There are few other foods so representative of American cuisine than the hamburger. Just as one would expect, the nation's capital offers its share of world-class burgers, which range from traditional diner fare to inventive and creative takes on the classic. Whether you are looking for a fast-food cheeseburger or a fancy gourmet version like those served at 2941 Restaurant and Le Diplomate, there is something for everyone on this list of D.C.'s top burger places. Some restaurants even serve delicious but healthy chicken, turkey, or veggie patties.
1.2941 Restaurant, Falls Church
© 2941 Restaurant
2941 is one of the most acclaimed restaurants in the D.C. area. The restaurant is worth the trip to Virginia, if even just for the environment. The dining room features a lake view and the restaurant is located amidst koi ponds, waterfalls, and beautiful natural landscaping. The restaurant specializes in American food that has French and Mediterranean influences and its signature burger is called The All American.
It is a beef patty with cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomato, served on an olive oil brioche bun. In addition to the traditional burger, the restaurant offers a unique take on the poultry burger with a sandwich called The Daffy, which is duck meat mixed with foie gras that is then topped with slices of foie gras and a delicious onion agrodolce. Whether you want to keep it traditional or go out on a limb and try The Daffy, the burgers at 2941 are sure to satisfy your burger cravings.
2941 Fairview Park Drive, Falls Church, VA 22042, Phone: 703-270-1500
2.Mintwood Place, Adams Morgan
© Mintwood Place
Mintwood Place is a modern farmhouse-style restaurant serving French-inspired American cuisine. The menu features a variety of small bites, cheese platters, and starters. The selection of main courses includes everything from a 20-oz ribeye steak to a winter squash ravioli, braised lamb, seafood, and an absolutely stunning burger.
This dry-aged beef burger is wood-grilled and topped with cheese and bacon. In addition to the delicious burger, the restaurant offers other tasty appetizers, entrees, and desserts, including escargot hush puppies, pork schnitzel, Key lime pie, and much more. The restaurant features a nice ambiance that is enhanced by the wood-burning oven and sidewalk seating.
1813 Columbia Road NW, Washington, DC 20009, Phone: 202-234-6732
3.Duke's Grocery, Dupont Circle
© Duke's Grocery
Duke's Grocery is a British-inspired pub that serves a selection of decadent burgers that include two Creekstone Farm Angus beef patties. The star of the sandwich menu is the Proper Burger, which is a piled-high masterpiece topped with melted Gouda, dill pickles, charred red onions, Thai sweet chili sauce, rocket, and garlic aioli, served on a ciabatta bun.
The already massive sandwich can be topped off with a runny egg, avocado, applewood-smoked bacon, white truffle oil, or pâté. The burgers can only be ordered medium rare or well done. The menu changes daily, depending on market availability. The menu is written on a chalkboard and items are erased as they run out of certain dishes throughout the day.
1513 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036, Phone: 202-733-5623
4.Brine, Mosaic District
BRINE Restaurant is a sleek, modern restaurant in the upmarket Mosaic District. The restaurant specializes in wood-fired meats and seafood as well as a raw bar with oyster shuckers. The menu is huge and includes virtually every contemporary American bistro dish you can think of. A burger may not be the first thing you would order from a seafood restaurant, but don't let that stop you.
The beef is a delicious 1/2-pound mix of several cuts seasoned with an onion-garlic seasoning and then topped with red onion jam, shredded lettuce, and farmhouse cheese. The sandwich is served on a toasted butter brioche from Maryland's Uptown Bakers.
2985 District Avenue, Fairfax, VA 22031, Phone: 703-280-1000
5.Founding Farmers DC, Downtown
© Founding Farmers DC
Founding Farmers DC is a co-op owned restaurant that serves market-fresh comfort food. The restaurant is owned by more than 40,000 farmers from the North Dakota Farmers Union and gets its supplies and ingredients from family farms all over the country.
They serve quality food that is made from scratch. The restaurant's commitment to sustainability extends to the interior as well: The restaurant is constructed and decorated with many recycled and refurbished materials and they recycle waste and compost wherever possible. The restaurant serves several farm-fresh beef, turkey, and veggie burgers. The burgers are topped with fresh ingredients and served with fries, Farmers chips, or something else from their side menu.
1924 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006, Phone: 202-822-8783
Z-Burger is a much-loved chain and Washington D.C. landmark. The restaurant serves delicious, made-from-scratch burgers with a long list of toppings. Burgers can be paired with a side of fresh-cut fries and one of more than 75 varieties of hand-spun milkshakes.
Guests choose a beef, turkey, or veggie burger and can add cheese, bacon, and any of a long list of free toppings or premium toppings for an additional charge. Z-Burger has several locations in the D.C. area and the Z-Burger food truck can be seen at events around the city and can also be booked for private events.
4321 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016, Phone: 202-966-1999
7.Good Stuff Eatery, Capitol Hill
© Good Stuff Eatery
Good Stuff Eatery is a burger joint in the shadow of the US Capitol building. The restaurant serves excellent burgers that are made from the highest-quality ingredients. The head chef and owner is Spike Mendelsohn of Top Chef and Spike's Sunnyside is the highlight of the menu.
This burger includes fresh cheese, applewood bacon, and a freshly fried egg. It is served on a brioche bun and slathered with Good Stuff sauce. The menu also includes burgers named for President Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama. The Good Stuff Eatery has several locations around D.C., including the flagship location on Capitol Hill as well as a few other locations in the United States and internationally.
303 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20003, Phone: 202-543-8222
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8.Thunder Burger & Bar, Georgetown
© Thunder Burger & Bar
Thunder Burger & Bar is a Georgetown restaurant serving a selection of signature burgers, appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts. The restaurant also features a stylish bar that serves a wide selection of craft beers and whiskey.
The Thunder Burger is a build-your-own burger option with a plethora of free toppings, such as grilled onions, poblano peppers, wasabi mayo, sautéed onions, and many more. There are additional premium toppings that can be added for an extra charge, such as a selection of cheeses, fried egg, barbecued pulled pork, applewood-smoked bacon, guacamole, and others. In addition to the Thunder Burger, the menu includes a selection of pre-fab burgers as well. The "Pig in a Cow Suit" is a local favorite.
3056 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007, Phone: 202-333-2888
9.Central Michel Richard, Chinatown/Penn Quarter
© Central Michel Richard
Central Michel Richard is a restaurant in Chinatown that offers a New-American/French fusion menu and has won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best New Restaurant in the US. The restaurant is conveniently located near the National Mall, Smithsonian museums, downtown theaters, and other downtown attractions.
The restaurant offers a scrumptious burger that comes with four interesting protein choices. For a perfectly-executed classic burger, try a hamburger with cheese or bacon. For more of a unique experience, guests can opt for the ahi tuna burger, shrimp burger, or chicken and lemon burger. All of the burgers are served with a choice of salad or fries.
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004, Phone: 202-626-0015
10.Best Burgers in DC: Bourbon Steak, Georgetown
© Bourbon Steak
Bourbon Steak is an upscale restaurant and bar in the Four Seasons hotel. The menu features a selection of high-end cocktails as well as fresh-from-the-farm pub fare. The burgers are made with 8 ounces of blended dry-aged chuck and New York strip steak and have a beef to fat ratio of 75:25, guaranteeing a juicy burger every time.
They are topped with shallot-red wine jam and mustard butter and served on a grilled bun. The duck fat fries are the perfect indulgent accompaniment to Bourbon Steak Lounge's luxurious burger.
2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007, Phone: 202-342-0444
11.Crisp Kitchen and Bar, Bloomingdale
© Crisp Kitchen + Bar
Crisp Kitchen + Bar is a Southern-style restaurant that specializes in hot, fried chicken and beer. The menu includes several chicken and fish platters, snack plates such as hot and barbecued wings and cheese fries, and two stunning burgers.
The Patty Melt Burger is topped with cheddar, pork belly jelly, garlic dill pickles, garlic mayonnaise, and caramelized onions and served on sourdough. The Burger Royale is a diner-style burger patty topped with Gouda cheese, garlic mayonnaise, dill pickles, red onions, greens, and mustard. Additionally, the menu offers a small healthy section including avocado toast and a mixed greens salad.
1837 1st Street NW, Washington, DC 20001, Phone: 202-853-9115
12.Holy Cow, Del Rey
© Holy Cow
Holy Cow Del Rey is a gourmet burger restaurant in Alexandria serving award-winning burgers, hand-cut fries, milkshakes, and more. The menu includes a kid's menu with burgers, mac and cheese, and chicken tenders. Beverage options at Holy Cow include a selection of vintage and short-run glass-bottled sodas as well as regular fountain drinks.
The burger menu includes a wide selection of proteins and toppings, with choices ranging from the traditional Classic Hamburger to more indulgent choices like The Steak House. The Steak House is a natural Angus beef patty topped with blue cheese, creamed spinach, onion crisps, and sautéed mushrooms, served on a toasted bun. The restaurant offers tuna, chicken, turkey, and quinoa veggie patties as well.
2312 Mt. Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301, Phone: 703-666-8616
13.Burger Tap & Shake Foggy Bottom, Foggy Bottom
© Burger Tap & Shake Foggy Bottom
Burger Tap & Shake Foggy Bottom is a casual, counter service, seat-yourself burger restaurant. The no-frills service includes presenting the burger on a metal sheet pan instead of a plate. The burgers themselves are made with a 30-day-aged custom blend of natural, Local Harvest brisket and chuck. The patty is cooked to char-grilled perfection and then served on a buttery toasted bun.
One of the best burgers on the menu is the Southern Comfort, which is topped with fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese, pickles, and Vidalia onions. The restaurant focuses on making as many of their ingredients from scratch as they can and sourcing the best of the best from what they don't make in-house. Burger Tap & Shake has two locations in Washington D.C. – one in Foggy Bottom and the other in Tenleytown.
2200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037, Phone: 202-587-6258
14.Le Diplomate, Logan Circle
© Le Diplomate
Le Diplomate is a popular French bistro in Logan Circle. While it may seem strange to order a burger at a restaurant known for its French cuisine, Le Diplomate is a strong contender for Washington D.C.'s best place to eat a burger.
The most popular burger is the Burger Americain, which consists of two specially blended Pat La Freida beef patties that are topped with American cheese, pickles, onion, and special sauce, all served on a sesame seed bun. The burger is served with a side of fries. The restaurant is open for dinner every weekday and serves brunch and a midday meal on the weekend.
1601 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009, Phone: 202-332-3333
15.Ray's Hell Burger, Arlington
© Courtesy of JerryDeutsch - Fotolia.com
Ray's Hell Burger is the sister restaurant to Ray's the Steaks. Offering one of Arlington's best burgers, this meat-centric restaurant has gained quite the following among burger lovers. The restaurant's burgers are made from ground sirloin, chuck, and leftover cuts of steak from Ray's the Steaks. Diners can choose from several choices of seasonings and interesting toppings.
One of the most popular burger builds on the menu is the Dogcatcher, which is topped with roasted bone marrow and garlicky herbs. The restaurant also serves a much-loved strawberry milkshake that makes for a refreshing accompaniment to any one of their burgers.
1650 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22209, Phone: 703-841-0001
16.Red Apron Butchery, Penn Quarter
© Red Apron Butchery
Red Apron Butchery is a butchery and restaurant that is committed to serving humanely sourced beef. The restaurant ensures that best animal welfare practices are followed at every stage of the production chain. The burgers are hormone and antibiotic free and are flavorful and juicy.
A favorite is the Red Apron Original, which is topped with lettuce, cheddar cheese, pickles, tomatoes, onions, and the restaurant's special Island Sauce. For the best experience, order a side of Nate's Fries to accompany your burger. These fries are cooked in aged beef fat and then seasoned with salt, garlic, and rosemary. Red Apron Butchery has several locations in the D.C. area.
709 D Street NW, Washington, DC 20004, Phone: 202-524-5244
17.Best Burgers in DC: Citizen Burger Bar, Charlottesville
© Citizen Burger Bar
Citizen Burger Bar is a rustic-industrial restaurant that specializes in gourmet burgers and craft brews. The restaurant uses mainly locally sourced and hormone-free ingredients. The restaurant serves several specialty burgers, ranging from the traditional American Classic to the decadently-topped Wild Mushroom and Swiss.
Additionally, guests can build a custom burger by choosing from several bun, cheese, and topping options. You can choose from a Timbercreek local beef patty, farm-fresh chicken, house-made vegan burger, or grilled cheese as a base. Diners can enjoy their meal while looking into the exposed kitchen or looking out the window at the nostalgia-inducing Paramount Theater.
212 E. Main Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902, Phone: 703-567-7401
18.Clyde's of Georgetown, Georgetown
© Clyde's of Georgetown
Clyde's is an iconic neighborhood restaurant that has been serving food and drinks in northwest Washington since 1963. The restaurant's ambiance is reminiscent of days past, including its original oak bar. The restaurant is well known for its burgers, chili, and Sunday brunch offerings. The burgers are made from more than 6 ounces of locally raised grass-fed beef.
They are topped with lettuce, pickles, and tomatoes and served with a choice of french fries, fruit, salad, or chili. Guests can choose to add sautéed mushrooms or onions for an additional charge. Several non-beef patty options are available, including chicken, salmon, and veggie.
3236 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007, Phone: 202-444-9180
19.DC Grill Express, Dupont Circle
© DC Grill Express
DC Grill Express is a family-owned restaurant that serves a varied menu of traditional breakfast food, American favorites, and some popular Mexican dishes. The restaurant has about half a dozen burger options. The classic burger option is the cheeseburger, which comes simply dressed with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayo.
For a more elaborately dressed burger, the menu includes such offerings as a BBQ Cheeseburger and a Chipotle Cheeseburger. The BBQ Cheeseburger is topped with pepper jack cheese, barbecue sauce, and sautéed onions. On the other hand, the Chipotle Cheeseburger has pepper jack cheese, guacamole, chipotle dressing, and veggies. For guests who would rather not have beef, the restaurant offers turkey and veggie burgers as well.
1917 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009, Phone: 202-748-5154
20.Desperados Burgers & Bar, Logan Circle
© Desperados Burgers & Bar
Desperados Burgers & Bar is a basement-level burger restaurant that offers a selection of specialized burgers as well as craft brews, cocktails, and a fantastic brunch. The cowboy-themed restaurant serves a selection of tasty appetizers like fried pickles, fried green tomatoes, quesadillas, wings, and nachos. The menu features a selection of pre-fab burgers and a list of additional toppings and sauces that can be added.
The burgers are made from half a pound of ground Angus beef and are served with a choice of french fries or baked potato. The Desperados burger comes with chuck and slow-roasted pork, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onions. Remoulade sauce and mustard come on the side. In addition to beef burgers, the restaurant offers turkey, chicken, portobello mushroom, and veggie patties as protein options.
1342 U Street NW, Washington, DC 20009, Phone: 202-299-0443
21.Bobby's Burger Palace, Downtown
© Bobby's Burger Palace
Bobby's Burger Palace is an upscale chain of fast-casual eateries that started in New York. The restaurant serves a selection of burgers inspired by well-known TV chef personality Chef Bobby Flay. The restaurant has 18 locations, including one in downtown D.C. and another not far away in Maryland.
Burger options at the restaurant include the Philadelphia, which is topped with provolone, onions, and bell peppers, the Crunchburger, which is donned with a couple of slices of American cheese and a handful of potato chips, and the Bobby Blue, which is served with blue cheese, bacon, tomato, and lettuce on top. For a lighter option, the restaurant offers any of their burgers "Topless," which means it comes out on top of a bed of greens with balsamic dressing.
2121 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20037, Phone: 202-974-6260
22.Ollie's Trolley, Downtown
© Ollie's Trolley
Ollie's Trolley isn't an actual trolley as the name might suggest, but rather a local mainstay for diner food. Ollie's has been in business for more than 30 years and has won numerous awards for their burgers and other menu items. The burgers are made from all-natural, 100% black Angus beef from the local Roseda Farm. The meat is delivered fresh each day and ground on-site.
Burger options include a traditional burger, a bacon cheeseburger, and a chili cheeseburger. For the health-conscious, the restaurant serves a veggie burger and a turkey burger as well. The nostalgic restaurant is decorated with a variety of kitschy antiques and serves up old-fashioned, diner-style milkshakes.
425 12th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005, Phone: 202-347-6119
23.The Black Squirrel, Adams Morgan
© The Black Squirrel
The Black Squirrel is a large, roomy beer hall that serves a wide range of domestic and international brews and elevated pub food and also features a selection of decadently dressed burgers. They start with gourmet Creekstone Farms beef, which is freshly ground in-house each day. The beef is blended with duck fat and then cooked in a cast-iron skillet with additional duck fat.
The result is a delightfully crispy exterior with a juicy interior. One of the most popular burgers is the Jalapeño Burger, which comes topped with guacamole and grilled jalapeños stuffed with blue cheese and ground lamb. The Black Squirrel often hosts live music and other events.
2427 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009, Phone: 202-232-1011
24.Best Burgers in DC: The Bottom Line, Downtown
© The Bottom Line
The Bottom Line has been a landmark in D.C. since it was established in 1979. The bar occupies a basement space and also has heated outdoor seating. The menu features Mexican and American pub grub and offers a build-your-own burger option with a choice of ground beef or veggie patty as the base.
The burger can be topped with a choice of several toppings and is served on a toasted bun with homemade chips, fries, or tots. The menu also features several signature pre-fab burgers, including the Black and Bleu, the spicy Chalenango burger, or the Heidenberger, which is topped with Swiss cheese and fried onions and served with Russian dressing.
1716 I Street NW, Washington, DC 20006, Phone: 202-298-8488
25.Timothy Dean Burger
© Timothy Dean Burger
Timothy Dean Burger is an informal but classy burger restaurant serving award-winning burger creations with catchy names. The inventive burgers are the creation of Top Chef alum Timothy Dean. Some of the restaurant's favorites include the George Washington Classic Burger, which is a delightfully simple all-American burger topped with cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes.
The Sonia from the Bronx Burger is a bit more decadent. It is topped with avocado, cheddar cheese, thyme-roasted mushrooms, and grilled romaine lettuce. The menu includes turkey, veggie, and ahi tuna patties for those who are looking for a non-beef option. The restaurant also offers pizza and a full bar.
250 K Street NE, Washington, DC 20002, Phone: 202-546-2433
25 Best Burgers in D.C.
- 2941 Restaurant, Falls Church, Photo: 2941 Restaurant
- Mintwood Place, Adams Morgan, Photo: Mintwood Place
- Duke's Grocery, Dupont Circle, Photo: Duke's Grocery
- Brine, Mosaic District, Photo: Brine
- Founding Farmers DC, Downtown, Photo: Founding Farmers DC
- Z-Burger, Tenleytown, Photo: Z-Burger
- Good Stuff Eatery, Capitol Hill, Photo: Good Stuff Eatery
- Thunder Burger & Bar, Georgetown, Photo: Thunder Burger & Bar
- Central Michel Richard, Chinatown/Penn Quarter, Photo: Central Michel Richard
- Best Burgers in DC: Bourbon Steak, Georgetown, Photo: Bourbon Steak
- Crisp Kitchen and Bar, Bloomingdale, Photo: Crisp Kitchen + Bar
- Holy Cow, Del Rey, Photo: Holy Cow
- Burger Tap & Shake Foggy Bottom, Foggy Bottom, Photo: Burger Tap & Shake Foggy Bottom
- Le Diplomate, Logan Circle, Photo: Le Diplomate
- Ray's Hell Burger, Arlington, Photo: Courtesy of JerryDeutsch - Fotolia.com
- Red Apron Butchery, Penn Quarter, Photo: Red Apron Butchery
- Best Burgers in DC: Citizen Burger Bar, Charlottesville, Photo: Citizen Burger Bar
- Clyde's of Georgetown, Georgetown, Photo: Clyde's of Georgetown
- DC Grill Express, Dupont Circle, Photo: DC Grill Express
- Desperados Burgers & Bar, Logan Circle, Photo: Desperados Burgers & Bar
- Bobby's Burger Palace, Downtown, Photo: Bobby's Burger Palace
- Ollie's Trolley, Downtown, Photo: Ollie's Trolley
- The Black Squirrel, Adams Morgan, Photo: The Black Squirrel
- Best Burgers in DC: The Bottom Line, Downtown, Photo: The Bottom Line
- Timothy Dean Burger, Photo: Timothy Dean Burger
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Grafvision - Fotolia.com