Patty. Bun. Toppings.
When it comes to making a burger, those three elements are pretty much all you have to work with. That’s what makes this list of some of our favorite burgers even more impressive. And with so many great restaurants and chefs around Portland, narrowing it down wasn’t easy. Certain chefs have opted for the tried-and-true. Others have grabbed the burger idea and run sideways. Whatever type of burger you prefer, something on this list will hit your particular spot.
The Burger List
What stands out about this burger is not its size or length of its ingredient list, it’s the careful curation of every single one of the burger’s parts. It’s a brisket burger topped with smoked bacon, grilled sweet onion, cheddar & house pub-cheese blend, dijonnaise, and house-made pickles all between two lightly toasted sesame seed buns. A taste of burger precision. We enjoyed a Two Lights with this burger—the crisp, tropical snap of the beer paired nicely with the savory burger. Of course, we’ve had it enough times with White to say that combo is a winner too.
This gluttonous Americana-mash-up of a burger certainly delivers on its promise of cheese. Two grilled cheese sandwiches form the bun of an otherwise traditionally dressed burger. Thanks to their generous selection of Allagash, we’d suggest enjoying this burger with either Sixteen Counties or Hoppy Table Beer.
The no-nonsense preparation allows the burger, and the spice mixture they use to season it, to break through the burger noise. The King’s Head’s approach is to let the cheeseburger’s innate deliciousness shine through. The honey roll literally and figuratively holds it all together. Can’t go wrong pairing a White with this one.
The only non-meat burger on this list is here for a reason. Beyond vegetarian, this vegan burger brings heat and sweetness with vegan cheese, a veggie burger, spicy vegan spinach, and cold crushed pineapple. Another winner from the creative minds at Silly’s.
Tomato tapenade and aioli are the stand-out ingredients on this burger. They also grind their meat in-house, for that extra touch. (Note: we opted to put an egg on ours. Good choice.) Doesn’t hurt that their tap list is hyper local, a showcase of the Portland Brewing scene.
We know the French can do fries, but burgers are not often associated with Francophone fare. Petite Jacqueline is making a good case for acknowledgment. Caramelized onions, gruyere, and a brioche bun set this one apart. Oui oui. For a beer pair, we ordered Black. The beer’s roasty notes were a nice balance to the sweet onions and nutty gruyere.
What may sound like a straightforward burger: American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, special sauce, and a 6 oz. patty, is more than the sum of its parts. Clever seasoning and a heck of a tasty makeup to their ground meat makes this into a truly stand-out burger.
While “pulling inspiration” from a burger recipe America is quite familiar with, this burger still manages to enhance the classic. Ample patties and the signature sauce plus double-decker bun combo. One of the many remarkable burgers to choose from at Nosh. We enjoyed this one with Saison, a dry beer with rustic spice.
Harmon’s Lunch – Loaded Burger
OK, it’s not exactly in Portland, but we couldn’t complete a burger list without Harmon’s. We asked our friends on social media which burgers they loved, and Harmon’s came up again and again. The Loaded Burger comes with mustard, sweet red relish, and fried onions, perched on an expertly cooked patty. No frills. Just right.
(They don’t have a website, so just look it up online.)