Is there anything better than a burger? A big meaty, juicy, delicious burger. Even one with all the Aussie trimmings: some egg, beetroot, mayo and pineapple. I could take a bite in the sunshine and wash it down with an icy cold slurp of good old Carlton Draught. This, to me, oozes Summer from every pore. Rooftop beers and sandy bikini bottoms topped off with burgers from the fish & chip shop.
To celebrate the coveted combo of beef and bun, we've rounded up Melbourne's best burgers. Even though I'm a fan of the old fashioned burger from the 100-year-old lady still working at the kebab shop, there's plenty on this list for the brioche believers, the wagyu wooers and the kimchi Korean chicken kissers. You'll think of us when your eyes light up from the sheer savoury satisfaction you'll experience after noshing on these bad boys. Seasonal bliss awaits you Urban Listers! (Editor's note: make sure you check out our updated 2015 list of Melbourne's best burgers!)
Nostalgic for the days of the milk bar, when Red Skins actually cost 5 cents? Tuck Shop Take Away was too, so they opened up a little nook in Caulfield to bring you old school delights, as well as one of Melbourne's best burgers. Peanut butter milkshakes, jaffles and a hot bag of chips are all big contenders for the tastebud pleasers of the day, but don't leave without digging into their seeded bun burger with shredded lettuce, wagyu patty and tomato.
Everything echoes Tuck Shop cool with meals served on tidy trays, shakes in glass bottles and the option to sit at the bar or in teeny booths lining the walls. Instead of a beer you can have a tea from Storm in a Teacup or an espresso courtesy of Monk Bodhi Dharma, but takeaway is available for all if you want to enjoy your burger in the park with a bevvy in hand. Oh, and as for those Red Skins – they made them into Red Skin brownies. WIN.
Upon arrival, the smell of salt and sizzle will fill your nostrils and you instantly know that Brother Burger is serious about the big boy's sandwich. The interior is for those who cannot make a decision – one third screams corporate boardroom with a dark wooded round table for twenty, another third screams NYC diner with a hip marble bar and booth seats, while the last third is outside, umbrella-shaded and perfect for people watching. As for the menu, while there's an emphasis on their 100% wagyu patty that comes in a variety of options (including 'The Lot' for those who want a little bit of everything), there are also plenty of options for those who are vego, including a burger with a whole crumbed field mushroom, peppers, spinach, goats cheese, onion jam, house made ketchup and mayo. Phew.
That said, the best burger of the bunch has to be the five spice duck burger with cucumber, lettuce, coriander, pickled carrot and hoisin sauce. Bonus points for onion rings, homemade dim-sims and alcoholic milkshakes – nom nom nom!
Melbourne is in no short supply of ye olde fashioned diner but, my God, if you're looking to keep your diner visits strictly to one or two gems, make sure that Parlour is on top of that list. Echoing rundown chic, Parlour is the kind of place that combines creature comfort with Melbourne cool making it instantly desirable. Though there are nods to the more exotic flavours – pulled pork, fried chicken and kranskys – what you should really be coming for is their Parlour Burger - 8oz beef patty, tomato, lettuce, cheese, pickles on a brioche bun. Top your visit off with curly fries and a cider and you'll be ready to kick some goals.
Though Tyranny is a place I usually visit between the hours of 4pm and 7pm daily for their legendary Happy Hour – $4 dollars for any drink that comes to mind – it is also a place to nosh, and nosh well. Housed in a converted petrol station littered with palm fronds and mismatched chairs, the menu tips the hat to tapas and indulges in tantalising cocktails. However, Tyranny also gives a shot at the burger, and good grief, do they hit the nail on the head. Get a load of their house-made beef patty, bacon, King Island smoked cheese, lettuce and mayonnaise served with crispy potatoes and smoked paprika aioli. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night drinks, Tyranny is a place to sit, swill and be merry for hours and hours on end.
As far as infamy goes in the world of Melbourne, The Merrywell has a pretty solid reputation for topping lists of best burgers that make your eyes light up, your stomach rumble and your tastebuds dance. Their burgers range from the simple K.I.S.S – cheddar, onions, pickles, ketchup, mustard on a damper roll, to the exotic Red Eye – poblanos, jalapenos, cheddar, chipotle mayo and sriracha, to the totally extravagant French Connection – duck confit, pepper crusted frisee and brandy sauce.
However, a trip to The Merrywell is not complete without munching on the namesake burger itself – an all beef patty, lettuce, tomato, cheddar, pickles, onion, special sauce, bacon and French fries. There's a reason it won Burger Adventure's "Burger of 2013"! With a fantastic rooftop that offers views of the CBD, a drinks list that favours local brewers and internationals alike, and a dance floor like no other, this is a pub that is not just well set up, it's an inspiration to all pubs in Melbourne.
With a super laidback atmosphere, The Beaufort dishes up the best burgers in Carlton. Oozing a typical dive bar vibe with lots of scotch bottles, sailor themed knick knacks and bearded bar staff, The Beaufort is just as much a place to enjoy a casual brew as well as one of their treats from the extensive American style menu – think deep fried pickles, pulled pork sandwiches and burgers, folks. As for the aforementioned burger, you won't be let down with the array of options, however we recommend getting the Philly Cheese Steak – shaved rump, onion, capsicum and cheese on a soft white roll with French fries in tow. The best part is vegetarians won't miss out as there's a Philly Cheese Fake with mushrooms instead of meat, as well as a vegan burger! Yay!
The new venture from the crew behind Ferdyduke and Section 8, The B.East is a local Brunswick staple teaming cheap beers with simple, awesome burgers. Unassuming with its grungy feel, rock band posters and comfy op-shop couches, the B.East is very much a place where you suddenly check your watch and realise that it hasn't been an hour, it's been four. Pairing one of their great burgers – from venison to wagyu, chicken to vego – with a Bacon Martini should have you cool to croon along to the surf rock soundtrack that's pumped all night long. The most intense burger you'll get on their list, though, is the B.East itself – a triple patty and triple bacon delight, smothered in chilli-cheese sauce, lettuce, pickled red onion and tomato. Polish that off with one of their Oreo milkshakes and say goodbye to all previous burger favourites and hello burger happiness.
A sweet hangout for Collingwood locals, The Star is a previously unrated burger joint in the midst of Melbourne's meat savouring aficionados. However, I will honestly say, and I am totally happy to be quoted on this, The Star's beef patty burger is one of the best burgers I've ever had. Ever. With a no frills attitude, the combination of beef patty, cos lettuce, tomato, pickle, mayo and relish on a brioche bun will make your heart sing. There's a range of burgers for those of you pining for a little something extra, including eight chicken burgers and a beef burger with sauerkraut. That said, teaming one of their craft beers on tap with that plain beef burger is just pure, unadulterated bliss.
The Spotted Mallard is a great bar in Brunswick that offers silky jazz, warm and friendly bar staff, and a huge range of booze. However, despite the street cred of being a fine music and drinking establishment, they also offer delicious food. When I first saw the picture of their wagyu burger, the thought that such deliciousness could exist nearly made me faint. The 200gm wagyu beef patty is cooked until tickled pink, before being teamed with streaky bacon, molten gruyere cheese, caramelized onion, and pickles on chipotle mayo doused brioche. You will potentially never move again, but you'll be in such a happy burger-coma that you won't mind.
Hooked is the Grill'd of the fish & chip world – dishing up fancy flake and potatoes to hungry Prahran and Fitzroy locals. Never fear though burger lovers, Hooked offers the greatest range of fish burgers you will see in Melbourne. Simple palates will enjoy the house Fish Burger – panko crumbed blue Grenadier, lettuce, tomato and tartare sauce – but those seeking something more complex will delight in the Tuna Burger – a medium rare tuna steak with wasabi mayo, tomato, red onion and lettuce. However, the best burger you will see on this menu is in fact the unassuming Barra Burger. A piece of barramundi teamed with spicy mayo, pickles and lettuce on a soft white tuck shop style bun will have you gasping in pleasure. Grab some takeaway or eat in, the choice is yours. Either way you'll be Hooked.
We couldn't have a Melbourne's best burger list without including Beatbox Kitchen, the almighty food truck burger maestros. They've been driving around Melbourne for a couple of years now, and there's a reason why there has been no need to alter the menu from their burger staple – the Raph Burger. Featuring a soft bun (baked fresh everyday in Brunswick), a 170gm grass-fed beef patty, cos lettuce, tomato, gouda cheese, onion and that famous stereo sauce, the Raph Burger is just plain awesome. There's also a vegetarian option, the 'Shroom Burger, available in case you, or your friend, has an aversion to moo cow. To get your paws on one, make sure you follow Beatbox Kitchen on social media to find out where they're driving to next – don't miss out!
Rockwell and Sons always has a line out the door, and for good reason. The perfect fusion between pub and fine dining, Rockwell and Sons' cool, calm and collected restaurant in Collingwood is dimly lit and perfectly cool for date night with that special someone, or drunk night with lots of friends. Though one can expect to dine on fancy feeds like slow roasted lamb shoulders or plates of garlic infused mussels, the burger is not something to scan over. The double patty Smash Burger with Kraft cheese and special sauce on a seeded bun is absolutely mouthwatering and features on many a 'best burgers' list amongst Melbourne's foodie scene. However, if the crispy calamari roll with kewpie tartare and pickled celery catches your eye, or the pan fried soft shell sandwich with bacon, cabbage and creme fraiche makes you start to sweat with hunger, you can always come back again, and again, and again.
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