Where to Find the 15 Best Burgers in Boston Right Now
Sometimes, nothing else will do–so here's a perfect patty for every taste.
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Edited by Scott Kearnan
Composed, as it is, of juicy, charred patties oozing with melted cheese and tangy special sauce, the burger is a simple sandwich with infinite ways to be perfected. It’s also a menu staple everywhere from bistros to beer bars, so we’ve gathered up our current favorites for you here. From prime, local beef sandwiched into fresh-baked rolls, to greasy-good flat patties on squishy potato buns, here’s where to find the best burgers around Boston right now.
Chef Jamie Mammano’s South End bouchon piles on the French classics: escargot, steak (or duck) frites, and of course, regional Lyonnais cookery such as quenelle de brochet, supple pike dumplings with crayfish tails in a luscious lobster velouté. And yet, time and again, our eye wanders back to the menu’s “Le Burger,” which tops a dry-aged beef patty with tarragon aioli, an herby fine dicing of mushrooms and shallots, a sunny-side egg, and American cheese. In a word, magnifique.
1750 Washington St., Boston, 617-904-4020, barlyon.com.
This Dot favorite serves up grass-fed beef with fresh and creative toppings, such as the Maui burger: a volcano-high heap of sliced pineapple, smoked ham, habanero pepperjack cheese, crispy onions, and spicy sauce from nearby M&M BBQ. You’ll also find non-beef options, like the vegetarian sweet potato patty with Fuji apple, goat cheese and fig spread; and a jerk salmon patty with tartar slaw and crispy onions, inspired by owner Tambo Barrow’s Trinidadian and Bajan roots.
2255 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, 617-698-0103, bredgourmet.com.
The Bronburger at chef Tim Wiechmann’s German-inspired beer hall boasts a patty of beef and pork belly, topped with a slab of bacon—and that’s not even the best part. What really ties the unctuous meats, rich Comté cheese, and tangy kraut together is Wiechmann’s preternaturally delicious pretzel roll: Plush and chewy, it has just enough heft to support the decadent contents. Another twist on the tried-and-true formula? Golden bratkartoffeln, or German home fries, rather than the typical shoestrings.
255 Washington St., Somerville, 617-776-9900, bronwynrestaurant.com.
Everybody loves Charlie’s: the place is a landmark, one of the few holdovers from Harvard Square bygone days of spiky-haired punks and dive bars. And everybody still loves Charlie’s open-faced burgers—some topped with guacamole, some made with Guinness beer, some served on a bulkie roll and some served on brioche—because they’re perfectly sizzled and perfect for scarfing while you brainstorm tunes to play on the jukebox or saddle up for suds in the glorious beer garden.
10 Eliot St., Cambridge, 617-492-9646, charlieskitchen.com.
Craigie on Main
At least for now, chef Tony Maws’s classic Cambridge restaurant is sticking to the new format it introduced during the pandemic: Family-style, chef’s choice dinners are reserved at a single price on a spacious, tricked-out patio, dubbed Craigie Next Door. The restaurant’s legendary burger, though, is still served a la carte at the first-come-first-served Bar Next Door, a more casual place to pull up a seat for the coveted patty, available in limited quantities nightly. Show up early to make sure you nab the flavorful patty, a blend of brisket, short ribs, hanger steak, bone marrow, and suet for maximum flavor-fat ratio. It’s sprinkled with miso as a flavor booster and accompanied by house-made, well, everything— from the pickles to the ketchup.
853 Main St., Cambridge, 617-497-5511, craigieonmain.com.
Bring up the burger at Barbara Lynch’s craft-cocktail den, and your bartender’s eyes may light up in the same way they would if you’d ordered a rare scotch. Buttery, juicy, and rich as can be, the luxed-up spin on a Big Mac— featuring a perfectly grilled Colorado Wagyu patty (make that a double) and melted American cheese—pairs beautifully with a couple of Old Fashioneds. Add an order of the bar’s thick-cut fries with malt-vinegar aioli to make this the happiest of happy meals.
348 Congress St., Boston, 617-695-1806, drinkfortpoint.com.
The city’s only spot dedicated to Scottish pub fare features house favorites like cullen skink (smoky fish chowder), Scotch eggs, and an excellent burger, topped with a sweet-salty bacon-onion marmalade and Huntsman cheese and paired with thick potato wedges. What’s more, you’ll also find Boston’s best selection of Scotch ales and other Caledonian beers, including Belhaven and Crabbies by the bottle.
2 Perkins St., Jamaica Plain, 617-524-2836, thehavenjp.com.
There are flashier, funkier plates at this playful Fenway-side izakaya from chef Tim and Nancy Cushman’s crew, also behind downtown’s glittery O Ya and brand-new Bianca in Chestnut Hill. But the burger is the not-so-secret star (even Julian Edelman is a vocal fan). Topped with American cheese, dashi pickles and a tangy “special sauce,” it’s a slightly sloppy thing of beauty.
1271 Boylston St., Boston, 617-670-0507, hojokoboston.com.
Bar star Kevin Mabry, the beverage director who helped turn JM Curley into one of Downtown Crossing’s most popular gastropubs in its early days, recently returned to the spot as a managing partner. That’s more than enough reason to bring us back to see what he’s up to, but so is the famous burger, which has never gone anywhere. Head over, and you’ll still be rewarded with a cheddar-topped 5-ounce patty—a blend of brisket, chuck, and short rib—plus pickles, griddled onions, and house-made Russian dressing served open-face on a seeded bun.
21 Temple Place, Boston, 617-338-5333, jmcurleyboston.com.
Little Big Diner
It’s all rice bowls and ramen at this Newton Centre noodle den, save for a handful of bang-up small plates, including its LBD Flat Patty. Here, the kitchen plays a solid game of contrast, dressing the grill-charred chuck with a hot ’n’ sweet pineapple-onion sambal; cool, creamy mayo; a tender leaf of Bibb lettuce; and crunchy batter-fried onion strings. And what better way to enhance this burger’s tropical profile than by sandwiching the whole thing on a plush King’s Hawaiian bun?
1247 Centre St., Newton, 857- 404-0068, littlebigdiner.com.
Leave it to the Ken Oringer–Jamie Bissonnette team to play fast and loose with the fast-food-burger formula and deliver a brilliant, ordinary-be-damned mash-up of haute cuisine and guilty pleasure. On the one hand, you have dry-aged beef gilded with foie gras; on the other, Buffalo-sauced pickles, yellow American, and fried jalapeño “chips”—not to mention Lipton onion-soup-mix mayo. The ultimate guilty pleasure, indeed.
505 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-945- 1008, littledonkeybos.com.
Like the phases of the moon, something is always shifting on the menu at chef Asia Mei’s playful Southie haunt: her burgers. Each month, Mei moves on to a different idea—consider June’s offering, the Ranch Burger, loaded with (ready?) house buttermilk-poblano ranch dressing, ranch pickles, ranch Doritos and a ranch and garlic-herb cheese spread. (Bring your own breath mints.) There’s always a standard, simpler beef burger on deck, and Moonshine’s veggie burger, made with a mushroom and tofu patty, is a standout too.
152 Dorchester Ave., South Boston, 617-752-4191, moonshine152.com.
Roxy’s Grilled Cheese
The grilled cheese sandwiches give the place its name, but you don’t want to miss the burgers, either. Slathered with fiery house-made pimiento cheese, the Justin’s Burger from this queso-focused quick-service spot offers the best of both worlds, with an extra kick from creamy chipotle mayo and Grillo’s pickles. The Mushroom Burger, meanwhile, sautés some flavorful fungi to pair with truffle mayo, caramelized onions, Swiss cheese, and arugula.
485 Cambridge St., Allston, 617- 202-5864; roxysgrilledcheese.com.
The quarter-pound Shojonator packs more flavor into its package than burgers twice its size. Spice, smoke, and umami—from ingredients including a Velveeta-like “kimcheese,” Applewood bacon, and fried egg—mingle together gloriously between the beef and halves of a fluffy house-made bao bun. Go ahead, add the extra patty. You’re going to want two.
9A Tyler St., Boston, 617-423- 7888, shojoboston.com.
What makes the Big Tasty a winner? The griddled patty is crisp but juicy. The salty American shingle doesn’t just sit on the patty; it seeps into it like a well-seasoned condiment. The requisite veggies—lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles—are fresh and crisp. The from-scratch sauce tastes particularly “special.” And the house bun is appropriately squishy. That said, thanks to smart sides (a 50/50 combo of fries and onion rings!), killer drinks (don’t miss the house-brewed raspberry-lime rickeys), and hometown charm, every burger option at this local chain is the ultimate crowd-pleaser.
Multiple locations, tastyburger.com.