The 12 Burgers in NYC You Need To Try

5 Napkin Burger

The burger has come a long way since its origins around the 1900s as a beef patty between two slices of plain bread. It was popularized by fast food restaurants and has gone through many renditions with chefs putting their own takes on it — and it’s not stopping anytime soon. In this installation of burger guides, the best burgers in every city are under the spotlight. New York City has no shortage of gourmet burgers, from classic cheeseburgers to seafood burgers, MICHELIN-star burgers to luxurious foie gras burgers, with restaurants from every price point to occasion. Here’s where to find the best.

Manhattan

Quality Bistro (Midtown)

French onion burger

French onion burger | Credit: Quality Bistro

French onion soup lovers will go wild for Quality Bistro’s divine French onion burger with caramelized onions and Comté and Gruyère cheeses. Housed in a stunning multi-level space complete with greenery, leather-bound chairs, and glistening gold accents, the restaurant comes from the Quality Branded group known for Smith & Wollensky, Don Angie, and a handful of Quality restaurants — so you know you can count on them to serve up a top-notch beef patty with a custom blend of cuts of prime chuck, ribeye, and short rib. The French brasserie is a top choice in Midtown with a whopping 400-bottle French wine selection to pair with your burger, but note the burger is only available at lunch.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor, outdoor, and private outdoor dining are all available. 

Takeout: Delivery is unavailable, but takeout orders can be placed at the restaurant.

Burger & Lobster (Multiple locations)

Hailing from London, Burger & Lobster’s signature dish is just like that of its name. The B&L combo reimagines the surf and turf in the form of a 1.25-pound wild Atlantic lobster, drizzled with your choice of clarified butter or lemon garlic butter sauce alongside a burger with 6 ounces of Nebraska beef, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, and, of course, the secret burger sauce. If you’re just here for a burger, go all out with the beast burger’s 10 ounces of beef topped with lobster, Swiss cheese, and truffle mayo.

Dining at the restaurant: Both indoor and outdoor dining are available at Burger & Lobster’s Flatiron location, while the Bryant Park location is indoor only.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery orders can be placed on third-party apps via the website.

Flatiron

Bryant Park

The Loyal (Greenwich Village)

Piedmontese burger

Piedmontese burger | Credit: Noah Fecks

The Loyal, a chef John Fraser restaurant, made its mark on Greenwich Village with a two-star review (denoting “very good”) in 2017 from The New York Times that dissects each element of  the burger in detail, particularly its 22-step tomato that’s “juicy but not gushy, tart and sweet and complex.” Beyond the epic tomato, the burger here features Piedmontese beef, and Comté cheese, served with pickles and crispy duck-fat tater tots. Though The Loyal reopened with a new chef at the helm who has introduced several exciting new dishes, the burger steadfastly remains the same.

Dining at the restaurant: Dine indoors or outdoors at The Loyal.

Takeout: Takeout orders can be placed on its website, delivery is available on third-party apps.

The Smith (Multiple locations) 

A classic American brasserie-style restaurant that consistently dishes out delicious global fare, The Smith also serves a standout burger — piled high with a beef patty, bacon shallot jam, American cheese, crispy fried onions, house pickles, and house sauce, all sandwiched between potato buns for a perfect balance of sweet and savory. Likewise, the vegetarian option does not disappoint. The patty is made from slow-roasted vegetables and quinoa, then topped with cheddar, pickled beets, shredded lettuce, red onion, and The Smith’s secret sauce on a sesame brioche bun. All burgers are served with skinny potato fries. No matter which location you visit, The Smith and its burgers deliver.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor and outdoor dining are offered at all locations.

Takeout: Delivery and takeout can be ordered directly on the website.

Midtown

Lincoln Square

NoMad

East Village

Lure Fishbar (Soho)

Lure Fishbar Burger

Lure style burger | Credit: Briana Balducci

At the Soho spot known for its elegant cruise ship-like interior, most diners come for the raw bar, oyster selection, and sushi, but the award-winning Lure burger is not to be missed. The burger’s fame and status all came about when former executive chef Josh Capon won the NYC Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash with this burger — and continued to win it four more times. Though Capon has departed, the burger remains and comes “Bash style” with caramelized onion and bacon jam or “Lure style” with fried onion rings. Capon himself shared the burger’s secret recipe, but you have to try it in-person for the full experience.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor and outdoor covered patio dining are both available.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery are available on third-party apps.

HALL (Flatiron)

HALL is a chic Japanese bistro by day and an intimate cocktail bar by night. Its unassuming storefront holds the key to eight burgers with combinations like you’ve never seen before. The A5 wagyu steak burger stacks five slabs of wagyu steak atop of a wagyu patty, while the black cod burger is coated in miso charcoal crust paired with tartar sauce, plus Hudson Valley foie gras finds harmony with a wagyu patty glazed with Sansho pepper. Limited-time burger specials come in the form of wagyu brisket with barbecue sauce, as well as Maine lobster with a wagyu or shrimp patty with lobster bisque sauce. HALL is the stop for burgers outside the confines of beef.

Dining at the restaurant: HALL is temporarily only offering takeout and delivery.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery are both offered on its website.

P.J. Clarke’s (Multiple locations)

P.J. Clarke's burger

The “Cadillac” burger

A true old New York establishment, P.J. Clarke’s has been serving its patrons beers and burgers since 1884. The Clarke Burger is served no-frills with tomato, lettuce, and onion, with a plethora of toppings available including a fried egg, béarnaise sauce, four different varieties of cheese, avocado, double smoked bacon, and sautéed onion. But the crowd favorite is the “Cadillac,” named after jazz icon Nat King Cole had a taste of the ground chuck beef patty with double smoked country bacon, onion, and American cheese, and proclaimed it “the Cadillac of burgers.” All burgers are served with dill pickles and a slice of onion underneath as a nod to when the burgers were served on paper plates and the onion soaked up its juices to keep the plate dry.

Dining at the restaurant: P.J. Clarke’s is indoor only, except its waterfront restaurant at Battery Park City, which overlooks the Hudson River.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery are available on third-party apps.

Midtown East

Financial District

5 Napkin Burger (Multiple locations) 

5 Napkin Burger

5 Napkin Burger

A staple New York burger joint with four locations across the city, 5 Napkin Burger stays true to its origin story where it all began at chef Andy D’Amico’s French Provençal restaurant, Nice Matin. D’Amico’s burger creation was so popular — named after the fact that you needed five napkins when you eat it — that D’Amico and his business partner decided it deserved its own storefront, and the rest is history. The signature 5 Napkin Burger is made of 100 percent Angus chuck from Aspen Ridge and topped with Gruyère cheese, caramelized onions, and a smear of rosemary garlic aioli. Those who want something other than beef can choose from options made with Italian-spiced turkey, vegetables, ahi tuna, or an Impossible Foods vegan patty.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor and outdoor dining are available at all locations.

Takeout: Delivery and takeout orders can be placed online.

Hell’s Kitchen

Upper West Side

Upper East Side

Union Square

Brooklyn

Champs Diner (Williamsburg)

Vegans can let loose at Champs Diner, where everything on the menu is free from animal products. Self-described “vegan junk food” is served in a black-and-white retro diner space, meaning there’s of course a burger option. The classic “cheeseburger” is a house-made patty made from seitan, cauliflower, and lentils and topped with “cheese,” “mayo,” and pickles. Pair your burger with a vanilla “milkshake” and top it off with whipped “cream” to wash it all down. Check Champs Diner’s socials for the occasional burger special.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor dining only.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery are offered on third-party apps.

Meadowsweet (Williamsburg)

Cheeseburger

Meadowsweet cheeseburger

If you’re looking for a MICHELIN Guide-quality burger, look no further than Meadowsweet, a one MICHELIN-star new American restaurant nestled beside the Williamsburg Bridge serving up produce from its upstate farm. Husband-wife team executive chef Polo Dobkin and director of operations Stephanie Lempert bring together Dobkin’s experience as a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award of “Best Chef: New York City” and Lempert’s cocktail and design expertise to instill elements of her artwork in the interior. The cheeseburger here is sophisticated, yet comforting and satisfying like any good burger should be. It comes alive with a blend of brisket, short rib, and chuck in the beef patty, topped with house-made caramelized onion-bacon jam, bread and butter pickles, sharp white cheddar cheese, and hand-cut fries.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor and outdoor dining are both available.

Takeout: Meadowsweet offers takeout and delivery on its website.

Empanada Loca (Park Slope)

As its name indicates, empanadas are the star at Empanada Loca in Park Slope, with more than 30 types of empanadas to choose from — including a bacon cheeseburger option. Not technically a burger, but with all the elements of one, this empanada comes stuffed with ground beef, bacon, and American cheese inside a warm pastry. You can also go for the simpler cheeseburger empanada, sans bacon, and if you want a between-the-bun experience, classic burgers come in seven varieties on a brioche roll with potato or sweet potato fries. The Loca burger is a standout with a black Angus beef patty, bacon, lettuce, tomato, potato chips, American cheese, garlic, and cilantro jalapeño sauce. The extensive menu also features tapas, arepas, burritos, quesadillas, tacos, and breakfast. The best part? It’s open 24 hours, so you can satisfy that burger craving at any time of day.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor dining only.

Takeout: Empanada Loca offers delivery and takeout on a variety of third-party apps.

Queens

Akrotiri Seafood Taverna (Astoria)

At this taverna in Astoria’s bustling Greek community, the burger isn’t your average beef patty. Here, it’s made from octopus blended with breadcrumbs and served with lettuce, tomato, red onion, aioli, and fries. Enjoy it outside on the light-strung patio or inside the all-white dining room that is reminiscent of breezy Greek islands. Live music on Wednesdays livens up the atmosphere as Greek-inspired cocktails flow between grilled seafood and raw bar towers.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor and outdoor patio dining are available.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery are offered on third-party apps.

Tried them all? Check out other options here.