Hamburg, also know as the ‘Free & Hanseatic City of Hamburg’: Germany’s second-largest city. The namesake (depending on whom you ask) and birthplace of the Hamburger. Probably making it the Uncle of the cheeseburger and Grandfather of the bacon cheeseburger. Located in northern Germany, the city is a major port with the Elbe river connecting Hamburg to the North Sea. It’s a wealthy city and home to many large, international corporations – it also happens to have a thriving burger scene and so without further ado, here is the Beeffanatic top five hamburgers in Hamburg.
5) Otto’s Burger – named for Otto Krause, the German chef that American chain White Castle credits (arguably) with inventing the hamburger way back in 1891. The four Otto’s Burger locations in Hamburg are taking the “Deutsches Beefsteak” forward in the 21st century – and make a delicious burger. The basic Otto’s cheeseburger starts from €7.70 and their offerings go on up to the Trüffel Burger at €9.50: topped with a portobello mushroom, red cheddar cheese, baby spinach leaves and their truffle mayo.
The Otto’s cheeseburger is really delicious revelation – especially when sparingly smeared with truffle mayo. Otto’s slips down my top five for overpricing and undersizing of their side dishes (like the woeful portion of onion rings I get for €4.50). They must step up this part of their game, while stepping down the prices if they want to compete in Hamburg’s scene. Otto’s restaurants are cool and each one a bit unique based upon the building, architecture and surrounding neighborhood. You can read my full review here.
4) Grilly Idol – At number four, ‘Good Grill Hunting’, ‘Notting Grill’, ‘Elbgrillharmonie’, ‘Grill Bill’, and ‘The Empire Grills Back’ were proposed as names before finally settling on Grilly Idol. Run by three musician friends, Grilly Idol is also the newest joint in my Hamburg top five. Grilly is located in the Reeperbahn area of Hamburg and their menu is somewhat unique: six normal burgers, three ‘Asian’ burgers served on steamed rice flour buns, two chicken options, and three veggie/vegan choices.
Grilly Idol is a spacious and welcoming burger joint with a fully-stocked bar and drinks menu. The “Smukal’s Juicy Lucy” is Grilly’s signature burger: 300 grams of organic beef with cheddar in the core, crispy bacon, onions, sour cucumber, tomato, and Grilly house sauce (€14.00). It’s oozy and delicious from start to finish, but the toppings can be overkill, so remember to pare down to what you can handle! Fourth place for Grilly Idol is just a starting point for this young burger joint – they have room to improve by figuring out a better balance of beef, bun and toppings. You can read my full review here.
3) The Bird – At third, another Hamburg joint located in the heart of the vibrant Reeperbahn/St. Pauli neighborhood, The Bird stands out because their burgers are served on either toast or english-style muffins. Despite this oddity, they are serious about their beef: The Bird’s steaks are dry-aged for a minimum of 30 days after arriving from the US, courtesy of corn-fed cattle from Iowa Beef Packers. Their burgers are made from beef that’s freshly ground in-house each and every day; 250g per patty of Germany’s finest ground beef from steak cuts. That’s serious!
The Bird proudly proclaims that nothing is frozen in their restaurant. Their french fries are hand-cut from fresh potatoes daily and all sauces, salads, and cheesecakes are hausgemacht (home made). I went for the €12 ‘Da Birdhouse,’ which has two beef patties, American cheese, bacon, fried onion, ketchup, mustard & pickles and is described as, “It’s a greasy bird, but tastes like heaven.” It’s a fabulous burger and could have been in second place if it had a proper brioche burger bun! You can see from the picture that the burgers a formed to be smaller in diameter to fit the English muffin buns – just doesn’t quite serve the purpose of tying a burger together in my opinion. Read my full review here.
2) Brooklyn Burger Bar – In second place in the top five burgers in Hamburg, it’s the Brooklyn Burger Bar. Conceived by three friends on a night out in Brooklyn, New York, this joint serves up an extensive and impressive menu of burgers, sides, cocktails and deserts. They home-bake brioche buns and get their beef daily, courtesy of Friesischen Weiderindern cattle; free range cows from Friesland, a region in northern Holland.
BBB’s burgers start from the classic burger for €9 and go up to the Godzilla at a terrifying €21! The basic burger is topped with lettuce, tomato, red onions, pickles & ketchup. The Godzilla is a triple patty (600g or 1.32 lbs of beef) burger with triple bacon, triple mixed cheeses, juniper berry sauerkraut, and red wine-sautéed onions on a brioche-style bun. I ordered Das Hangover – a double-cheeseburger with double bacon, a fried egg, lettuce, red onion, jalapeños, pickles, and BBQ sauce. A burger truly worthy of being second on the top five – only the density of the meat let it down, a recurring pet peeve of mine. You can read my full review here.
1) Dulf’s Burger – My choice for best burger of 2017 in Hamburg, Dulf’s is relatively new to the scene. Dulf’s Burger serves 150g patties of Charolais beef – the huge, French breed of cattle – served atop your choice of three different buns: sour dough, sesame, or brioche. The burgers are sumptuous and the toppings are fresh and plentiful.
The burger you see here is the Farmer burger on a brioche bun: topped with cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, a fried egg, homemade burger sauce, and overflowing with coleslaw. The burger is perfectly balanced between beef, toppings and bun – a rare feat to accomplish. Dulf’s keep things just the right side of ‘decadent’ in their burger construction. The flavors are rich, yet the beef stands up to the barrage of other tastes. You can read my full review of Dulf’s here.
At first place, Dulf’s Burger is excellent – were it in London, it would easily place in my top ten London burgers. So what do you think? Leave a comment if there are Hamburg hamburgers I still need to try or if you think you would have a different top five!