Photographer: Eric Medsker/Bloomberg

The 11 Best Burgers in New York City

Top chefs pick their all-time favorites, from burgers with fat, mid-rare patties dripping with juice to thin, crisp disks of beef smothered with cheese. These are the ones the true masters crave when they're off duty. Photographs by Eric Medsker/Bloomberg

  1. The Double Burger with Cheese at Hard Times Sundaes
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    The Double Burger with Cheese at Hard Times Sundaes

    "I've always had a passion for the old-school American burger," says Will Horowitz, the chef behind Harry & Ida's. Andrew Zurica's truck and its exquisite burgers used to be something of a secret, parked in Mill Basin, Brooklyn. Now, you can find them in UrbanSpace's midtown food hall, Vanderbilt Market. Horowitz goes for the double cheeseburger, calling it "an unsung hero in a tragic world of overstuffed and overpriced burgers." ($9.50) Hard Times Sundaes at UrbanSpace Vanderbilt 230 Park Avenue; (646) 747-0810

  2. The Cheeseburger at Joe Jr.
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    The Cheeseburger at Joe Jr.

    What makes the burger at Joe Jr. extraordinary? "It's so good and so simple," says Bobby Hellen, the chef at GG's. Hellen first started visiting the scruffy little diner for his usual order of a burger with a slice of American cheese about 8 years ago, when he worked in a kitchen nearby. ($4.90) Joe Jr., 167 3rd Avenue; (212) 473-5150

  3. Joe Jr.
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    Joe Jr.

    Hellen still pops in regularly with a hankering for that deeply charred patty crushed onto the flattop, but it's not just about the food. "I love the characters at Joe's, and the look and feel of the room with all the wood paneling. It's like your friend's grandparents' dope basement."

  4. The Chargrilled Burger at the Spotted Pig
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    The Chargrilled Burger at the Spotted Pig

    April Bloomfield's Roquefort-bolstered beauty at the Spotted Pig hasn't changed in years, and with good reason. It's pretty much perfect just the way it is: a half-pounder cooked over the grill and tucked inside a light, super glossy bun, dripping with blue cheese. "Hands down" says Missy Robbins of Lilia, it's the best. ($25) The Spotted Pig, 314 W 11th Street; (212) 620-0393

  5. The Hamburger at JG Melon
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    The Hamburger at JG Melon

    Daniel Eddy, the chef at Rebelle, has been going to the J.G. Melon on Third Avenue since he was 17, when he'd sneak out with friends in the city for a cheeseburger and a beer. "Everyone has that one burger that hits the spot," says Eddy "It's one of those iconic American things that brings back memories of summertime and conviviality, and I like a burger that I can imagine still going back for in 10 years." Eddy gets his with cheese. ($11.25) JG Melon, 1291 3rd Avenue; (212) 744-0585

  6. Bash-Style Burger at Burger & Barrel
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    Bash-Style Burger at Burger & Barrel

    Burger & Barrel’s “bash-style” involves a sweet onion and bacon jam, pickles, American cheese, and special sauce. Thomas Chen, the chef behind Tuome in the East Village, often stops in for one on his way to the restaurant, before dinner service starts. "I get it medium rare with a double IPA and it's always, always done right." ($19) Burger & Barrel, 25 W Houston Street; (212) 334-7320

  7. Salvation Burger at Salvation Burger
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    Salvation Burger at Salvation Burger

    April Bloomfield appears on this list twice, probably because she's one of the great burger masters of New York City. At Salvation Burger, her newest joint in the Pod Hotel in midtown, she's buying whole cows to grind her own meat and even baking the buns from scratch. Anita Lo, the chef/owner of Anissa is a huge fan. "April is a perfectionist," she says, "The bun to burger ratio works so you get the right amount of everything in every single bite. It's perfect." ($25) Salvation Burger, 230 E 51st Street; (646) 277-2900

  8. The Burger at the NoMad Bar
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    The Burger at the NoMad Bar

    Cronut creator Dominique Ansel, currently in the middle of opening a new bakery in London, finds comfort in the stunning burger at the NoMad Bar after a long day of sugar-dealing. "It's so tasty and it has this incredible texture," says Ansel, "which is tender and juicy and addictive."  ($18) The NoMad Bar, 1170 Broadway; (212) 796-1500

  9. The NoMad Burger Comes Together
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    The NoMad Burger Comes Together

    James Kent's recipe for the patty involves plenty of suet (the fat from around the cow's kidneys) along with bone marrow, but that secret sauce remains a secret, to Ansel's dismay. "Still, it's definitely one of the best burgers I've ever tried."

  10. The Green Chile Cheeseburger at Mission Cantina
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    The Green Chile Cheeseburger at Mission Cantina

    Melissa Weller first tried Mission Cantina's new cheeseburger at a pop-up in February and hasn't stopped thinking about it since. "The burger was delicious," she explains, "but I was really captured by the thin bun." And Weller, who makes some of the finest bagels in town at Sadelle's knows a thing or two about great bread. For this cheeseburger with spicy fermented chili sauce, Danny Bowien found the ideal ratio by scraping out excess bread from the center of the buns and replacing it with... cheese. Genius. ($18) Mission Cantina, 172 Orchard Street; (212) 254-2233

  11. Mission Cantina
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    Mission Cantina

    Mission Cantina, the brightly decorated sister restaurant of Mission Chinese Food, has experimented with many delicious, shifting personas since it opened in late 2013 (remember the delicious Vietnamese breakfasts?). Right now, it's a good time to go for burgers.

  12. Classic with Cheese at Harlem Shake
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    Classic with Cheese at Harlem Shake

    Adam Kuban documented burger greatness for years in his single-subject blog A Hamburger Today, before going on to make bar-style pizzas at his pop-up Margot. He praises the classic at Harlem Shake, which is built with two patties, cheese, pickles, onions, and special sauce. "It's a griddle-smashed burger like Shake Shack, Steak 'n Shake, or Smashburger," Kuban explains, "but they smash theirs even thinner so there's a higher ratio of seared craggy, crunchy bits, and they sandwich the cheese between the two patties." ($6.95) Harlem Shake, 100 West 124th Street; (212) 222-8300

  13. Ladies' Burger at Long Island Bar
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    Ladies' Burger at Long Island Bar

    Brooklyn's Long Island Bar is best known for Toby Cecchini's excellent cocktails, but regulars know the burger well, too. Elise Kornack, the chef at Take Root, likes to order it when she's off duty, along with a sour ale or a white negroni. "The bun is perfectly soft and gets just the right amount of sogginess from the meat juice," says Kornack, who likes her burgers with a thin, charred patty. "The burger is about a half-inch thick, not so thick that you feel like you're eating a slice of meatloaf." In addition to perfect proportions, the special sauce is "reminiscent of McDonald's, but cut with acidic cucumbers, pickled with coriander." ($15) Long Island Bar; 110 Atlantic Avenue (Brooklyn); (718) 625-8908

  14. Long Island Bar
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    Long Island Bar

    In 2013, Cecchini and partner Joel Tompkins lovingly restored the mid-century diner on Atlantic Avenue, which had been shuttered for years.

  15. Pan-Seared Burger at GG's
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    Pan-Seared Burger at GG's

    "The thing about a burger for me is the composition—the ratio of charred meat to rare meat to bun," says Adam Schop of Miss Lily's. To find the ratio he likes best, he heads to GG's in the East Village. "The meat is so good and it's seared really well so the edges get super crispy," Schop explains, "and I love that it's topped with an everyman's cheese: sharp white cheddar." Tucked in a squishy, slightly sweet Martin's potato roll, it results in a thing of beauty that's "even better than the sum of parts." ($16) GG's, 511 E 5th Street; (212) 687-3641