*Updated Jan 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!
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.
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.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking this place is just about lunchtime wraps and coffee – oh no, Alex & Leon are busting out some of the best burgers in town, and make no mistake. Try to pay them a visit on Thursdays when they do the mega Krabbi Patty: burger, lobster, rosti, lettuce, tomato, onion & truffle mayo – it’s ridiculously tasty. They also have arguably the funniest Twitter account in Bristol.
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.
The Pop-ups & Cafes
Alongside the dedicated burger bars, there are a few cafes and stalls doing a fine line in all things bun-contained. Here are three I’d particularly recommend:
Look out for their stall at various markets and street food events around town, although they’ve now got a permanent residency at Kong’s on King St, 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.
Roll for the Soul
A tasty and chilled out vegetarian cafe in the centre which also acts as a cycling hub and bike workshop. The food here is generally good, but the burgers in particular are tastylicious. Great side salads too! Veggies should also check out the burgers at Cafe Kino – also very yum.
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.
Burgers, booze and good music on in the background, the proposition here isn’t a million miles from Grillstock, although burgers and massive sides are more the focus here. I’d come for the chilli cheese fries, onion rings and macaroni bites alone. Excellent veggie & vegan options too. It’s on the pricier end of the spectrum but worth a visit.
One of the bigger chains to have arrived in Bristol recently, unsurprisingly their branch on The Triangle has proven very popular, and I can attest to their burgers being tasty indeed. I’m still unsure of the prices, but the sauces and sides make this place worth a visit if you’ve not tried it already.
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.
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