The Ultimate Burger Bucket List
Frankly, we don’t know why May 28th, International Hamburger Day, isn’t a full-blown, day-off-work national holiday. But since it isn’t (yet), we’ve done what we can to mark the occasion. We contacted writers, bloggers and burger experts from all over Europe to ask them about the very best burgers to be found in the cities that they know and love. We’ve used their expertise and impeccable taste to create the ultimate list of European burgers that you have to eat.
Go ahead. Get travelling and cross these beefy bad-boys off your bucket list…
London: flat iron
“If there’s one thing a Londoner loves besides hurling themselves down tube escalators and emerging half-naked at the slightest hint of summer, it’s a good burger. The city is full of them and last year, we decided to try them all while compiling London’s first ever truly credible ‘Best Burger’ list. After trying 60 burgers in three weeks (no small feat, we’ll have you know), our scores revealed the top 10, five of which we brought to 700 hungry punters under a warehouse roof in Hackney. Burger Fest was born and the first ever winner, Flat Iron’s eponymous ‘Flat Iron’ burger, blew our minds. It still blows our minds.
The Flat Iron is elusive, making an appearance on the specials menu only when owner Charlie Carroll gets his hands on a specific cut of meat from a specific cow. The stroke of genius to deep fry rather the grill the patty gives it a crispy, salty crust while leaving the inside perfectly juicy and pink. Topped with Bearnaise sauce and shallots and served in a demi-brioche bun, the burger is nothing short of a downright privilege to eat. Keep your eyes on the specials board.”
Flat Iron is recommended by Ashleigh, one of the bona fide burger experts at Twentysomethinglondon (keep your eyes on their page for tickets to Burger Fest 2015, and the soon-to-be-released 2015 London Best Burger list)
“The Dish Fine Burger Bistro in Prague’s Vinohrady district quickly won us over and we have become regulars since the opening. If we had our way, we would be there twice as often, but we can’t because the venue is just so damn packed and we always forget to book in advance. So you should.
The Smoky Dish has everything a great burger should have: a buttery brioche bun grilled to perfection, a great, juicy patty, BBQ sauce, smoked chili mayo, fried onions and pickles. Pair it with the local Unetice lager, their bistro fries and flavoured mayos, and you’ll be in heaven… and a food coma for the rest of the day.”
“If there’s a science to making the perfect burger, then the aptly named Bunsen has exactly the right formula. In a world where people are getting fancier and fancier with their gourmet burgers and highfalutin toppings, Bunsen has thankfully remembered that what made the hamburger one of the world’s favourite foods is its simplicity.
Now I like a pretentious quarter-pounder topped with barrel-aged artichokes and corn-fed rocket as much as the next woman, but sometimes you just want a burger to be a burger – meat, cheese, the classic toppings, and a fat bun. If you’re a purist, this is the place to go. The menu at Bunsen is small enough to fit on a business card, and it’s more than enough. If you’re moderately hungry the regular burgers are the perfect size to have with chips, and if you’ve a decent appetite I recommend the double cheeseburger. It’s the kind of place where you feel like you should order a coke, but they do serve beers and wine. And Sierra Nevada pale ale, which is what I’d recommend.”
Bunsen has just opened its second Dublin branch on Essex Street in Temple Bar, and the original is going stronger than ever up on Wexford Street.
Edinburgh: The Roseleaf
“We’ve been on a mission to find the city’s perfect patty ever since we started the blog, and we keep coming back to the same one… The Royale with Cheese at The Roseleaf.
Obviously the burger wins brownie points for the Pulp Fiction reference, but this is no ordinary quarter pounder with cheese. This tasty burger consists of a half pork belly, half beef patty, served in a home-baked seeded mustard bun with Scottish mature cheddar and a sweet dill pickled gherkin. You can’t have a burger without chips and The Roseleaf serve up some of the best in Edinburgh too, twice cooked with skin on for a real homemade feel. The burger is juicy and flavoursome, simple and seasoned to perfection.
Optional extras include streaky bacon, black pudding, fried egg or jalapenos – but with bacon this good we wouldn’t really call it optional. I’ve lost count of how many burgers I’ve eaten at The Roseleaf but can be sure there will be many more to come!”
The Roseleaf was recommended by Gary, the well-researched and very well-fed Edinblogger.
“In the past years, Berlin’s burger scene has exploded, with the hamburger pushing the Berliner Currywurst off the top-spot for go-to fast food fixes. This means new burger joints are appearing on street corners faster than graffiti tags. These range from American Diner-style places like Nalu Diner, hole-in-the-wall burger joints like Simon Dach Strasse’s 5Places, streetfood vans like festival favourite Buns Mobile, and ones which capture Berlin’s style of blending cultures, like Shiso Burger’s Korean fusion burgers, and District Mot’s steamed bao burgers.
But it’s Berlin’s long-standing burger glitterati which still rules supreme. Berlin’s unofficial motto is poor but sexy, and what encapsulates this better than sitting in an old public toilet under a railway overpass, eating a really, really good burger? Kreuzberg’s Burgermeister (meaning mayor) has come to be an icon of not only Berlin’s burger scene, but Berlin itself.”
Recommended by Andrew Cottrill, author and official Burger Editor (yes we’re jealous too) at Berlin Loves You
Brighton: Burger Brothers
“Burger Brothers, from the outside, is a fairly unassuming little burger joint just on the outskirts of Brighton’s North Lanes. There are a few seats inside where you can sit and eat, but it’s really a take-away. And that’s good. There’s something about these burgers that makes you want to take them with you somewhere quiet, and shovel them into your face safe in the knowledge that few can see you. Burger Brothers has only been around since 2013, and it’s already knocked a worthy competitor off my Brighton burger winner’s podium (Troll’s Pantry, I still love you dearly but I’ve fallen in love with another).
The burgers are ridiculously juicy, they’re perfectly seasoned, they’re cooked with expertise, they’re assembled with love, and they produce just the right amount of grease and mess (nobody ever drooled over a super-clean burger).”
“I ate a LOT of really, really good food when I was I Vilnius, Lithuania. It was borderline obscene. I ate so much that I almost passed on trying a Boom Burger… almost, but not quite. And thank goodness I went that extra meaty mile. Boom burgers are very good. As far as food in Vilnius goes, Boom is relatively expensive – but it’s still cheap compared to what you’d pay for the equivalent in most European capitals, and some things are worth spending money on. Great burgers are one of those things.
The Boomburger (€7.50) is everything you could ask for in a hamburger; a thick, juicy patty made from Irish Angus beef, smothered in well-melted cheddar and topped with proper, actually crisp crispy bacon and their house sauce. Their French fries are triple fried. TRIPLE fried. That three times as delicious as chips that are fried just once.
I want to fly back to Vilnius just to eat my way around it all over again, and when I do, I’m going back to Boom.”
Paris: L’Atelier Saint-Georges
“Since American expat Kristen Frederick rolled out (literally) her burger truck concept in Paris, she set in motion a number of changes in the city’s food scene. Chief among them: the embrace of a wide range of comfort foods from gourmet burgers to Korean fried chicken, pastrami sandwiches and even meatballs. Burgers may have become a fixture of the food landscape, with new joints opening regularly, but that hasn’t caused a wane in interest and I, personally, find the difference between them fascinating.
One of my more recent favorites is L’Atelier Saint-Georges, a spot in the South Pigalle neighborhood (9th arrondissement) that looks like a modern French bistrot with original crown moldings, sleek wooden tables and oversized mirrors but keeps it simple on the plate. The meat for the burgers here are hand-cut daily (from French cows), the buns are bakery-fresh from a local boulangerie and the cheese is French. The owners wanted to play up the best of the French terroir and offer a nod to French heritage for gourmet burgers. What I love most is that these meaty sandwiches aren’t attempting to be authentically American. Parisians put their spin on foreign imports and they do it well!”
L’Atelier Saint-Georges is recommended by Paris’ favourite food blogger and burger-fiend, Lindsey Tramuta of Lost In Cheeseland.
Budapest: Pesti Burger
“Five years ago, there was no chance of finding decent street food in Budapest, but oh how things have changed. These days, the city is awash with South American, Middle Eastern and Asian options. But the greatest “revolution” without doubt has been experienced by the burger, the quality of which has skyrocketed in recent years. And the joint that rises above the rest has to be Pesti Burger and Bar in Tompa utca, where the burgers they assemble would deserve pride of place in any city around the world. The buns are fantastic, the garnishes spot on, and the cheese and caramelised onions exceptionally good, but the real star of the show is the patty, which is so perfect that a statue should be erected in its honour. This is the burger you must try.
Those not wishing to stray from central Budapest should instead check out Zing, who have a fleet of food trucks and also flip sensational burgers. The end product is not quite as sumptuous as Pesti Burger and Bar, but the trade-off is that you can eat these wrapped burgers on the go, just make sure you catch all the wonderful juices that will inevitably start to run down your arms.”
Pesti’s perfect patties are recommended by Csaba Magyarósi of Best of Budapest.
Rome: Open Baladin
“Eating great Italian food in Rome is one of the purest pleasures a proper foodie can experience, but actually finding the great Italian food in Rome can be a bit of a challenge if you don’t know what you’re doing. This is even more true when you’re looking for American food. Italy is not known for its great burgers. This is perfectly acceptable, since it does its own cuisine so, so well – but if you do feel like going off-pasta and eating burgers in Italy, you should probably go to
They do big, fat, meaty, moist burgers with excellent buns and fresh, flavourful toppings. I had the Capri. Once you’ve tasted a burger topped with soft, stringy, melt-y Italian buffalo mozzarella, you might not ever want anything else on a burger ever again. The burgers cost between €8-€14, so they are a little pricey, but they are a LOT tasty. Not only that, but Open Baladin offers one of the best selections of beer in the city, and if there’s one thing that can make a great burger ever better, it’s a great beer.”
Madrid: Goiko Grill
“Madrid is a city filled with some great burgers, and the best are made with prime quality local beef and topped with a Spanish twist. You’ll find burgers in this city that include everything from serrano ham to fresh foie gras. New hamburger places are constantly popping up, but one of our tried and true favourites is Goiko Grill.
They pride themselves on using 100% Spanish beef, that is freshly ground every day. All of their topping combinations are delicious, but if we had to pick one? We especially love the M30 Burger (named for Madrid’s main highway) which is topped with goat cheese and caramelized onion. Another delicious combination is the Aita Burger, based on the cuisine of northern Spain. This delicious burger has smokey Idiazabel cheese, piquillo peppers and truffle oil. Goiko Grill also offers chicken burgers, made with free range chickens, and even vegan burgers too.”
Goiko Grill is recommended by the guys at Madrid Food Tours. They know their stuff…
Europe is a big place with a lot of burgers. If you know anywhere that deserves a spot on the bucket list, tell us in the comments!