As the esteemed, late food writer Josh Ozersky said so perfectly: “The burger is omnipotent and irresistible . . . it can never be weakened, it can never be slowed down, it can never stop. The burger is the most single powerful force in the food universe.” We’re very excited to share our guide to the Best Burgers in Portland, a long, worthwhile endeavor spanning several months and over 100 burgers. In this guide, you’ll find a little bit of everything from simple, no-frills burgers to sophisticated burgers that resemble a work of art. Not included in this guide: places outside Portland proper, nor any chains.
Related Video: Best Burger in Portland
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Meat: Thick, juicy and crusty single patty
Vegetables: Shredded lettuce, shaved sweet onion, Kimchee relish
Sauce: Spicy Mayo
$$ Hawaiian, Korean
2454 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214
26. PDX Sliders
(Many choices on the menu)
Meat: Single slider patty
$ Burgers, Food Trucks, Sandwiches
5714, 1605 SE Bybee Blvd, Portland, OR 97202
25. Bar Bar
Meat: Thin soft single patty
Cheese: Varies (I had the Burger of the Month, the Yeezy, no cheese)
Vegetables: Pickled pepper, pickle and tomato
Sauce: Yellow mustard
Bun: Good old soft white
$$ Bars, American (Traditional), Burgers
3939 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227
24. Ecliptic Brewing
Meat: Tighter grind, 1/2 lb. with pancetta
Vegetables: Arugula, red onion
Sauce: Russian dressing
825 N Cook St, Portland, OR 97227
Cheese: Queso botanero
Vegetables: Chiles, fried unions, pickled jalapenos
Bun: Toasted white
$$ Bars, American (New)
4057 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227
Meat: Medium thick patty, 1/2 lb.
Vegetables: Fried onion rings, red cabbage slaw
$$ Lounges, Burgers
533 SE Grand Ave, Portland, OR 97214
21. Swift & Union
Meat: Single patty, juicy
Cheese: Bleu (I ordered the Swift Burger)
Vegetables: Butter lettuce
Sauce: Bacon-Onion jam
Swift and Union
$$ Pubs, American (New), Burgers
8103 N Denver Ave, Portland, OR 97217
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Meat: Thick, juicy, smaller patty
Cheese: White Cheddar
Vegetables: House pickled vegetables
Bun: Delicious ciabatta
Q Restaurant & Bar
$$ American (New), Cocktail Bars
828 SW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97204
Meat: Big fat thick patty, juicy (Carman ranch grass fed beef)
Cheese: White Cheddar
Bun: Toasted hearth baked roll
$$$ French, American (New)
1239 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205
18. Dick’s Primal Burger
Meat: All grass-fed, always, single patty
Cheese: Choices; I had the French Onion Soup Burger, so Swiss
Vegetables: Carmelized Onion
Sauce: Broth/Meat Juice
Dick’s Primal Burger
4905 SE Woodstock Blvd, Portland, OR 97206
17. Cibo: Best French Fry Accompaniment
Meat: Piedmontese grass-fed single patty AND parma prosciutto
Cheese: Cave-aged fontina
Bun: House made white
Bonus: TUSCAN FRIES, with whole garlic cloves, for the win
$$ Italian, Bars, Pizza
3539 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202
Meat: Single medium thick patty
Vegetables: Shaved romaine, raw red onion
Sauce: Red relish, avocado mayo
$$ Breakfast & Brunch, American (Traditional), Cocktail Bars
1545 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209
Meat: Double patty, medium thin
Vegetables: Dill Pickle, shredded lettuce, onion
Sauce: Big Nick’s sauce
1205 SW Washington St, Portland, OR 97205
14. Laurelhurst Market
Meat: In-house ground beef patty
Cheese: White Cheddar
Vegetables: Jardiniere, Greens
Bun: Ciabatta roll
$$$ Steakhouses, Butcher, Wine Bars
3155 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214
SEE ALSO: 35 BEST PIZZERIAS IN PORTLAND
13. La Moule
Meat: Medium thick patty, juicy PLUS a handlebar moustache of thick bacon
Vegetables: Raw Red Onion
Sauce: Dijon Mustard
Bun: Ken’s Artisan Brioche
$$ Cocktail Bars, Belgian, French
2500 SE Clinton St, Portland, OR 97202
12. Guero No. 1 Tortas: Best Maximalist Burger
Guero started as a humble food-pod cart and this year moved into a brick and mortar restaurant. Their version of a “Mexican street hamburguesa” comes loaded with a chicharron queso, American cheese, tamarind tomato, habanero coleslaw, guacamole, pickled jalapeno, shredded iceberg and mayo. This is the one maximalist burger even a purist will love.
$$ Mexican, Sandwiches, Cocktail Bars
200 NE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97232
11. Mike’s Drive-In: Best Classic Sauce Burger – Temporarily Closed
With a face like this, who can resist a Mike’s Drive-In Burger. This classic-style burger with all the accompaniments and a ton of sauce, is the burger you want after a long run or bike ride, and will send you diving for bed in the hopes of a long nap.
$ Burgers, American (Traditional), Hot Dogs
3045 SE Harrison St, Milwaukie, OR 97222
10. Le Pigeon: The French Connection Burger
Le Pigeon home to another James Beard award-winning, pedigreed Portland chef: Gabriel Rucker, who also runs Little Bird Bistro. It’s the only place I know of in Portland where you can get foie gras, beef cheek bourguignon, dry sherry and a burger that riffs off of Wendy’s. There are a very limited number of these square patty burgers per night, and they come with grilled and pickled onions, extra sharp white cheddar, iceberg lettuce, and spicy dijon aioli. This was by far the messiest burger I ate, and very worth it.
$$$ French, American (New)
738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214-1219
9. Helvetia Tavern: Best Burger with a View
This is the burger that pushed my “Portland proper” rule to the rolling country hills of Hillsboro, where I found a delicious, classic style burger nearly the size of a small hubcap. Featuring a giant thin patty, American cheese, dressing, shredded lettuce and pickle, Helvetia Tavern serves one of Portland’s most commonly named best burgers in a lovely farmland-esque setting.
$ Burgers, Dive Bars, Comfort Food
10275 NW Helvetia Rd, Hillsboro, OR 97124
8. Tabor Tavern
Tabor Tavern is another neighborhood (Mt. Tabor) pub with great gastropub fare in a rustic, wood-decked setting, featuring outdoor tables, multiple TVs and a delicious classic style burger with a 1/2 lb patty, shredded lettuce, and Russian dressing on a brioche bun.
$$ Pubs, American (New)
5325 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97215
7. Paymaster: Best Hipster Burger
Paymaster is a low-key bar in the Northwest neighborhood, with a throwback ambiance and serving pub food including a wonderfully simple burger with cheese, raw chopped onion, lettuce, tomato, and pickle and served with tater tots.
1020 NW 17th Ave, Portland, OR 97209
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6. Bless Your Heart Burgers: Best Fast Burger
Read all about this fast and fantastic burger here.
Bless Your Heart Burgers
5410 NE 33rd Ave, Portland, OR 97211
5. Sammich: Personal Favorite
When a nice, handsome and young man with a kind smile who is the age of your only son, cooks and serves you a delicious burger from a food truck that is on your direct path home on your work commute, you’ve found a personal favorite. Pastrami Zombie is my soft spot burger place, and I’d hedge a bet it will be yours soon, too.
$$ Delis, Sandwiches, Burgers
2137 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214
4. Lay Low Tavern: Best No Frills Burger
Lay Low Tavern is an old, dark dive-bar/lounge in the Foster/Powell neighborhood that was recently revamped and re-conceptualized by two modern restaurant renovators. It’s so dark inside Lay Low that you can’t read the menu. You can still smoke on the patio. More importantly, you can get one of Portland’s best, simple burgers here. Meat, lettuce, tomato, raw onion, pickle and cheese, wrapped in paper. Get fries or tater tots for a complete, no-frills, escape-the-crowds dining experience.
$ Sports Bars, American (Traditional)
6015 SE Powell Blvd, Portland, OR 97206
3. Pollo Bravo: Best Non-Classic Sauce Burger
Pollo Bravo is the younger cousin of Toro Bravo, the wildly popular and distinguished Spanish-esque restaurant, who set up shop in Pine Street Market in 2016. This burger has an addictive romesco sauce, is served with thinly sliced avocado and sprouts and comes on a wonderful black-sesame seeded bun.
$$ Tapas/Small Plates, Spanish, Cocktail Bars
1225 N Killingsworth St, Portland, OR 97217
2. Expatriate: Best Beguiling in Appearance Burger
Of all the burgers that hit me to the core, Expatriate’s is the only one that wasn’t in the double-patty-saucey-no vedge genre. The moment my plate landed at Expatriate I just sighed . . . . “oh yes.” Just look at them. Each diminutive 1/4 lb. burger is a piece of artwork: perfect in scale, minimalist in garnishes with two phantom white slices of onion, and finished off with those bold contrasting primary colors of red ketchup and yellow mustard. Expatriate is small, dimly lit boozy space that sports an exotic, slightly baroque and mysterious vibe, and they are the only restaurant that I know of that serves the irreplaceable James Beard Onion sandwich. Definitely worth several visits.
$$ Cocktail Bars, Asian Fusion
5424 NE 30th Ave, Portland, OR 97211
1. Burger Stevens: Best Pioneer Square Courthouse Burger
I’m still thinking about my Burger Stevens burger. I am a big fan of the self-employed chef who’s broken from corporate restaurant tethers and out there pounding the pavement to follow a passion and a calling, so when I read about chef Don Salamone, who’s done his time with Michelin-starred restaurants, and his wife Kate opening up Burger Stevens in a little blue food truck in a pod on the corner of Wilson High School in Hillsdale, I knew I had to make a visit.
This burger took a while, but was well worth it. A classic old-school burger, cooked on a flat top griddle with a nice firm crust and wrapped in a paper package, Burger Stevens’ burger was a study in perfect construction: thin burger, crisp lettuce, tomato, raw onion, special sauce and from there you can add bacon, avocado, fried egg, jalapeno and and extra patty.
$ Burgers, Food Trucks, Sandwiches
4237 N Mississippi Ave #3, Portland, OR 97217
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Finally, here’s a handy list of honorable mention burgers:
Little Big Burger
Little Big Burger: For the smaller appetites, includes veggie option (Various locations).
Killer Burger: King of the Peanut Butter Sauce Burger; Loud music, TVs and grass-fed burgers, always including bacon and fries (Various locations).
Burgerville: Dependable and tasty fast burgers and seasonal sides and shakes (Various locations).