The Best Burgers in Austin
I’m absolutely giddy to share this post on the best burgers in Austin. In short, Austin is a sea of great restaurants, *several* of which have fantastic burgers. Last fall after moving to Austin I made a master list of literally dozens of burgers in town and began to divide and conquer. I have been overwhelmingly impressed by the talent, creativity, and quality of so many restaurants in town striving to give their best stab at, what many consider to be, one of the most iconic American foods.
It’s important to note that this post *is not* a list of the most popular burgers in Austin. It isn’t a post on the most iconic or classic Austin burger spots either (not going to mention names, but I didn’t like most of these burgers, sadly). It certainly isn’t a post on the cheapest burgers in town either- you’ll actually find that a lot of these burgers are on the mid range or higher end of the spectrum when it comes to price point. But rest assured that this is an honest list of the best burgers in Austin from a girl who has tried them all.
What Constitutes a Great Burger?
We could spend hours debating what makes a great burger but as I went about trying different places here are the things that guaranteed a spot on my list of best burgers in Austin:
- The patty absolutely must be the star of the show. The meat itself needs to stand alone. It should be juicy, flavorful, never dry or overcooked, and something that really catches your attention. I took a bite of the burger patty alone at every single place. It’s the right thing to do.
- The bun completes the burger. Period. There’s nothing more disappointing that an incredible burger patty encased in a mediocre bun. Or, on the flip side, some immaculate house made bun with a wimpy burger inside.
- Everything else is just gravy. Meaning, grilled onions, some secret millennial-old sauce recipe, a fried egg, bacon, or extra sharp cheddar are all a bonus. They’re all extras, they make the burger better (and perhaps more unique), but it isn’t the core.
- Fries influenced my decision. If you’re going to serve a burger you better have some great fries to go with it. Delicious french fries are not hard to make.
I Made Some of My Own Rules
I wanted to make sure there was a little structure to the madness, so here are a few rules I set in place from the get go to keep things feasible:
- Any potential restaurant on this list must already be “proven out”. There are a lot of great new restaurants popping up in Austin every single day, but I wanted to create solid list of recommendations that I knew could hold out for a while. Most of these spots have been open for a year at the least.
- Restaurants on this list must serve the burger that I sampled on a regular basis. No specials because why do you care how great my burger was if you can’t order it?
- I tried fries with everything.
- Upon ordering if there were multiple burger options I asked for the most signature or popular menu item. When it came to burger temperature I always asked them to prepare at the chef’s recommendation (which was often times medium rare or medium). And as far as extras go (anything that you could add to the burger that wasn’t on it already), I also asked to enjoy the burger just like everyone else. If I “had” to get bacon with the burger because that’s how everyone gets it, then I ordered bacon.
15. Jewboy Burgers
I’m a big fan of Jewboy Burgers, a food truck by some of the most down to earth Austinites you’ll meet. I Loved the uniqueness of their most popular burger the Oye Vay Guey, a ground beef patty topped with jack cheese and green chiles. Basically a philly cheese steak but in a burger rendition and we’re not mad about it.
14. Hopdoddy Burger Bar
Start talking to anyone about the best burgers in Austin and Hopdoddy will 100% make its way into the conversation. Hopdoddy is now a successful national chain but the OG location is situated in Austin at their South Congress location. The hype is totally worth it and you’ll quickly see that despite how popular Hopdoddy is, the restaurant is ran extremely efficiently. If you’re not dying to try the original location, go ahead and eat at one of their three other Austin locations. Our favorite burgers are the Classic Burger, the Llano Poblano, and the Buffalo Bill. And don’t even think about going here without trying the kennebec fries and a shake.
13. Pool Burger
Pool Burger won me over pretty quickly for being a delicious “no frills” burger in ATX. These wagyu beef burgers are perfectly seared, giving them an incredible flavor and a slightly crisp texture. They have all sorts of menu options but I’m a fan of their classic Pool Cheeseburger- a 1/4 pound patty served with American cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato, chopped onion, mayo, and mustard. It doesn’t get more classic than this. Also two words: crinkle fries.
This old gas station/laundromat now converted into one of Austin’s most gorgeous and chic restaurants serves great food and one of the best burgers in Austin. Although small in size (don’t let this picture fool you) the flavor of their Plancha Burger is to die for, topped with American cheese, special sauce, and pickles, served on a challah bun. Don’t forget to enjoy with the made-in-house pickles served alongside. Unreal!
11. Josephine House
Josephine House is one of my top picks for dining in town, so it’s no surprise that they also serve one of the best burgers in Austin as well (served on their all day menu). The taste of their half aged meat and half beef chuck patty is rich in flavor and pairs perfectly with the Grafton cheddar, harissa aioli, and grilled red onions. The house-made bun is perfection.
10. Odd Duck
You won’t find more inventive or picturesque burgers than those served at Odd Duck in Austin. They regularly change their burger composition (the burger they currently serve looks completely different already), but you can always count on something flavorful, delicious, and infused with an innovative flair- all sourced with local ingredients. Check their website for current burger ingredients!
9. Luke’s Inside Out
I was pretty confident that the burger from Luke’s Inside Out, a food truck situated on South Lamar, would be pretty good but I completely underestimated how impressed I’d be at first bite! This burger is an 8 oz. sirloin patty served with bacon, cheddar, tomato, spinach, red onion, and lots of love. The patty is so flavorful and juicy- it all comes together so perfectly. Without a doubt one of the best burgers in Austin!
8. Foreign and Domestic
Simply put, the burger at Foreign and Domestic is TDF. The patty has an almost “fall apart” consistency. It’s very juicy and there’s an addicting smoky paprika flavor throughout the burger and in the accompanying sauce and fries (also top notch). With bacon, year aged white cheddar, and green tomato jam to complete the picture, this is 100% one of the best burgers in Austin.
7. Counter Cafe
I just love the cheeseburger from Counter Cafe and it’s easily one of the best burgers in Austin. It’s a very simple burger but once you take a bite there is no going back. The Counter Burger has a super flavorful, thick burger patty with a generous helping of sharp cheddar cheese which really compliments the rich flavor of the burger. It’s all served on a sweet sourdough bun (big fan) and comes with a side of classic homemade french fries. You can enjoy this burger at their original location on North Lamar or for an even bigger location with the same great food visit their 6th street location.
6. Swift’s Attic
Swift’s Attic is known for rotating burger specials every week, but the Bowling Alley Burger that stays on the menu is undoubtedly one of the best burgers in Austin! It’s made with house ground beef, melted fontina, griddled onions, special sauce, and spicy B&B PICKLES, all served together on a homemade sesame seed bun. If sauce is your thing, then THIS is your burger!
5. Dai Due
A list of the best burgers in Austin wouldn’t be complete without the Tuesday dinner only Dry-Aged Wagyu Cheeseburger at Dai Due (not to be confused with their wild boar lunch burger). This burger patty is half of a pound and has impeccable flavor, accompanied with a bun that dreams are made of. Served with sauce especial, dill pickles, onions, and a side of fried, fresh-dug local potatoes (sounds weird but they are honestly unforgettable). You are going to love this burger.
If you’ve been to Contigo then you how amazing the food is, and if you haven’t had their burger then you’re completely missing out! There isn’t anything crazy or over the top about the burger and fries at Contigo but everything is done with high quality ingredients (you’ll agree once you taste the patty) and prepared to perfection. This classic burger is served with lettuce, onion, tomato, pickles, and aioli on a housemade challah bun. Foodie tip: they serve the exact same burger at Contigo Fareground (a local food hall downtown) and it’s just as delicious.
When we (and by we I mean my husband and I) decided to start this quest for the best burgers in Austin we started at Jacoby’s. The food at Jacoby’s is always amazing so we knew they’d have a burger we could count on. The cheeseburger and fries at Jacoby’s completely set the tone for so many great burgers to come- it’s a dry aged beef patty and the flavor and juiciness is unbeatable. They offer additions of avocado, bacon, mushrooms or fried egg (which we don’t doubt would all taste wonderful), but this burger can 100% stand alone. If you’re up for it, order this one medium rare so you can really appreciate the flavor.
2. Clark’s Oyster Bar
If you spend any time talking to foodies in Austin or a few days perusing Austin food pics on Instagram, you’ll notice that everyone is talking about the Pan Roasted Black Angus Burger from Clark’s Oyster Bar. I’m usually pretty leery of food that looks this beautiful but trust me when I tell you that this burger is every bit as delicious as it looks! Served with a sauce gribiche and Clark’s rosemary fries, you have no choice but to swoon at first bite. It completely lives up to the hype and is obviously one of the best burgers in Austin. This burger is half off every Monday through Friday during happy hour- #chaching!
1. Salt & Time
It’s hard to pick a “favorite” burger from a list of the best burgers in Austin, but this Butcher’s Burger from Salt & Time truly takes the cake. It’s a 1/2 pound beef patty made of daily steak trimmings including ribeye and other high quality cuts, served with aioli, sour pickles, and beef fat french fries. The juiciness and flavor in every bite is simply delectable- you won’t ever want this burger to end! And a “best burger” in my book is always paired with the perfect french fries, which these (plus the homemade ketchup) absolutely are.