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The 11 Burgers in NYC You Need To Try

A photo of Red logo
by Annie Lin
Updated January 17, 2024

The burger has come a long way since its origins around the 1900s as a beef patty between two slices of plain bread. It was popularized by fast food restaurants and has gone through many renditions with chefs putting their own takes on it — and it’s not stopping anytime soon. In this installation of burger guides, the best burgers in every city are under the spotlight. New York City has no shortage of gourmet burgers, from classic cheeseburgers to seafood burgers, MICHELIN-star burgers to luxurious foie gras burgers, with restaurants from every price point to occasion. Here’s where to find the best.

A photo of Quality Bistro restaurant
4.7
4.7 (2745)
$31 to $50
American
Midtown West
About the restaurant

French onion soup lovers will go wild for Quality Bistro’s divine French onion burger with caramelized onions and Comté and Gruyère cheeses. Housed in a stunning multi-level space complete with greenery, leather-bound chairs, and glistening gold accents, the restaurant comes from the Quality Branded group known for Smith & Wollensky, Don Angie, and a handful of Quality restaurants — so you know you can count on them to serve up a top-notch beef patty with a custom blend of cuts of prime chuck, ribeye, and short rib. The French brasserie is a top choice in Midtown with a whopping 400-bottle French wine selection to pair with your burger, but note the burger is only available at lunch.

Top review
RachelK
Dined 3 days ago
We loved everything about quality bistro! The service was fantastic and our food was top notch! Thank you for such a special evening!
A photo of The Loyal restaurant
4.5
4.5 (583)
$31 to $50
American
West Village
About the restaurant

The Loyal, a chef John Fraser restaurant, made its mark on Greenwich Village with a two-star review (denoting “very good”) in 2017 from The New York Times that dissects each element of the burger in detail, particularly its 22-step tomato that’s “juicy but not gushy, tart and sweet and complex.” Beyond the epic tomato, the burger here features Piedmontese beef, and Comté cheese, served with pickles and crispy duck-fat tater tots. Though The Loyal reopened with a new chef at the helm who has introduced several exciting new dishes, the burger steadfastly remains the same.

Top review
Tashivip
Dined on Sep 30, 2021
We were so excited to be in NYC after such a long time and enjoy dinner at The Loyal. Dinner was beyond fabulous and we were already anticipating our next visit when we saw the restaurant is closing tomorrow, 10/3/21. We are so very sad to see such a wonderful place disappear. Our best to everyone there.
A photo of The Smith - Midtown restaurant
4.6
4.6 (8011)
$30 and under
American
Midtown East
About the restaurant

A classic American brasserie-style restaurant that consistently dishes out delicious global fare, The Smith also serves a standout burger — piled high with a beef patty, bacon shallot jam, American cheese, crispy fried onions, house pickles, and house sauce, all sandwiched between potato buns for a perfect balance of sweet and savory. Likewise, the vegetarian option does not disappoint. The patty is made from slow-roasted vegetables and quinoa, then topped with cheddar, pickled beets, shredded lettuce, red onion, and The Smith’s secret sauce on a sesame brioche bun. All burgers are served with skinny potato fries. No matter which location you visit, The Smith and its burgers deliver.

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 3 days ago
Amazing food the Mac n cheese was the best I’ve ever had. Also the salmon was cooked well with crispy edges. My husband got a burger and the meat was cooked to perfection. Fries were a little salty but over all great food amazing service. Thank you !
A photo of Lure New York restaurant
4.7
4.7 (3541)
$31 to $50
Seafood
SoHo
About the restaurant

At the Soho spot known for its elegant cruise ship-like interior, most diners come for the raw bar, oyster selection, and sushi, but the award-winning Lure burger is not to be missed. The burger’s fame and status all came about when former executive chef Josh Capon won the NYC Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash with this burger — and continued to win it four more times. Though Capon has departed, the burger remains and comes “Bash style” with caramelized onion and bacon jam or “Lure style” with fried onion rings. Capon himself shared the burger’s secret recipe, but you have to try it in-person for the full experience.

Top review
ReginaldBvip
Dined on May 20, 2024
Great ambience and lively atmosphere. The crispy sishi rice and shrimp tempura appetizers were wonderfully prepared. Miso Salmon entree and Lobster Mac both top notch too.
A photo of P.J. Clarke's - Third Avenue restaurant
4.6
4.6 (915)
$30 and under
American
Midtown East
About the restaurant

A true old New York establishment, P.J. Clarke’s has been serving its patrons beers and burgers since 1884. The Clarke Burger is served no-frills with tomato, lettuce, and onion, with a plethora of toppings available including a fried egg, béarnaise sauce, four different varieties of cheese, avocado, double smoked bacon, and sautéed onion. But the crowd favorite is the “Cadillac,” named after jazz icon Nat King Cole had a taste of the ground chuck beef patty with double smoked country bacon, onion, and American cheese, and proclaimed it “the Cadillac of burgers.” All burgers are served with dill pickles and a slice of onion underneath as a nod to when the burgers were served on paper plates and the onion soaked up its juices to keep the plate dry.

Top review
EddieBvip
Dined on Oct 21, 2022
Visitors should experience this historic landmark. Great experience and food.
A photo of 5 Napkin Burger - Hell's Kitchen restaurant
4.5
4.5 (5103)
$30 and under
Burgers
Midtown West
About the restaurant

A staple New York burger joint with four locations across the city, 5 Napkin Burger stays true to its origin story where it all began at chef Andy D’Amico’s French Provençal restaurant, Nice Matin. D’Amico’s burger creation was so popular — named after the fact that you needed five napkins when you eat it — that D’Amico and his business partner decided it deserved its own storefront, and the rest is history. The signature 5 Napkin Burger is made of 100 percent Angus chuck from Aspen Ridge and topped with Gruyère cheese, caramelized onions, and a smear of rosemary garlic aioli. Those who want something other than beef can choose from options made with Italian-spiced turkey, vegetables, ahi tuna, or an Impossible Foods vegan patty.

Top review
Raggyboysvip
Dined 2 days ago
We love 5 Napkins and go everytime we are in NYC. The only disappointment is that they no longer give bowls of pickles.
A photo of Meadowsweet restaurant
4.7
4.7 (1577)
$31 to $50
American
Williamsburg
About the restaurant

If you’re looking for a MICHELIN Guide-quality burger, look no further than Meadowsweet, a one MICHELIN-star new American restaurant nestled beside the Williamsburg Bridge serving up produce from its upstate farm. Husband-wife team executive chef Polo Dobkin and director of operations Stephanie Lempert bring together Dobkin’s experience as a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award of “Best Chef: New York City” and Lempert’s cocktail and design expertise to instill elements of her artwork in the interior. The cheeseburger here is sophisticated, yet comforting and satisfying like any good burger should be. It comes alive with a blend of brisket, short rib, and chuck in the beef patty, topped with house-made caramelized onion-bacon jam, bread and butter pickles, sharp white cheddar cheese, and hand-cut fries.

Top review
DorisDvip
Dined on May 31, 2024
This my first experience dining at Meadowsweet, and it was outstanding! My wife and I were going to an WNBA Liberty game at Barclays Center, and wanted to have a good dinner (not fast food), and so I searched for restuarants near Barclays. While there were several good options, I wasn't thrilled with the menus, so I searched in the Williamsburg area which also has great restaurants. I chose Meadowsweet because the menu and wine list looked great (very veggie friendly) and also because the restaurant is a member of InKind (which is a restaurant app where you get great deals when you dine at member restaurants). We arived just after 5:00pm, and were able to sit outdoors--which was lovely. We enjoyed all of the dishes that we ordered, and also had a delicious bottle of red wine from Austria. We ordered from the "small plates" listing and loved the artichoke dish so much that we placed a second order! The burrata dish was also yummy as was the tagliatelle dish. The service was also outstanding. The overall experience made the 90 minute drive from Westchester County totally worth it. We then had to drive about 30 minutes to get to Barclays Center, but we didn't mind because we were still raving about the dinner experience. And the bonus was that we used an InKind offer which gave us $50 off of our bill, and the Liberty won their game!
A photo of Empanada Loca restaurant
4.3
4.3 (5)
$30 and under
Latin American
Windsor Terrace
About the restaurant

As its name indicates, empanadas are the star at Empanada Loca in Park Slope, with more than 30 types of empanadas to choose from — including a bacon cheeseburger option. Not technically a burger, but with all the elements of one, this empanada comes stuffed with ground beef, bacon, and American cheese inside a warm pastry. You can also go for the simpler cheeseburger empanada, sans bacon, and if you want a between-the-bun experience, classic burgers come in seven varieties on a brioche roll with potato or sweet potato fries. The Loca burger is a standout with a black Angus beef patty, bacon, lettuce, tomato, potato chips, American cheese, garlic, and cilantro jalapeño sauce. The extensive menu also features tapas, arepas, burritos, quesadillas, tacos, and breakfast. The best part? It’s open 24 hours, so you can satisfy that burger craving at any time of day.

Top review
BarbaraL
Dined on Sep 11, 2021
The food was delicious. We ordered nachos with steak, tacos, the shrimp &rice, arepa and churro Sunday. Everything was so good! They are generous with their portions and protein. The waitress was very nice and accommodating. We will def be visiting empanada loca soon!
A photo of Blue Sea Taverna restaurant
4.5
4.5 (215)
$31 to $50
Greek
Astoria
About the restaurant

At this taverna in Astoria’s bustling Greek community, the burger isn’t your average beef patty. Here, it’s made from octopus blended with breadcrumbs and served with lettuce, tomato, red onion, aioli, and fries. Enjoy it outside on the light-strung patio or inside the all-white dining room that is reminiscent of breezy Greek islands. Live music on Wednesdays livens up the atmosphere as Greek-inspired cocktails flow between grilled seafood and raw bar towers.

Top review
OpenTable Dinervip
Dined on Feb 17, 2024
Amazing! Great food, great price. Nice and laid back
A photo of Burger & Lobster - Flatiron restaurant
4.1
4.1 (735)
$30 and under
American
Gramercy Park
About the restaurant

Hailing from London, Burger & Lobster’s signature dish is just like that of its name. The B&L combo reimagines the surf and turf in the form of a 1.25-pound wild Atlantic lobster, drizzled with your choice of clarified butter or lemon garlic butter sauce alongside a burger with 6 ounces of Nebraska beef, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, and, of course, the secret burger sauce. If you’re just here for a burger, go all out with the beast burger’s 10 ounces of beef topped with lobster, Swiss cheese, and truffle mayo.

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on Mar 26, 2024
Very good restaurant to expérience Thank you very much
A photo of Champs Diner restaurant
$30 and under
Vegan
Williamsburg
About the restaurant

Vegans can let loose at Champs Diner, where everything on the menu is free from animal products. Self-described “vegan junk food” is served in a black-and-white retro diner space, meaning there’s of course a burger option. The classic “cheeseburger” is a house-made patty made from seitan, cauliflower, and lentils and topped with “cheese,” “mayo,” and pickles. Pair your burger with a vanilla “milkshake” and top it off with whipped “cream” to wash it all down. Check Champs Diner’s socials for the occasional burger special.

Top review
JoeLeone
Dined on Jan 1, 2023
So soooo sooooo good. So much food and the perfect diner ambiance.
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