burger. also quite partial to the shack burger although you may have a coronary while eating it (huge burger w/the works topped with a butterflied louisiana hot link)

            1. re: WLA

              I enjoy this place too. Don't always want to fight the crowds at FO. Nice selection on the menu and good nachos.

            2. Given your preference for very specific ingredients, I think you should try the Counter in Santa Monica.

              4 Replies
              1. re: mc michael

                the counter is my favorite.
                the smallest burger there is 1/3 lb.

                1. re: mc michael

                  Good Call. It is clear Natalie knows what she wants and I agree The Counter is probably the only place in L.A. that would look at her menu and make it right.

                  The Counter (Burgers made to order)
                  2901 Ocean Park Blvd
                  Santa Monica, CA 90405
                  (310) 399-8383
                  Cross Street: 29th Street

                  1. re: Like-Go-Eat?

                    The Counter does not flame grill, their buns are not sweet, I could tell you to go to 26 Beach, where they make their buns, but they are not sweet either and they do not flame grill. Damn great Burger, way better than the Counter, but not what she is looking for.

                    1. re: Burger Boy

                      I think The Counter offers a honey wheat bun that might meet Natalie's tastes.

                2. Oh yeah...i had a surprisingly good burger and Fries from IZZY's Deli in Santa Monica (and I hate this place generally) a few weeks ago.....

                  1. I agree with the rec's for Pie 'n Burger and both Shacks. Apple Pan is my favorite for an old fashioned burger but they don't have tomato for sure and I can't recall ever seeing onion there either. Also try Cheesecake Factory (multiple locations) for their Classic Burger - possibly the best cooked burger in town (medium rare comes out MEDIUM RARE)

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: SonOfBruin2

                      PIE AND BURGER!!!!!!!!!!!
                      OR COME OVER TO MY HOUSE...HEHEHE

                      The key is the griddle...burgers fried on them are always the best

                      1. re: ThisGuy

                        A big fat AAYYY-men to that! You want flame-broiled, you can have flame-broiled, but of all the great burgers I've had only the monsters from Kirk's in Palo Alto were done over open flame. The truly great ones come off a griddle or solid grill - the juices ooze out and get trapped and cooked against the patty instead of being wasted in the fire below, giving a deep beefiness you can't get any other way.

                        To ThisGuy's recommendation I can add only, "or MY house!"

                      2. re: SonOfBruin2

                        The Apple Pan does have onion. I always order my Hickory or Steak Burger xtra rare with xtra onion!

                      3. 26 Beach on Washington Blvd has a bunch of burgers. They make a burger that's great even delivered (i.e., sitting for a while)--but so good that I've had it delivered several times. My second fave is Houston's in Santa Monica. This is one fabulous burger, altho' you'd probably have to tell them to do it the way you want. It's bigger and pricey but absolutely great.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: ThatPat

                          Is there something unique about the burgers at Houston's in Santa Monica, that isn't found at all the other Houston's? The reason I ask is I've seen a list of called "20 Burgers You Must Eat Before You Die", which Houston's in Santa Monica is on. As far as I can tell, the other 19 burgers places on the list aren't a chain, or at least a microchain. So I wondered why the Santa Monica location is so specifically noted.

                          1. re: Panoz

                            It's the one that's near me and the only one I've tried! I did once take a look at the Houston's menu on line for reasons I've forgotten. It does seem that Houston's in other cities do have a somewhat different burger preparation, but probably the burgers at other Houston's in L.A. are pretty standardized. Anyway, I mentioned Santa Monica because it's the only one I can vouch for.

                          2. re: ThatPat

                            I absolutely second the Houston's burger and I eat it in Scottsdale. They'll cook it to order (med. rare in my case) the bun is fresh and toasty, onions, sauce - it's one of my favorites!

                          3. Big Jo's
                            1955 Broadway, Sta Monica
                            310. 828.3191

                            Thin patty that's under 1/4 lb (get a double for extra meat, see pic)
                            flame grilled
                            slightly sweet sesame bun-grilled
                            raw onion (chopped, incorporated into lettuce)
                            American cheese
                            iceberg lettuce (shredded)
                            1000 island style sauce (with extra pickly goodness)

                            open mon-sat, bkfast & lunch only
                            burger stand atmosphere

                            Also SF Saloon & Hamburger Hamlet (Brentwood)

                            Image: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v22...

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: petradish

                              Big Jo's is the coolest.

                              We used to live a couple of blocks away and we ate there constantly.

                              Breakfast sandwiches, burgers ...

                              Thanks for the reminder ...

                              (Now, someone is going to go there because I/we/you wrote this and go "What the f...? It ain't that great."

                              All I know is, anyplace whose parking lot is filled with plumbers vans, contruction trucks and city vehicles probably has good food. Because those guys try everything and everywhere."

                              1. re: PaulF

                                LOL. I agree somebody will inevitably come along and say "big deal, I want my $4 back", but hey, as you say Big Jo's has its loyal fans! The lady who runs it is the best too.

                              2. re: petradish

                                Big Jo's!!
                                I haven't thought about that place in a long time. I used to work at the paper down the street in the 80's and ate there many a time. Good burgers. I loved it when their soup-of-the-day sign said "no soup"

                              3. I looked again at your menu and I think I just ate that burger two weeks ago at Connal's Burgers. It was very good. Compare your menu with the words of Connal's Web page.

                                You want,
                                1/4lb or under
                                Flame grilled
                                Slightly sweet sesame seed bun - grilled
                                Slice of raw red onion
                                American cheese
                                Crisp cold iceberg lettuce
                                Fresh sliced tomato
                                Dressed with 1000 island style sauce

                                Connal's web page states;
                                "We start with 100% ground beef (except for the turkey and veggie of course). Cooked to order and served on a toasted sesame seed bun with onions, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and our own homemade Thousand Island dressing. We will make your hamburger this way or any way you wish."

                                I recall the 1/4 pound burger had a great char-burger taste and purple onion. I also had a Peanut Butter & Banana Shake that made it a perfect meal. Another must try is the Avocado sandwich. I also liked the walk-up window on the sidewalk. They have a inside order window with a ATM in the small (but very nice) dinning room.

                                Connal's Burgers, Salads & Subs (Great Boston Shake, Char Burgers, Salads, Roast Beef, Pastrami, Corned Beef, Turkey Breast, Avocado sandwich, Peanut Butter & Banana Shake)
                                1505 E. Washington Blvd.
                                Pasadena, CA 91104
                                (626) 794-5018
                                Click on "Connal's Famous Original Hamburgers" at

                                1. My mission is clean. Thanks for all the suggestions. Life is good.

                                  BTW Houstons makes a pretty good burger. I prefer the Century City mall version. I found the Santa Monica burger disappointing. Another Houston's hit - that Thai Beef Salad. Yummmmy

                                  1. I agree about Houston's, and I am partial to the Cent City one as well, but do like the Counter a lot and completely agree about 26 beach cafe in venice/marina border -- it's right where washington dead ends at the beach. when I lived in venice, i was there often. have heard mixed about father's office, but they won't let you put on sauces or ketchup and that's a deal breaker for me. So for me Houston's is tops -- so rich, perfect medium rare, great meat and a grilled buttered bun. Yum.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: aw90212

                                      26 Beach Cafe has closed the wonderfully funky location near the beach and opened up a new place a bit east of the old spot.


                                      I tried Houston's once and thought it was good but 26 Beach Cafe is better and Father's Office blows em all away! I avoided FO for so long after all the posts about the crowds and inflexibility of the kitchen. I don't likes them blue moldy cheeses! After the episode of 'After Hours with Daniel Bouloud' that was filmed at FO I just had to go, for the Beers and the famous/notorious Burger. I figured I could flick off the offending cheese right? Well GF took me for my birthday on a recent Saturday in the mid afternoon. We waited in line at the door for about 5 minutes, chatted with the new door guy who was really nice and went in. Waited about 2 more minutes to order and there was one guy at the booth across from the bar who let us sit there. Beers, Burger (cheese was not intrusive) and Sweet Potato Fries were wonderful and unlike so many of the high end places touted here for great burgers, the prices were very fair/reasonable! The bartender Hally is very knowledgeble about beer, patient and very helpful! Conclusion, don't go!

                                    2. RAE'S on Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica