One of the great debates among certain foodies is whether a hamburger should be classified as nothing more than a staple of fast food chains or the go-to meal for a backyard barbecue. We think it is a silly argument because everyone knows that the hamburger is All American comfort food. It is the centerpiece and cornerstone of the meals that make memories.
Even though they are easy to make more than a few people have suffered the disappointment that comes from having eaten a poorly made and/or cooked burger.
We’re here to try and help you avoid this experience by providing you with a list of places that do it right. Here are the best in the Valley, plus one over the hill. For more, please see our list of The Best Burgers in LA.
Bill and Hiroko’s
14742 Oxnard Street
Van Nuys, CA 91411
Bill and Hiroko’s is a small shack located in between a bunch of commercial and industrial businesses and if you don’t pay attention you might make the mistake of passing right by. It is not the sort of place you go to buy one of the fancy burgers you might find elsewhere that use exotic cheeses and or sauces and that is ok.
They serve your standard burger, cheeseburger and chili burgers as well as variety of other and sandwiches including a great fried egg.
Bill is certainly among the few if not the only octogenarians who are still working behind a grill and we’re glad. If you show up during the lunch rush be prepared to wait for your food. It is worth it and you’ll thank us for it later.
Related: Best Burgers in Orange County
Blue Dog Beer Tavern
4524 Saugus Ave
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Blue Dog Beer Tavern isn’t exactly a hole in the wall but it is tucked in a corner of Sherman Oaks just off of Sepulveda and the freeway.
It is a fun place to watch a football game, grab a beer and of course have a burger.
Sometimes parking can be a bit dicey and during a football game the service sometimes suffers but the burgers are almost always a tasty treat.
You can order your standard medium rare with a bun or get more exotic with the Chi Chi which includes a fried egg on top, hash browns, and bacon.
Prohibition Burgers & Beer
17620 Ventura Blvd
Encino, CA 91316
We have been to Prohibition Burgers and Beer several times and our experience has always been the same. Good food, but questionable service.
The garlic fries here are outstanding and we love to pair them with a good beer. All of the burgers are named for famous criminals which is in line with the theme of the restaurant.
We are torn between whether we like the John Dillinger or Frank Costello burgers best. The Dillinger comes with caramelized onions; applewood smoked bacon, gruyere aged white cheddar, mozzarella and mixed greens.
Compare it to The Costello which comes with golden apples sautéed in a cabernet reduction, warm brie and applewood smoked bacon.
Maybe the best option is to order the Dual Sliders which allows you to order a combination of styles.
Related: Best Burgers in the Inland Empire
12117 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604
Other locations around Los Angeles
Some people turn their nose up at The Counter because they see it as assembly line produced burgers that lack taste and personality.
While it is factual to say The Counter is a chain of restaurants our experience says their burgers do not suffer from the indignities of assembly line production.
Perhaps this can be attributed to the quality of the ingredients or to the number of choices available.
The Counter says that customers can choose from more than 300,000 different burger combinations. That is a good thing, especially if there are picky eaters in your party. Beef, chicken, turkey or veggie patties can be combined with your standard cheeses or something more exotic such as the Herb Goat Cheese Spread, Dried Cranberries and Peanut Sauce.
The Wood Cafe
12000 W Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066
The Wood Café is a family run business that is operated by a husband and wife team who grew up in the area. It is a “dog friendly” business where you can bring along your four legged friends to enjoy time away from the yard.
However, you’ll want to keep a close eye on them or risk losing a tasty burger. You aren’t just limited to beef and can choose to order a turkey or veggie patty.
We like to stick with the beef and recommend trying the Wood burger. It is ½ pound of Angus beef that includes applewood bacon, cheddar, tomato, onion rings, maggie’s greens, garlic aioli and is served on a brioche bun.