A primer on how Sydneysiders do burgers: for starters, nobody’s slapping a Kraft single on the patties here—if they are, well, it’s probably meant to be ironic, or a nod to the great American-style slider. And a burger isn’t truly Aussie-style until they’ve placed a large slice of beetroot somewhere in the stack. I know. Beets? I was dubious too until I tried it. Think of it as a larger, slightly more tart pickle slice that’s blood red. Lamb, pork, and kangaroo also tend to be popular options for the meat here, so if beef is where the burger experience starts and ends for you, be sure to consult the menu before ordering. In recent years, food and drink venues in Sydney have placed significant focus on burgers, upping their game and expanding menus to accommodate everyone—from traditional beef lovers to those with a preference for fish and, as always, the vegetarians among us. Here are five restaurants grilling up a perfect storm.
Sydney didn’t quite know what had hit it when Mary’s opened its doors in Newtown last year. They serve just three different types of burgers here—the Mary’s (traditional), the Cheez (self-explanatory), and the Shroom (for vegetarians). Want bacon on your burger? Go for it—they smoke the stuff inside a (clean and never-used) trash can!
The Burger Joint
An old reliable in the heart of Darlinghurst, The Burger Joint is a thumbnail-sized operation that caters to every taste. You can snag one of the tiny indoor tables or sit al fresco on the sidewalk. Here’s my suggestion: either get your meal takeaway and walk to nearby Green Park for an outdoor picnic, or order from up the road at The Green Park Hotel, where you can sit with friends and enjoy pints while you wait. Even better, someone from the pub will go pick up your order for you.
People flock to this popular neighborhood grill in Leichhardt, where the extensive menu features creative options like the Fancy Pants Porterhouse (grilled steak, eggplant chutney, sautéed spinach, and crumbled feta cheese), the Tender Tokyo (Panko-crumbed chicken breast with tonkatsu sauce, Japanese coleslaw, and kupi dressing) or the gargantuan Hangover Hunger, a beef burger with bacon, egg, cheese, fried onion, hash browns, a smoky BBQ sauce, and a side of Berocca, which is the Australian version of an Airborne tablet.
This place has been buzzing since it opened on a street corner not far from Central Station. You’ve got six options for your patty: beef, fish, chicken, pork, lamb, or a spiced chickpea fritter with grated beetroot and honey labne. None of those options are the wrong one – especially given they’re all priced at a pocketbook-friendly ten dollars.
I love this little café on leafy Bourke Street in Surry Hills. They do great breakfasts but their 808 Burger is what entices me every time. It’s a ground chuck patty with lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions served on a sesame milk bun. You’ve got two choices for your side—opt for the spiced onion rings. They’re delicious.