If you were to ask me at age 5 what my favorite food was I would have told you cheeseburgers. 26 years later, that’s still the case. When I first moved to L.A. 3 years ago I can’t even tell you how many lists of “must try” restaurants I found that named In-N-Out Burger on them. While I can agree that In-N-Out is a decent fast food burger, it is not in my opinion a one of a kind stand out restaurant. When I want a good burger, here is where I’m headed:
If you know me personally, I can guarantee you that I’ve told you about this place at least 5 times. Yes, it’s that good! They have incredible service and amazing food, PLUS they are super kid friendly. My kids are 3 and 5 so when they are hungry they can act like little jerks. The waitstaff will provide complimentary plates of watermelon and avocados to help appease your littles. This restaurant also just has an awesome ambience. I can only speak to the Santa Barbara and Woodland Hills locations that I’ve visited but I have never been disappointed there. The portions are just right, they cook their burgers to perfection and aside from amazing burgers they also have pretty tasty tacos and cocktails.
2. Umami Burger
This restaurant actually also has locations in Northern California, New York, Chicago and Vegas as well as their huge Southern California presence. They recommend to order your burgers medium rare (as if there were another way?) – I promise you, you won’t be disappointed. I must tell you though that Umami does serve their burgers and fries a la carte. I recommend getting a mix of sweet potato and the regular skinny fries. However, with any fry order you will get 4 dipping sauces which are all bomb.com if you ask me. They too have great service and a full kids menu but their portions are a bit smaller for the price. I would still highly recommend it.
3. 38* Ale House & GrillThis restaurant has only 2 locations in Monrovia and Alhambra. Personally, I have only been to the Alhambra locations which is in a pretty cool little neighborhood right next to the Sunday Farmer’s Market. If you’ve ever met my husband, I can almost guarantee he’s blabbed your ear off about this place. This gem has generous portions, an amazing beer selection AND they freshly bake their hand made brioche buns daily. My husband works out in the area and has ventured off of the burger menu and said that their entire menu is pretty solid. They too are kid friendly however, they do not offer kids menus. Definitely stop by if you’re into great burgers and beer.
4. Father’s Office
This restaurant has 2 locations also, 1 in Culver City and 1 in Santa Monica. To me, this is the see all, be all, end all of great burgers. Any How I Met Your Mother fans out there? This is must be the burger that Marshall was lusting over. This restaurant doesn’t have a website but if you Google “Father’s Office” you’ll see I’m not alone in my opinion. There is a catch, if you are dining with kids, this place is technically a bar that serves food so it is 21 and over. Don’t let that stop you though if you love burgers just as much as I do. They do offer to-go service so if you’re at the Santa Monica location just walk a few blocks over and have a burger picnic 🙂
5. The Dog HausThis place is “the absolute wurst” and frankly, I’ve never actually had their burgers (ok enough with the bad puns). Burgers and hot dogs are technically in the same food category to me though. They have several Southern California locations and I believe they may have expanded recently into Arizona. You’re probably thinking I’ve lost all credibility by talking about a restaurant that serves hot dogs but these aren’t just any old Oscar Mayer hot dogs. They make all of their dogs, sausages and burgers in house and use Kings Hawaiian rolls as their buns. This is not a sit down restaurant but they do offer great service and a kids menu. We usually stop by their Santa Ana location on our way home from Disneyland but have been to several others throughout the L.A. other and they are all awesome.