*Updated Nov 2017*
The past 12 months have seen an influx of burger joints set up shop in Bristol, to the point where it seemed like you couldn’t walk 5 paces in the centre of town without walking into an A Board shouting about the superior meat patties (Aberdeen Angus! 30 day aged! Fillet! – wait, why would you use fillet for a burger, you crazyperson?), toppings (All the cheese! Pulled Pork! 3 more burgers! Monster Munch!) and the continuation of that ever-contentious issue: sesame vs. brioche buns.
Now that the MeatWave™ has calmed somewhat, I feel like I can round up some of the better burger offerings out there. I hasten to add that most of these places also offer some excellent veggie options, and I’ll point out the best options as I go, but do check their menus for specific vegetarian/dairy free/GF options.
Grab a pen, it’s about to get tasty…
There’s something oddly comforting about choosing from 2 options in this world of extended menus – you can get the meat or veggie option, it comes with a pile of fries & slaw and costs just under £10 – it’s then your call if you want to add extras such as cheese, bacon or whatnot. There’s usually a special on as well, and a choice of simple sides. The drinks menu is mainly geared towards bourbon and beer (they have their very own beer made by Wiper & True). Two thumbs up.
The Burger Joint
Now on the verge of opening their third premises, you can currently find The Burger Joint on Whiteladies Road and North St, with their Fishponds branch arriving soon. I love the assemble-it-yourself menu (although there are some suggestions if you can’t decide) – you get a little pad with tickboxes, choose your meat/veg burger, sauces, toppings and type of bun, then select a side or two. I’ve tried quite a few combos and they’ve all been great, and good value too. A well-deserved success!
Hot damn, the moment these guys came on the scene it was all anyone could talk about. Their standard burger has a hefty patty, garlic mayo, pickled red onions and chimmichurri on it! A flavour sensation to be sure, and that’s before you evem start asking about the specials…
There are only a couple of seats in this tiny diner, but the menu takes some beating – piled-high burgers oozing with cheese, waffle fries, macaroni cheese fries….it’s a glutton’s paradise and make no mistake. No wonder there’s always a queue out of the door.
Gawd, just as you think you’ve picked a favourite, a new bangin’ burger place comes along. Squeezed has a tiny spot in Cargo 2 but turns out some seriously tasty burgers (and don’t even get me started on their fries with ancho chilli salt, unnnf) with lots of incredible homemade sauces, and additions including crunchy rostis. They also do a fine line in homemade lemonade – a nice sweet & sour accompaniment to your burger.
Three Brothers Burgers
Since taking over Spyglass on Welsh Back, this place has gone from strength to strength, serving up very tasty burgers and a great selection of craft beers and ciders. Their £5 lunch deal is particularly brilliant, and I also love their little terrace on a sunny day. Make sure you chuck plenty of that tasty paprika salt on your chips.
Other local favourites are takeaways YoYo Burger on the Traingle and Ciao Burger on Gloucester Road, although if you want to sit in with a nice retro vibe you should head to American Diner Rocotillo’s.
Look out for their stall at various markets and street food events around town, although they’ve now got a permanent residence on Baldwin Street, yay! The burger choices are always exciting and incorporate some interesting flavours and sauces. Veggies are particularly well looked-after, and their burger ethics also make me feel warm and fuzzy inside (in fact, you can see my reaction to their damn fine Prairie Girl burger in this ridiculous gif)
Smoke & Glaze
After a while hopping around various pubs & markets across Bristol, this pair of chefs have decided to make a home at The Pipe & Slippers on Stokes Croft, serving some flavoursome burgers with interesting twists.
Want to line your stomach before a hevay night? Or just eat your burger in a more casual, boozy environment? Here are some pubs and bars serving particularly good burger wares…
Not content with serving great brunches & small plates, you can also get a damn fine burger here too. Lucky south-of-the-river-dwellers don’t even need to trek up to Gloucester Road anymore, you can visit their sister bar North Standard for the same burger goodness.
Nowhere does dirty burgers like The Hobgoblin. Have you attempted their Kraken challenge yet? Go for a variety of crazy concoctions, including The Goober: a burger topped with peanut butter, egg and bacon.
Not too much of a chain (they’re based across Oxford and Bristol for the moment) but with all the makings of a popular nationwide brand, Atomic Burger have a fun menu of cult-reference-themed burgers, in a restaurant adorned with toys and projections of ’80s cartoons just to ramp up the cool nostalgia (coolstalgia?) factor. Luckily this place isn’t just about gimmicks, the food also tastes great. If you’re feeling brave you can try some of their Atomic Sauce – not for the faint-hearted.
When you think of meat in Bristol, you inevitably think of Grillstock. As famous as they are for their gorgeous pulled pork or burnt ends, one of the favourites is still their Smokestack Burger – topped with cheese & pulled pork – or their Lockjaw Burger – a behemoth with 2 patties, pulled pork, brisket and melted cheese. Woof.
There’s a lot of hype surrounding this place, with it’s retro American feel, simple menu (all burgers come with double patties as standard) and unlimited, extensive range of soft drinks. The burgers are of the guilt-inducingly dirty variety and great for hangover recovery or midway through a night out, but the prices will be a bit hefty for some.
Or maybe I should let Wriggle do the talking…
That should be enough burger research to get you started. If you’re still hungry (or thirsty), here are some other posts to whet your appetite:
- Bristol’s Best Craft Beer Bars
- Top 10 Brunches in Bristol
- Bristol’s Best Pizza Joints
- The Classiest Cocktail Bars in Bristol