Slideshow: Staff Picks: Favorite Fancy-Pants Burgers

Burger at Grüner, Portland, OR
Burger at Grüner, Portland, OR

"Though veteran AHTers are probably sick to death of hearing me blab on about the burger from Portland, Oregon's Grüner, I've yet to eat a better rendition of the unflatteringly named 'fancy-pants burger.' There's not a single weakness to be found on this 'house'-heavy beast: a half-pound of loosely packed, house-ground, medium-rare beef so flavorful you'll wonder if other restaurants are even serving you the same animal when you order their burgers; housemade pickles that put their supermarket counterparts to shame; and a house-baked potato bun that's capable of absorbing a torrent of juices without dissolving in your hands. My heart starts thumping just thinking about it." —Adam Lindsley, Portland correspondent

Grüner review »

527 SW 12th Ave., Portland OR 97205 (map); 503-241-7163; grunerpdx.com

[Photograph: Adam Lindsley]

Down Low Burger at Mar'sel, Los Angeles
Down Low Burger at Mar'sel, Los Angeles

"When the burger arrives, the Double Double germline that inspires it is clear, as is the trained hand of a fine dining chef. Chef Michael Fiorelli has created a beautiful-looking burger, but it's in the eating that a burger's true worth is revealed, and this one is a revelation. The first bite is an overwhelming rush of flavor. It's the headiness of a perfect first kiss; the realization that you've lost control of your feelings. It's the burger love moment." —Damon Gambuto, Los Angeles correspondent

Mar'sel review »

100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes CA 90275 (map); 310-265-2836; terranea.com/marsel

[Photograph: Damon Gambuto]

Davanti Burger at Davanti Enoteca, San Diego
Davanti Burger at Davanti Enoteca, San Diego

"I've got to go with the Davanti burger at Davanti Enoteca, because there are so many fancypants ingredients on it that you can easily run out of breath before saying them all. No opportunity for surpassing the norm was missed. You've got your confit tomatoes, arugula instead of lettuce, aioli AND bacon jam, and if that wasn't enough, they top it all off with griddled cheese curds." —Erin Jackson, San Diego correspondent

Davanti Enoteca review »

1655 India St., San Diego CA 92101 (map); 619-237-9606; davantisandiego.com

[Photograph: Erin Jackson]

Burger at NOPA, San Francisco
Burger at NOPA, San Francisco

"AHT contributor David Kover was right on with his assessment of NOPA's much lauded burger. Overhyped? Yes. Worth it? Hell yes. This is one gorgeous piece of beef we're dealing with, here—well-salted, deeply flavorful, and perfectly encased in an eggy, tender housemade brioche bun. I also second his add-ons of cheddar cheese and their housemade pickled red onions—I like giving the burger an occasional dip in whatever flavored aioli they're dishing up that day, too (harissa is a favorite, though the basil one is also delicious). Hand's down my favorite fancy burger in San Francisco, and really, anywhere. Now I'm hungry. NOPA, anyone?" —Lauren Sloss, San Francisco correspondent

NOPA review »

560 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117 (map); 415-864-8643; nopasf.com

[Photograph: David Kover]

Burgers at Jake's Burger in Milwaukee
Burgers at Jake's Burger in Milwaukee

"The owners of Jake's Burger also own a popular steakhouse, so you know the burgers must be good. The beef is ground from short rib, brisket, and sirloin for the best combo of fat and flavor, then topped with homemade onion strings, oven-roasted tomatoes, and a tangy house sauce. Order a side of homemade pickles, heavy on the mustard seeds." —Lacey Muszynski, Milwaukee correspondent

Jake's Burger review »

18905 W Capitol Dr # 110, Brookfield WI (map); 262-781-1110; jakesburger.com

[Photograph: Lacey Muszynski]

Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern, New York City
Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern, New York City

"Black Label burger at Minetta Tavern. Yes, it costs a lot, but it's worth it. Between the cuts of meat they use in the blend and the fact that they use all prime dry-aged meat I have never found a beefier, tastier burger. " —Ed Levine, Founder of Serious Eats

Minetta Tavern review »

2113 MacDougal Street, New York NY 10012 (map); 212-475-3850; minettatavernny.com

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Chargrilled Burger with Roquefort Cheese at the Spotted Pig, New York City
Chargrilled Burger with Roquefort Cheese at the Spotted Pig, New York City

"This one is easy. Hands down the Spotted Pig's burger. It's everything I don't like in a burger. It's way too big. It's grilled instead of griddled. It's got stinky blue cheese on it to compete with the meat. It comes on a brioche bun. But put it all together and I'll be damned if it's not the juiciest, beefiest, most delicious burger-over-$10 I know." —J. Kenji López-Alt, Serious Eats Chief Creative Officer

The Spotted Pig review »
Recreating the Spotted Pig's Chargrilled Burger at Home »

314 West 11th Street, New York NY 10014 (at Greenwich Street; map); 212-620-0393; thespottedpig.com

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Grass-fed Burger at Lot 2, Brooklyn
Grass-fed Burger at Lot 2, Brooklyn

"Lot 2 has a new chef but the same great burger. Fat $15-ish chaffy burgers are a dime a dozen these days in New York—not to our benefit—but Lot 2's is one of the few I'll pay for without a second thought. Yeah, it's juicy and salty with a great crust and bun and cheese and all of that, but what really gets me is how clean the burger juices taste. Greasebombs have their place (close to my heart, in more ways than one), but I really admire how you can eat this whole burger and feel full and delighted—without a case of the meat sweats." —Max Falkowitz, New York editor

Behind the Scenes at Lot 2 »

687 6th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11215 (map); 718-499-5623; lot2restaurant.com

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Slagel Family Farms Burger at Longman & Eagle, Chicago
Slagel Family Farms Burger at Longman & Eagle, Chicago

"If I'm going big, then I'm going to Longman & Eagle. The massive burger at this saloon (honest) begins with excellently sourced ground beef from Slagel Family Farms, which the kitchen always manages to grill to the requested medium-rare. With beef this good, Longman wisely keeps it simple, with just some salty Widmer's Cheddar and a couple crunchy strips of North County bacon, all housed on a buttery brioche bun. Though enormous, you'll want to save some room for the beef fat fries on the side." —Nick Kindelsperger, Chicago editor

Longman & Eagle review »

Longman & Eagle, 2657 N. Kedzie Ave Chicago IL 60647 (map); 773-276-7110; longmanandeagle.com

[Photograph: Daniel Zemans]

Grass-fed Cheeseburger at Café Ghia, Brooklyn
Grass-fed Cheeseburger at Café Ghia, Brooklyn

"I'm obsessed with the grass-fed cheeseburger at Café Ghia. The patty is infused with bacon fat, which is obviously the smartest idea ever. Served on brioche, it's topped with a super addictive roasted tomato aioli, sprouts, and melted Vermont cheddar; I highly recommend going all out and forking over another $2 for the braised thick-cut bacon, too. Porky-beefy-cheesy heaven, anyone?" —Niki Achitoff-Gray, Slice editor

Café Ghia review »

24 Irving Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11237 (map); 718-821-8806; cafeghia.com

[Photograph: Niki Achitoff-Gray]

Office Burger at Father's Office, Los Angeles
Office Burger at Father's Office, Los Angeles

"My favorite fancy-pants burger is the Office Burger at Father's Office. The dry-aged beef patty is always perfectly cooked (medium rare, please) and the caramelized onions add a bit of sweetness that I would otherwise miss. The bacon, Gruyère and Maytag cheeses, and incredible beer selection don't hurt either. If there's a weak link, it's only that it's tough to snag a seat most of the time... and it's about 2,500 miles from my current home of New York." Paul Cline, Serious Eats web developer

Father's Office review »

1018 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica CA 90403 (b/n 10th Street and 11th Street; map); 310-393-2337; fathersoffice.com

[Photograph: Nick Solares]