It’s so like New York City to elevate an everyday menu item like the burger — and then charge a hefty price for it. But trust us, it’s worth it. From proprietary meat blends to special sauces, NYC is where you’ll find the best of the best. To help you plan your next trip, we’ve rounded up a list of the top places (that doesn’t include golden arches or cardboard crowns) for every budget.
Here’s where you need to order a burger when you’re visiting the Big Apple.
4 Charles Prime Rib: At this intimate supper club in the West Village, you might think that you need to order the prime rib. I mean, it’s in the name. But don’t overlook the restaurant’s Double Wagyu Cheeseburger with American cheese, pickles, and dijonnaise, which can be served as an appetizer and cut four ways upon request. With the option to top it with bacon and a runny egg, this burger is similar to the one at Au Cheval (which you’ll also find on our list). That’s because the same restaurateur is behind both spots.
Minetta Tavern: The Black Label Burger at this Greenwich Village mainstay might seem basic with not a lot of frills, but it’s the quality of the ingredients that make this a top-notch burger. Made with a proprietary Pat LaFrieda blend including dry-aged ribeye, the juicy patty is served with caramelized onions on a brioche-style bun.
Gramercy Tavern: At this Flatiron restaurant, the humble burger is upgraded to the next level thanks to a chuck/brisket beef blend that’s sourced from farms in upstate New York and Vermont. It’s topped with Shelburne cheddar, belly-cut bacon, and the Tavern’s signature smoked onion aioli, and served on a buttered, toasted bun with a side of duck fat potato chips.
Au Cheval: The sister restaurant to the Chicago original, New York’s Au Cheval offers up American dishes including its famous double cheeseburger. It comes with two beef patties, sharp American cheddar, pickles, onions, and dijonnaise — like the one at 4 Charles Prime Rib but with a lower price tag. There’s also the option to add on a fried egg or a layer of thick-cut pepper bacon to the burger.
Emily: Only in NYC does a pizza shop serve one of the best burgers in the city. At Emily, which has locations in the West Village and Brooklyn, the burger comprises one or two patties, cheese, caramelized onions, pickles or cornichons (depending on the location), and a bright-orange secret sauce with a sweet-and-spicy punch that’s known as “Emmy” sauce, all served on a pretzel bun.
Lure Fishbar: Dubbed the Bash Burger, this decadent menu item from a restaurant that’s known for its fish and seafood is typically topped with cheese, shaved pickles, and a savory bacon-onion jam, and served on a brioche bun with a homemade “special sauce.” With locations in both New York and Chicago, Lure Fishbar offers up the burger two ways: “Bash Style” with the jam, cheese, and pickles or “Lure Style” with lettuce, tomato, cheese, and pickles.
The Happiest Hour: The Happiest Burger is this West Village bar and restaurant’s take on the Big Mac. It comes with two small patties, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, confit onions, and a special sauce. There’s also a smaller version called the “single happy” with just one patty as well as a veggie option.
Corner Bistro: Considered one of Manhattan’s best, the Bistro Burger is a true classic. Served with American cheese, crisp bacon, lettuce, tomato, a slice of raw onion, and pickles, it’s like a simple burger you’d find at a greasy diner but better. Bravo exec Andy Cohen even said it was the best burger in New York City.
Burger Joint: At this beloved NYC establishment, with two locations in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn, ask for “The Works” in order to get lettuce, tomato, onion, sliced pickles, mustard, ketchup, and mayo on your burger. Its original location lives up to the word “joint,” with vinyl booths, wood veneer paneling, and graffiti scribbles on the wall.