The best burgers in Melbourne? This is a hot topic since a recent burger renaissance. Please help me dear readers - so little time and so many great burger joints in our city. Please point me to the burger summit - what is your favourite burger?
The humble burger has risen in status to be a gourmet item of choice on menus across Melbourne. Culinary giants are making their own burger versions for customers.
There seems to be a trend away from old school burgers to burgers that incorporate more gourmet and quality ingredients. The trend is away from the huge burger to something almost stylish and smaller - yet packs a punch.
Do you prefer nouveau burgers or the traditional burger?
Here are 19 worthy contenders for Best Burger in Melbourne (more to follow later) -
1. 8bit in Footscray,
2. Grand Trailer Park Taverna on BourkeSt CBD,
3. Stagger Lees on Brunswick St,
4. Huxtaburger on Smith St, CBD, Praharan
5. Goneburger on Fitzroy St St Kilda,
6. Brother Burger and The Marvellous Brew on Brunswick St,
7. Mr Burger food trucks and outlets,
8. Tree of Us in North Richmond,
9. Rockpool Bar and Grill in the Crown Casino,
10. Rockwell and Sons in Smith Street,
11. Lord of the Fries on Brunswick Street and 6 other locations,
12. Drugstore in South Yarra,
13. Danny's Burgers on St Georges Road,
14. Burger Lounge in Eltham,
15. Trunk Diner in the CBD,
16. The Merrywell at Crown,
17. Ziggy's Eatery in Carlisle St St Kilda,
18. Andrews Hamburgers in Albert Park
19. The Royale Brothers in Brighton..
8bit - Footscray
8bit is surely in contention for best burger in Melbourne, located just off the main drag of Footscray. The World Loves Melbourne considers a great burger to be about the whole experience not just marks on the individual parts or ingredients. As an experience 8bit kicks burger butt. The flavours of the burgers are magnificent and the elements are in harmony, with no ingredient over dominating. Although the meat patty remains the hero as it should. Word had been spreading fast in the foodie community about these burgers, but it was while enjoying a burger tour of Adelaide I met burger joint owners there who had travelled to Melbourne to check out the wonders of 8bit. Rather compelling.
Everyone has their burger preference and that's to be respected. We at The World Loves Melbourne enjoy classic American style burgers. A thrill has been to travel to California several times and visit the In-N-Out Burger phenomenon, where the burgers are large, juicy and high quality (no artificial processing and super freshness). 8bit reminds us so much of In-N-Out! And I'm wondering how many others feel the same way?
Footscray is a culinary hub for a wide range of cuisines. It's better known for its Asian and African expressions, but now add the mighty burger to the scene. 8bit is an obvious play on 80s video games, with their marketing pointing to retro pop culture. When you order your burger you receive an 80s video games figurine. Super Mario figures like Mario and Luigi adorn the burger menu (see below). And you can play free video arcade games out the back of the restaurant. The website is wild, just like an 80s video gaming scene.
8bit is the masterstroke of Shayne McCallum (Captain Melville, also known for burgers), Alan Sam (Captain Melville) and Long Tran. Kudos guys. The team in the kitchen was impressive in their working together and their customer service. They will call you by name (rather than by say order no. 83). One of the staff came out the back to see me to ask which blog I was from, with my photo taking causing attention. Normally I ask permission to take photos, but when you drive across town to get to 8bit, you are prepared to take your chances.
Like many burger joints 8bit offers attractive burger selections, sides and drinks. Only 8bit does it better than most. Check out the large open kitchen where staff are well drilled in expertly constructing the delicious burgers consistently. Perch yourself along the counter on a colurful stool, at the tables or even in the booths.
Burger options range from the standard 8bit with cheese featuring Beef, Tomato, Lettuce,Red onion, Pickles,Mustard, Cheese, 8BIT sauce, or the Afterburner featuring Beef, Tomato, Red onion, Lettuce, Cheese, Chilli sauce, Jalapeños, Chipotle mayo. Other options include Golden Axe as a chicken option with Crispy fried chicken, Cheese, Sriracha mayo, Slaw, or the healthier mushroom option of Crumbed Portobello mushroom, Cheese, Tomato, Red onion, Green tomato relish, Lettuce, 8BIT sauce. The names of the burgers are also a nod to 80s video games, notably Golden Axe, 1 Up Mushroom Burger, Double Dragon and The Altered Beast. The Altered Beast features Beef, Bacon, Cheese, Grilled onions, Lettuce, 8BIT sauce, BBQ sauce.
These burgers offer an exceptional range, but then there's the Double Dragon... The Double Dragon is the zenith, a burger featuring Double beef, Double cheese, Double bacon, Pickles, Mustard, Lettuce, 8BIT sauce.
We ordered 2 of the 8bit with cheese and a Double Dragon, all with a large serve of beer battered fries with mayo. Other sides include potato gems, crispy onion rings, chilli cheese fries and cheese and bacon fries. The World Loves Melbourne loves the packaging, in cardboard boxes with greaseprooof paper. The way they are packaged makes them easier to eat...
Check out the sexy juicy large Double Dragon, with double the good stuff! Check the 2 patties of char grilled beef, oozing with double cheese, double quality bacon and fresh accompaniments of pickles, lettuce, mustard and sauce.
This burger is so good it's addictive. I couldn't put it down. It all comes together. The bun was soft and perfect, and interestingly not part of the Melbourne obsession with brioche. The meat is perfectly char grilled and smoky. The pickles crisp. The sauce compelling. Not too much lettuce. The cheese melted into the meat.
Here's my selection. The 8bit and cheese is a great burger in the classic style. Locals love 8bit but we contend it's worth the drive across town for these burgers. It speaks volumes when customers converge when the doors open at 11am, including a few tradies in their gear.
The World Loves Melbourne would love to try more of the burgers, as well as the hot dogs (also nostalgic video game names such as Fatal Fury, 1942 and Wonder Boy). The milkshakes look tempting, including the ever popular salted caramel milkshake. The 8bit wallpaper on the exterior of the building is starting to peel, giving the joint a grungy look. But what's inside is burger gold. Please guys, open up in the CBD and the eastern suburbs. 8bit is a revelation and can punch with the big boys. Highly recommended.
Grand Trailer Park Taverna - Bourke St CBD
Grand Trailer Park Taverna is a burger wonderland, cleverly taking up the American East Coast theme of a trailer park and turning it on its head with a killer fit out of booths and trailer structures. Surely this is taking the burger culture to its zenith and is a must visit for burger afficiados in this city. Simply this is the most creative burger joint we've seen in Melbourne. The World Loves Melbourne was invited to the launch but couldn't make it, and so we (Dave and Mario) had the opportunity to visit some weeks later. Had the hype settled down? No chance. On a mild Tuesday early evening this place was pumping.
The first surprise was the Spiked Milkshakes. We had no idea they would be so good and such a talking point. The Makers Mark Bourbon, Salted Caramel, Maple Bacon was the best milkshake we have experienced. Served in long jars there was just the right amount of bourbon to give the taste all the way through without the alcohol being overpowering. The salted caramel taste is wonderfully evident, while the skewered maple bacon presented on top of the shake is a fun touch. We mentioned the word "calories" to the wait staff and he shrugged his shoulders and said, "You need to live a little!" Agreed!
As we entered the trailer park we were met by wait staff full of personality and banter - they are a big part of the experience. It's fun here if not a little glamorous. Grand Trailer Park captures the essence of the American Trailer Park in the fit out but is the antithesis in terms of mood. Trailer Parks in America have a certain romance but are also a place of social challenge. This trailer park is a happy place with compelling dining spaces and an artistic touch. Grand Trailer Park is the masterstroke of Dani Zeini (the man behind the acclaimed Dandenong Pavilion noted for its burger offerings) and Joshua Lefers (design mastermind behind Pawn & Co. and Big Dog Creative).
Grand Trailer Park burgers are now famous in Melbourne. The Chunk - Double Double is a cracker burger and reminded us of In and Out Burgers in California, and we understand In and Out Burgers are part of the burger inspiration here. The Chunk - Double Double features Two premium Aussie beef patties, double American Cheddar cheese, caramelised onion, jalapenos, diced gherkins, American mustard and tomato sauce, on a lightly toasted brioche bun. The burger comes neatly wrapped in paper a la In and Out burgers, making this massive burger easier to consume. Juicy and rewarding with the pattie the hero - Aussie grass fed beef that gets freshly minced every day. The taste has some heat and kick with the jalapenos and tangy sauce. The balance of the burger is excellent. A contender for best burger of Melbourne.
The Atomic Burger is a chart topper and definite contender for best burger in Melbourne. The Atomic has taken on legendary status in Melbourne featuring Premium Aussie beef pattie, American cheddar cheese, chilli cheese kransky, crispy bacon, BBQ sauce & truffle cayenne mayonaise on a lightly toasted brioche bun. This is juicy goodness that is so right. From the photo above you can see it's a substantial burger with lashings of caramelised onions and bacon and chilli cheese kransky. The Chilli cheese kransky is like having another patty, and combines wonderfully with the beef pattie. The crispy bacon is another highlight, living up to its name and in generous proportion. Grand Trailer Park make their own sauces and they are tangy and complement perfectly. The cheese oozes over the patty while the kransky already has cheese and chilli in it. This is a burger with several talking points. So good.
Chandelier, carnival lights and mirror ball in the trailer park...
The Atomic in all its glory. These are American style burgers at their best. Burger turnover time was reasonable with the wait around 10 minutes. Imbibing our Spiked Milkshakes was a great way to start our dining experience.
The fries are also made fresh every day and are hand cut. Dip your fries into the house made mayo.
We also enjoyed the Potato Mac and Cheese Croquette. The texture is excellent, although I'd prefer a little more seasoning in the croquette.
The booths are compelling and we noticed them being occupied by groups.
There's a plethora of dining spaces including tables, booths, stools, and a killer outside area overlooking Bourke Street. Check out the picnic tables, again reflecting a trailer park.
Grand Trailer Park Taverna delivers on desserts. The Bananarama is a fun and rich winner that features Vanilla bean custard, banana ice-cream, Nutella, house made meringue, fresh banana, fresh strawberries & chocolate curls. also a winner was the Return of the Mac with Premium vanilla ice-cream, warm chocolate sponge cake, warm chocolate sauce and lashings of whipped cream. We also checked out the Giant Waffle Stacks at a nearby table and they looked awesome.
Return of the Mac. Rich and rewarding.
An example of the attractive trailer like booths at Grand Trailer Park. Note the cool benches, chic colour scheme with florals and the enchanting fairy lights.
The Wait Staff told us of plans for a secret menu like In and Out burgers in California. We are wondering if 2015 will be the year of the secret menu in Melbourne.
An excellent beer and wine list and compelling cocktails are also a feature at this burger wonderland.
Grand Trailer Park has taken on the burger culture of Melbourne and redefined the landscape with its chic and brilliant fun theme, while delivering on arguably the best burgers in Melbourne. Staff encapsulate the spirit of this burger joint and add to the experience. Highly recommended.
Stagger Lees - Brunswick St Fitzroy
Having eaten scores of burgers around Melbourne I found the Stack & Billy Burger to be one of the best around. A chart topper featuring Black Angus shin patty, bacon, American mustard, catsup, aioli, pickles and cheddar served with bacon croquettes and greens. The balance of flavours is perfect. The patty is magical. Brioche buns are a great texture and mild sweetness. Much thought has gone into this burger including killer aoli, quality pickles and cheddar. Please remind me to put this burger in my "Best burgers of Melbourne" section. Kudos to Head Chef Chris Hamburger (do I say the obvious?)...
The burger comes with amazing creamy croquettes that are almost a meal in themselves. When I said to the waitress, "Wow, I didn't realise these amazing croquettes come with the burger!" she said "Read the damn menu." But she said it in a playful kind of way that didn't offend. Banter in Brunswick...
Huxtaburger - Smith Street Collingwood
Huxtaburger is a contender for Melbourne's best burger. Just across the road from the epic Huxtable restaurant on Smith Street is this popular burger joint that delivers big time on quality gourmet burgers, great crinkle cut chips and beer. A killer combination. The value here is incredible and might just get you through the latest Global Financial Crisis.
To understand Huxtaburger you need to understand where it is coming from. To present such a quality burger as "The Huxtaburger" for only $8 is incredible. Who else can do this? No-one else I know of in Melbourne. Some burger joints serve old school burgers for around the same price but this is gourmet all the way. They are bringing value and accessibility with quality.
Huxtaburger is usually packed with a line up out the door and people waiting to swoop on a table. You can eat at the counter or grab one of the tables and enjoy the ambience of Smith street. With a black and white colour scheme you would think we are in Collingwood. But you also might think we are in an American diner in Collingwood.
Huxtaburger has done its homework on what makes a great burger. They simply have great buns. Glazed brioche buns. The burger bun melts in the mouth. You don't get that heavy starchy hit of bread but rather the bun combines wonderfully with the rest of the burger. The strength of Huxtaburger is that they keep it quality and simple. Other burger joints add varieties of burger that just don't work. Everything at Huxtaburger works.
My favourite is "The Huxtaburger" which has those awesome buns, crunch of great lettuce, quality gherkin, sublime patty of Moondarra Wagyu beef and melted cheese, tomato, mayo and ketchup. For a little extra you can get some great crinkle cut chips. Like everything Daniel Wilson does, there is adventure, amazing gourmet flavours yet sublime balance. There is kick in the mayo and pickles but it doesn't dominate the quality beef. The sensation is of a delectable light and slightly sweet burger. A contender for Melbourne's best burger.
At huxtaburger there is also a tie in with the Cosby show. The burger called "Bills" contains bacon, egg, pineapple and beetroot, and is hugely popular. The "Theo" with the double pattie and double cheese caters for those that love a huge mother of a burger - and it's the one I've imbibed on many occasions. Then there's the "Denise" which has some kick with Jalapeno.
You can always tailor make your burger by adding stuff - like an extra pattie for $2. Service is great here - in the three times I've been the staff have been engaging and friendly and professional. Table service at a burger joint is sensational. Huxtaburger hums at night open 11.30am till late on Tuesday to Sunday.
Goneburger - Fitzroy St St Kilda (Food Truck planned)
Is this Melbourne's best burger? Goneburger is a recent burger sensation to hit Melbourne, with a strategy of pop up and burger truck. Can Melbourne handle another burger truck? Of course, when the burgers are as impressive as Goneburger! The World Loves Melbourne dropped in on Goneburger and we were hugely impressed with their passion and quality of burgers. Surely Goneburger provides some of the best burgers in Melbourne. Anna and Andy, a New Zealander and a Brit, have made a huge impact since opening this burger joint.
The phrase "Goneburger" is common in New Zealand - meaning "I'm out of here!" This is ironic as Goneburger is literally a daily pop up in Fitzroy St St Kilda, open from 3pm to 11pm each day. Up until 3pm each day the venue is a hotel cafe from Urban Hotel. Then after 3pm the guys from Goneburger set up their burger joint from scratch! Then take it down again after 11pm for the cafe to restart at end of the day. The venue is spacious and attractive and Goneburger put out floral arrangements, colourful placemats and even jars of jellybeans on the tables. The food truck is coming soon in 2015...
Every day Goneburger put out an A-board sign as above with a different clever and quirky quote.
Goneburger has a compelling menu, with gourmet burgers at affordable prices. We imbibed The Beef and Bacon, a simple name that belied the wonder of this burger. The Goneburger features house crafted beef patty for a blend of the finest chuck and the juiciest grass fed short rib beef, with their own Goneburger sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, caramelised onions, smoky bacon, cheese and pickles, on a toasted brioche bun. As they say, "simple but classic", but "even a classic is better with bacon".
Surely this is one of the best burgers in Melbourne. For a start this is one of the few burgers where you can easily see what is in it. The top of the bun is placed at an angle so you can see all the ingredients. The brioche bun was perfect for this burger, from Noisette. The patty is the hero - juicy as they say, with an awesome umami Japanese seasoning infusing the patty that is not overpowered by the sauce. Nuances. Add to that delightful smoky flavours to the equation
Many Melbourne burgers are sauce-driven so its the sauce that determines the flavour of the burger. Here the balance is exceptional with the meat patty and the house made sauce. Goneburger spent much time on perfecting their sauce, with elements of tomato, mustard and mayo.
Influences in this burger include Texan BBQ, David Chang, and Heston's "Perfect Burger".
Check out The Beef and Bacon in all its glory... Did I also mention the smoky bacon and punch of pickles?
Since opening Goneburger has enjoyed positive reviews. While we were there the burger joint was well patronised. One of the guests of the hotel declared The Beef to be in his top 3 burgers ever - along with the $5,000 burger from Las Vegas and the Heston Perfect Burger! Another top international chef was asked to comment on The Beef burger and whether she would change anything - and she replied "keep it the same as it is, it's awesome." Of course burgers are a matter of personal opinion, but The World Loves Melbourne can see where these people are coming from.
Goneburger also delivers on golden crunchy chips. Incredibly these chips are developed in a sound room. The crunch of the chips is determined by sound waves and patterns when a sample of chips is broken and the sound recorded. A scientific approach to chips! The World Loves Melbourne loved these golden crunchy chips as the perfect accompaniment to a burger.
Goneburger delivered on The Beef, and we also imbibed the popular The Pork burger. Again the presentation is masterful, with the top of the brioche bun resting on prongs of crackling. The pulled pork is prepared with a rub for 12 hours then the pork is cooked in marinade for another 8 hours. No short cuts here! Consequently the pork is moist and delectable, not dry like some other pork burgers we've tasted.
Check the Pork burger, also featuring quality slaw with tangy sauce and that impressive pork crackling. We didn't try The Veggie Burger but we know veggie burgers in general can be an afterthough. At Goneburger Andy the chef used to be a vegetarian, so he takes pride in making the best veggie burger possible with Puy lentils and barley, Portobello mushrooms and a stunning blue cheese sauce. Even carnivores have known to turn. Another bonus - THESE BURGERS ARE LARGE BUT DON'T FALL APART WHEN YOU EAT THEM! Goneburger offers a range of drinks and a decent coffee (which we sampled and enjoyed).
Goneburger is a more than welcome addition to the Melbourne burger scene. Locals are raving. Highly recommended.
Brother Burger and The Marvellous Brew - Brunswick St
Brother Burger and The Marvellous Brew in Brunswick St is one of the best burger joints in Melbourne for the discerning burger afficiado. Come here for large rewarding juicy burgers with interesting fillings and decent fries and sides, plus enjoy the excellent marriage of burgers to quality craft beers. Gloriously, The World Loves Melbourne was able to easily find parking out the front of this burger joint. We walked into a burger joint with a presence, a stately building of character and space with large windows. Marcelo Tummino (who was the man behind The European and The Supper Club) offers the punters a great burger experience.
Brother Burger felt like a burger brotherhood. They have the burger culture nailed... With recycled timber abounding and funky lighting with naked bulbs, this joint has a semi industrial chic ambience to imbibe. It wasn't long before the craft beer list appeared in front of me and a pint of 3 Ravens Ale was on the way. Brew before burger. Brother Burger provides great options depending on what burger mood you're in. I was asked whether I was hungry. My answer to such questions is always "yes!" as I'm not sure what happens if you say "no".
Brother Burger has a burger to cater for every taste. For those who enjoy The Lot your hunger will be satisfied with a plethora of quality ingredients and their wonderful 100% Wagyu patty. The Oh Brother is another compelling option with double patty action. Bean Around is a savvy Vegan option, while Magic Mushie caters for the Vegetarian. Chicky Babe delivers with free range chicken while Hey Ewes! offers a lamb patty. Then there's Pig Out with pork patty, the Royal Blue with blue cheese, and The Jane cheeseburger. Clever burger names. And the menu keeps on giving with Fitzroy Reuben, High Steaks, BLT, and salads, to name a few other options. As I said, Brother Burger caters for all tastes!
As for The World Loves Melbourne we were in the mood for Hot Stuff, featuring the 100% Wagyu beef patty, double bacon, cheese, house made pickles, mustard-mayo and chilli jam. With jalapenos on the side to regulate your heat...
This was a complete burger with great balance. The patty remained the hero, which we celebrate, as some Melbourne burgers are too sauce driven. Fries also hit the mark, golden and crunchy with excellent potato flavour. Smokey chicken wings looked tempting... We also noted the Shakes, Alcoholic Shakes and the Wine List.Brother Burger boasts a decent full bar facility, and you can imbibe at the bar, tables, common large table or outside. Staff greet you at the door and engage you throughout, especially when you have a cool retro camera like me... Strategy meeting (below)...
Check out the aqua stools above - from the Green Gully Soccer Club in Keilor Downs (hail the Melbourne quirk). Burger and fries in all their glory. The World Loves Melbourne was impressed by this juicy patty of quality meat, excellent bacon and cheese.
Interesting spaces. We arrived early and the crowd started to build as we left. The World Loves Melbourne digs this retro common table with floral arrangement. Brother Burger and The Marvellous Brew is a burger joint that we want to return to, to explore the rest of the menu.
Brother Burger ticks the boxes and is well worth a visit. Their website is cool and looks like a potential album cover for The Beatles. Highly recommended.
Mr Burger - Therry St CBD and Food Truck
Tree of Us - Church Street North Richmond
Tree of Us is a cafe/restaurant sensation and a great find in the uber precinct of North Richmond. Being familiar with many of the cafes along Bridge Road and indeed throughout Richmond I am always looking for a cafe that stands out from the pack. I can throw a blanket across several and only a handful rise into the outstanding category. Tree of Us is a breath of fresh air with its understated charm and foodie gourmet excellence.
Started by three friends who went to Primary School on the Mornington Peninsular together, there is a sense of destiny and romance about this place. To be honest I don't even have one friend from Primary School. It was too long ago and I have no idea where they are now. Certainly none of my Primary School friends were ex chefs at Rockpool that I know of. Shaun is a top chef ex Rockpool and brings imagination, flair and skill to the kitchen.
Tree of Us is visually appealing and has a cool ambience. Check out the incredible street art along the side of the building by artist Putos, who has a great skill in painting animals street art style.
Tree of Us has a modern inviting fit out with hanging plants, elegant timber chairs and tables, tiled floor and ochre material against the white walls. The space on the footpath is inviting on a summers day. Soon they will launch a courtyard area out the back - I had a look at the progress and it looks promising with decking and enough seating for another 15 or so.
Tree of Us has a menu that brims with fine dining options at reasonable prices. It is clearly more than the usual cafe fare. For breakfast try out the Lentil, wild field mushrooms and poached egg stack or Tree toasties including the BLAT. Or go for the Smoked salmon with beetroot and avocado roquette salad on light rye or the soon-to-be famous Breaky Burger with bacon, sauasage, egg, hash brown and tomato relish. Or check out the Omelette with mushrooms, spinach, goat's cheese and thyme. The Tree Trunk breaky is large and gourmet.
For lunch Tree of Us serves some of the best burgers in Melbourne. I chose the Steak Burger for $16 which included brioche buns that inspired from Noisettes, an incredible organic juicy steak from Berties Butcher nearby, caramelised onion, swiss cheese melted over the top, crispy bacon and a kick butt tomato relish. You can see from the picture this baby was delectable!
The Fish Burger is also getting rave reviews and includes crumbed Rockling.
Tree of Us has an exciting dinner menu which is thrilling locals. Come along for Grass fed Scotch fillet with horsereadish cream, witlof and corella pear salad or some Coq a la Biere (chicken cooked in beer). Or choose the amazing Oyster porcini field mushroom risotto. At night the staff put out the tea lights for a cosy intimate atmosphere. Locals are also coming along just for cake and coffee.
Tree of Us pours some great coffee, with coffee sourced from Fair Trade Atomica in Brunswick.
Service at Tree of Us is friendly, personable and engaging. Christian, Anna and Shaun are charming and passionate foodies.
When I visited on a Saturday afternoon it was ideallic with cool jazz playing, laughter from conversations at tables and the cafe filled with natural light on a sunny Melbourne day.
I enjoyed the modern menu board and enticing display cabinet. Tree of Us is an exciting foodie and sustainable cafe restaurant in the north part of Richmond that I intend to visit again soon. I still dream about that Steak Burger. Check out their Facebook page.
Rockpool Bar and Grill - Crown Casino
Rockpool Bar and Grill is a fine dining haven in the Crown Casino and is known for its spectacular meat dishes and the culinary genius of Neil Perry. The conversation around here is all about "dry-aged", "grass-fed", "rib-eye" and of course "wagyu". In fact it's the David Blackmore Wagyu that drew me here. Could this be Melbourne's best burger?
Rockpool has a modern fit out with high ceilings, great use of timber panelling, subtle mood lighting, large artwork tributes to the humble cow, several attractive dining areas and luxurious tables and chairs. What struck me about Rockpool was the finery and great use of textures. The ambience here is refined yet relaxed. Waiters dressed impeccably attend to your dining needs and are engaging and knowledgeable.
The meat here is sourced from Australia's best producers and dry aged on the premises. Rockpool are strict about humane treatment of cattle and about no hormones or antibiotic feed supplements. Rockpool features Blackmore's Wagyu, Greenhams and Rangers Valley meat. It's the best of the best. Now to the burger... Caramelised heaven. Wagyu heaven.
Rockpool has smashed a home run with this David Blackmore Wagyu Burger in terms of quality, taste and balance. My first impression was that this is a work of art and a celebration of the hamburger. Secondly I was amazed at how big this burger actually is. I was expecting a smaller burger as is the trend. This was actually a meal to satisfy your lunch craving. Along with say, some hand cut chips.
Interestingly I was asked how I would like my wagyu patty cooked - does anywhere else in Melbourne do that? Of course I wanted it as the chef would recommend (normally my reply) - which I believe was medium rare. The wagyu patty was the hero of this burger, which for me is what it's all about.
Every morsel of that wagyu patty was delectable. The bun was a wonderful brioche. And the combination of flavours was the genius. Smokehouse bacon and gruyere went so well with the wagyu, but then the red onion and zucchini pickles were such a zesty flavour hit against the meat.
I could eat those pickles just on their own. And the tomato relish was also a killer...
While I offered to sit and enjoy my hamburger at this bar Rockpool insisted I eat fine dining style at the table. Park of the experience. A true celebration of the hamburger. I understand Rockpool is a nod to the great American diner and methinks they have done this to perfection. Serious contender for the best burger in Melbourne...
And I aim to be back for more Rockpool fare...
Rockwell and Sons - Smith Street
Rockwell and Sons provides American style soul (comfort, dude) food in Smith St and has one of the most acclaimed burgers in town with the Double patty smash burger. Another contender for best burger in Melbourne but not the mainstay of their imaginative menu.
Rockwell and Sons has a modern fit out with chic timber framing, funky lighting and exposed brick walls. Rockwell also pours a mean latte...
Rockwell and Sons offers "dude" food gems such as Southern Fried chicken sandwich, Rib sandwich, cheese dumplings, Lamb dog, Calamari roll with pickles, or even a delectable Lamb shoulder... But the star of the show is the Rockwell Double patty smash burger of rock star fame...
The Double patty smash burger consists of a sexy brioche bun from Brasserie Bread (important to have great bun), excellent juicy patty action, cheddar cheese drooled all over the meat, crunch gherkins and a killer sauce. For mine it's the sauce that makes it... This sauce reputedly includes 3 different kinds of mayo. So good. The burger is a triumph of juicy melted and crunchy bliss! and the price point is kind to the wallet.
The burgers are better at Rockwell and Sons...
Rockwell also boats amazing home made french fries with aoli... Critical to get this right when you've got a rock star burger.
Rockwell and Sons is the perfect place to dine with friends or even pull up at the bar on a stool as I did. Service was engaging and friendly. Even the barista chatted to me over the bar while pouring coffees...
Rockwell is long and elongated... Cool tunes playing. This is a great vibe without pretense.
The logo is a classic... Rockwell and Sons is highly recommended for unpretentious dude food with great vibe and at a reasonable price in a cool part of Smith St.
Lord of the Fries - Brunswick Street and 6 Other Locations
These guys are super popular and have a cult following. Lord of the Fries is an award winning restaurant group that delivers incredible vegetarian flavoursome food and modern tastes at value prices. Even Prince has enjoyed their cuisine on his last Australian tour (several music icons dig LOTF). Having sampled the burgers here - they are a strong contender for the best in Melbourne. Bring on the vegetarian burger for 21st century tastes!
I love the multicultural flavour of Lord of the Fries with its different sauces and tastes celebrating nations and their cuisine. Very Melbourne methinks.
Lord of the Fries began from humble beginnings visiting music festivals in a mobile van to an icon in Melbourne with 7 stores. They are growing with new stores established recently and stores where there's a funky vibe and extra room to enjoy their fine fare. We enjoyed lunch at the iconic Brunswick Street store - a retro style diner. Prince enjoyed and inspired a Purple Rain sauce but here it's more of a red haze. Lord of the Fries has a striking red theme - I really enjoy their marketing and Facebook page.
Lord of the Fries has won major awards for Best Burger in Melbourne from The Age, then also Best Hot chips in Melbourne from The Herald Sun, Best Vegetarian Restaurant in Australia from the I Love Food Award, as well as Best Burger in Australia from Peta and Aduki.
Having sampled Lord of the Fries burger Parma, which consists of LOTF Chick'n Patty, bacon rashers, napoli sauce, cheese and onion - I can say this is up with the best in Melbourne. It's a great burger which ever way you look at it. It has great flavour, great napoli sauce and great combination of ingredients. The bun is excellent and totally fresh - which is really important.
I am not a vegetarian as such but I love great vegetarian food. Lord of the Fries shows much flair when it comes to vegetarian cuisine. You feel like they are breaking ground especially when it comes to the convenience genre they operate in. The Vegan Patty used by Lord of the Fries has the look, taste and texture of meat with virtually no fat. So you don't leave the restaurant feeling heavy and bloated. These are great health choices for the 21st Century. The mock beef patties are high in protein being made from Textured Soy Protein. And gluten free!
The other burger we enjoyed was The Guru, with Guru vegie patty, tomato, onion, lettuce, and green chilli sauce. I love this burger, with plenty of spice (it has more kick than other places). The green chilli sauce is a winner.
We ordered two of the mini burgers - the original and the spicy mini burger. These were delightful and are a great option amid the mini burger craze around Melbourne right now.
Of course fries are important. Lord of the Fries has award winning fries that taste like potato and do this vegetable justice. Fresh not frozen. Freshly cut. Fries are cooked twice to ensure crispiness (most of us love our fries to be crispy). And no trans fat. Also what I love is that they keep the skins on the potato. Something I like to do at home. It healthier and I believe the taste is enhanced. Sauces are a highlight at Lord of the Fries. You can order a great range of classic sauces for $1 including my favourite, the Belgian with Euro Mayo. The deluxe sauces are worth the $2 and my favourites are The French Canadian which is shredded cheese and hot gravy, as well as the Mexican consisting of Chilli Salsa and sour cream (and has some spice). Sauce of the month right now is the Santa Monica Spinach Dip and this was a sublime sauce and something a little different. I found it to be moorish.
You just love the little toothpick prong things that you eat the chips with - rather than having to use your hands with all that sauce over the chips.
The Onion rings are also superb. Do I get excited about onion rings? Yes. I've been on the search for Melbourne's best onion rings. These are up there with the best because they are chunky and a little juicy and fresh and they are crumbed well. Not oily and dry but lean and flavoursome. The Nuggets were also a sensation - not the usual kind of nuggets found in other stores but using soy protein. Tasty and healthy. I loved them.
Lord of the Fries hits the spot and is an edgy eatery that ticks so many boxes in terms of concept, quality, freshness and taste. We look forward to their continue growth and expansion in Melbourne and beyond.
Drugstore Espresso - Toorak Road South Yarra
Drugstore is possibly the home of Melbourne's best burgers. It's an amazing cafe and burger joint on Toorak Road South Yarra. Being a burger junkie and in search of Melbourne's best burger I decided to try Drugstore out.
At Drugstore it's the meat in the burger that is celebrated - with Wagyu all the way. Other burger joints celebrate some other aspects of the burger but to have such high quality meat in the burger is an absolute winner.
As the restaurant is related to the sensational Steer Bar and Grill, one of the best steakhouses in Melbourne, Drugstore is supplied with top grade Wagyu for the burgers. The big deal is the Blackmore wagyu, one of only two venues in Melbourne that supplies this high grade Wagyu.
The key is that the burger meat is cooked to medium and not overcooked. There are plenty of places that overcook a meat patty. At Drugstore the patty is juicy.
Grain Fed Wagyu Beef Burger is a magnificent burger, with Blackmore full blood wagyu, onion jam, vintage cheddar, tomato relish and rocket. A good size burger and gourmet all the way. 100% wagyu. Intense beef flavour.
Also serve a Grain Fed Wagyu Beef Burger with saffron aoli, bacon, corn and avocado salsa, as well as a Cajun Chicken Burger. All burgers served with brioche bun and fat chips.
The vibe at Drugstore is rock and roll with pop culture look. Impressed with the low ceilings, the funky lamps, the black and white photos, the art work on the walls, and even the water in the red jug.
By day Drugstore is a fine cafe with excellent breakfasts and great coffee. Then it turns into a first class burger joint.
Service is also excellent here. The waitress engaged me and chatted about the product. She gave some great recommendations from the menu. The chef also came out and chatted about the menu and the cooking approach. Then the barista at the front counter was also engaging and upbeat. Went away feeling good about the team here.
Hamburgers that celebrate beef. It's a great thing.
The Merrywell - Crown
The Merrywell is a fabulous spacious restaurant in the Southbank precinct near the Crown that serves up American style diner dude food. It's a stylish establishment that also exudes a sense of fun.
The Merrywell is a great place to meet up with people over a drink and a burger - as we discovered. When we arrived at around 4.30pm on a weekday it was relatively busy then it seemed to explode in the next half hour as over 100 people streamed in (at the end of the work day). Suddenly the place was packed with cityworkers clustered around the bar and around the tables overlooking the promendade... The noise levels rose and it was a happening venue...
Not only is there a burger wave/trend in Melbourne but a trend towards the American diner concept. Having been to America I understand the excitement over burgers. I'm grateful we have moved from burgers mainly at fast food joints and local fish and chip shops - to the gourmet offerings of today.
The Merrywell has a simple but pleasing menu with burger highlights such as the above "The Merrywell" burger. For $20 it's a tad pricy on the Melbourne burger scene but you get a large burger with thick juicy quality meat patty, delectable cheese melted all over, lettuce, onions, sauce, crispy bacon and excellent tangy pickles. All in a large soft bun. And the burger comes with delicious golden chips/fries.
The Merrywell burger comes wrapped in paper, which is fine, but the juiciness of the burger can mean bits of soggy paper can interfere with the burger. Perhaps I'm being picky. It's a hearty quality burger. Alltogether I enjoyed The Merrywell burger.
The Merrywell has a modern fit out including parquetry floor, high ceilings, funky lighting, sleek bars and a cool upstairs area... The feeling is more of fine dining than a basic diner, but there is a sense of the casual along with the finery...
This has to be one of the most atmospheric places to meet with your friends in Melbourne. You're right in the action here near the Casino. The large windows bring in the natural light and open up to the eclectic world of cosmopolitan Melbourne.
The KISS burger was also a winner with the hero being that large juicy meat patty... One big melted cheese and meat bliss bomb... KISS - I can't get enough of you baby...
The Merrywell chips/fries close up... Golden. Seasoned. Not too oily. Grab yourself some condiments from the table - I let loose on the mustard all over my chips/fries.
The drink selection is first class with quality beers on tap and bottles, and interesting spiders and soft drinks.
Service here is engaging and friendly, and staff are on their game. You do however need to order at the counter. (I haven't dined upstairs yet but I understand it's a step up in finery).
As we left The Merrywell two helicopters launched from the adjacent pad across the Yarra - reminding us that The Merrywell is in an upmarket part of town. The Merrywell is a restaurant I'd like to return to, for its simple but tasty burgers and its top notch ambience.
Grill'd - multi locations
Grill’d Healthy Burgers has opened on Station Street in Fairfield with a bang, having offered 100 free burgers to customers. The World Loves Melbourne went along to check out the scene and we enjoyed the modern fit out of the spacious store with its trendy tiling, use of timbers and even a planter box.
We also enjoyed the burgers (perennial favourites in Melbourne for us) and the brilliant kids boxes for our children. The Mighty Melbourne Burger has been a favourite of mine for years, but also the Baa Baa burger and Hot Mama are right up there in Melbourne's best burger territory. Not to mention some of the best chips in Melbourne with herbs and killer aoli options.
Grill’d founder Simon Crowe said the Fairfield restaurant will more than satisfy the demand for healthy, convenient food options in the area. “Grill’d is more than just a great tasting, healthy burger restaurant. We place a huge emphasis on offering a great environment where people of all ages can enjoy a fresh and convenient meal in a casual environment with their friends and family,” he said.
Grill’d stocks an exciting alcohol range including local craft beers and ciders – the perfect accompaniment for any of the menu’s 30 fresh, and healthy options including 100% grass fed, hormone free beef and lamb, chicken and vegetarian burgers as well as a range of salads and steak sandwiches.
While Grill’d has experienced significant growth in recent years - the new Fairfield restaurant marks the 28th in Victoria - Simon says they’re not interested in developing a “big company” attitude, and each restaurant remains focused on local community initiatives.
Danny's Burgers - St Georges Road
For a true Melbourne experience one has to imbibe the joys of Danny’s Burgers on St Georges Rd. The sign says “since 1945”. Wow! This is an institution. I loved every minute of my experience here.
You need to come with the right attitude and “get into it.” This is old school burgers done with charisma and love. The burgers are fantastic evoking memories of the best fish and chip shop hamburgers but better. It’s better because the burgers are nicely layered so you can eat them without them falling apart. Well put together buns, egg, bacon, a great patty with proper grill taste.
Danny’s are famous for the double and triple lot hamburgers. They are enough to fill the hungriest mouths. And they are made at 1950’s prices! Great value dinner option for the family.
Don’t underestimate the chips here. You get a great pile of chips for your money. And they are nice and crispy.
Danny’s has some other great options including lamb burgers, open burgers with greek salad and chips and much more. People also rave about the chicken burgers.
Seating is limited to the counter but there is a great area with a few tables on the pavement. We soaked in the atmosphere of cosmopolitan St Georges Rd on a warm night.
Burger Lounge - Eltham
The Burger Lounge rocks. Are these the best gourmet burgers in Melbourne? Many of my friends think so.
Burger Lounge ticks so many boxes and in fact redefines the gourmet burger. The burgers are large, made with healthy ingredients, and the flavour combinations are amazing. These guys were voted ib Nova radio competition as the best burgers in Melbourne.
I’ve driven for an hour through Melbourne peak hour traffic just to get the family burgers here. In fact turning around and coming back down the main street of Eltham can be tricky in peak hour. The place itself has a great vibe and is colourful and modern. A great option is to actually eat in, even for groups.
The Burger Lounge is so refreshing in terms of menu choices and gets it so right. Reading the menu is fascinating as burger descriptions are like reading a menu from a top fine dining establishment.
The Signature Burger is a sensation and includes 100% beef prime organic pattie with harvati cheese, basted with balsamic glaze, pickled cucumber, red onion, lettuce, tomato, relish and herb aioli.
The Kofta Burger with a lamb pattie is another sensation and the pinenuts and Moroccan spice are great gourmet touches.
My wife loves the pumpkin burger with homemade roasted pumkin and kumera pattie with feta, walnuts and basil pesto, covered in Japanese panko breadcrumbs, spinach leaves, beetroot relish and aoli. Great flavours.
The prices are extremely reasonable with these huge gourmet burgers about $12. A lot of thought has gone into this. They offer organic meats. The coffee is also great at Burger Lounge – from 5 Senses. The herb chips are amazing. Everyone talks about the chips. They also have a really successful chicken shop nearby in Eltham.
Ziggy's Eatery - Carlisle St St Kilda
Ziggy's Eatery is a highly impressive modern burger joint on Carlisle St St Kilda that specialises in gourmet burgers and dude food at excellent value. These are not burgers slapped together but you get the impression of a kitchen of skilfull and passionate foodies that care for their customers. We were impressed at the high level cuisine here and the resonating passion of the owners. They simply serve some of the best burgers in town. The World Loves Melbourne was invited as a guest of Ziggy's.
Check out the Texan Giant Burger at Ziggy's as one of the best in Melbourne. It ticks all my burger boxes. The bun is critical to any burger, and where some burger joints in Melbourne fall down. Ziggy's offers a fresh soft brioche of high quality. Next, the meat patty is quality beef with right amount of seasoning and is a giant 250g. Not for the faint hearted!
Aoli is excellent adding to the flavour of the burger, together with a killer Texan sauce. Not to mention the tomato, cheese, onion and lettuce of quality. Overall juiciness factor was high. Unapologetically I prefer a juicy burger to a dry one. The combination of flavours just works here. A burger to reckon with.
Ziggy's is an all round dude food destination of note. Even the chicken wings with 3 types of tangy sauce hit the mark... Especially with a Mexican beer...
Ziggy's has an attractive fit out with edgy artwork adorning the walls. The use of timber is attractive including a large communal table. Or eat outside and enjoy the ambience of bustling Carlisle Street.
We found this restaurant to be family friendly. Our kids loved the food here, and especially the burgers. The menu is broad and has something for everyone.
The owners are friendly foodies and attentive. We enjoyed connecting with them as much as the outstanding food.
Check out the Texan Giant burger again... We could have ordered the Spanky with German mustard and gherkins and special sauce. Or the Hot Bikini with hot pineapple, or Pepper with green peppercorn, to name a few. Interesting gourmet burgers.
Importantly, the sauces are great here. Rich but not overpowering and a perfect accompaniment to the dude food.
Ziggy's menu doesn't fall away after the burgers. We took on this Middle eastern inspired Beef Shawarma wrap with grilled beef strips, tahini, yoghurt, Spanish onion, tomato, salad and fried onion - that blew us away. Not a simple wrap but infused with interesting spices and flavours. The portions are generous here, and we think you won't leave hungry.
In fact for the health conscious there are some geat salads here, including the popular Grilled Haloumi salad. Or enjoy a vegetarian wrap, called the Foollafel Wrap with Middle Eastern style veggie fritters!
Equally impressive is the Pork Belly burger with Vietnamese coleslaw and Hoteriyaki sauce. A great fusion burger. The pork belly itself was highly impressive as perfectly cooked sticky and melt in your mouth. This is an indulgent dish and great value for the price.
Chips are important at a burger joint. Ziggy's delivers with these fries tossed in their secret sweet and tangy sauce. Moorish indeed.
The World Loves Melbourne was highly impressed with Ziggy's Eatery and plans to return soon. A revelation and highly recommended.
Andrews Hamburgers - Albert Park
Andrew's Hamburgers is a super impressive burger joint that knows what it's doing (since 1939), offering great burgers at value prices. Andrew's Hamburgers has a superb customer focus with service with the lot - engaging staff, great menu options and reasonable prices - that keeps customers returning.
Andrew's Hamburgers seems to be the toast of Victoria with visits by celebrities, sporting personalities, the Masterchef judges with their photo on the wall, and many people of our city that have been visiting for years.
Andrew's Hamburgers makes traditional, as distinct from nouveau burgers. You can get yourself an egg and bacon roll or a chicken burger, for example. But the popular choice is the hamburger with the lot.
I enjoyed the famous burger with the lot for a value price plus chips ($2 for a mini). For a start the burger is large. It takes two hands for sure to handle this mother.
The buns are fresh and quality - very important for a good burger. The bacon and egg (cooked in rings) is quality, the lettuce fresh and crunchy, the cheddar cheese wonderfully melted and the burger has the right amount of sauce and fried onion. The star of the show is of course the patty which is quality beef. I felt I could detect some sublime seasoning coming from the patty.
The burger is delicious and they get the balance of elements right. You feel like the burger is neither heavy nor greasy.
And the chips have that crispiness that people want.
The staff here are fantastic and add to the experience. They love what they do. There's a team of guys all wearing Andrews Hamburger's T shirts. I was surprised my eat in burger arrived on a silver tray. I wasn't fumbling around with paper.
If you eat in (limited seating) you will be amazed at how many people come through this place in a short time, even on a supposedly quiet Saturday afternoon.
I noticed families arriving and looking over the photos on the wall that include celebrities posing with owner Greg Pappas.
I can see why people love this place. While I love a nouveau burger I also love that traditional hamburger that's done well. Andrew's Hamburgers has been setting a high standard for decades and are still shining as ever.
The Royale Brothers - Brighton
The Royale Brothers are a hip and welcome addition to the Melbourne and Brighton burger scene. Already in the Herald Sun Burger Top 10 they have seen business double overnight and punters are flocking to experience their tailored juicy burgers. The Royale Brothers was founded by the boys from The Pantry in Brighton, Daniel Vaughan, Guy Mainwaring and Tim Purton-Smith, burger royalty themselves.After squeezing past a late model Mercedes double parked in the nearby car park in Brighton, The World Loves Melbourne was invited to see what all the fuss was about at Royale Brothers.
The Royale Brothers construct and tailor various burgers from their menu to suit a plethora of tastes. Large burgers with massively wide buns sit alongside regular and spicy burgers, and imaginative fillings such as pork shoulder and crispy fish. Then there's the Hippy Royale with Panko crumbed pinto bean patty, house slaw, avocado, mayo, tomato & pickles.
Royale Brothers stacks up when it comes to Melbourne quirk with red phone and toys perched on shelves, cute menu boards, along with a chainsaw mounted on the ceiling (as you do!).
Two big milk bun burger sellers are the ROYALE WITH CHEESE feauting Beef, cheese, onion, lettuce, pickles, mustard, mayo & Royale sauce for$12, and BACON ROYALE featuring Beef, bacon, double cheese, tomato, onion, lettuce, pickles, mustard, mayo & Royale sauce for $14.
Or try the Spicy Royale or the Royale Double Deluxe, where if you meet the challenge you can find yourself on the "wall of awesomeness".
Burgers are delivered in neat packaging, and you can choose to perch yourself along the roadside seating and "dine in".
Even the chips are to rave about, fresh and crispy, with a choice of simply salted or Royale spiced seasoning.
My preference was for the Bacon Royale, a popular seller. Royale Brothers use a unique milk bun which is soft but less sweet than brioche. My first bite drew me into the world of Royale Brothers burger awesomeness, with the alluring softness of the bun, juicy thick meat patty, stunner pickles, fresh lettuce, generous melted cheese placed where it should be, delightful onions, and right amount of sauce (you can select from a range of Famous Royale spicy tomato sauce, aoli, onion gravy, jalapeno salsa, and Coney Island cocktail sauce).
Glistening buns and flavoursome combinations...
Who you gonna call? Royale Brothers, when it comes to burgers...
I want me on this wall of awesomeness...
Royale Brothers brings a sense of playfulness with its slushie range. It also pleases with its range of San Pellegrino drinks including a welcome 500ml sparkling mineral water on a hot day!
Royale Brothers cover all the bases; there's even a Kids Menu with small and regular choices.
The Royale Brothers is at the zenith of burgerdom in Melbourne with its generous but well balanced burgers, diversity and customisation. And affordability is to be celebrated, with most regualr options around $12 currently, not like some other burger joints who charge around $20 for a burger.
Trunk Diner - CBD
Every self respecting dude food haven needs a killer burger, and Trunk delivers. This is a standout from the pack - using premium ingredients. I found it to be one of the best in Melbourne. The foundation is -
The joy was in the Supersizing of doubling everything! Yeah baby! Rock and roll.
The cheese melts down on the juicy Wagyu...
And every dude food lover knows chips have to be top notch - these are golden and crispy. Always a good sign when your first movement is to grab some hot chips - but then you can't stop picking at them...
The Quesadilla option is also attractive...
Desserts keep up the high standard at Trunktown Diner...
And the winner? For mine I enjoy Rockpool Bar and Grill, Huxtaburger and Tree of Us as the major standouts, but it's a personal preference. All should be celebrated.