Seattle may be known for its coffee, but the food around the Emerald City is nothing to shrug off, either. A round-up of Seattle's absolute best burgers, from dive bars to bistros to Lao-inspired creations, takes you on a journey throughout the city, burger by burger. While there are a lot — and we mean a lot — of burgers to choose from, this extensive list is built from personal, local experience dining in the city and insight from other local food reviewers. When deciding, we've taken into account all that makes a burger stand out to ensure that you stay aware of the tastiest sandwiches around.
These days, Seattle chefs are bringing the best of the Pacific Northwest through their burger creations, whether simple by design or gourmet masterpieces. The burgers on this list are a compilation of high-quality, local beef seared to perfection and service housemade aiolis, pickles, mustards, chutneys, and garums. Sandwiched in between tender and toasted buns, both simple and innovative additions from pork belly to Beecher's flagship cheese offer everything a burger lover could want. You're guaranteed to find a burger for any occasion, craving, and price point.
Read more: Tips You Need When Cooking With Ground Beef
Boat Bar is one of many Renee Erickson eateries across the city. The space is airy, light, and welcoming, serving a very French-esque bistro burger at the bar from the evening on. All the ingredients are tip-top, starting with the very plump and perfectly positioned, grass-fed, dry-aged beef patty. Placed on top of a golden brioche bun with a generous dollop of green goddess sauce, the burger is simply and elegantly topped with a small handful of frisée. É violà!
It's delicious and juicy, and honestly, it's the kind of burger that makes you want to put on a select few pieces of your gold jewelry when you go out to eat it. This elevated energy makes up for what it lacks in size, as it's on the smaller side. No need to panic! The bistro fries and housemade aioli are here for you. Get there at open to ensure a seat while sunlight is still splashed across the marble bar top.
boatbarseattle.com(206) 900-88081060 E Union St, Seattle, WA 98122
Li'l Woody's is only about burgers. With a burger-only menu full of mainstays and specials, the casual joint has gained a loyal following and expanded across the city. The foundation of each burger is grass-fed beef from Pacific Northwest's Royal Ranch Farm. Additionally, all the accessory toppings are sourced from within the region.
A fan favorite is The Fig and The Pig, with a decadent scoop of falling-apart pickled figs, bacon, and blue cheese atop the patty. It hits just where you want and will leave you satisfyingly stuffed. The burger is great value and served up fast, so you might as well go fully in on this and add the crispy hand-cut fries and a milkshake while you're at it.
lilwoodys.com(206) 403-1294Multiple locations in Seattle, WA
Beloved Seattle staple Dick's Drive-In has been slinging burgers for over 60 years. If you know, you know — but if you don't, it's a vibe. Starting with the original location in the Wallingford neighborhood, it exudes the classic 1950s-era energy that just makes you feel good. Today, there are numerous locations throughout the city where you will always find a disorganized and eager crowd lined up at the windows, no matter what time of day.
The hamburger round-up includes a few options, but the Deluxe is what you want. Complete with two ⅛ pound patties covered in melted American cheese, torn iceberg lettuce, and mayo-pickle relish on a soft white bun; it's a classic fast-food style burger. Cheap, tasty, and convenient. As a Seattleite friend once said, "Nothing quenches a burger craving like a Dick's Deluxe."
ddir.com(206) 634-0300Multiple locations in Seattle, WA
Taurus Ox's gift to the world is its Laotian take on a burger. The kitchen has everything from fried rice noodles to nam khao on the menu, but the burger is kind of the crossover that takes a bit of America and then gets creative.
Two smashed patties with melted provolone cheese, jaew tomato, and jaew bong mayo. A house-cured pork belly is topped with pickled red onion, taro stem, and cilantro, making this one of the most unique and tasty burgers in the city. The sides include taro chips, sticky rice, and papaya salad. Head to Capitol Hill hungry.
taurusox.com(206) 972-0075903 19th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112
Big Max Burger Co.
Max Petty is a fine dining chef turned burger master with his creation of Big Max Burger Co. in Queen Anne. Quality ingredients and attention to detail make the Big Max Burger one of the best burgers in Seattle.
Two smashed patties made of dry-aged Wagyu brisket and bacon are topped with smoked cheddar, lettuce, bread and butter pickles, both caramelized and raw red onion, house ketchup, and Max sauce. It's all served on a challah bun. It's a classic fast-food burger that is made impeccably well. A nonclassic fast food take, but a delicious side order, is the Caesar salad with baby gem lettuce and anchovy garlic vinaigrette.
bigmaxburgerco.com(206) 946-66361935 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
Damn The Weather
Damn The Weather is a dark and moody food-forward bar in the heart of Pioneer Square. Along with local oysters and cocktails, you can find its burger on both the lunch and dinner menus.
It's a traditional, grass-fed beef patty with melted cheddar, charred onions, blackened eggplant BBQ, salsa verde, and pickles, all on a housemade bun. The eggplant BBQ sauce and salsa verde put an edgy spin on the classic burger, fitting right in with everything else Damn The Weather is doing.
damntheweather.com(206) 946-1286116 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
Loretta's Tavern burger has gained traction on the Seattle burger scene over the last couple of years, and for good reason. It's the dive bar burger you want to eat, sober or tipsy. Nothing fancy here, just simple done right. A charbroiled patty with a perfect square of orange, melted American cheese smashed onto a vaguely toasted white bun with pickles, raw white onion, and a mayo-heavy house special sauce.
The high point of this burger is probably the perfect char and crispy bit on the smashed beef patty. It comes across as effortless but makes the burger shine, elevating it to, well, a dive bar burger that made this list. Side note: don't skip the perfectly crispy seasoned fries.
lorettasnorthwesterner.com(206) 327-96498617 14th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108
Harry's Fine Foods
Arguably the quaintest Capitol Hill neighborhood restaurant, Harry's Fine Foods is nestled in a sweet little corner house with an even sweeter little backyard patio. The abode is cheery, with red and white striped linens, fresh flowers, and eclectic vintage pieces throughout.
The Harry's burger is a very Pacific Northwest take, with all ingredients being locally sourced, starting with the 28-day dry-aged beef patty from Ephrata's Klingeman Family Farm. Accompanied by none other than local Mama Lil's peppers and Beecher's cheese, it's also got a few leaves of butterhead lettuce and mayo, all layered between a golden brioche bun. It's juicy, well-sized, and comes with a pile of golden delicious fries seasoned with Pecorino, rosemary, and sage. Be sure to also check out the popping natural wine list to quench your burger-induced thirst.
harrysfinefoods.com(206) 432-9285601 Bellevue Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102
Coming to you from the Derschang Group, King's Hardware serves a series of upscale bar burgers. Though the King's burger is a no-frills, American cheese-laden burger with lettuce, tomato, pickle, and King's sauce as its baseline, it doesn't need anything else.
When that little red basket comes your way, filled with this perfectly stacked and wrapped staple burger, it's perfection. It's hot. It's juicy. It's well-seasoned burger bliss. Your burger accompaniment? Tots. They're great here at King's, and they're decidedly underserved alongside burgers, so get them.
kingsballard.com(206) 782-00275225 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
Mean Sandwich is a bit of a Ballard gem. Crammed into a small space on busy Leary Way, it's unassuming, other than its unmistakable open-mouth logo. Owner and chef Dan Crookston has been around the culinary block in Seattle and brings a whole lot of great ingredients and ingenuity to the kitchen, creating many sandwiches with pizzazz, including a burger.
The D.A.M. Burger is two smashed ¼ pound patties with American cheese, onion, mayo, house-made pickles, and yellow mustard. It is juicy, messy, and delicious as a well-adorned double-stacked smash burger should be. The thoughtfully procured grass-fed, grass-finished, dry-aged beef is exceptional, and the smash and sear truly do it justice. Do not, we repeat, do not skip the Skins & Ins here. These are baked potatoes scooped from their skins, cut into quarters, reunited with the skins, fried to the perfect crisp, and heavily salted and peppered.
meansandwich.com(206) 789-99991510 Leary Wy NW, Seattle, WA 98107
8oz Burger & Co
Chef Kevin Chung created 8oz Burger & Co. back in 2011, serving a wide selection of elevated burgers to Seattlelites and everyone else lining up to get in. Sourcing meat from Royal Ranch, which raises carbon-neutral cattle and practices regenerative farming in the Columbia Basin, 8oz is committed to sourcing locally and sustainably across its menu.
The signature burger, The 8oz, is a plump and juicy patty with arugula, balsamic onions, bacon, Beecher's cheddar, and truffle aioli on a locally baked organic brioche bun. It's beautiful, and it knows it. It's presented solo on a large plate, so you can give it some accolades even before diving in. Easily one of the most sought-after and best burgers in Seattle, it's lip-smacking good with a whole lot of nuanced flavors from the balsamic to the sharp cheddar to the decadent truffle
8ozburgerandco.comCapitol Hill (206) 466-5989 / Ballard (206) 782-2491Multiple locations in Seattle, WA
This Fremont neighborhood staple has been around for over a decade now, serving up responsibly sourced beef burgers in a fast-casual setting. The space has a large garage door that opens out onto a deck, the perfect place to dive into your Classic Burger on a sunny day and watch the buzzy street below.
The Classic is a great value: a ¼ pound patty, romaine, tomato, pickles, and a house-special sauce. You can make it a double or add cheddar, bacon, or a fried egg for a little more. Hand-cut fries, sweet potato fries, cheese curds, onion rings, and hand-dipped shakes are also on the menu and highly recommended.
uneedaburger.com(206) 547-26004302 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103
Lady Jaye is West Seattle's butcher, smokehouse, BBQ restaurant, and whiskey bar. Ahem. Need we say more? You can go Wednesday through Sunday, but you'll only find the smoked Wagyu burger available on the Thursday menu. Lady Jaye works with third-generation farmers in Ephrata, Washington, to procure grass-fed, barley-finished beef that is dry-aged for 21 days. The high-quality meat and the smoking precision result in a delectable smoked Wagyu cheeseburger.
Served on a golden brioche bun with rocket sauce, assorted pickles, and shredded lettuce, it's a dream birthed from the barbeque. Be prepared to shell out a bit more than your normal fast-food burger. But hey, anything in the name of smoked burger excellence, right? Plus, there are an array of smokehouse sides to choose from, like a jalapeno kale caesar, slaw, potato salad, and shoestring fries with pickle juice and dill.
ladyjaye.com(206) 457-40294523 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116
An American steakhouse with French flair and Pacific Northwest charm, Bateau is brought to you by beloved Seattle chef Renee Erickson. Sourcing specialty dry-aged and grass-fed, grass-finished beef from heritage cattle in Moses Lake, Washington, the house butcher, Scott Johnson, does a stand-up job transforming all the cuts into magnificent tastes.
The beautifully crafted burger is a juicy chunk, simply served with housemade caramelized onion jam and garlic aioli on a toasted challah bun. At $20, it's incredibly reasonably priced and an absolute treat-your-self-burger to enjoy in the well-lit, minimal atmosphere with a side of frites and a chicory salad. Most certainly one of Seattle's most elegant and delicious burgers.
restaurantbateau.com(206) 900-86991040 E Union St, Seattle, WA 98122
A small French brasserie tucked away in sleepy Madrona, Red Cow is an Ethan Stowell creation that serves up steak frites (in all the ways), duck cassoulet, mussels, and, yes, the Red Cow Burger. A classic, plump, and juicy patty is placed on a toasted brioche bun dressed with spicy aioli, applewood smoked bacon, a thick slice of tomato, and a heap of caramelized onions.
To top it off, a Beecher's fondue is smeared across the inside of the top bun. It's irresistibly juicy and has such an edge from the sharp cheddar fondue and spicy aioli that cuts through the inherent richness. With a side of pommes frites, this is a complete meal that will transport you to burger bliss in no time. Looking for a red wine to go along with your burger? There is a great list.
ethanstowellrestaurants.com(206) 454-79321423 34th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
A brewery with a kick-ass burger, Perihelion seems to always be bubbling with inviting energy. Maybe it's all the great beer they serve up, but we're pretty sure the Beacon Burger has something to do with it, too.
The Beacon Burger consists of a hefty patty on a golden toasted brioche bun with Beecher's flagship cheddar, smoked pork belly, tomato, greens, sliced red onion, and smoked chile aioli. It's a gloriously messy, sky-high stack of a burger that goes above and beyond. Looking for your sides? Sweet potato fries, potato fries, BBQ fries; the list goes on, not unlike the beer list, where you will no doubt find the perfect match for your Beacon Burger.
perihelion.beer(206) 200-39352800 16th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144
49th Street Beast
Beast & Cleaver gained a die-hard fan group of meat enthusiasts and geeky butcher wannabes shortly after opening. The whole animal butchery sources ethically and ecologically farmed meat and are exceptional at their craft. While you can find the burger at its extremely small in-shop restaurant, the Peasant, you'll be hard-pressed to get a reservation.
You'll now have better luck finding this delicious specimen at their permanent pop-up at Fair Isle Brewing, affectionately called 49th Street Beast. The 100-day dry-aged beef is topped with American cheese, ketchup, and beef garum. Add bacon to the burger and order one of Fair Isle's phenomenal brews to pair with it. It's simply one of the best burgers (and breweries) in the city.
fairislebrewing.com(206) 428-3434936 NW 49th St, Seattle, WA 98107
There is a lot to love about this modern French American restaurant in the upper Fremont neighborhood. The team at Le Coin is all in on everything they do, from raising geese and ducks on their off-site farm to dry-aging fish in-house to the innovative bar program they've created. So, when it comes to the Le Coin Burger, it's no surprise it's the gourmet burger of your dreams.
A thick and juicy patty is accompanied by caramelized onions, Mimolette fondue, jammy cured tomato, herby aioli, and a pile of fresh greens, all on a Sea Wolf sesame bun. All the accouterments pack a rich and complex punch of flavor that simply makes it one of the absolute best burgers around. On the side, of course, are perfectly fried, hand-cut frites seasoned with herbs and garlic. The combo is simply a chef's kiss.
lecoinseattle.com(206) 708-72074201 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103
Rain City Burgers
Rain City prides itself on its delicious burgers and its enthusiastic fan spirit for Seattle sports teams. While the Mariners and Seahawks rankings may ebb and flow year to year, the Rain City burgers remain consistently outstanding. A nice surprise for the Roosevelt neighborhood locals.
The mushroom Swiss burger is one of the best burgers in Seattle. It's Swiss cheese melted on a ¼ pound beef patty, marinated portobello mushroom, frilled green leaf lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, and Rain City sauce on a sesame bun. Long story short, it's a burger you want to eat whether your team wins or loses. The additional flavors of the mushroom and Swiss pack a big umami punch and bring the burger to new heights.
raincityburgers.com(206) 525-35426501 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115
Katsu burger started in Georgetown, where Hajime Soto oversaw the sweet collision of Japanese Katsu-style fried pork, chicken, and beef with more traditional American burgers to create the hybrid burger we all now crave. Now, with locations dotted across the city, you can find your breaded and fried Katsu burger in your neighborhood.
There are a handful of renditions to choose from; nearly all of them are stacked sky-high and perfectly and impossibly messy to eat, but it's hard to beat The Tokyo Tower. Consisting of two beef katsu patties layered with American cheese, slathered with Japanese mayo and tonkatsu sauce, sliced tomato, a stack of raw red onion rings, pickles, and a heap of shredded lettuce, it's a textural dream and flavor explosion that you have to experience. Sides include edamame, nori-seasoned fries, and seaweed salad.
katsuburger.com(206) 762-0752Multiple locations in Seattle, WA
With all the burgers out there we had to do a fair amount of knit picking to see which burgers would make the cut. These burgers have been chosen for their overall quality and unique traits that make them extra delicious based on personal experience and other professional reviews from Seattle Met, The Infatuation, and Eater. Price was not a factor, however, burgers from both fast food and fine dining establishments have made their way onto the list.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.