LONDON, ROUGE, NEW PHILLY FAVES IN ZAGAT'S BEST BURGER SURVEY

The burger landscape in Philly is varied and deep, as evidenced by the result of the survey by Zagat.com. While old favorites represented well (such as London’s in above photo), there was a surprise upstart winner (its unique use of ubiquitous bacon may be the key). Despite a recent trend toward thinner patties with minimal accoutrements, thick rounds of beef with luxurious toppings still rule the roost, according to our voters. Did your top choice make the cut?

Ratings are out of 30. Key to ratings

Hamburgers are rated in three categories — flavor, ingredients and value — on a 30-point scale.

26–30 Extraordinary to perfection
21–25 Very good to excellent
16–20 Good to very good
11–15 Fair to good
0–10 Poor to fair

Ratings have been rounded to the nearest whole number, but the top burger rankings are calculated using the non-rounded scores.

  • Overall
  • Flavor
  • Value
  • Ingred.
  • Ingredients
  • Nick’s Roast Beef Bar & Grille

    Nick’s Bacon Burger

    • 26
    • 26
    • 28
    • 26

    #1

    When it was introduced last year, this $8 burger with a 35% ground-bacon patty stole the show at this Old City bar — it’s “worth the fat calories,” says one voter. Served on brioche, it can also be ordered Southwestern (fried pickles, salsa), South Philly (provolone, long hots) or Breakfast (fried egg). Read more about Nick’s Roast Beef Bar & Grille on Zagat.

    www.nicksroastbeefbarandgrille.com

    Sketch

  • Smashed Onion Burger

    • 26
    • 26
    • 25
    • 25

    #2

    “My mouth loves these burgers,” says one voter about the seven-oz. patty at this tiny, family-friendly Fishtown joint. Served on a Le Bus country white bun, the $7.95 champ comes with lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions and your choice of seven housemade sauces including wasabi and harissa aïoli. Read more about Sketch on Zagat.

    www.sketch-burger.com

     

  • Village Whiskey

    Whiskey King

    • 25
    • 28
    • 20
    • 27

    #3

    Jose Garces goes all-out luxe with the loose-packed, LaFrieda meat patty at his Rittenhouse whiskey bar, topping it with maple-bourbon-glazed cipollini onions, blue cheese, applewood bacon and a sizable nugget of foie gras ($26). “I despise the wait [here] but I endure it every time for that burger,” admits one voter. Read more about Village Whiskey on Zagat.

    www.villagewhiskey.com

  • Spot Gourmet Burgers

    Spot Burger

    • 24
    • 24
    • 25
    • 23

    #4

    This bright-yellow food cart “could only be better if it were parked outside my house,” quips a voter, gushing over Josh Kim’s signature menu item. A house-ground sirloin patty is topped with a slab of hickory-smoked bacon as it cooks, then topped with cheddar, dill pickle, red coleslaw and spicy-sweet nine-ingredient “Spot sauce” ($6.50). Read more about Spot Gourmet Burgers on Zagat.

    www.facebook.com/spotburgers

     

  • Butcher & Singer

    Butcher Burger

    • 24
    • 25
    • 20
    • 26

    #5

    Available at lunchtime only, the huge, 10-oz. LaFrieda meat burger at Stephen Starr’s chic dining room is “juicy, full of flavor and cooked perfectly to order,” says one voter. Topped with fried onions under English cheddar and house Russian dressing, it’s also “high quality, low price” at just $11.95, fries included. Read more about Butcher & Singer on Zagat.

    www.butcherandsinger.com

     

  • South Philadelphia Tap Room

    Rineer Family Farms Grass Fed Cheeseburger

    • 23
    • 23
    • 22
    • 24

    #6

    At this “hidden gem” Newbold bar, chef Scott Schroeder corrals the “best tasting beef around” from a Lancaster farm into a thick patty placed over chopped lettuce and secret sauce beneath smoked cheddar, thick tomato and thin red onion ($13). Don’t miss either of the sides: tangy house pickled veggies and ultracrisp fries. Read more about South Philadelphia Tap Room on Zagat.

    www.southphiladelphiataproom.com

    The Dandelion

  • House Blend Aged Beef Burger

    • 22
    • 24
    • 18
    • 24

    #7

    Multiple voters describe the aged-beef blend patty at Stephen Starr’s English pub in Rittenhouse as “juicy” with “excellent flavor,” though its large size makes eating it an undertaking. Included in the “pricey” $16.50 cost are toppings of apple-smoked bacon, sharp cheddar, Brooklyn pickles and Churchill sauce, plus a tin canister of crunchy, triple-cooked fries. Read more about The Dandelion on Zagat.

    thedandelionpub.com

     

  • Rouge

    Rouge Burger

    • 22
    • 25
    • 18
    • 24

    #8

    “Best in the city, hands-down,” says one voter of the 12-oz. behemoth at Rob Wasserman’s high-end hangout across from Rittenhouse Square, and many agree — the custom beef blend topped with Gruyère, caramelized onion, Bibb lettuce, tomato and dill pickle ($16, with fries) has been getting national accolades since it was introduced back in 1998. Read more about Rouge on Zagat.

    www.rouge98.com

  • Royal Tavern

    Angus Burger

    • 22
    • 24
    • 21
    • 21

    #9

    “Perfect toppings” that “all work together” help the thick $12 patty at this Bella Vista tavern shine — think spicy pickled long hots, caramelized onions, bacon, chile mayonnaise and smoked Gouda, all stuffed into a seeded brioche roll. Read more about Royal Tavern on Zagat.

    www.royaltavern.com

    Photo by Jessica Kourkounis

  • London Grill

    London Burger

    • 22
    • 23
    • 21
    • 21

    #10

    Boursin and caramelized onions are a house-favorite option to top the $11 burger at this longtime Fairmount institution, but you can swap in two of your own choosing, from mushrooms to bacon to Swiss. The only problem, says one voter, is that the char-edged, eight-oz. patty “is too thick for the English muffin bun.” Read more about London Grill on Zagat.

    www.londongrill.com

    Reprinted by permission of http://www.zagat.com/

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