14 Best Burgers In NYC, Ranked

The hamburger is quite possibly the most iconic menu item in the United States. The burger's savory history began centuries ago, with some historians positing that the legendary sandwich got its start in Ancient Rome, where minced meat patties were seasoned and served. The Hamburg steak, named after the city in Germany where ground beef patties with onions and garlic were popularized, eventually made its way to the New World in the 19th century.

New York City has a special relationship with the hamburger. Some historians think that the hamburger was popularized in The Big Apple, where it was served to German sailors as early as the 1820s. With one of the world's most vibrant and varied culinary landscapes, the burger has taken on whole new life in New York, where chefs have reinvented the burger countless times, giving us a whole smattering of different burgers to choose from.

Whether you want your burger traditional, experimental, dressed up or dressed down, you can find every type of burger you can imagine in New York. Read on for the list of our absolute favorite spots to grab a burger in the city.

14. Bistro Burger at Corner Bistro

Just a few blocks from Carrie Bradshaw's famous West Village apartment building, on the corner of Jane and West 4th Streets, is another New York City icon: Corner Bistro. This burger joint, which has been around since 1961, looks more like a dive bar than a restaurant, but don't be fooled. Corner Bistro is home to one of the most famous burgers in the Big Apple.

The bar started serving burgers in 1967 and its big break came in 1978 when iconic New York Times food critic Mimi Sheraton wrote a rave review of the hamburger, which transformed this little Village dive from a hole-in-the-wall bar to one of New York's most beloved burgers. There's nothing fancy about the signature "Bistro Burger," a half-pound patty with American cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles, which is served on a humble paper plate and can be paired with fries or (we recommend) tater tots and a cold beer. While many New Yorkers and tourists still flock to these simple digs to enjoy a simple American classic, the restaurant has come under fire in recent years, with some food critics calling it overrated. That said, it's possibly the best deal in one of the priciest neighborhoods in Manhattan, which is why Corner Bistro took the no. 14 spot on our list.

13. Cheeseburger at Paul's Da Burger Joint

When Paul's Da Burger Joint opened as Paul's Palace just off the corner of 2nd Avenue and St. Mark's Place in 1989, the East Village was the epicenter of counterculture in New York City. But hey, even punks gotta eat! And they've been eating burgers at Paul's for almost 35 years, and you can definitely feel the history in the retro diner-style furnishings and fixtures.

While there is a lot of debate about the best condiment to spice up your burgers, there's no shortage of options at Paul's. With over 20 different types of burgers featuring everything from jalapeños to blue cheese, you certainly won't have trouble getting exactly what you want out of the burger here, which is why Paul's made it to this spot on our list. The burgers start at $7.75 and come standard with an eight-ounce beef patty, but you can make it a turkey burger if you're watching your red meat intake (although many people have wondered whether there is such a thing as a good turkey burger). And you can upgrade to deluxe (which comes with fries, lettuce, and tomatoes) for an extra five bucks.

12. Flat Top Burger at Blue Collar Burger

Sometimes all you want is a simple cheeseburger. And at Blue Collar Burger in Brooklyn, that's exactly what you'll get. The signature Flat Top Burger is the star of this wonderfully simple menu, which also features classic burger joint mains and sides like chicken tenders, hot dogs, french fries, and onion rings. Often compared to In-N-Out, since Blue Collar opened its first restaurant on Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg, it has responded to popular demand by opening two more locations in Bushwick and Cobble Hill.

The secret to its success is its simplicity, which is the reason Blue Collar made it to no. 12 on our list. Blue Collar doesn't fuss around with fancy toppings or brioche buns; the burgers here are made with a brisket blend and served on potato rolls with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pickles. There aren't many menu options when it comes to customizing this scrumptious, salty smash burger, which is one of only a few burgers you can still get in New York City for under ten dollars. The burger isn't huge, but if you're feeling extra hungry, you can make it a double for just one dollar more.

11. The Greg Norman at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer

Although Black Tap has gone global, with locations in Las Vegas, Dubai, and Zurich, the award-winning burger haven was born on Broome Street in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood, and it will remain a New York City institution. This humble location has just 15 counter seats and all the charm of a classic American burger joint with modern finishes that match the surrounding neighborhood, which is one of the most fashionable areas in New York.

And there's a reason Black Tap has expanded to have a global reach: The burgers are some of the finest in the five boroughs. The star of the menu is "The Greg Norman," which features a half pound of wagyu beef topped with buttermilk-dill sauce, blue cheese, and arugula. According to People, Rachel Ray crowned the Greg Norman the People's Choice Award, which it has now won three times. Other burgers on the menu include the Mexico City with jack cheese and pickled jalapeños and the Texan Burger with aged cheddar and an onion ring. And if you're not in the mood for meat, stop by Black Tap for a sweet treat! They have some of the most creative milkshakes in the city.

10. Prairie Burger at S&P Lunch

New Yorkers shed a collective tear when Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop, a Jewish-style diner on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan's Flatiron District, closed during the pandemic after over ninety years in business. But lucky for us, the property was purchased by a duo intent on having the space returned to its former glory as an old-school haunt with solid food, decent prices, and, most importantly, a killer burger.

The new owners, Eric Finkelstein and Matt Ross, are locally famous for the success of their first sandwich shop, Court Street Grocers, and have brought their reputation for quality eats with them to S & P. The burger here is nothing fancy — nine bucks will buy you a cheeseburger with mustard, pickles, and onions on a simple bun – one of the best deals in Manhattan. If you want to upgrade, try the Prairie Burger, which comes with bacon and an onion ring, and don't forget to wash it all down with the crown jewel of New York City beverages: the egg cream.

9. Double Cheeseburger at 7th Street Burger

There are only seven items offered on the menu at 7th Street Burger: cheeseburger, double cheeseburger, impossible burger, fries, water, Fanta, and Mexican Coke. That's it. With such a spare selection, you can rest assured that the cooks at 7th Street know exactly what they're doing with each of the menu items, which is what has earned them this spot on our list.

The restaurant opened in the summer of 2021 and was at the forefront of the smash burger craze that still has New York in its grip. Just under two years later, 7th Street now has seven locations in New York City, and an eighth is coming soon. One of the secrets to its success, beyond the flawlessly crafted and perfectly simple burgers, is that many of the 7th Street locations, including the original in the East Village and another on MacDougal Street in the heart of Greenwich Village, are open until 3 a.m., serving greasy goodness to the inebriated night owls in the thick of downtown Manhattan's famed nightlife scene. 

8. Balthazar Burger at Balthazar

If you're looking to impress your dinner date with one of the fanciest burgers in New York, head to Balthazar in SoHo. The French-inspired eatery has been satisfying New Yorkers and tourists alike since 1997 when the restaurant opened and quickly became an anchor of the SoHo dining scene. And the chefs at Balthazar certainly know their meat. The menu features steak tartare, steak frites, steak au poivre, and, of course, the famous Balthazar Burger.

We recommend you enjoy the thick patty cooked rare so that you can enjoy all of the juicy goodness of the quality meat that they use at this reputable establishment. The cheeseburger, which comes with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheddar cheese, and a side of fries, is a celebration of what the best ingredients can do when employed correctly, which is part of why this lip-smacking sandwich will set you back $31; it's one of the pricier burgers on our list.

7. Cheeseburger at J.G. Melon

J.G. Melon is part of the fabric of Manhattan's Upper East Side. The restaurant boasts a dedicated following of patrons who come back time and time again to enjoy the casual atmosphere, the Bloody Marys, and the signature dish: the burger. The burger at J.G. Melon has a reputation that precedes it, regaling diners with its stunning simplicity since the restaurant opened in 1972 and began providing them with "the quintessential New York City burger experience," according to the website, which is why it claimed the no. 7 spot on our list.

And it's not just the burgers that keep customers coming back for more. The signature cottage fries served alongside the main attraction are thick slices of crinkle-cut potatoes that are fried like french fries but resemble potato chips, which makes them ideal for dipping. Also, the vibes at J.G. Melon are exactly what you want from an old-timey burger joint, complete with a jukebox and wood paneling that harkens back to the glory days of the American diner.

6. Minetta Burger at Minetta Tavern

There is a burger in the heart of Greenwich Village that has quasi-celebrity status: the Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern. The restaurant, which is described as "Parisian steakhouse meets classic New York City tavern" on its website, first opened just over 85 years ago in 1937. Keith McNally, the James Beard Award-winning restauranteur who was the brains behind iconic New York eateries like The Odeon and Café Luxembourg, spearheaded a renovation of Minetta Tavern in 2009, which is when he introduced the world to the Black Label Burger.

The patty is made with prime dry-aged cuts of gourmet dry-aged beef and basted with butter throughout the cooking process. It is then laid to rest on a brioche bun and topped with caramelized onions that are heated with beef fat and served with a side of french fries. Because of the quality of the meat, we recommend that you order this burger medium to medium-rare so that you can enjoy all the juicy goodness that it has to offer. There is, after all, a reason why this burger remains wildly popular despite the $38 price tag.

5. Emmy Burger at Emily

Though Emily is famous for its ample selection of gourmet thin-crust pizza, there is a dark horse on the menu that has received much-deserved hype since the restaurant opened its first location in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn in 2014. The Emmy Burger is a unique take on an American classic and even has its own dedicated Instagram page with over 4,500 followers. What makes this burger so special, you ask?

It starts with dry-aged beef from Pat LaFrieda, a famous New York-based butcher that supplies premium cuts of meat to restaurants across the country, cooked to perfection and topped with caramelized onions. The pretzel bun destined to carry this bomb of umami to your mouth is then topped with the restaurant's signature "Emmy sauce," a homemade mayonnaise-based condiment made with garlic, sesame seeds, and gochujang, a Korean chili paste. This winning combination might go for a cool $31, but in our opinion, it's worth every penny, which is why this burger made it to this spot on our list.

4. Hamburger at Keens Steakhouse

If there is one place in Midtown Manhattan that knows meat, it's Keens Steakhouse. This classic old-timey haunt has been cooking up quality steaks since it opened in 1885, making it one of the oldest steakhouses in New York. And where there's quality steak, you can often find a quality burger. This burger is bare bones — just meat, crispy veggies, and, if you so choose (and we recommend you do), a hefty slab of cheese melted on top and placed on a toasted bun. As in many steakhouses, the patty is made from the trim of prime steak cuts and cooked so that it's got just a bit of charred crisp on the outside and a juicy inside with a rich, pink color. It's this meaty perfection that earned Keens this spot on our list.

The burger isn't served in the main dining room, so be sure to grab a seat in the pub section near the bar, which has a different menu and features dark oak paneling and dim lights that give it a distinctly old-fashioned feel. If you're looking to take a bite out of old New York, Keens is the place to go.

3. Legendary Burger at Nowon

We love a fresh take on a classic. The burger has proved remarkably versatile, having been reinvented again and again since time immemorial, with some takes more successful than others. One of the latest iterations blowing up the burger scene in New York is the brainchild of Korean-American chef Jae Lee, whose East Village restaurant Nowon has become famous for its creative burger.

It's double or nothing at Nowon, where the burger is served with two patties, a slice of American cheese, kimchi mayo, roasted kimchi, and a bread and butter pickle on a sesame seed bun. And if you're looking to get extra fancy, you can opt for the black truffle burger, which features truffled kimchi and mozzarella. You can wash your burger down with one of the craft soju or fun, imaginative cocktails on the drink menu. For its creative fusion of Korean and American flavors, the burger at Nowon clocks in at no. 3 on our list.

2. L.I. Burger at The Long Island Bar

With its old-school neon sign, cute vintage interior, and decades-long history of serving up food and drinks near the water in Cobble Hill, Long Island Bar certainly isn't losing any points for charm. The retro upscale diner vibe is a nod to the long history of the restaurant, which was restored and re-opened in 2013 by Joel Tompkins and Toby Cecchini, a pair of serious foodies who wanted to bring delicious glory to the space. But the headliner at this cozy Brooklyn eatery isn't the décor; it's the burger.

The signature L.I. Burger has two stacked patties made with dry-aged beef, American cheese, pickles, "fancy" sauce, and fries. And if you're really feeling like treating yourself, add a couple of bacon strips to double down on this meaty melt-in-your-mouth marvel. There is an option to order this burger with only one patty, but why would you do that to yourself? And if you're feeling thirsty, the cocktail list has got you covered. Locally renowned for its martini and white negroni, the drinks at Long Island Bar will not disappoint.

1. Luger Burger at Peter Luger Steakhouse

To any real Brooklynite, Peter Luger is synonymous with steak. The restaurant is widely known as one of the best steakhouses in America and has been serving top-quality meats to hungry New Yorkers since 1887, making it one of the city's oldest steakhouses. The rigorous meat selection process is still performed by members of the Forman family, who have owned Peter Luger since the 1980's and ensures that only the very best cuts make it through the door and, eventually, to your burger, which boasts the top spot on our list.

The magic of the Peter Luger burger is its simplicity: It's simply a patty on a sesame bun. Although you can add American cheese or bacon if you truly feel the need, the rich, fatty meat used to make the patty steals the show on its own. If you're hankering to satisfy that burger urge, you've got to get there during lunch hours because Peter Luger stops serving New York's favorite burger at 3:45 in the afternoon. For its ability to deliver simple perfection using quality ingredients, Peter Luger ranks as the best burger in New York City.