Where to Find the Best Burgers in Boston Right Now

Sometimes, nothing else will do–so here's a perfect patty for every taste.


Edited by Scott Kearnan, with reporting by Tomás Gonzalez


The signature Bred Burger is on the takeout menu from Dorchester’s Bred Gourmet.

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.

Bred Gourmet

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.

Bronwyn

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.

Charlie’s Kitchen

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

The Drink burger. / Photo by Brian Samuels Photography

Drink

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 Haven

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. Be sure to check it all out at the Haven’s big new location on Amory Street.

284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, 617-634-9184, thehavenjp.com.

Photo courtesy of Hojoko

Hojoko

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.

Burger at jm Curley. / Photo provided

JM Curley

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. / Photo provided

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.

The Donkey burger. / Photo provided

Little Donkey

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.

Moonshine 152

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 a past 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.

The Quiet Few

This neighborhood whiskey bar may have been lauded by this very magazine for its amazing trivia night and friendly staff, but make no mistake: the food is what makes this “quiet” spot something to tell a few buddies about. Their menu changes depending on the availability of seasonal ingredients, but the standard burgers are available year-round. Opt for their staple Hell Yeah Burger, a 4 oz double patty marinated in spices and whiskey, topped with their signature sauce, American and cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, smoked onions, pickles and served on the traditional sesame seed brioche bun. Don’t stop there, though: You’ll want to order to accompany it with the fried pickles and Disco poutine fries. If you’re ready to make it a real party, wash it down with one of their picklebacks—regular, or spicy.

331 Sumner St., East Boston, 617-561-1061, thequietfew.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 Shojonator / Photo by Danh Nguyen and Andrew Kubica

Shōjō

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.

Tasty Burger / Photograph by Kelsey Cronin

Tasty Burger

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.