Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, said Leonardo da Vinci. Then what’s better than a simple burger that beckons diners with just the basics of meat, bun, and cheese, maybe a few requisite veggies, and a smear of sauce? Los Angeles has a long history of championing these minimalist burgers, from the classic In-N-Out double double to the new school Everson Royce Bar in Downtown LA. Here now, a map of the best simple burgers across Los Angeles, listed from north to south.Read More
13 Excellent Minimalist Burgers to Try in Los Angeles
Because sometimes simple is better
This Van Nuys staple continues to impress with its roadside flair and lovable crank of an owner. Fresh meat is brought in daily and patties are griddled in front of customers (mostly because there’s nowhere to hide inside the tiny shack). Topped with cheese and a splash of fresh veggies, it’s as classic as they come.
Though avocado, teriyaki beef, pastrami, and more are all part of the total package at Pasadena star Super Burger, in most cases simplicity here is best. The low-slung roadside stop excels at the basics, from its thicker-than-usual patties to that perfectly melty American cheese. For those inclined, a little dab of Thousand Islands dressing also goes a long way.
Once a quaint roadside stand tucked onto the near-end of Route 66, Irv’s Burgers is now a West Hollywood institution helmed by Sonia Hong and family. The best part of these cheeseburgers may not even be the burgers themselves, but with the loving, personalized drawings sketched on every plate.
New York City transplant Shake Shack knew it had a tough gig convincing burger expert Angelenos with their unique roadside-style burger, placed on a potato bun and served with a fantastic griddled patty. And their namesake Shack Burger is indeed a fantastic, simple burger with just melted cheese, tomato, and a pitiful leaf of lettuce. It’s hard to eat just one.
Silver Lake’s enduring patio burger spot Hache LA, a branch of an OC burger chain, serves a very good simple burger at a modest price. With a nice grilled ground beef patty and a spread of the restaurant’s signature Karma sauce, Hache LA manages to say something new in a crowded burger landscape.
Belcampo Meat Co.
Belcampo’s $6 fast burger proves that exceptional quality doesn’t have to come with a two-digit price tag. With vertical integration from Belcampo’s own cattle ranch, Belcampo has streamlined the process of pinky-raising burgers, making for one of the best price-to-value ratios in LA.
The glory is in the details at Capitol Burger on Pico Boulevard. The standalone burger shack has been doing it right for more than 50 years, offering thin roadside-style patties inside lightly toasted buns that carry the crisp veggies at the bottom so as to soak up all those juices. The result is a big, simple look at what makes LA’s burger scene so fantastic.
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Marty's Hamburger Stand
Most folks like to get crazy at Marty’s Hamburger Stand, adding chili and chopped onions a wide split Vienna hot dog on top. But purists know to keep it simple with a sub-$5 basic cheeseburger that includes the requisite pile of Southern California crisp lettuce.
The Apple Pan
While regulars swear by the relish-laden Steakburger, the smokey-sweet hickory burger is a study in burger simplicity. A well-seared burger placed on the plancha and then placed between plush white buns. Cheese is optional, but the perfectly shaped iceberg lettuce and crunchy pickles round out the timeless burgers from this West LA institution.
Everson Royce Bar
The bar burger at Everson Royce is so basic that it’s even called the simple burger on the menu. Invented by James Beard Award winner Matt Molina, this $10 burger uses prime grade chuck beef, Tillamook cheddar, and pickle in a brioche bun for something that looks like some Popeye would eat, only a few times better.
Whereas other stunt spots put too many toppings or oddball ingredients on their burgers, HiHo opts for ease of use by leaning into ingredients instead. High-quality beef stacks up well inside the simple buttery bun, making each inexpensive offering feel like a full meal instead of just a burger snack.
The Double-Double is the most iconic burger in America, and for good reason. In-N-Out doesn’t mess with their established recipe of signature sauce (modeled like a Thousand Island dressing), iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and two cheesy burger patties. The secret is the soft white bun, which keeps the whole thing together as a paragon of burger simplicity.
Hinano’s mustard-fried burger doesn’t receive a lot of attention at this Venice icon, but the attention is in the details. The massive sesame seed bun holds in that seared patty, plus some lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, and relish, with a choice of either cheddar or Swiss cheese. Think of it as a backyard burger but in a dingy, seaside dive bar.