The Best Burgers In NYC

It’s said the hamburger was created in NYC in the 1820’s as street food sold to German sailors on Chambers Street in Lower Manhattan. By the mid-1800’s the burger became a staple of Delmonico’s and other upscale restaurants. Given that it’s no surprise that the best burgers can deliver a wide variety of options for different situations and how much you want to spend.

August 19, 2023

The Best Burgers In New York City

What does it mean to find the best burger in NYC? After all … what is a burger, really? Something close to fast food? Just sitting there in a stack on a paper plate next to a grill in the backyard. Or how about a burger that costs a crazy $86 and has a tiny piece of gold on top that you can buy for only $4 on Amazon? But then again, what makes a burger a burger? Isn't a sausage, egg, and cheese combo a bit like a burger in its own way? Kind of like how a hotdog is too, but …  let's leave that for another day. 

It’s said the hamburger was created in NYC in the 1820’s, named after a North Sea port and sold as street food to German sailors on Chambers Street in Lower Manhattan. By the mid-1800’s the burger became a staple of Delmonico’s and other upscale restaurants. Given that it’s no surprise that the best burgers can deliver a wide variety of options for different situations and how much you want to spend. They can bring back memories of the past, take you on a trip down memory lane, and give you a taste of what's coming next. And sometimes, well, they're just a simple dinner option.

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We know planning a trip to NYC is exciting, but with so many options, picking the best burger for your trip can become overwhelming. We curate experiences for travelers to save them time and help them discover the local experiences they love most. Contact our team early to reserve your space with our team of local New York City trip experts.

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Ok ... on to the list ...

Nowon

Nowon has something for everyone, whether you prefer a single or double patty burger. Their medium-rare Pat Lafrieda single-patty burger is a perfect blend of flavors, with each ingredient standing out on its own. The double smash patty with tangy kimchi mayo and American cheese is a delightful explosion of flavors, while the thick version is perfect for those who crave the rich taste of high-quality steak meat.

Minetta Tavern

If you are looking for a more indulgent burger, the Iconic Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern is a must-try. This culinary gem is made with a blend of prime, dry-aged beef cuts and is expertly prepared by Keith McNally. At $38, the Black Label burger is a bit pricey, but it is worth every penny for its exceptional flavor and top-notch quality. It is no wonder that it is a favorite among burger lovers in New York City.

JG Melon

At JG Melon, a classic joint on the Upper East Side operating since 1972, you'll find quintessential American bar food done right. While their chili bowl and chef's salad are notable, the real stars of the show are their burgers. Fresh and juicy ground beef patties, seared to perfection on the flat-top, are considered one of the best in Manhattan by none other than Bobby Flay. For sides that go beyond the usual fries, don't miss out on their classic onion rings and delectable cottage fries.

BK Jani

Over at BK Jani in Williamsburg, they're flipping the burger game on its head. The signature burger is a unique take on the classic, with a zesty mint chutney instead of mayo and mustard. The generously sized patty is packed with flavor, thanks to Pakistani seasoning and tender beef. And make sure to grab a side of masala fries or, if you're up for it, their mouthwatering lamb chop. If you can’t make it out to Williamsburg, there are additional locations inside Dekalb Market and at the Hugh food hall.


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Harlem Shake

In a city where flat, crispy patties are all the rage, Harlem Shake's "Hot Mess" burger still claims its spot among the top smashburgers. The patties' edges bring a new level of crispiness, even for seasoned burger enthusiasts, while the addition of pickled cherry pepper-bacon relish takes the experience even higher. To complete the classic Harlem Shake experience, pair it with their red velvet milkshake. Beyond their delicious offerings, Harlem Shake shines as a local business committed to its community. The owners prioritize community hiring and a portion of profits goes towards initiatives like Harlem EatUp!, Harlem Children’s Zone, and the Harlem Business Alliance.

Corner Bistro

Corner Bistro's classic burger firmly claims its position on this list, evoking the same nostalgic essence as J.G. Melon's. With its substantial, loosely packed beef patty, it's the perfect late-night comfort food. Pair it with one of the Corner Bistro's (relatively) cheap beers, and you've got yourself a hearty meal that captures New York's down-to-earth spirit. Whether you're satisfying a tipsy appetite or a midnight craving, this burger is sure to be straightforward, budget-friendly, and totally fulfilling.

Red Hook Tavern

In 2019, a more refined companion to Brooklyn's beloved barbecue haven, Hometown Bar-B-Que, emerged. This upscale sequel unveiled what many hail as the finest new burger in New York City. Grilled to a perfect medium rare, the quarter-fat, dry-aged NY strip and chuck patty finds its place between layers of raw white onion, American cheese, and an Italian-style bun. While they don't pile up the cottage fries, the burger is more than enough on its own.

Raoul's

Raoul's burger stands out with a unique black peppercorn-crusted patty, setting it apart from the rest of the pack. Whether you're a black pepper enthusiast or not, this burger has a delightful surprise in store. Topped with creamy St. Andre cheese, cornichons, and watercress, it's a burger unlike any other you've tasted. Accompanied by perfectly crispy and salty fries, don't forget to dip them in the provided au poivre sauce for the full experience.

Emily's

Emily's, renowned for its pizza, boasts another star – the Emmy burger. Crafted from dry-aged, grass-fed beef, it graces a pretzel bun with caramelized onions, cheddar cheese, and the house's signature Emmy sauce. The burger comes accompanied by a side of fries, and there's also a selection of unexpectedly impressive cocktails to choose from. For heartier appetites, the West Village location serves up a double version with waffle fries.


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7th St. Burger

7th Street's cheeseburger may look basic, but its flavor is anything but. A smashed 75/25 Schweid & Sons beef patty is combined with chopped sweet onions and gooey American cheese, creating a bold tribute to salt and fat. Despite the often lengthy line, the burger's irresistible flavor makes the wait worthwhile. Join the eager crowd and don't be hesitant—the line moves quickly due to the fresh preparation.

Gramercy Tavern

Gramercy Tavern's burger, available exclusively in the walk-in-only tavern section, is a true standout. A house blend of chuck, brisket, and short rib, sourced from Adirondack Grazers, forms the patty, cooked over hardwood for a rich, smoky flavor. The bun, made with real Yukon gold potatoes, is a nod to quality and often contributes to the limited daily supply – typically around 45 burgers – that tends to sell out before lunchtime. Topped with smoked bacon, melted cheddar, smoked onion aioli, and house-made condiments, this burger is for the true aficionados.

Burger By Day

Burger By Day is a hidden gem in Chinatown's food court, serving smashburgers, bubble tea, and a dozen size and topping options. The BBD smashburger is a double-patty burger that is seared to perfection, with a satisfying crunch in every bite. American cheese and the counter's signature sweet pink sauce complete this delicious burger. The only challenge you might face here is choosing from the dozen size and topping options!

Peter Leuger

Peter Luger, a renowned steakhouse and NYC institution since 1887, is also known for its prized burger. The burger, which weighs over half a pound, is a decadent experience, complete with American cheese and the option of their famous thick-cut bacon. This culinary delight is worth the higher than average price tag due to its size and quality, and is a must-try for burger lovers looking for an exceptional New York burger.

Smashed

Smashed in the heart of the LES lives up to its name, where the focus is on their perfectly pressed and ultra-crispy burgers. These meticulously seasoned patties are flattened to a thin perfection, boasting irresistible crispiness with edges that are too wide for the bun. The Classic burger, featuring American cheese, onions, pickles, and house sauce, offers a satisfying simplicity. For an extra touch of indulgence, you can opt for the truffle burger, adorned with truffle oil and shavings. Don't forget to consider the double burger option, which is a generous and delicious way to upgrade your experience.

Custom Tailored NYC Trip Plans
Custom Tailored NYC Trip Plans

NYC is a great place to visit and you’re going to have a lot of fun here! Planning is exciting, but with so many options we know it can be overwhelming for out-of-towners. Our team of trip consultants builds tailored plans for travelers to save them time and allow them to explore more of the things they love during their time in the city. Each plan is built with a 3-step process: 

Step 1: Bucket your must-see attractions 

Step 2: Add in restaurants, rooftops & other hidden gems 

Step 3: Create a custom map and provide transportation tips, so you know the best way to navigate the city. 

Click here to have our team tailor your New York trip itinerary today or check out a few of our sample plans here.

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