Sometimes you just really need a burger. When that craving kicks in, there’s no better place to be than Seattle. Whether you want thick, juicy patties; buttery brioche buns; classic no-fuss toppings; a burger slathered in truffle aioli; or something delicious and also vegetarian-friendly, these babies hit the spot. Here’s where to get the Emerald City’s best burgers!
Dick’s sticks to what it does best: burgers made with fresh beef delivered daily and hand-cut crispy fries. The Deluxe is as fancy as it gets (meaning, not that fancy but super delish), with two patties, American cheese, lettuce, mayonnaise, and pickle relish. The founder’s granddaughter is now president of this legendary Seattle institution — which has been in business for over 60 years — where there are no frills, no substitutions, just damn good burgers (and shakes)!
Housed in a former garage, big things come out of this small Fremont burger shack. Thick patties fill buttery buns, with options like all-natural beef, bison, lamb, and even elk. First-timers will get hooked with the Big Star, a burger topped with bacon, creamy coleslaw, crackly onion rings, and finished off with a roasted Fresno chile.
Sam’s is a longtime Seattle burger beacon, and fun fact: The tavern’s first owner went on to found the Red Robin burger chain. If you’re looking for the city’s ultimate bacon burger, grab Sam’s 50 Burger, a patty made of half Angus beef, half smoked bacon, then topped with gouda, avocado, even more bacon, and buttermilk bacon ranch.
Rain City’s menu is an homage to all your favorite local sports teams and includes a whopping six vegetarian options too. Each burger makes an ideal handheld meal while watching any big game. For a real winner, try the Sounders Burger, a quarter-pounder patty topped with what can only be described as a delightful deconstructed jalapeño popper: cream cheese, jalapeño, bacon, and jack cheese.
Japanese-style crispy cutlets are the foundation of Katsu’s critically acclaimed burgers. Yes, that means your burger comes breaded and deep-fried, then gets topped with Japanese mayo, tonkatsu sauce, and shredded cabbage. The Ninja Deluxe is the ultimate Japanese-American mashup with your choice of beef, pork, chicken, or tofu katsu topped with cheddar, bacon, and all the fixin’s.
This ain’t your grandma’s burger, unless your grandma rubbed her half-pound patties with espresso, then topped them with candied bacon or cave-aged Gruyère. For over a decade, this critically acclaimed burger joint has been slinging their signature 8oz Burger, topped with its stellar combo of Beecher’s cheddar, truffle aioli, tangy balsamic onions, peppery arugula, and bacon all in a glossy brioche bun. Grab some sweet potato tots, short rib poutine, and a green tea Nutella shake while you’re at it, why don’t you.
Capitol Hill’s favorite fish-and-chips shop is killing the burger game. The Bait Shop Burger is as all-American as a double cheeseburger can get, made with quality grass-fed dry-aged beef patties, topped with American cheese, onion, lettuce, pickles, and Thousand Island-style house sauce. Those in the know (that’s you!) always add on a side of thick-cut fries.
Since 2015, this women-owned Capitol Hill spot often tops best-burger lists, and the standout namesake burger is made with thick PNW beef patties, smothered whiskey barbecue sauce, and melted Tillamook cheese. Every burger can be made your way: vegan, gluten-free, or wrapped in lettuce, and topped with surprising options like hot dogs, daikon slaw, and fried avocado.
Almost 50 years ago, Phil Jensen founded Burgermaster and proclaimed its reason for being, “Do what is best for the customer.” Jensen’s kids now run this values-driven business, where every burger is customizable: Add an extra beef patty, three strips of bacon, or another slice of cheese on any option, from the popular Burgermaster to the Burgermelt. You’ll want a side of perfect onion rings, crispy and delicately battered, no matter what you get for the main event.
The Great State mini chain keeps it simple with classic burgers made from pure grass-fed, grass-finished beef patties and locally sourced ingredients from spots like Pure Country, Jack Mountain Meats, and Billy’s Gardens. Choose from a single or double expertly cooked burger, and either way it’ll be topped with zesty house-made pickles, unfussy American cheese, and iceberg lettuce, all nestled into a pillowy bun.
Sometimes the best burgers can be found in the least expected places. While known for its outstanding Mexican cuisine, Sazón Kitchen also serves up a wholly reinvented American burger made with a patty composed of both Angus beef and spicy chorizo, then topped with a thick dollop of guac and served on a crackly cheese-crusted bun.
Oui oui, the French excel mightily at America’s favorite meal. Le Coin’s signature burger comes on a brioche bun, with a patty slathered in caramelized onion cheese fondue, topped with cured tomatoes, lettuce, and herb aioli. This next-level incarnation of the burger is served with garlicky hand-cut fries.
Restaurateur Marcus Lalario opened Lil Woody’s to offer backyard-style burgers made with grass-fed Royal Ranch beef and topped with stellar local ingredients. The place has garnered a cult following for burgers topped with revelatory combinations like the New Mexican, with dreamy queso and Hatch chiles, and The Fig and the Pig with pickled figs and blue cheese.
Gumbo and jambalaya will satisfy your Cajun cravings, but make sure that your Toulouse order includes the beloved burger made with Double R Ranch beef with cave-aged Gruyère, served on a Macrina Bakery potato bun. Sitting down to take a bite of this high-end burger served with pommes frites makes you feel like you’ve landed in a French Quarter bistro. And there’s a lamb burger, too!
Feed Co.’s massive 6-ounce burger patties come with heaps of toppings: The Mushroom is loaded with porcini-crusted crimini (whoa, mushrooms on mushrooms) and thick slices of Gruyère, and the Teriyaki comes pineapple-marinated with jack cheese and slaw. The menu’s substantial list of add-ons and substitutions allows you to customize your toppings, temp, sauces, and extras. Keen to satisfy all burger fans, Feed Co. lets you choose from beef, chicken, veggie, turkey, and lamb patties.
You’re here for the perennially popular Basic Cheese Burger or the Anaheim Burger, which comes topped with guacamole and a blistered pepper. Add on your choice of side, like truffle shoestring fries, or a hot cup of (omg) goat cheese tomato soup. Founded on the idea that the best food is made from scratch, grub from this family-run operation is the definition of comfort food.
For more than 40 years, Duke has been known for —you may have guessed — its award-winning clam chowder, but the unsung menu hero is the grass-fed sirloin burger. Duke’s cheeseburger comes with Tillamook extra-sharp cheddar, homemade mayo, and Walla Walla onions, all on a freshly baked bun from The Essential Baking Company. Of course, don’t forget to add that bowl of chowder on the side.
First opened in 1980 and now with four locations, this local institution is a reliable burger destination. The coveted Prime Cheeseburger is served on a Schwartz Brothers Bakery organic bun with elevated toppings like heirloom tomato, caramelized onion, and applewood- smoked bacon. There’s a Beyond Burger, too, so the meat-averse won’t be left out.
Ballard’s sought-after burgers are thin, wide, perfectly charred patties. Add on an extra patty, or make your burger veggie. Get it on a crusty French roll instead of a bun, or top it with grilled jalapeño. Can’t decide? Stick to Scooter’s best-selling, uncomplicated bacon cheeseburger with a side of well-seasoned fries.
No roundup of Seattle’s best burgers is complete without a nostalgic nod to Kid Valley. Every PNW kid has a deep-rooted memory of a burger and fries from this iconic local burger chain. Patties are always fresh, never frozen, and served on a sesame bun. Satisfy your inner child with a side of crispy onion rings to go with that burger.
Uneeda Burger by Kyle Johnson
Courtesy of Great State Burger
Lil Woody’s by Jordan Nicholson
8oz Burger & Co by Steven Baldwin
Blue Star Cafe & Pub by QP Creative
Two Doors Down by Dan Shafer