MELBOURNE | We’ve been hesitant to write up a “Best Burgers In Melbourne” list for a while now due to the fact that there are so many great burgers in Melbourne at the moment that narrowing things down to a top 10 is near on impossible, and that there are already a lot of great lists out there.
Friend of The City Lane Brennan from Burgers of Melbourne for example, has tried more burgers than just about anyone else in Melbourne and has a constantly evolving list of every burger he has ever tried, ranked using some pretty strict and defined criteria. Still, many of you have asked us what our favourite burgers in Melbourne are, so we thought we’d oblige and give you our list. There are new burgers and old burgers on here, American burgers and other styles, traditional and non-traditional. The only criteria? Great taste, balanced flavours and quality ingredients.
What’s your favourite burger or burger spot in Melbourne? Let us know in the comments section below as we’d love to know.
Beatbox Kitchen started as a single van in 2009 serving quality burgers to the Melbourne public. It grew from owner Raph Rashid’s desire to bring the kind of burgers he had been enjoying on various trips to the USA to Melbourne. A lot has changed between 2009 and 2016 as regards the Melbourne burger scene, with countless places (as evidenced by this list) across the city cooking up high quality burgers. The Raph burger hasn’t fallen behind however and remains one of the best burgers in Melbourne. The ratio of meat to other ingredients to bread is perfect and the house blended and ground beef patty is just right. Seasoned with salt and pepper, char grilled on the outside, light pink on the inside.
The locations of the 2 vans goes up onto Twitter and Facebook each day, letting Melburnians know where they can get their lunch and dinner burger fix.
Location Varies. Check Facebook or Twitter for location on the day.
Retro gaming themed themed burger joint 8bit was already very popular when it was a solo store in Footscray, and has become even more so since owner Shayne McCallum opened the second location on the corner of Swanston and Little Bourke Streets in the CBD. The reason for 8bit’s popularity is simple. A focused range of great tasting burgers and a few sides, including the ever popular yet surprisingly rare in Melbourne potato gems. When we visit 8bit we tend to go for either the 8bit with cheese (Beef, Tomato, Lettuce, Red Onion, Pickles, Mustard, Cheese, Ketchup, 8bit Sauce) or the After Burner (Beef, Tomato, Red Onion, Lettuce, Cheese, Chilli Sauce, Jalapeños, Mustard, Chipotle Mayo). Be wared, the After Burner packs a noticeable chilli kick!
The only criticism we have of 8bit, and it’s something we’ve heard from others too, is that consistency can be and issue at times. On the whole though, we’ve had a lot more good burgers than bad from 8bit, which means it gets a place in our Best Burgers in Melbourne list.
8 Droop Street
Rockwell & Sons
There are many reasons to visit Rockwell & Sons and the Double Patty Smash is one of them. Packed in between 2 seeded brioche (“just right for burger” brioche not sweet brioche) buns are 2 beef patties, two slices of Kraft Singles and a special sauce. When we first heard of the use of Kraft Singles we were suspicious but trust us, they work perfectly in this burger. The patties themselves are, as is the case with any good burger, the highlight and in this case are actually meatballs made from a combination of grass-fed brisket, chuck and a few other cuts that are “smashed” onto the grill to form patties that are perfectly charred on the outside while remaining nicely pink on the inside.
We generally visit Rockwell & Sons to eat a range of things, and rarely visit just to get a burger but whenever we do eat there, we always make sure there’s a Double Patty Smash or two to share between the table.
Rockwell & Sons
288 Smith Street
Brother Burger & The Marvelous Brew
Brother Burger specialises in 2 of the things we love most – burgers and craft beer, and unsurprisingly offer a good range of both for the hungry and thirsty folk who walk through their doors. There are wagyu beef burgers, as well as a range of non-beef meat burgers including chicken, pork (both in patty and pulled form), lamb (ditto), and also a duck burger which is something a bit different that really works. There are also a couple of sandwiches (a BLT and a Reuben) and also some salads and other plated meals. Drinks wise there are 13 beers and two ciders on tap featuring a wide and rotating range of local craft breweries.
We are especially partial to the Hot Stuff burger with Double Cheese – the patty is juicy and cooked medium with a bit of pink in the middle, the bacon is soft rather than crispy and the sauces nicely complement the flavours of the meat and cheese. All of the ingredient are held together by a nice soft bun that’s not too sweet. We’re partial to the original location in Fitzroy, mostly because it’s closer to City Lane HQ but he second location, on Chapel Street in South Yarra does equally good beers and brews.
Brother Burger & The Marvelous Brew
413 Brunswick Street
The Alehouse Project
The Alehouse Project in Brunswick East is one of our favourite craft beer spots in Melbourne and ever since they relaunched their menu in 2015 have become one of our go to spots for a great burger. Drinks wise you know what it’s all about – a rotating selection of 12-13 craft beers on taps, including rare beers you won’t find elsewhere in the country, along with some top shelf spirits and some decent wines. Food wise it’s all about classic pub food done well using quality ingredients including, of course, the aforementioned burgers.
There are 2 burgers that we find ourselves coming back to on a regular basis – “The Colonel” which features a piece of buttermilk fried chicken, bacon, avocado, tomato, lettuce sriracha and mayo and “The Boss”, which contains a wagyu beef patty, 2 slices of cheddar cheese, onion, tomato sauce, mustard, bacon and sliced gherkin and is stuffed with fries (think an adult version of the cheeseburgers you enjoyed as a child). Buns are soft and compact nicely to hold all of the ingredients in.
The Alehouse Project
98-100 Lygon Street
Just down the road from the Alehouse Project in Brunswick is Juanita Peaches, the bricks and mortar restaurant by Beatbox Kitchen owner Raph Rashid. All Day Donuts is also located on the same site and offers up some of the best donuts in town, but more about that in our upcoming Best Donuts In Melbourne feature. What you need to know about is the Juanita Peaches menu, which contains a focused selection of comfort food like fried chicken and tacos and one single burger. That burger is Raph’s take on the classic cheeseburger and has been about 5 years in the making. It’s a simple proposition – a house made steamed potato brioche “boogie” bun holding together a 120gm Grass Fed beef patty, double American cheese, mustard, onions and pickles.
The result is possibly the best example of a cheeseburger we’ve ever eaten. If you’re feeling super hungry you can add another patty, chillies, lettuce or tomato. When one burger is this good, you don’t need any other options.
12-14 Edward Street
Changz Canteen is what happens when the purveyors of some of Melbourne’s finest hot sauce decide to open a venue serving actual food (well yes it’s physically possible to drink hot sauce, but we don’t recommend it!). The soft Japanese milk buns hold together the quality ingredients perfectly. There’s a focused selection of burgers with well defined flavours along with some tasty American sides on offer too. We’re particularly enamoured by the classic Chicken Burger which contains a fried chicken brick, lettuce, onion and mayo. Grab some pork scratchings to go with your burgers, and also keep an eye out for the specials board, which contains a rotating range of things not usually found on the menu.
And of course, you can grab yourself a bottle or two of the famous hot sauce to take home with you. All up it’s enough to make Changz stand head and shoulders above the other burger options in this part of town.
256 Glen Eira Road
Royal Stacks is the brainchild of Dani Zeini, who has involvement in venues such as Dandenong Pavilion, Grand Trailer Park Taverna, Easey’s and Truck Stop Deluxe – yeah, the guy knows burgers. At Royal Stack it’s all about burgers, desserts, frozen custards, shakes and local wines and beers made using locally sourced, quality ingredients. For us it’s hard to go past The Saint – this beast contains 2 all Australian beef patties, tomato, butter lettuce, bacon, American cheddar, raw onion, chipotle mayo and pickled jalapenos. The unusually thick sliced raw onion aside (which you can always take out), the Saint hits all the right buttons with some nicely balanced flavours.
The custards are fantastic too. They’re kind of like ice-cream crossed with Yogo but more indulgent. We love the classic rich chocolate flavour. At the moment there’s a CBD store and Coburg store, with plans to expand into further locations.
470 Collins Street
From Northcote truck to a brick and mortars store in Richmond, 1090 Burger has developed somewhat of a cult following, due in part to it’s tasty classic burgers and more extreme offerings (we’ve heard stories of salted caramel bacon mayo being available sometimes). The saucy, dripping burgers with perfectly cooked patties (“1090” actually stands for the ratio of Black Angus beef cuts used in the patties) have become hallmarks of 1090 Burgers and there’s kind of an unwritten rule that you should always go for a minimum of a double patty.
It’s not always on the menu, but if you’re feeling adventurous and a little bit crazy you can try asking for “The Deadlifter” – 3 different kinds of meat, 3 different cheeses, bacon and sauce. Even we haven’t braved this one yet. As extreme as it gets for us is “The Thunderburger”, which features 2 beef patties, 2 slices of cheese, bacon, chilli mayonnaise, ketchup and pickles sandwiched inside a soft hamburger bun.
181A Swan Street
Rockpool Bar & Grill
One of the first “fancy burgers” to hit Australia almost 10 years ago, Neil Perry’s Wagyu Rockpool Burger has been forgotten by many with the recent wave of new burger venues taking centre stage, but you ignore this burger at your own peril. The star of this burger is the perfectly seasoned and cooked Blackmore’s Wagyu patty. The addition of caramelised onions, chutney, beetroot, zuni pickle and gruyere cheese make for a burger that’s unlike any on this list. It’s a big burger too, probably the one of the few you’ll actually want to break down a bit and eat with a knife and fork.
Perry’s Burger Project, which offers more of a fast food “American” style burger has proven a hit in Sydney and actually just opened in Melbourne’s CBD as this feature was being written, so there’s another burger that you might want to try – we’ve heard from some trusted Sydney sources that it’s fantastic.
Rockpool Bar & Grill
8 Whiteman Street
When you arrive at Dandenong Pavilion, you’re seated, given the menu and told the day’s specials – just like at any other restaurant. As you look around though, it’s hard not to notice all of the amazing looking burgers coming out to the other tables. You look at the menu but they aren’t there. What’s going on? Well there’s a secret burger menu you see, with what was the “Flip City” popup becoming a permanent fixture at Dandenong Pavilion. Ask for the burger menu and out comes a one pager with some mighty fine looking burgers.
It’s a small, focused burger menu and our favourite is the Tsar, which contains a nice big beef patty, melted double cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, beetroot, black Russian tomatoes and a pickle, shallot and horseradish sauce. The burger looks like it might be too bread heavy when you see it for the first time, but the brioche compacts nicely as soon as you grab it. Each bite reveals extremely well balanced flavours and immense satisfaction.
55-61 Princes Highway
Fat Bob’s Bar & Grill
When we first found out about Fat Bob’s we were told that we had to make the effort to go out to Moorabbin to try their burgers, as they were that good. With the proliferation of burger venues that have opened up since then it’s perhaps not strictly worth going out to Moorabbin if you’re not local but if you are, there’s no doubt that the burgers here are still amongst Melbourne’s best.
The Jackie O is the most popular burger in this “American car workshop meets diner” themed warehouse venue and for good reason. It contains a 180g grass-fed beef pattie, tomato, Spanish onion, Fontina cheese, cos, mustard, tomato & Fat Bob’s sauce. Quality ingredients and balanced flavours held together by a nice soft bun. There are also some very tasty sides, with the popcorn chicken with sweet chilli mayo being one of our favourites.
Fat Bob’s Bar & Grill
80 Cochranes Road
If you stand on the south side of Easey Street in Collingwood and look up towards the sky across the road you will see a somewhat strange sight. Those train carriages you see on the roof of that building? Well that’s Easey’s. We first visited when Easey’s was brand new and found the burgers to be a bit hit and miss but over time they’ve perfected their offering which now proudly sits amongst our preferred venues for a burger in Melbourne. It’s owned by Jimmy “@jimmysburgers” Hurlston and his business partner Jeremy Gaschk and is the culmination of several years of devouring burger upon burger.
One you get over the uniqueness of the space and onto the menu there are a few options for burgers, additions and sides but what you want to be going for is the “Easey Cheesey” – a single beef patty ground on-site, cheese, pickles, onion, bacon, ketchup, mustard and mayo. In Hurlston’s mind this is the “purest iteration” of a burger and, combined with the perfectly dense and soft potato buns that have been made to Hurlston’s specifications, we find it hard to argue. A fantastic burger. If you do want a side, the “5 cheese blend” mac & cheese is great.
48 Easey Street
Grand Trailer Park Taverna
At Grand Trailer Park Taverna, Dani Zeini has created a simple one page menu. 9 burgers (with some rather interesting names), 6 desserts and 4 sides are complimented by a variety of alcoholic drinks including the enticing “spiked milkshakes” – Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Salted Caramel and Maple Bacon anyone? As for the burgers, they’re fantastic. The Grand Trailer Park Taverna take on the classic American burger, the KSA features an Australian beef patty with American cheddar cheese, tomato, butter lettuce, special burger sauce and American mustard on a lightly toasted brioche bun. Pair it with a mac & cheese croquette and you’re sorted for the night.
Oh and if you’re feeling curious, ask for the off-menu “CB2 Guilty Pleasure” and if you want dessert, you can’t go past the Nutella waffle stack.
Grand Trailer Park Taverna
87 Bourke Street
Tuckshop Takeaway is located in an unassuming shop in Caulfield North but the fact that there always seems to be a line there lets you know that something special must be going on. This place has some impressive pedigree behind it, with the husband and wife team of Clinton and Karina Serex having worked at Fat Duck, Attica and Vue Du Monde. Tuckshop Takeaway is the only place on this list that we haven’t yet visited but we’ve spoken to many people whose opinion we trust implicitly who say that the burgers here are amongst their favourites – enough for us to feel that this list wouldn’t be complete without its inclusion.
The venue is full of tuck shop/school canteen favourites and we’ve heard good things about the jaffles and milkshakes along with, to be honest, everything else on the menu. As for the burgers though, the main event is “The Minor” burger which contains a melt in your mouth medium rare 100% Gippland beef patty, lettuce, tomato, American cheese, onion, pickles and Tuck Shop sauce. It’s all sandwiched between two halves of a fresh milk brioche bun.
We’ll also let you in on a little secret, and that’s the off-menu “Billy” burger which has been designed to “knock your socks off” and can only be ordered if you ask for it by name. Asking for the “secret burger” will draw blank stares. It contains a double beef patty, double cheese, bacon, jalapeños and Sriracha hot sauce. You’ve been warned!
273 Hawthorn Road