Help! Best hamburger in DC?
I have a guest coming to visit from Ukraine and she has never had a hamburger and is excited about trying this American specialty - I don't really eat hamburgers and I don't know where to take her - please give me some suggestions for where to go for the best hamburger in DC - it's got to be great because it will probably be the only one she ever eats!!!!!!!
The Farmhouse Burger at Good Stuff Eatery.
A basic burger, made expertly well, with quality hand-formed patties and basic toppings (lettuce, tomato, pickles) that you can easily remove if you really want to be primal with your burger and taste nothing but beef and bun, which is sometimes what you really want -- and need
Good Stuff Eatery
303 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC
Among the half-dozen "great" hamburger places in town, there are at least five declared hands down best by some here, and at least five (not the same five) with burgers declared not fit to feed to your dog.
There is no "best." I'd suggest that you take your guest out for two different burgers, one being Five Guys for the true American lunch counter (minus the lunch counter) hamburger. There are several locations which vary somewhat in quality, mostly in how the French Fries are cooked (one "regular" order is easily enough for two) so be fussy. If they're limp, ask for a fresh order.
Pick the other "super gourmet" burger from those that are close to where you live or close to some place where you'll be going with your visitor. There are a few BGR (The Burger Joint) shops around town. There's only one Ray's Hell Burger (Arlington) though I think you can get a somewhat more upscale version at another of his restaurants, also in Arlington. There are plenty of pretty darn good burgers are more family-oriented restaurants or sports bars like Red Robin or Glory Days. Good Stuff Eatery is perhaps better known for their shakes than their (also good) burgers.
I agree with Mike and Dennis, Ray's and 5 Guys are two of the best burgers in the area and they are two different types of burgers so it is worth hitting them both with a day or two in between to get your burger lust back.
Rays has a burger from some sort of epicurean, bacchanalian dream, it is over the top and so delicious, but it is like 2 meals in one bun. I am a big guy but some times I wish it was just a bit smaller, because I have been trained to eat everything that is put on my plate. Thanks, Mom!
Five Guys is a growing chain and the different cafes each have a different vibe, but they all do the peanuts and fries, though again each is a bit different. I like the nearly original one on Beauregard off Rte 7. 5 Guys is more of a burger like your dad made you when you were a kid, when he was on his game, anyway.
So if your friend is here already, the 4th of July is a truly appropriate day to wolf some of the best burgers in the US, and they are here in Northern Virginia which is kind of odd.... Though 5 Guys does cross the water into DC, most Virginians do not. ;-)
6210 Quander Rd, Alexandria, VA 22307
The best burger is at Central. I'd recommend it "as designed" but they are happy to serve it however you want. Also very comparable but harder to get to unless you're already in Va is Rays. A benefit of Central is that there are plenty of other non-burger excellent choices. Rays has amazing meat and many more burger choices.
And then there's the lobster burger at Central. Pricey yes, but if you have one choice that's what I'd go for.
(the picture by my id is a central cheeseburger)
I finally tried the burger at Central, and have to say, it was the best burger I've eaten in DC (other than the ones I grill at home). However, it was definitely not worth the $19 - it was marginally better than Ray's (which I'd put as my second; still haven't tried Palena's or Bobby's). My gf thinks that Burger, Tap and Shake has been the best.