Best Burgers in D.C., Ranked!
Ladies and gentlemen, if you clicked on this article, you must be a fan of America’s most beloved meal, the hamburger. For this blog, I have partnered with Peter to rank the very best burgers in D.C. Considering Peter is the true burger connoisseur, I asked him to co-write this piece with me. I fully stand by all these recommendations, and hope you have the chance to order one of these delicious burgers the next time you dine at any of these restaurants. Without further ado, I will let Peter take it from here:
Since I was young, I have always loved burgers. I mean, what’s not to like? I honestly could eat them at any time of the day and for any meal.
A juicy beef patty (or two) with all kinds of spices and sauces, combine with veggies and cheese to make the perfect end-product, a fulfilling handheld meal that is traditionally served with fries or chips.
Whether you are just visiting DC and looking for a quick bite to eat, or a serious burger fan like myself, hopefully I will be able to point you in the right direction. Although I haven’t had the opportunity to try every burger in DC (yet), these are my top 5 burgers I’ve eaten in D.C. so far.
# 1 - Duke’s Grocery - The Proper Burger
Angus beef, melted gouda, charred red onions, pickles, sweet chili sauce, and garlic aioli on a brioche bun. My mouth is watering now just thinking of the Proper Burger from Duke’s Grocery. With locations in Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom, and a sister restaurant in Woodley Park, there should be no excuse not to go to Duke’s when your looking for a burger in DC. Whenever my cravings hit, I head to the original in a historic Dupont row house to partake in a burger and a beer in a casual setting. There’s bar and patio seating downstairs that is usually busier, and a larger sit-down area upstairs if you want to take your time to savor your food.
1513 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20036
# 2 - Le Diplomate - Burger Américain
I’ll be honest, Sara and I absolutely love Le Dip, a French-inspired restaurant, café, and bar located in Logan Circle. The décor and ambiance take us back to our time in Paris and it is a go-to spot for us any day of the week. Although the French can be a bit snooty about American food, they have really made the burger their own. Today, 85% of French restaurants serve burgers, and burgers even outsell ham baguettes. Whenever I order the Burger Américain, I can’t help but think of the scene from Pulp Fiction, and a “royale with cheese.” Le Dip’s burger is their own version of a Big Mac with two patties, American cheese, pickles, onions, thousand island-like sauce, and a side of pommes frites (French fries). The burger is relatively simple, but made with tender and flavorful beef patties, a generous serving of melted cheese, and fresh toppings.
1601 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
# 3 - Ben’s Chili Bowl - Ben’s Famous Chili Burger
Okay, I know that Ben’s is famous throughout D.C. for their chili half-smoke, but I recommend trying their chili burger instead. Or better yet, you can do what I do and get the get both the chili burger and a half-smoke. The original 1950’s establishment is located on U street and stays open until 2:30am. The décor is mid-century diner and has pictures of all the celebrities and politicians that have dined at Ben’s over the past 60 years. You can even sit at the same table where Obama dined back in 2009.
The burger is exactly what you would expect from a diner - lower quality ingredients, messy to eat, but full of flavor. The burger is prepared with mayo, lettuce, and chili sauce only, so make sure to order any extra add-ons you may want. I usually opt for onions, ketchup, and cheese. The fries are thick cut, which usually are not my favorite, although I do enjoy them when dipped in chili. If you are enjoying a full-blown cheat meal, then I suggest the Oreo milkshake for dessert.
1213 U St NW
Washington, DC 20009
b/t N 13th St & N 12th St
U Street Corridor
# 4 - Bourbon Steak - All-American Wagyu Burger
This is probably the most expensive burger on the list, and I bet you can guess why. Although mainly a steak house, Bourbon Steak offers a burger that is delicious and highlights Wagyu beef in its design. For those who don’t know, Wagyu is a Japanese cattle breed prized for the meat’s tenderness and marbling. Not only is it amazingly delicious, but it’s also supposed to be healthier for you. Bourbon keeps it simple and classic, topping its burger with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion. The meat is the main event and does not disappoint, but a side order of the duck fat fries is delicious and a perfect complement. Located in the Four Seasons, head to Bourbon Steak for lunch or the bar / lounge to grab this delicious burger.
Four Seasons Hotel Washington
2800 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007
# 5 - Garden District - The Garden District Burger
Sara and I stumbled into Garden District on our way home from fantastic cocktails at the neighborhood speakeasy, Left Door. I had walked by this place multiple times and I’m kicking myself about it now for missing out. Garden District is a small beer garden on 14th street, located just down from Le Diplomate. With outdoor picnic seating centered around trees and hanging twinkle lights, this would be the spot to go if the weather is good and you need a date spot. Although the menu is short, the Garden District Burger is mighty, fresh, and sticks to the basics. The cheeseburger is massive and perfectly juicy with large slices of pickles, tomato, and sauce (thousand-island dressing?). Make sure to get the hand-cut fries with the burger because they are some of my favorite in DC. They also have hush puppies, buttermilk onion rings, and other delicious foods to choose for a side dish.
1801 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
b/t N S St & N Swann St