These are Boston’s 10 Best Burgers to Try Now

Credit: Alden & Harlow

Even with the wealth of cuisines in the Boston area, sometimes you just need a burger. Whether you crave it pared-back and classic, piled high with luxe ingredients like foie gras, or — wait for it — vegan, at these ten restaurants you’ll find a whole bevy of beautiful burgers.

Moonshine 152 (South Boston)  

The accolades for chef Asia Mei’s house-made vegan tofu mushroom burger stack up almost as high as the burger itself, with multiple shout-outs in Boston magazine’s Best of Boston awards (including 2021), Eater Boston, and beyond — not to mention hungry diehard-fans of the spot with its creative comfort food. Mei honed the recipe for years, and each hand-packed patty is a triumph of silken tofu and wild mushrooms (whatever’s in season, with everything from maitake to cremini and shiitake), blended with fresh thyme, rosemary, and a super-secret eight-spice blend. The patty is topped with sharp cheddar, or you can go vegan and opt out. Either way, this burger is a beauty of tangy and rich flavors.  

Dining at the restaurant: Moonshine 152 is currently open for dining in its buzzy restaurant, where you can unwind at tables that overlook Dorchester Avenue, or hit the bar to toss back some house-made Jell-O shots. The outdoor patio is open as well, and you should definitely get reservations for weekend brunch, where the vibe is as playful as the menu, including food and drink options in homage of Mei’s favorite TV show, Parks and Recreation.    

Takeout:  The full menu is available for takeout.

Alden & Harlow (Cambridge) 

Credit: Alden & Harlow

“Secret” is right there in the name, but no one can keep tight-lipped about Alden & Harlow’s secret burger after that first bite. Chef Michael Scelfo whips up an 8-ounce patty of smoked suet, navel, brisket, and short rib from Creekstone Farms. Topped on all that umami is a special sauce and clothbound cheddar frico, with house-made pickles, salted onions, and lettuce to add some bite. These toppings are all listed under the tongue-in-cheek descriptor of “your faith” on the menu, which means you should absolutely trust the chef (and critics, who’ve honored the burger and the restaurant since its 2014 opening) and just dive right in.   

Dining at the restaurant: Alden & Harlow is open for indoor dining and outdoor dining on its patio. You can also head to the lively Longfellow upstairs, another Scelfo original.

Takeout: The full menu is available for takeout.

50Kitchen (Dorchester)

In homage to the mix of cultures in chef/owner Anthony Caldwell’s neighborhood of Dorchester, 50Kitchen’s menu fuses southern and Asian cuisines. The end result is a delicious duo that’s received shout-outs in The Boston Globe and elsewhere since the restaurant’s February 2020 opening, along with securing the chef a contestant slot in Chopped: Martha Rules last spring. Caldwell’s style is shown well in the salmon sliders — three house-made salmon patties and a zippy house-made basil pesto aioli.

Dining at the restaurant: The restaurant is currently open and requires that each individual follow the current mask mandate for indoor dining.  

Takeout: The full menu is available for takeout, including the beloved deep-fried cornbread that’s drizzled with honey and best washed down with a to-go house margarita. 

Gather (Seaport)

Why should carnivores cash in on all the burger fun? The house-made veggie burger at Gather — touted as the best Seaport restaurant by The Improper Bostonian magazine, among other accolades — packs a hearty bite, minus the meat. The dish sees a house-made patty of quinoa, rice, and beans topped with lettuce, tomato, and a house-made guacamole. The dish is also on the weekend brunch menu, which you should make reservations for as the spot gets hopping once the work week is done. 

Dining at the restaurant: Gather is currently open for indoor dining in the industrial chic restaurant with its wood finishes and hanging exposed light bulbs. The patio, partially shielded by a sleek and angular roof, is also open for outdoor dining. 

Takeout: The full menu is available for takeout, including the brunch menu with its weekend waffle bar. 

Hojoko (Fenway)

Credit: Natasha Moustache

Hojoko, the “rock and roll” Japanese tavern owned by acclaimed restaurateurs Nancy and Tim Cushman, has snagged both best restaurant and best burger awards from Boston magazine. One bite of the rollicking wagyu burger and it’s easy to see why. The patty is a special house blend of heavily marbled American wagyu short rib and ground choice chuck, which gives it a decadent mouth-feel. Piled on top is American cheese along with dashi pickles and red onion, plus a house special sauce. And that sauce is a thing of umami beauty: It’s made with a dashi pickle relish — which owes its subtle smokiness to bonito flakes — that then gets added to a blend of ketchup, mustard, and Japanese Kewpie mayo. In the face of all that creativity, Hojoko knows when to go classic, by serving the burger on a Pepperidge Farm seeded bun you’d see at a family barbecue.  

Dining at the restaurant: Hojoko’s energetic and Tokyo underground-themed dining room within the music-themed Verve Hotel is currently open for indoor dining, as well as outdoor dining on two patios. 

Takeout: The full menu is available for takeout.

Little Donkey (Cambridge) 

Leave it to a place called Little Donkey to craft a burger with a kick. It might just be the interplay of textures and high-low ingredients that steal the show for this dish, on the menu of the global small-plates spot owned by restaurateurs and James Beard Award-winning chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette. Where else can you find a dry-aged beef patty that’s topped with both foie gras and Zapp’s jalapeño potato chips? Rounding out the toppings are yellow American cheese, spicy pickles, and an onion soup mayo made with everyone’s favorite Lipton mix. It’s at once decadent and homey, an absolutely craveable bite. 

Dining at the restaurant: Little Donkey’s Cambridge restaurant and outdoor patio are open for dining, with specials such as rye, cheddar and chive taiyaki, cool crudos for those still-warm fall days, and other dishes gracing the menu. 

Takeout: The full menu is available for takeout. 

Mare (North End)

The North End, with its bounty of Italian joints and seafood, might not seem like the obvious choice for a stellar burger. But Mare’s wagyu burger makes waves, and proves why the snazzy spot has been dubbed one of the top 80 tables in the world by Condé Nast Traveler. This burger boasts a house-packed patty of wagyu beef topped with the alchemical combination of a red onion jam and black truffle aioli. The house-made red onion jam is a slightly sweet and tangy soiree of caramelized red onions and flavor-boosting vinegar, which cuts through the decadence of the house-made aioli that’s threaded with black truffle. Meanwhile, slivers of guanciale — bacon made from pork jowl — also supply some welcomed saltiness. 

Dining at the restaurant: Dining is available in Mare’s dining room, which you’ll find as bright as the crudo trio of salmon, yellowfin, and kampachi with soy-ginger sauce. Diners can also choose a spot on the spacious patio, which features both traditional tables and tables with fire pits for moody dinners on the low couches. 

Takeout:  The full menu is available for takeout by calling the restaurant.

Craigie on Main (Cambridge)

Credit: Tony Maws

No roundup of the area’s best burgers would be complete without a shoutout to the Craigie on Main burger from the favorite French-American restaurant owned by award-winning chef and restaurateur Tony Maws. Food & Wine just named the juicy beauty the best burger in Massachusetts, with accolades closer to home rolling in from Eater Boston, Boston magazine, and more. The blue-ribbon burger is crafted from eight ounces of locally sourced, grass-fed beef that’s mixed with bone marrow and suet and ground in-house. The toppings are a study in seasonal simplicity: Just cheddar from Shelburne Farms in Vermont, a house-made and umami-rich ketchup, tomatoes if they’re in season, and lettuce and onion tossed in a vinaigrette made from burger drippings. Only a select few burgers are available each day, and given their legendary status (and luxe flavor), expect them to sell out.  

Dining at the restaurant: The restaurant recently temporarily closed, but keep an eye on the website and social media for the upcoming reopening.

Takeout: Takeout is currently unavailable as the restaurant is temporarily closed. 

Shojo (Chinatown)

Shojo from Brian Moy serves up Asian fusion food with an equally artful presentation as the bold, graffiti-inspired artwork on its walls. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Boston’s best list — or a burger fanatic — that doesn’t love the Shojonator, which is a decidedly gourmet riff on a Baconator from Wendy’s. The dish includes a quarter-pound patty topped with smoked bacon, a combo of kimchi and cheese called “kimcheese,” with a recommended fried egg on top to add some yolky richness to the savory bite. All of this is served on a house-made sesame bao bun that blasts a conventional burger bun right out of the water. 

Dining at the restaurant: Shojo’s indoor dining room and outdoor patio are open, with service recently expanded to Saturdays and Sundays. The menu is currently pared down a bit to feature only customer favorites, such as the salt-and-pepper calamari along with the Shojonator.   

Takeout: The full menu is available for takeout.

Bostonia Public House (Downtown)

The BPH surf n’ turf ultimate burger lures indecisive diners. Can’t decide if you want a burger or a seafood dish? How about you combine them both into one luxe bite at stalwart Bostonia Public House, a favorite near Quincy Market. Here, a grass-fed ground beef patty is the palette for the artistic additions of butter-poached lobster, bacon, American cheese, and the usual lettuce, tomato, and onions. Plus, the burger finds an extra zing thanks to a house spicy mayo made with serrano peppers, with extra sliced peppers piled on top. The masterpiece is served atop a pillow-y potato bun from local Fireking Baking Company out in Braintree.

Dining at the restaurant: Housed in the historic Board of Trade building, Bostonia Public House’s bi-level digs, including the patio and the handsome subway-tiled bar, are currently open for indoor dining.

Takeout: The full menu is available for takeout, with the Public House Paloma cocktail a solid way to chase down the burger.

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