We got ourselves in to a real pickle in the Dubai Week office. There are so many amazing burger joints in our emirate, but when it comes to the best, well, there can be only bun right?
Words by Miles Buckeridge
So we put it to a taste test, a battle of the patties, to find out which restaurants can be relied upon to satisfy particular burger yearnings. We also assembled the village elders to nominate an overall winner, but they could not reach a unanimous decision. So the responsibility falls on you. Let us know your ultimate burger experience in the comments section of Facebook.
We apologise for any food based FOMO you may be about to experience.
Best fast food burger, winner: Hardee’s Super Star Burger
There was stiff competition for this title. There was also a little dance around what exactly constitutes a fast food burger. A purist might argue that all burgers are technically fast food. People that are right, might argue that gourmet burgers etc fall outside of the description. To keep it simple, our fast food burgers – are burgers that are made fast, come with wax-paper wrappers or would explode into a million burgery pieces if you even so much as considered using a piece of metal cutlery to eat them with.
Hardee’s burgers have that real American diner feel. Simple, well-garnished, tasty. We’ve not looked in to the kitchen situation, but feel confident – the patties are flipped with an old school spatula by a guy called Mitch – and the orders come through on those little pieces of paper – like they do in the movies. The build is solid, the bun substantial, fresh, not overly sweet – and delicate charring on the burger itself gives the whole ensemble a tasty lift.
Price AED 18. 24 branches across Dubai. 600 569 000.
Best for customisation at the counter, winner: Five Guys’ Cheeseburger
Five Guys is a Virginia, USA-born brand takes its name from the founding father and his four sons that set up the company. Their corporate philosophy ‘to perfect and serve’ (a spin on the Los Angeles police service’s motto ‘to protect and serve’) is plain to see in all of its six Dubai stores, which all use exactly the same simple, quality ingredients. The result is universally awesome tasting burgers.
Five Guys wins the customisation award because of the range of edits you can make to your burger as you order it. There are a staggering 250,000 possible combinations in fact. And everything that gets fried, gets fried in peanut oil, which both gives it a distinct taste and an ‘inadvisable for ground nut allergy sufferers’ label.
AED 44. Five outlets in Dubai. 04 379 2122.
Best medium rare burger, winner: Shake Shack’s ShackBurger
This title is really only probably of interest if you’re one of those people that winces as the idea of well done beef. Some burger chains (that will remain nameless) will refuse to grill your burgers in this fashion because of potential health risks. Which can infer that patties are not made fresh each day.
This is not the case with Shake Shack; this popular chain is happy to set phasers to yum and cook you up some of that pink-centred goodness. It’s testament to the excellent ingredients that go into Shake Shack’s servings. And it’s reflected in both the flavour and the price. We also need to talk about the Shack Sauce. Humuna humuna.
AED 30. Seven branches in Dubai. 04 419 0510
Best hippy burger, winner: Burger Fuel’s BF Monster (Low Carborator)
After swapping hemispheres to get here from New Zealand, Burger Fuel has cemented itself as one Dubai’s favourite bun boasting destinations. And apart from the fact they make tidy sandwiches, part of their allure comes from their ethical activities and social conscience – all the beef they use comes from 100 per cent grass-fed cows.
All of the brand’s packaging, cutlery and doofers (burger holsters for apparent mess-less eating that we clearly can’t use properly) are made in accordance with strict environmental friendly guidelines. Where possible, old frying oil is recycled in to biodiesel and the punnets for their dipping aoili are made from biodegradable corn starch.
AED 42. Eight in Dubai. 04 354 9314.
Best sliders, winner: Salt’s Original Burger
You can’t have a Dubai burger round-up without mentioning Salt. The iconic vans serve up the most incredible fun-sized Wagyu sliders. Honestly if you haven’t tried one yet, there is no excuse. They are humble little pockets of simply crafted, lovingly-prepared brilliance. And don’t you dare touch the pickles. Learn to like them.
AED 32. Four Salts call Dubai home – two food trucks and two cafes. 055 996 5802.
Best monster burger, winner: Perry & Blackwelder’s Empire State Burger
What’s that coming out from the kitchen, is it a monster? Yep. A stack of grilled, fried and smoked Americana, big enough you could charge for trips up to the top. This gem of a smokehouse has gone to town with this meat feast, and that town is New York (baby). You’ve got a big ol’ beef pattie, pickles, it’s fully loaded with cheddar cheese, onion rings, beef bacon AND fried mozzarella sticks. Happily, it’s both big AND tasty – which is why it’s on this accelerated bucket list.
AED 121. 12pm-1.45am. Madinat Jumeirah. 04 432 3232.
Best chicken burger, winner: Slider Station’s Trailblazer Chicken
Slider Station does things with flavours that just bend your mind. The Trailblazer Chicken sliders are absolutely fruit of that message. A Mountain Dew-infused bun, prime chicken fillet, throw in some avocado, jalapeño and a dash of ranch dressing – and you have a mini burger, prepped to change worlds.
AED 26. Al Safa. 600 544 005.
Best newcomer, winner: Blaze Burgers
Comin’ straight outta Bahrain. Only here for a year, but Blaze Burgers is already racking up a dedicated troop of followers. Could it be the heavily customisable menu (which includes the ability to swap traditional buns out for a pair of grilled cheese sandwiches, we don’t care, take us to the hospital)? The fact that the Australian Wagyu beef fillings are all that and a bag of proverbial potato chips? That you can order them pink in the middle? Or maybe that this is a studied list of all the things we love about good burger joints.
AED 57 (for the Wagyu). JBR. 04 248 2914.
Best restaurant burger, winner: Jones The Grocer’s Jones Wagyu Burger
If there were any burger likely to wear a monocle, or demand to be introduced with a bow, it would be the Jones Burger. The basic model is tantalisingly decadent enough – minced Wagyu, smoked beef bacon, a brioche bun and a bois boudran sauce. Jones The Grocer kicks things up another notch with the optional extras however. Foie gras and melted truffle brie, a whole faberge egg crumbled over… sorry that last bit was a lie – but the super luxe cheese and goose liver patê were absolutely for real.
AED 83 standard (AED 138 with extras), price includes fries. Al Safa, Emirates Golf Club and Dusit Thani. 04 346 6886.
Prices and availability correct at the time of writing.