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9 Top Burgers in Washington, D.C. to Try

Washington, D.C. and its surrounding communities are lucky to have a lot of good burgers to pick from. But what makes D.C.’s burger scene standout is how many different kinds of good burgers are on offer here. There’s everything from a classic at Clyde’s to an Ethiopian interpretation at Caffé Utopia to a high-end tuna option at Central Michel Richard.

Here are 9 restaurants around town that are doing burgers right.

A photo of Otlogo
Alex Kirshner
9 Restaurants
Updated October 21, 2021
Restaurants:Emmy Squared - Shaw DC, Le Diplomate, Central Michel Richard
Price Range:$$ - $$$
Cuisines:Pizzeria, French, American
Neighborhoods:Shaw, Logan Circle, Penn Quarter
A photo of Emmy Squared - Shaw DC restaurant

Emmy Squared - Shaw DC

$$$$
Pizzeria
Shaw
4.5
88 reviews

A lot of people know Emmy Squared as a pizza shop — and its pies are indeed excellent — but its double-stack “Le Big Matt” burger is one of the restaurant’s greatest assets. With two dry-aged patties on a pretzel bun with American cheese, special sauce, pickles, and greens, it’s a multiple napkin affair. It comes in limited supply and often sells out, but you can also get it in a shipped kit if you aren’t able to grab one from the restaurant where U Street meets Florida Avenue.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Le Diplomate restaurant

Le Diplomate

$$$$
French
Logan Circle
4.8
12296 reviews

There are people who would tell you not to go to an iconic French brasserie and then order a burger with “America” in the name. Those people have not had Le Dip’s burger Américain, which incorporates a special burger sauce comprised of mayonnaise, finely chopped dill pickles, chile sauce, and onion powder, and pairs it with immaculately cooked beef on brioche. You can try to replicate a Le Dip burger at home, but it’s first worth getting the real thing.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Central Michel Richard restaurant

Central Michel Richard

$$$$
American
Penn Quarter
4.6
7455 reviews

Michel Richard, the legendary French chef who owned restaurants as far away as Tokyo and all over the United States, died in 2016. Central, his Pennsylvania Avenue hub that opened in 2007, carries on his legacy through, among other things, burgers. You might try the tuna burger, which has gained some fame since Richard featured it in a 2006 cookbook. Central’s lobster burger and shrimp burger stick with that aquatic theme, while its prime beef burger is a hulking, tasty challenge for someone in the mood for a whole lot of protein with a rich taste.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of The Salt Line - Navy Yard restaurant

The Salt Line - Navy Yard

$$$$
Seafood
Navy Yard
4.6
2104 reviews

Head to The Salt Line for one of the most pleasant dining backdrops in the District, with a perfect view of the Potomac River that’s steps away from your table. Stay for the food, which includes one of the best burgers in the whole town. The New England smash burger — two ground chuck patties with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and mayo on a sesame bun — is a good example of the Massachusettsian character the restaurant brings to a lot of its food. Crispy fries provide an important complement to the patties.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Proper 21 restaurant

Proper 21

$$$$
Contemporary American
Downtown
4.1
605 reviews

This downtown sports bar puts a 7-ounce Angus patty with applewood smoked bacon, white cheddar, American cheese, bistro onions, and “dijonnaise” on a potato bun to make its appropriately named Proper burger. For something lighter, you might try the spiced salmon burger with sriracha mayo and Asian slaw. Whatever you do, consider mixing it with Proper 21’s truffle fries (or tots, if that’s your thing), where the fried potato is smothered with malt vinegar aioli, parmesan, scallions, and white truffles.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of CAFFÉ Utopia restaurant & Bar restaurant

CAFFÉ Utopia restaurant & Bar

$$$$
Ethiopian
Alexandria
4.6
7 reviews

The greater D.C. area is blessed with a long list of delicious Ethiopian restaurants, scattered in neighborhoods all over the District, Maryland, and Virginia. All have their own standout traits. Caffé Utopia is one of the few that bills itself as a spot for gourmet burgers as well as staples such as tibs and sambusas. Those are musts, but venture out to try something new with the burger, which includes meat, tomatoes, mushrooms, grilled onions, special spices, and the diner’s choice of cheese.


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A photo of Clyde's of Chevy Chase restaurant

Clyde's of Chevy Chase

$$$$
American
Friendship Heights
4.4
4236 reviews

A list of good D.C. burgers is not complete without something from this venerable institution. Clyde’s has several kinds of burgers on its menu, including a meatless Beyond Burger. Every item on the menu comes with Clyde’s quality, meaning no matter what you choose, you’re guaranteed to be happy. There’s nothing more essential in burgerdom, though, than an old-fashioned, classic restaurant cheeseburger, dripping with juices and eaten in a dimly lit dining room that radiates with the feeling of intimacy a good restaurant produces. This is where Clyde’s has always shined. A Clyde’s cheeseburger is a true cheeseburger’s cheeseburger.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of City Sliders restaurant

City Sliders

$$$$
Burgers
Georgetown
4.3
73 reviews

A recent addition to the D.C. burger landscape, having opened up shop late 2020, City Sliders is unique in that it offers up pretty much every kind of slider you could imagine –– making for some lovely mix-and-match opportunities if you like different kinds of burgers and sandwiches. From the classics (cheeseburger, BLT, lamb burger) to its banh mi burger, Korean pork belly, and Cuban sliders, there are few taste profiles that can’t be accommodated here. City Sliders also offers five different meatless slider options, including a cauliflower steak and a quinoa and black bean burger.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Thunder Burger & Bar restaurant

Thunder Burger & Bar

$$$$
Contemporary American
Georgetown
4.3
559 reviews

Sitting squarely on a bustling stretch of M Street in Georgetown, Thunder Burger & Bar has become a destination for people in the District looking for a good burger. It’s also become a layover spot for international flight attendants, who have shown up in increasing numbers lately to try Thunder’s Buffalo Stomp burger, which comes wrapped in bacon with grilled onion, gorgonzola cheese, tomato, and house remoulade. The restaurant’s Love Me Tender burger, with Kobe beef, Tillamook aged white cheddar, and the same house remoulade, is another hit.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

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