New York City is home to some of the greatest burgers in the world, but wars have been fought over what exactly that entails. Whether you’re looking for simple, sophisticated or a skyscraper piled high with toppings, we’ve got you covered.
Here are some of our favorites — a mix of standards and new options that have proved to be instant classics.
If You’ve Got Eyes Bigger Than Your Stomach
A burger and a beer is a satisfying meal in a bowling alley, and you won’t find a set of lanes quite like Bowlmor Times Square.
If you’ve got a voracious appetite, go for the legendary Behemoth Burger. This five-pound, 14-inch round patty is topped with eight slices of bacon, 10 slices of American cheese, 12 slices of tomato, half a head of iceberg lettuce, pickles and a cup of special sauce. Be sure to bring your whole team for this one — the meaty monster is built to split among eight people.
Burn off the calories while you bowl in one of seven uniquely New York-themed lounges — the Coney Island room is one of our favorites, featuring graffiti murals by SoCal-based street artist Jonas Never.
The Local Favorite
Don’t let J.G. Melon‘s modest looks deceive you; this cozy, cash-only Upper East Side spot has been a New York institution since 1972. The service isn’t Five-Star-caliber and the ambiance is anything but lavish, but the burgers keep fans coming back.
Order the cheeseburger, which comes with a lightly toasted (sometimes misshapen) bun, a crisp beef patty covered in American cheese, pickles and onions. Don’t miss the cottage fries, and be sure to snap a picture of your iconic meal with the famed green and white tablecloths as a backdrop.
For Simple Yet Satisfying
Corner Bistro is an excellent choice, if you don’t mind a classic dive-bar, bare-bones atmosphere. When you visit the no-frills West Village joint, go for the classic Bistro Burger, which is eight ounces of beef, blanketed with cheese and crispy bacon.
Since Corner Bistro is open until 4 a.m., we think this meaty bite is best enjoyed after a long night out on the town.
The Power Lunch
Bring your corporate clients to Midtown’s swanky Strip House to savor a delicious burger available only on the polished venue’s lunch menu. Open wide for the 10-ounce bacon cheddar burger, which boasts a special Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors blend of ground beef, Vermont farmhouse cheddar and bacon.
Finish off your meal with a slice of the restaurant’s over-the-top, 24-layer chocolate cake.
Burgers & Bordeaux
If you crave an elevated snack, head to Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Loews Regency New York Hotel to partake in a well-paired offering. Served every Tuesday this summer in The Regency Bar & Grill, Burgers & Bordeaux presents the restaurant’s signature burger (a blend of beef and pork) alongside classic fries and housemade pickles paired with a glass of Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Légende Médoc 2015 Bordeaux for just $39.
Finish off your meal with a sweet selection from local Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery. After such a heavy lunch, we recommend the seasonal tart (we recently savored a lemon variation with strawberry compote).
The New Kid in Town
Woodpecker by David Burke may be just a fledgling eatery, but its namesake is no stranger to the city’s trendy dining scene. The whimsical place specializes in creations fired up in its wood-burning oven, but we’re partial to the dry-aged cheeseburger.
In true Burke fashion though, this meaty morsel is anything but traditional. The patty is made from 45-day dry-aged saltage beef trim — Burke’s own patented process for aging prime cuts in a room lined with Himalayan salt, resulting in an incredibly flavorful bite. It’s then served with B1 mayo (a mix of mayonnaise and chef Burke’s B1 sauce) and a sour pickle.
Don’t forget to add a side of Hipster Fries, which come dressed with bacon, Parmesan and shisito pepper.
For When You Crave a Fast Food Burger
New York has too many great burgers to actually get fast food — unless we’re talking about Shake Shack, of course. The promise of high-quality meats (100 percent Angus beef, no hormones or antibiotics) and fries made from Yukon potatoes (with no preservatives) gets the franchise on this list and keeps the lines long at the 20-plus locations around the city.
Order the Shackburger and don’t forget the crinkle fries with cheese. (Regulars know that you can order them with chopped chili peppers, even though it’s not on the menu.)
The One That Everyone Talks About
If you ask almost any native New Yorker, he’ll tell you that the Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern is the holy grail of sandwiches. The burger consists of merely beef, caramelized onions and brioche. It’s nothing overly complicated, yet taste buds agree that it’s a perfectly executed classic. The secret is in the custom, dry-aged rib steak blend from Pat LaFrieda. This is a burger for special occasions.