It's difficult to choose ten favorites from all of the city's mainstays plus newer spots that impress, but New Times accepted the challenge.
Consult the alphabetical list below when you're craving a juicy burger and a cold beer (or milkshake).
109 Burger Joint646 SW 109th Ave., Sweetwater
This Sweetwater restaurant is all about experimentation. Take, for instance, the "Colombian Voyage," a beef patty blended with chorizo and stacked with chicharrones, a fried egg, and cilantro sauce and nestled inside an arepa de choclo. There's also the "Nica." a beef burger with fried Nicaraguan cheese and coleslaw, jalapeño cream sauce, and sweet plantains; and the "Mex109," topped with jalapeño cheddar jack cheese, pico de gallo, and homemade guacamole ($13). For the ultimate experience, seek out the elusive "Knausberry," which employs a Knaus Berry Farm cinnamon roll as a bun (available on a limited basis).
Ariete3540 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove
This Miami institution offers a number of highbrow menu items — Osetra caviar, canard à la presse, fancy foie gras — expect the same attention to detail for the lowbrow eats here, as well. Michael Beltran masters the art of hamburger-making as only a chef of his caliber can. Beltran's burger arrives as a double patty, topped with American cheese, bread-and-butter pickles, and a secret sauce, sandwiched between two butter-rich brioche buns. Served with fries on the side, the "Chug Burger" sells for $19 during brunch — but ask and they just might make you one during dinner or happy hour.
Blue Collar6730 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
Not all burgers are created equal. Some go the extra mile, whether via customization options, a special meat blend, or that one ingredient that makes all the difference. At Blue Collar, you get all of that. It begins with the USDA Prime dry-aged New York strip patty, cooked to order from "blue" to "rare" to "well done." Toppings are numerous, but the classic melted cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion come standard (throw on a latke if that feels right). It's served on a not-so-classic Portuguese muffin, but that somehow makes this take on an American staple even better: The muffin absorbs all the juice, so there's no dribbling when you shove this baby full force into your pie hole.
Cheeseburger Baby1505 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
Some burger joints are the perfect cure for too many drinks. Take Cheeseburger Baby, a Miami Beach hole in the wall that specializes in the late-night, don't-care-about-calories variety. Try the famous half-pound burger or cheeseburger, topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, choice of cheese, and chopped pickles on a house-made bun. Turkey and veggie versions are also available, and extras include bacon, chili, jalapeños, grilled onions, green peppers, grilled mushrooms, avocado, fried egg, blue cheese, and sauces such as honey barbecue, Buffalo, and ranch. Chef/owner Stephanie Vitori's newest creations — the "15th Street Frita," a seasoned patty topped with pepper jack cheese and fried potato sticks; and "Baby's Favorite," outfitted with applewood-smoked bacon and a fried egg – are the figurative cherry on top.
JR's Gourmet Burgers7 Westward Dr., Miami Springs
In February 2017, JR's Gourmet Burgers received the best news a burger restaurant can get: It was declared the people's choice at Burger Bash during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. It's easy to see why people love this Miami Springs standby, which specializes in hand-pressed Angus beef burgers augmented with creative toppings. Of the numerous burgers on the menu, the "Outside Is In" — a massive, juicy charred-beef patty stuffed with bits of bacon and oozing cheese, served on a cornmeal-crusted bun that adds the perfect texture — remains a perennial fave.
Deemed one of the "Top 100 Burgers in America" by the Food Network, Kush’s frita-inspired burger has also waddled away with the coveted “People’s Choice” Award at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival's Burger Bash. The "Frita" is an over-the-top take on a classic frita Cubana. You can procure it for yourself at any of the Kush eateries, from Kush Wynwood to Cafe Kush in the MiMo District to the other Kush locations in Hialeah, Coconut Grove, and the newest at Time Out Market in Miami Beach.
Pinch8601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
A lot goes into making a burger special. There's the meat, the bun, the toppings — and also the love. When a burger is done right, you just know. At Pinch, that's the type of burger owner John Gallo aims for with his eponymous "Pinch Burger" ($19). What you'll get: a custom burger blend, brioche buns made in-house, caramelized onions that are simmered down for hours to extract the perfect amount of umami, melty Swiss cheese, and aioli made fresh daily so the garlic always has just the right bite. (The hand-cut fries — cooked to a beautiful golden brown so they're crispy on the outside and hot inside — don't hurt, either.)
Of the seven burgers on Pincho's permanent roster, we suggest you start with the eponymous "Pincho." Served on a dense brioche bun, the savory patty is topped with melted cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, a house-made secret sauce, and julienned potatoes that are fried fresh for a satisfying crunch, much like the ones found on the best fritas in Miami. If you're looking for something different, there's the "Toston Burger," that same seasoned patty, doused in cilantro sauce and served between two fried plantain "buns." Pincho's "Burger of the Month" is an ever-changing specialty take guaranteed to fuse a ton of flavor. Take a recent pick, the "Quesadilla Burger," topped with the customary taco fittings of pico de gallo, guacamole, and crema, with two cheese-stuffed quesadillas serving as the bun.
Ted's Burgers Pop-up at J. Wakefield Brewing Co.120 NW 24th St, Miami
In early 2020, former Yardbird Southern Table chef Teodoro Armas decided to start making burgers. The idea was born in his backyard, where his burgers became a hit with friends and family. It quickly turned into a passion pursuit. Today, what began as a pop-up in an O'Reilly Auto Parts parking lot is now a smashing success — literally. These days you'll find Armas' weekend-only pop-up as a regular fixture at J. Wakefield Brewing in Wynwood where hungry patrons line up for a taste of his "American Classic" smash burger, prepared to order with your choice of a single, double, or triple patty. With just a touch of salt for flavor, the hot griddle does the lion's share of the work, creating a beautiful sear that intensifies the flavor, allowing the meat to speak for itself. Finished on a Martin's potato roll, it's a simple — and near-perfect — representation of the smash burger art form. The South Beach Wine & Food Festival judges certainly thought so, awarding Ted's burger a Schweid Judges award at the 2021 Burger Bash.
USBS at the Citadel8300 NE Second Ave., Miami
Once a no-frills burger, USBS became wildly popular after married chefs Mike Mayta and Keily Vasquez began serving it at their United States Burger Service (USBS) pop-up in Wynwood. The business has since expanded to a brick-and-mortar location inside the Citadel Miami. Here you can still find the couple's classic burgers, including the "Ground" — a single patty topped with "government" cheese and their own "Priority" sauce. Really hungry? Go for the "Two Day," a twin-patty take that delivers double the goodness. Either way, your burger comes topped with the chef's blend of two kinds of melted cheese — spiked with a pinch of salt and mustard seed — and served on a bun that's a cross between a Parker House roll and potato bread. Add a portion of their thick-cut fries, and your meal — and your quest to find one of the best burgers in Miami — is complete.