Everyone has their personal preferences when it comes to burgers, from the size of the patty and the size of the bun to the selections of toppings, condiments, and sides. During our burger scout, we searched through the serious burger joints and found the crème de la crème for you. Check out our list (in no particular order):
Westside Café and Bistro
In the idyllic suburb of Kemerburgaz, is Westside Café and Bistro, serving a menu of All American items. Everything from the breakfast platters, that include French toast and pancakes to the pizza bedecked in crushed nachos and seasoned ground beef are completely red, white and blue and just the beginning (see our article for more details).
An essential member of the American menu, is the All American Original Burger with a 160gram patty clothed in melted cheddar cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, with a homemade special sauce hiding beneath the toasted bun. It’s juicy and always cooked to perfection. If you can manage it, try the Double Burger, Double Cheese burger or for a healthier option don't miss out on their excellent range of salads.
French fry Meter: Crispy, light and home-made, just as they should be
Best sides Beside Fries: Try the Double Goat Cheese and Spinach Salad with dried cranberries or the Mexican Beef Taco Pizza with fresh mozzarella, served with tortilla chips
Burger Bar, the first burger joint of the European side of Istanbul, was intended to serve as a take-away and delivery shop rather than an eat-in restaurant. Yet, they swapped their first intentions for a full-blown enterprise and opened Burger Bar. The owners’ love of burgers formed the framework of their project, and they concentrated on getting the best quality ingredients all in one burger and tried various suppliers until they got it just right.
Coming all the way from the Trakya region, the meat at Burger Bar has the ideal fat ratio of 20% and is grounded in-house daily. The burgers were just right with the perfect size, shape, and taste. The size of the burger matches the size of a fist and the meat is neither too thin nor too thick, so your burger doesn’t break down even with a bunch of toppings and sauces. On the menu, you can find four original burgers, which are cooked to order and can be dressed up with several toppings. They have good fries but if you can’t decide between two burgers or a burger and fries, definitely go with two burgers!
French fry Meter: The first burger place in town to serve fried white potatoes! Burger Bar has three types of french fries: curly, shoestring, and wedges.
Best Sides Beside Fries: Falafel
French fry Meter: Gourmet Burger serves homemade french fries; they don’t have a killer taste, but at least they are not as greasy or unhealthy as the ones you usually come across!
Best Sides Besides Fries: Cheese & Berry (which almost stole the show)
Dükkan Burger is a retro-style burger chain that first opened in 2004 as a butcher in Reşitpaşa, which then turned into a steakhouse in 2007, and then branched out as Dükkan Burger. The owners are brothers Emre and Bülent Mermer, who are the second generation in their family to deal with the proper nutrition of their livestock in İzmit. They get their meat from corn-fed heifer and suckling veal, resulting in enhanced flavor and tenderness of the patties. Trust me when I say they know their meat!
Unlike others, Dükkan prefers to keep it simple; although the menu offers some inventive burgers besides the classics, the menu doesn’t overwhelm the customer with too many options. Their patties have intense beef flavor, are cooked to order (although they prefer serving it medium), and are served on toasted sesame buns with lettuce, tomato, and onions. It’s simple, straightforward, and they know just how to serve a good burger!
French fry Meter: Although they use frozen potatoes, Dükkan has the best French fries among all. The lip-smacking fries are seasoned with salt and ground black pepper and appear even more inviting in their paper bags.
Best sides Beside Fries: Pickles (Ankara Çubuk Turşusu)
Established by Kemal Özgürer and Özüm Sönmezalp,Burger House relies on quality: everything (including the potatoes) are prepared in-house daily. This eatery gives its customers a cozy feeling with its potato and onion filled barrels by the entrance, thick wooden tables, and of course its delicious burgers! The selection of burgers is overwhelming and, like many other burger joints, a mix-and-match option is available. Burger House’s flame-kissed patties are caramelized on the outside and the gooey cheese and tomato or corn relish add more juiciness to the mix. This burger joint is definitely worth a trip to the Asian side!
French fry Meter: Its burgers are so filling that you may not even ask for any fries, but if you do, rest assured that their fries are freshly made and delicious (especially when their sweet paprika is sprinkled on).
Best Sides Beside Fries: Haloumi Stick
One of the best steakhouses in Istanbul, Nusr-Et is a carnivore’s paradise no doubt, with a wide selection of meat, such as Lamb T-bone, T-Bone Steak, Lamb Chops, two kinds of meatballs, Fillet Mignon, and more.
What makes this burger so special is that the patty is not your ordinary chunk of ground beef, but actual steak that is served with caramelized onions and soft bread that is made especially by the restaurant. For that reason, the soft meat (hence the name 'Lokum' which, apart from Turkish Delight, is also used as an adjective for very soft items) is what makes the Nusret Hamburger a winner among the list and a must try if you are in the Etiler neighborhood.
After a late night out in Beyoğlu, the hunger that arises from activity can be satiated at Izi Burger, a small restaurant in the Tünel area. With seating for about ten people and floor-to-wall hand drawn illustrations of a hungry monster, Izi (named after the owner Izzet) different burger options.
The Izi Burger, with a 120gram patty of 100% beef, sits between the soft, almost sweet, specially made buns that Izi swears cannot be found anywhere else. On the wooden cutting board, upon which the creation arrives, fries with seasoning and two sauces are presented- Bloody Mary and homemade BBQ sauce. The Bloody Mary sauce, getting its name from the tomato and the bit of vodka that lies within, is used instead of ketchup.
Kristal Büfe: One of the oldest burger houses in Istanbul that serve Turkish-style hamburgers that are made with köfte (spicy ground meet) between two buns, usually with toppings such as cheese, ketchup, and pickles.
Jumbo Burger: Jumbo Burger's specialty mayonnaise is a mix of classic mayonnaise and honey. You should definitely try some for a unique french fries experience.
Kral Burger: Kral makes delicious burgers prepared with a special olive sauce. Classic.
Mano Burger: An alternative approach to burgers awaits you at Mano with a selection of Turkish style burgers. They even have a burger served with beğendi—a cream sauce made largely of pureed eggplant.
Numnum: If you are looking for a classic American burger, Numnum is the place to go!
Fol in Love: Fol in Love is a popular newbie among burger joints. If indulging in their delicious burgers does not cut it for you, try their baked potatoes with heavy cream and parmesan sauce served in soufflé cups.
Susam: Susam is a 24/7 eatery is famous for its salads as well as its burgers.
Kızılkayalar: Kızılkayalar serves special “wet” burgers—these small burgers are dipped in tomato sauce and steamed for hours, resulting in a moist and succulent burger. They may not look it, but these burgers are top-notch. I guarantee you’ll go for seconds!
This article was updated on May 9th 2013