Every place claims its restaurant has the “Best Burger in Town.” This makes finding a great burger a bit challenging – it would take a hefty appetite to try every burger boasting this reputation, not to mention a rapidly expanding waistline. Luckily, the work has been done for you. Here is a list of the best burgers in Orange County. Enjoy and bon appetit.
190 S Glassell St
Old Towne Orange, CA 92866
Hours: Daily – 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Haven Gastropub lives up to its name; “gastropub” means a pub with upscale food. In 2009, it was recognized as “Best New Restaurant” by both the Orange County Register and OC Weekly. A Haven Burger at Haven Gastropub is not only a unique blend of meat, but a burger that will speak to your taste sensations. Each bite is salty, bitter, sweet and sour all at once. The meaty patty is slid into a sweeter brioche bun with garlic aioli as a finishing touch. Arugula and pickled red onions add an extra punch unfamiliar to most burgers. The menu recommends a Bear Republic Heritage Scotch Ale or The Crusher Merlot with The Haven Burger, as either drink matches this meal perfectly.
The Riders Club Cafe
1701 N El Camino Real
San Clemente, CA 92672
Hours: Tues to Sun – 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Riders Club describes its fare as “slow fast food.” Its “build your own” burger options begin with either natural beef that is ground in-house, a house-made veggie patty, a juicy chicken breast or a portabello mushroom for the bulk of your burger. From there, choose a melted cheese from options like cheddar, swiss, muenster, blue, havarti or smeared goat cheese. Top it all off with bacon, sautéed mushrooms, roasted chili peppers, avocado or a fried egg. Whichever combination you go with, ingredients such as these ensure a an ambrosial meal. Your only limit is your imagination.
St. Roy Chef’s Pub at Vine
211 N El Camino Real
San Clemente, CA 92672
Hours: Tues to Wed – 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., Thurs to Sat - 11:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
St. Roy’s Mexicali Burger is a scrumptious, south-of-the-border concoction of avocado, cilantro, chile de arbol creme, queso fresco, onion, shaved lettuce and roasted serrano chiles. A secret sauce smothers the mound, but St. Roy’s is adamant about keeping this ingredient hush hush. Rightly so, because the sauce makes this burger one of the most loved in the area. Pair this hearty burger with a bottle of fine wine or with one of the pub’s 10 microbrews on tap. The food here is seasonal, local and always fresh.
Related: Best Pizza in Orange County
220 E 4th St
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Hours: Lunch Wed to Sat – 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., Dinner Wed to Sat – 5 p.m. to close, Brunch Sun –10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Supper Sun – 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Reservations only on Sunday)
According to the Playground, it serves the perfect burger, and that’s a hard statement to argue. The beef served is Wagyu, or Japanese beef, which is the wonderfully marbleized beef also known as Kobe beef. The Playground Burger is a patty topped with melted butter, caramelized Maple Bourbon onions and a melted combination of fontina and gruyere cheese. However, the bun might be the best part: it is coated with parmesan aioli and then grilled to create a cheesy crisp. These cooks don’t just make a great burger, they make an extraordinary burger.
2100 E Katella Ave, Suite 104
Anaheim, CA 92806
Hours: Lunch Daily – 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Dinner Mon to Fri – 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Dinner Sat – 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Dinner Sun – 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The Catch goes above and beyond with its burger, blending chuck shoulder with Premium Black Angus beef brisket from Creekstone Farms exclusively prepared for The Catch restaurant. The “OMG” burger consists of five pounds of meat grilled to your specifications. Add 10 slices of cheddar cheese, red onion, tomato, half a head of iceberg lettuce, mayo and dill pickles all served on a 14-inch bun. Have you ever heard of such a monstrous burger? With a price tag of nearly $60, The Catch strongly suggests sharing this giant.
Café Beau Soleil
953 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Hours: Mon to Fri – 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sat to Sun – 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
You may wonder what a fancy French restaurant would know about good hamburgers, but Café Beau Soleil knows more than most. While more traditional options are available, the Crab Cake Burger is a must-try. This seafood delight comes with a perfectly seasoned crab cake atop toasted sourdough, piled together with tomato and avocado. The textures compounded into this sandwich are smooth and oh so satisfactory. Stop by for a bite while shopping at Fashion Island.
Sylvia Van Peebles currently lives in the high desert of Southern California and has a passion for writing. She loves to cook, and while she prepares food from many different countries, her favorite is Southern food (because those are her roots) and baking. This is why writing about restaurants and sports bars in the San Diego area is right up her alley. Now Sylvia puts her writing skills to work by letting readers know about the best and most exciting events and venues in Orange County. She’ll keep you up-to-date on whats happening in the OC. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.