What's your beef? #NationalBurgerDay
What's the best burger in Dublin? It's a tough assignment, but somebody had to do it. Here's our list for your next fix... and beyond!
1. Bunsen Burger, South Anne St.
When I tweeted for tips on the best burger in Dublin, Bunsen was the most common reply by a country mile. Those tweets won't lead you astray. These are simple but brilliantly built burgers, preferred a little pink inside (if that turns you off, just ask for another minute on the grill). The bun is brioche-style, the patty a smooth, umami-friendly fix that sets a little juice drizzling down the fingers... but not too much. Turnover is quick and space can be cramped, but Bunsen is the standard by which all burgers in Dublin are measured. There are excellent gluten-free options, too.
Price: From €6.95.
Best for: A quick fix and a bottle of beer.
Details: Also at 36 Wexford St., 22 Essex St. East & Ranelagh; bunsen.ie.
This is a beautiful burger. Stepping into Featherblade, with its subway tiles, minimal lighting and matt black table tops, I expected gourmet over-kill. I got the opposite. A simple burger, served on its tod on a small plate. No fuss. Just a lightly smoked patty, gooey bearnaise sauce and a thin layer of caramelised onions. Granted, you need to like tarragon (a strong note in the sauce), and it gets messy, but the 'House Smoked burger' deftly mixes strong flavours without them repeating on you all afternoon. Featherblade's beef dripping chips (€3.50) are a good side note for mopping up the bearnaise, if a little salty. Sure feck it, you're worth it.
Price: €9 (lunch menu).
Best for: Date night.
Details: 51 Dawson St., featherblade.ie.
3. Boxburger, Eatyard
Can we please stop saying 'gourmet burger'? Burgers are not gourmet. They are good, old-fashioned, filthy hand-to-mouth fuel - not teetering towers pinned together with sticks. Box Burger's creations are dubbed 'gourmet' on Eatyard's website (the-eatyard.com), but they're not. They start simple, with a moist, brioche-style bun, followed by a thick, juicy patty and ridiculously melty cheese. You can add a no-nonsense side of fries for a tenner in total, and fancy options include a beef and Clonakilty black pudding patty. The mothership is in Bray if you fancy a DART trip.
Price: From €7 (€9 in Bray).
Best for: Saturdays in the sun.
Details: Eatyard, Richmond St. South; boxburger.ie.
The Workshop is a reboot of Kennedy's Pub beside Tara Street DART station, and this beastie bends the knee to the heritage. 'Kennedy's Burger' is a thick and firmly packed lump of meat (maybe a little too firmly-packed), with a smart and simple twist in the toppings. You can choose your cheese (mine was a mature white cheddar, above), and the patty is topped with shredded lettuce, a big slice of tomato, thinly cut gherkins and a few spoons of bearnaise. It's a big bite, but it comes together brilliantly in the end, and you can take it over the top by adding smoked bacon for an extra euro. Boom.
Price: From €13.50 (with chips).
Best for: Meeting mates after work (the DART is a one-minute sprint away).
Details: George's Quay; theworkshopgastropub.com.
Look at it! This is exactly what should happen when you peel back foil wrapping on a burger... a great dirty whack of stop-gap-fuel that demands to be shoved straight into your face. WOW offers a retro diner layout, with bold yellows and reds setting the scene for moist and tasty burgers served with crisp lettuce and a tangy house sauce. On the plus side, toppings are free. On the negative, I found the the taste lingered for hours afterwards, and the basement space beneath Mary's is dingy. At €8.70 for a cheeseburger and fries, however, I'm not complaining.
Price: From €5.95.
Best for: Post-pints nosebag.
Details: 8 Wicklow St. (Mary's Bar), 11 Wellington Quay (The Workman's Club); 3 The Triangle (Ranelagh); 19 Wexford St; The Foyer, Parnell Center; The Square (Tallaght); wowburger.ie.
An organic 'Burren beef burger' with smoked scamorza cheese? Read on. Found deep within the vaults of Ely's fancy food & wine emporium in CHQ, this is a simple but classy burger served with tomato, lettuce and a lightly-buttery brioche bun held in place with a skewer. It's moist, holds together well in the hand and the cheffy depth of flavour is richly complemented by the stringy cheese. Along with a small bowl of fries, the chilli-infused pickle is a nice touch on the side, and the beef comes from Ely's organic family farm in the Burren itself. Excuse for a fancy lunch?
Best for: Business-friendly burgers.
Details: CHQ, IFSC; elywinebar.ie.
I wasn't expecting one of the best burgers in Dublin in a shopping mall. But all credit to SoMa, which you'll find shoehorned into the food mezzanine alongside Burger King and KFC in Liffey Valley (since this story was written, SoMa has opened a branch on O'Connell Street). Expect a fairly straightforward take on the American classic here, but the execution is really good. A good burger is not rocket science. Take a decent brioche bun, don't smash the patty together, add melty cheese (gherkin, tomato and lettuce are optional). SoMa's burgers start from €8.95 including fries and a drink, and I was genuinely impressed by the friendly service in a busy setting on two separate visits.
Price: From €6.50.
Best for: Parents who never get into town anymore.
Details: Liffey Valley Centre; 1 Upper O'Connell St.; somaburgerco.ie.
Super Miss Sue's epic 'Moby Dick' fish burger slipped out of our Top 10 because it slipped out of existence recently... and quietly, too. There's no shortage of contenders for its place, however, and Five Guys gets the nod for its happy-clappy helping of old-school Americana. €13.95 for a cheeseburger and fries is a hefty price tag, but there's quality under the hood in the shape of two fresh Irish beef patties that make a moist mouthful, combined with big-ass pickles and nice squishy buns. Everyone from Ed Sheeran to Barrack Obama has sung the praises of this US staple, and toppings are free (as are the peanuts), but points are deducted for the insane saltiness of the fries - be sure to address this in your order.
Price: From €7.95.
Best for: Flagging shoppers.
Details: Dundrum Town Centre; 56 Sth. Great Georges St.; fiveguys.com
Now with three locations in Dublin, BóBó's not as hip as Bunsen or WOW, but a loyal following speaks for itself. Big, 200g patties are the staple here - with a shedload of variations on the theme. With 'Bó' the Irish for 'cow' and hot red milk churns hung as lampshades overheard, it's an obvious but likeable localisation of the American diner. I enjoyed the patty, but ended up ditching far too much raw onion and iceberg lettuce, and found the standard, seeded bun a bit dry (you can replace this with a brioche bun or, God forbid, a 'lettuce wrap'). Excellent value given the sit-and-stay setting.
Price: From €6.95.
Best for: Old-school, sit-in burgers and drinks.
Details: 74 Middle Abbey St., 50 Dame St., 22 Wexford St.; bobos.ie.
Jo'burger makes the list largely out of respect. It was one of the first Dublin joints to reboot the burger, long before hipster franchises rolled into town. Personally, I think it's shtick needs a bit of a reboot - recent visits have lacked consistency, and I still have a basic issue with not being able to fit a burger into my hands (let alone mouth). Still, on its day, with craft beers or cocktails to hand and the atmosphere ramping up, there's no better spot to kick a night off with friends. Choose your style, add the toppings, throw in a few bush fries (€3.95) and Jo's your uncle.
Price: From €9.45.
Best for: Boozy burgers with big groups.
Details: Castle Market; Smithfield; 137 Rathmines Road; joburger.ie.
NB: This list has been updated to include new branches of existing entries, price changes and closures since its original publication.