THE BEST BASIC
1. Hawkin’s House of Burgers, 11603 Slater Street, Watts. Hands down the best basic burger in Los Angeles. The meat is juicy, greasy, delicious and plentiful. Good luck putting down a double once you’ve picked it up, the mess and the taste won’t let you.
2. Capitol Burger, 4301 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. This tiny spot in a parking lot serves up burgers so good and so cheap you’ll wonder why you never stopped before. Thin patty, soft bun, and a winning ratio of condiments-bun-beef. Don’t be afraid to stand in line just because your order gets handed to you in a Bud Light box.
3. The Oinkster, 2005 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock. A classic burger done the way it should be: medium patty, yellow cheese, and a sesame bun that isn’t afraid to take a beating. Get the double.
4. Apple Pan, 10801 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. It’s easy to see why Apple Pan is so beloved, they’ve been doing the same great things for years and years. Thin patties on soft-as-butter buns and enough lettuce to make your doctor think you’re eating healthy. The hickory burger is not to be missed.
5. Hamburger Habit, 11223 National Blvd., Los Angeles. A slightly surprising pick at first glance, as the Habit flies a bit under the radar. That is, until you get inside, where defunct 90’s websites proclaim them the top spot in Los Angeles. But as long as the thin, juicy patties and fresh toppings keep making it onto that bun, the future looks just as bright.
THE BEST GOURMET
1. The Foundry on Melrose, 7463 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. If you said Father’s Office, you’re simply wrong, but not by much at all. We went back and forth, several days in a row, but ultimately the Foundry crafted the perfect Father’s Office killer. Condiments and compotes arrange themselves along an open-faced perfection patty, asking politely for you to take as much or as little as you please. The meat is a show-stopping blend, giving the burger a soft composition with unfathomable taste and texture. And all this is held in by the coup de grace: four Hawaiian sweet rolls sliced lengthwise and lightly toasted as your bun.
2. Father’s Office, 3229 Helms Ave., Los Angeles. Long considered the gold standard for LA burgers, FO’s two locations are nearly unmatched. Their presentation alone garners praise, and when you bite into the unchangeable burger, you know why it’s never tinkered with: it’s already heaven.
3. CommeCa, 8479 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. The New York Times isn’t far off when they say this burger is ‘perfection’, and if burgers were just the patty itself they may be right - a better bunch of burger beef is not to be had in this city. You may not be in love with the cole-slaw like topping (no tomato) or the unwieldy height of the damn thing, but you have to love how it goes down.
4. Umami Burger, 850 South La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. Undoubtedly the most hyped burgers of 2009, these guys let their expanding (from one location to 4, plus a truck) do the talking. That is, along with their simple but elegant creations. These babies are as juicy as they come, with unique combinations that let you have your fried cheese and eat it too. Getting a few of these medium-sized bad boys and Round-Robin’ing them with some friends is always the best way to go here.
5. Oaks Gourmet, 1915 North Bronson, Los Angeles. This is no less a shocker to you than it was to us, but the fact remains: Oaks Gourmet is new in town, but they’ve got the absolute goods. Their dry age burger is not only bountiful, it’s got the gourmet pedigree you’ll be surprised to find at such a small mini-grocery. From the perfect bacon to the arugula and jalapeno/pineapple compote, the new guys are here to make a statement.