A Jozi insider’s guide to burgers

Burger dreams are made of freshly baked buns embracing juicy patties bursting with flavour, all served alongside tempting sides. Plus we’d never say no to a helping of extra carbs, least of all in winter. Have you tried some of Joburg restaurant editor Kholeka Kumalo’s favourites yet?

The Big Mouth Sushi & Grill (Sandton)

The name says it all: come with a big appetite. The Big Mouth is popular for its sushi offering, but a lesser-known secret is that they make a solid burger. The hamburger drips with deliciousness thanks to plenty of pickles, grilled onions and a saucy barbecue-basted ground beef patty (R107). It comes with an enamel cup filled with thick fries that are perfectly crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. An extra R10 gets you a healthy helping of cheddar cheese.

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BGR Burger Restaurant (Rosebank)

If you’re looking for the best burger in Joburg, it’s likely you’ll find it here. Start with a hamburger or cheeseburger, featuring exceptional patties and buns, then create your perfect burger with an array of free toppings including grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, pickles, peppadews, jalapeño chillis, mayonnaise, mustard, BBQ sauce, BGR sauce and hot sauce. It’s impossible to go wrong.

A meal at BGR

A meal at BGR. Photo supplied.

Calexico (Milpark) 🍽

This Americana-style restaurant offers a satisfying burger that, in the best way, tastes like you made it at home. The Double Double bourbon cheeseburger comes with two juicy and perfectly portioned patties, plus two slices of gooey mozzarella, two thick slices of fresh tomato, plenty of red onion and lettuce (R95). It comes served with shoestring fries or an apple, celery, fennel and cabbage coleslaw. Also available is a pulled chicken burger served with the same sides (R85).

🍽 Available for online bookings on the Eat Out app. 

The pulled chicken burger at Calexico

The pulled chicken burger at Calexico. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Craft (Parkhurst) – Joburg winner of the Eat Out Savanna Best Burger Eateries

Burgers here are not what you’d expect. There’s a burger for banters with ‘buns’ of courgette fritters topped with a grilled cauliflower rosti, a 200g beef patty and spicy pineapple coulis. The must-try here is the pulled pork burger topped with Emmental cheese, mustard aioli and tomato compote. Other options include burgers made with chicken breasts, tuna, chickpeas or lamb.

Dukes (Greenside) 🍽

This is a perennial favourite for those seeking ridiculously decadent gourmet burgers. You’ll struggle to tear yourself away from the thick hand-cut chips or sweet potato wedges. Have them with the flagship tower-like Dukes burger (R107). Toppings include homemade tomato relish, melted cheddar cheese, grilled pineapple, mushrooms, crispy bacon, deep-fried crumbed tomato, a sunny-side up egg and more. They also offer wheat-free buns and bunless burgers.

🍽 Available for online bookings on the Eat Out app. 

Flames Restaurant and Bar (Westcliff)

While sipping sundowners on the expansive terrace that overlooks the city’s forest jungle, have yourself a fittingly fancy gourmet burger. The Moroccan lamb burger costs R195 and is absolutely worth it. The tastiest most tender lamb is seasoned and grilled to perfection then served in a bun with a complementary combination of flavours and textures like giant onion rings, mint labneh, and cumin-and-tomato chutney. You’ll linger over every bite.

Jackson’s Real Food Market (Fourways)

Known for its super healthy offering, Jackson’s is where you go for the pleasure of a hamburger with far less post-consumption guilt. The beef burgers are made with 100% grass-fed beef, and the bunless vegan burger is likely the healthiest of the lot. Choose between an Italian or Mexican-style vegan patty, both of which come with vegan cheddar cheese, then prepare yourself for organic freshness like rocket, avo, tomato and red onion. It comes served with fries that, yes, have been cooked in coconut oil.

Possums on Burnside (Craighall)

Burger talk can get a little awkward for vegetarians, but that’s not the case at Possums. Instead of sitting out of your monthly burger night, join the gang and head straight for this restaurant’s Middle Eastern vegetarian patty of chickpeas, lentils, oats and black rice (R140). It’s topped with red cabbage, nuts and onion rings, and housed in butternut ‘buns’. You’ll never want to have a vegetarian burger anywhere else.

Thunder Gun Steakhouse (Northcliff)

It’s a good idea to order a burger at a reputable steakhouse, especially one that grills the best ribs in the city. The restaurant rightfully boasts that the menu hasn’t changed in 40 years because it hasn’t needed to – that’s clear from the unfussy hamburgers that are beefy and consistently juicy. Try the 150g beef burger with oodles of bacon and cheese (R90) or the super spicy Vanquero burger (R81) served with French fries or a fat baked potato. Both are certainly worth return visits.

Did we miss your favourite burger spot? What makes it great? Let us know in the comments below.

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