In the past few years, gourmet burger spots have popped up all over Miami, but there are only a few that make the final cut to be considered the best of the best. While there are the staple burger joints we just can’t get enough of, a few newbies that offer up ground beef patties suitable for even the toughest burger buffs should be added to the mouthwatering mix, too.
New Kids on the Block
A regular West Coast hamburger haven, Umami Burger has made its first official East Coast home in South Beach. In the simple, no-frills establishment with a small bar, floor-to-ceiling windows and comfortable seating, the main event is simply what’s found between the housemade toasted buns. Countless options — from the truffle burger with housemade truffle cheese and glaze to the Manly burger with beer-cheddar cheese, onion strings with smoked salt, and bacon lardons — made this space a staple out West, but here in Miami, it’s all about the exclusive Cubano burger (paying homage to our Cuban sandwich) stuffed with braised pork belly, house American cheese, shaved prosciutto and smoked ham.
A relative newcomer to the burger scene, A&G Burger Joint opened just six months ago in Sweetwater with its casual black-and-white-on-red décor and wild Creature Burger challenge — a battle pitting hungry customers versus four pounds of meat and fries for free food, a T-shirt and bragging rights. Meat lovers can find unique options, including the breakfast burger made with hash brown cakes and sunny-side-up fried egg, the 5:0 Burger served on Krispy Kreme doughnuts with applewood bacon and the Lubon burger with sauerkraut and mustard on marble rye bread.
This palace of burger blissfulness just keeps expanding in Florida with locations in Pinecrest, North Miami and now a new spot right in the middle of the up-and-coming foodie neighborhood of Midtown, which means a hip crowd of young professionals, lots of foot traffic and — good news for Fido fans — a dog-friendly atmosphere. Choose from one of its classic burgers, such as the 5.3 oz. Brutus with cheese, egg and bacon, or opt for the grilled picanha burgers served with fries, your choice of sides, sauce and meat (5.3 oz. single steak burger; 10.6 oz. double, chicken or filet mignon).
Oldies but Goodies
Opened in 2011 along the shady streets of Coconut Grove, LoKal continues to serve up deliciously juicy burgers inside its cozy, well-thought-out artistic gathering space with graffiti-style artwork, sunken-in booths and brick-lined walls. LoKal prides itself on working not just with nearby farmers, dairies and brewers, but also by providing Miami with the first local restaurant using renewable wind and solar power energy. Free-range, grass-fed, ground in-house meats make up tasty creations that include The Classic with sharp Wisconsin cheese and the Frita by Kush with guava jelly, Gruyère and bacon that comes stuffed with potato sticks.
More sophisticated steakhouse than traditional burger joint, Bourbon Steak sits inside Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel Turnberry Isle Miami. And while it exudes a sexy steakhouse appeal, it serves some of the best burgers in town. Take a seat by the bar and let celebrity chef Michael Mina wow you with his culinary chops through menu items such as the All-Beef (classic dry-aged ground beef with farmhouse cheese) or the Lamburger topped with raita (a spiced yogurt condiment). Opt for additional fixings, including bacon or seared foie gras and a side of the trio of fries (smoked paprika and barbecue sauce; herbs and onion ketchup; pepper and roasted garlic aioli). Make the meal complete with an adult milkshake such as the Bourbon Malted, made with Jim Beam and salty caramel, or the minty Grasshopper, packed with chocolate liqueur and crème de menthe.
Photos courtesy of Bourbon Steak, Umami Burger and LoKal