Where to Eat Burgers in Philadelphia: The Ultimate Guide

Looking for a place to get burgers? We’ve got a few suggestions.

The delicious yet fleeting “Mother Rucker” at River Twice. / Photograph by Mike Prince

Philly is fundamentally an unpretentious city. There are many more casual, neighborhood bars and pubs here than there are white table cloth restaurants and we prefer it that way. This means that Philly has a lot of burgers. Even some of our fanciest chefs (knowing that burgers make people happy, and wanting to make people happy themselves) still apply themselves to making really great burgers.

So from the simplest bar burger to the most complicated culinary feat on a bun, here are the burgers in Philly you should be eating right now.

The Burgers You Must Try First

Middle Child Clubhouse, Fishtown
Yes, you can go to Clubhouse and have what I consider to be a grown up meal: interesting vegetables, beautiful steaks, food that pairs well with natural wine and thoughtful cocktails. But you can also go and have a smash burger topped with American cheese, pickles, onions, and cherry pepper mayo, and I really appreciate that duality. 1232 North Front Street

Rex at the RoyalGraduate Hospital
Rex at the Royal puts spicy pimento cheese on their burger. It gives each bite a melty richness as well as a little heat, which balances the medium-rare beef quite nicely. 1524 South Street

HudaCenter City
Typically, the bun is the not most important part of a burger. But at Huda, the house-made milk bun kind of is the star of the show, with a pillowy sweetness that supports a smash patty topped with caramelized onion, Huda sauce and pickled green tomatoes. 32 South 18th Street

River Twice, East Passyunk
The Mother Rucker burger isn’t always on the menu at River Twice. In fact, it usually isn’t. But when they run it as a special, or add it to a tasting menu, or do a special event, you’d better run to try this double-patty burger for yourself. 1601 East Passyunk Avenue

Fountain Porter, East Passyunk
One simple, perfect, juicy all-beef burger on a roll for $6. It’s a fast-food price for a legit bar burger. 1601 South 10th Street

Spot Gourmet Burgers, Brewerytown
Back in the day, Josh Kim made his bones slinging burgers out of a cart to long lines of people willing to wait for a taste. These days, he’s got a brick-and-mortar in Brewerytown and he’s making patties from fresh ground beef, grilled and mounted on house-made rolls. 2821 West Girard Avenue

Lucky’s Last Chance, Manayunk and Queen Village
Jesus, this place … Look, everyone will tell you that you have to check out the PB & Bacon burger (topped with peanut butter and bacon, served with a side of grape jelly), but the real winner here is the Incomparable Bacon Cheddar — which is essentially an Arby’s Beef & Cheddar in burger form, plus bacon and sriracha. 4421 Main Street, Manayunk; 848 South 2nd Street, QV

Khyber Pass Pub, Old City
A great burger with a sweet Southern accent — beef, pickled green tomato, chipotle remoulade. 56 South 2nd Street

Bar Hygge, Fairmount
Bar Hygge is just one of those places that seems made for high-end bar burgers. I mean, they’ve got the beer. They’ve got the bar. And they’ve got a grass-fed beef burger with Bibb lettuce, cheddar, red onion and samurai sauce with a side of Hygge fries. 1720 Fairmount Avenue

Best Burgers in Fishtown and Northern Liberties

Standard Tap
Standard Tap does your classic bar burger, but it does it really, really well. A cheeseburger with lettuce, onions and thick pickles on a brioche bun with a side of fries is a formula that one messes with at their own peril. 901 North 2nd Street

Johnny Brenda’s
Johnny Brenda’s is a Philadelphia institution, which sort of makes their burger also a Philadelphia institution. Ground sirloin gets topped with sharp cheddar and sautéed onions, plus lettuce, pickles, and spicy mayo on a brioche bun. 1201 Frankford Avenue

Pom Pom
Pom Pom does two vegetarian burgers. The first is a smashed Impossible burger, for those that want to feel like they’re eating meat. The other is a black-bean burger for those who don’t. Both are rich, comforting, and totally meaty — you really can’t go wrong. 1425 Frankford Avenue

Best Burgers in East Passyunk

Royal Tavern / Photograph courtesy of Royal Tavern

Royal Tavern
After a long pause due to the pandemic, Royal Tavern is back! A lot is new, but their legendary burger topped with smoked gouda, chili mayo, caramelized onions, a pickled long hot and bacon remains the same. Why change a good thing? 937 East Passyunk Avenue

Pub On Passyunk East
Five burgers, one veggie, four meaty, all good. All served with fries, except the breakfast burger, which is topped with an egg and comes with home fries. 1501 East Passyunk Avenue

P’unk Burger
Burgers, fries, shakes. What else do you need? The Juicy Philly is another stuffed burger, which is a move we’re very into. 1823 Passyunk Avenue

Best Burgers in Rittenhouse and Center City

A classic Village Burger. / Photograph courtesy of Village Whiskey

Village Whiskey
Look, the Whiskey King is good, sure. But it’s really only worth $26 as a stunt. The straightforward Village Burger, on the other hand, is a classic — just a burger, cheese, some lettuce and tomato and a slash of house-made Thousand Island dressing. 118 South 20th Street

Darling Jack’s Tavern
If you were trying to write a poem about one of the best burgers in town, it might read something like the menu description of Darling Jack’s All In The Family burger: “Pasture raised beef, double smash patty, American cheese, griddled onions, Tavern sauce, sourdough bun from Mighty Bread, Green Meadow farm half-sour kirby, fries.” 104 South 13th Street

If a.kitchen’s Eli Collins is a burger master (he is), then the cheeseburger — with its creamy American cheese, zippy dijonaise and cornichons — is his masterpiece. 135 South 18th Street

We don’t know what “Churchill Sauce” is, but it is one of those things that sets the Dandy Burger apart. That, and a really excellent house-blend patty. 124 South 18th Street

Good Dog Bar
Take a burger, stuff it with Roquefort cheese, and mount it on a challah roll. Know what you got? A burger that’s been one of the best in the city for as long as we can remember. 224 South 15th Street

Butcher Bar
They’ve got a Royale With Cheese dripping special sauce and American cheese. Do we really need to say anything more than that? 2034 Chestnut Street

The bulgogi burger is awesome. What could’ve been a fusion-y mess instead comes as a restrained, well-balanced burger: a perfectly cooked patty, slicked in a gochugaru aioli and then topped with green leaf lettuce and sweet house-made pickles. 1801 Lombard Street

Hunger Burger
Want to do some good at lunch? Reading Terminal Market’s Hunger Burger (operated by the owners of Mezze and By George!) operates under a “buy one, feed one” policy where a portion of the profit from every burger sold goes to help feed a child in need. Plus, they’re one of the only burger joints on this list that has a dedicated menu of breakfast burgers. 1136 Arch Street at Reading Terminal Market

Craftsman Row Saloon
They’ve got an entire section of the menu dedicated to burgers, and the most basic is a double cheese smash-burger with American cheese. It’s a fine specimen of the late, great American bar burger — plain, simple and awesome. 112 South 8th Street

Bud & Marilyn’s
B&M’s has a brunch burger named “Bud’s Double-Patty Burger” that is a Midwestern treasure topped with yellow cheddar, Nueske’s bacon, red onion and “Fancy Sauce.” There are a lot of bars in town that could go to school on this burger — and lots that should. 1234 Locust Street

Best Burgers in Graduate Hospital and Point Breeze

Pub & Kitchen
For years, P&K did fancy burgers. Then it simplified, went to a plain double cheeseburger done fantastically well, with Cooper sharp, lettuce, onion and a pickle. Now, they’re somewhere in between — offering a burger with Cooper sharp, iceberg and onion, but slapped with a whiskey sauce and tomato jam. In some cases, compromise is the best solution. 1946 Lombard Street

South Philadelphia Tap Room
The best classic cheeseburger you’re going to find anywhere — mostly because it’s made by a kitchen that cares deeply about making a great burger. 1509 Mifflin Street

Best Burgers in Queen Village and Bella Vista

Southwark burger / Photograph by Maddy Sweitzer-Lamme

Southwark’s burger is a deeply considered, thoughtfully made version of what is sometimes just a convenience food, but it’s also just a banger that I will eat over and over again. Topped with salty Birchrun Hills blue cheese, bacon, charred onions and aioli and served with house-made fries, it’s the kind of thing you eat when you’re going to pair it with a martini or a glass of red wine (Southwark has very good versions of both.) 701 South 4th Street

Good King Tavern
It’s surprising enough that a French-inflected bar and restaurant in Philly does as well as Good King does. It’s even more surprising that such a French restaurant has such a solidly American burger (served with frites) tucked away on its menu, and that it’s as good as it is. 614 South 7th Street

Hawthorne’s does a classic burger, stacked with smash patties, sharp cheddar, and smoky remoulade on a brioche roll with, duh, lettuce and tomato. 738 South 11th Street

Best Burgers in University City

Local 44
Beer and burgers are best friends. This is where they hang out. 4333 Spruce Street

Enjay’s Pizza
Because of course one of the best burgers in University City is going to be at a pizza joint that exists hidden inside an 80-year-old neighborhood bar. 210 South 40th Street

Best Burgers on the Main Line and Beyond

Hilltown Tavern, Roxborough
It’s an Irish pub with seven different burgers, from barbecue style to a breakfast burger. 326 Roxborough Avenue

Ummi Dee’s Burger BistroNorth Philly
Ummi Dee’s has a burger for everyone, including a bacon turkey burger, a salmon burger, and a fried onion-topped brunch burger with bacon and cheese. They also make fresh-cut fries and excellent milkshakes. 2805 North 22nd Street

Autograph Brasserie, Wayne
It’s a half-pound prime beef burger topped with gruyere, caramelized onions, peppercorn aioli and arugula on a Parker house roll. At a brasserie on the Main Line. So if you find yourself in Wayne, check it out. 503 West Lancaster Avenue

The Whip Tavern, Coatesville
The Farm Burger at The Whip is a killer burger — local beef, spicy mustard, Guinness braised onions, IPA pickles, saison sauce and English cheddar. Seriously, it’s a burger made for eating with two cold beers. 1383 North Chatham Road