If you’re wondering where to find the best burger in Seattle, you’ve click on the right post. We’ve tried nearly all of the burgers that Seattle has to offer in search of the best, and I’m convinced we’ve found the very best one.
We don’t leave this up for speculation though. We’ve put a lot of time into consuming and judging all aspects of Seattle’s best burgers. We tested meat quality, size, doneness and flavor, bun quality and flavor, produce quality and flavor, burger presentation and aroma, and location ambiance.
We scored each burger in each category to come up with a total score, which we will reveal here, so you know where to find the best burgers in Seattle.
If you’re already familiar with the burger scene in Seattle, you might have a list of contenders in mind. We wanted to test out all of the burgers that people think of when burgers in Seattle comes to mind.
We visited five Seattle burger restaurants (plus a bonus burger joint, which we had a feeling would crush the competition.
The contenders for Seattle best burgers are:
Blue Moon Burgers – 523 Broadway E (Capitol Hill)
Uneeda Burger – 4302 Fremont Ave N (Fremont)
Giddy Up Burgers – 4600 Leary Way NW (Ballard)
Lil’ Woody’s – 2040 NW Market St. (Ballard) – other locations available
Red Mill Burgers – 3058 NW 54th St (Ballard) – other locations available
Let’s get to it!
What We Ordered
In order to measure all burgers equally, they had to have the same toppings. So we chose to go with the Classic Burger. S classic burger is a single patty flash-cooked on the griddle (usually 1/4 or 1/3lb), melted American cheese, a slice of onion, tomato, pickles, shredded lettuce and special sauce.
⇒ Don’t forget to check out Seattle’s great microbreweries – beer goes perfectly with a good burger!
Best Seattle Burgers – Reviewed and Scored
Blue Moon Burgers
Our first stop was at Blue Moon Burgers. We ordered two classic burgers (the burgers above are a couple of their specialty burgers) with a side of french fries.
My first impression of the burger was that it was underwhelming. It’s a pretty small burger – the smallest of the five we tried, in fact. The patty was falling apart, almost like it had been cut in half (as you can see in the photo), and the lettuce wasn’t cut properly. The bun was a bit too sweet for my liking. It was more like a Hawaiian bun than a burger bun. And it wasn’t toasted.
There was a special sauce, but it was scant and I couldn’t really taste it. I couldn’t help but think this burger looked better last time I ordered it, but maybe I was just hoping it did.
The french fries were the redeeming factor at Blue Moon. They were hand-cut potato fries, with just the right amount of crispy exterior to fluffy interior. We discussed how either you like the fries extra crispy, or a bit chewy, and we all concurred that this basket of fries had a good ratio of both.
Cost of two classic cheeseburgers & fries: $15
We’ve been to Uneeda Burger in Seattle a couple of times and weren’t super impressed, but our friends often say they really like it, so we wanted to make sure we didn’t just have negative experiences there before. Everyone gets a fair shake in the Seattle Burger Quest.
The best part of Uneeda is the space. The outdoor seating area is great, especially on a really nice sunny day. The huge garage door opens up and the outdoor and indoor space becomes one. There’s not a lot of parking in this neighborhood. There are other popular restaurants nearby, so you might find it hard to get parking.
I was definitely wrong about their burgers. I certainly don’t remember it being this incredible looking. Perhaps that means Uneeda is not always consistent.
This time, the burger was fantastic. And that was despite the fact that the meat wasn’t cooked to our requested doneness, and was actually quite a bit overdone. I really like that they have real cheddar on their burgers, instead of American cheese.
One downside was the triple stack of pickles. I like pickles, but that was a bit much, even for me. The bun was a little thick on the bottom, but it was toasted with butter, so it was still delicious.
The french fries were good, as well. They are hand-cut potato fries and are crispy and tender. These weren’t seasoned very well, but we were able to remedy that with the salt provided on the table. The ketchup wasn’t anything special, but at least it didn’t taste fermented, like some places (read on to find out where).
Cost of two classic cheeseburgers & fries: $15
Giddy Up Burgers
I hadn’t been to Giddy Up Burgers before, but I wish I had. The aroma of freshly cooked hamburger met us at the door and was incredibly enticing. The building is really great. You can be sure they got high marks for ambiance. The space inside is large and open, so even if there are screaming children about (and there were), you can find a quite corner. They also had quite a few beers on tap, plus a cider or two and a homemade rootbeer.
They have an impressive list of specialty burgers. I was equally impressed by the look of this burger as I was by Uneeda’s. This wasn’t a sad-looking classic burger like we found at Blue Moon. This was a real, substantial burger.
My only complaints about this burger were that the meat was really tough and the pickles were too sweet for dills. The patty didn’t quite fit on the bun – the ratio of meat to bun was off. As you can see there is a chunk of our bun missing, which doesn’t bode well. It was toasted well though, and tasted good.
I really liked that the meat was well seasoned, despite it’s toughness, and that there was ample sauce – enough so that we could actually taste it along with the rest of the components. Also, top marks for real cheddar cheese.
In the picture below you can also see that the meat is still medium (as ordered) and that the bun is a bit dry.
The fries were really good here. I feel like that’s an important part of the burger experience, so I’m happy to see so much consistency among all the burger joints. The size of the regular fries at Giddy Up was a little on the small side. Overall, we really liked and enjoyed Giddy Up. The burgers are solid.
Cost of two classic cheeseburgers & fries: $16
Oh Lil’ Woody’s. I’ve liked you in the past, but something was wrong with you today. You didn’t taste very good, your bun was stale and I’m pretty sure your ketchup was fermented. The last time I was there, I had to send my burger back for being too salty. This time, we just wanted to send the whole lot back.
Lil’ Woody’s was the only burger place that didn’t offer a true “classic burger”. They have a Lil’ Woody’s 1/4 lb burger and a Big Woody’s 1/3 lb burger. The 1/4 has ketchup and no lettuce. We ordered it because we thought it was the most comparable (by price too. It was $4.50).
However, when it showed up at our table, we were confused because it resembled a McDonald’s cheeseburger. It was small and disappointing, to say the least. So we built our own burger, which was basically a Big Woody without the bacon. The cashier didn’t quite understand that and charged me for a Big Woody, but left the bacon off. The Big Woody is $7.50. The build-your-own 1/3 lb without bacon should have been $6.
Regardless, neither of the Lil’ Woody’s burgers won us over. The meat patty was small and didn’t seem to fit the bun. The burger looked like it was assembled by a 3 year old. It was messy and unappealing.
The fries at Lil’ Woody’s are another problem. The regular order of fries arrives in a basket. There are a lot of them, for sure. But they just don’t taste very good. They are cut too thin and really greasy (which you can see in the picture).
Then there is the matter of the ketchup. Either it was spoiled or they use a weird brand of ketchup. It tasted fermented. Perhaps it just had too much vinegar in it, but we all agreed that it wasn’t good. Perhaps that was why there were smashed fries all over the floor. Needless to say, it wasn’t a great experience at Lil’ Woody’s.
Cost of two classic cheeseburgers & fries: $19.50
Red Mill Burgers
I’ve always enjoyed Red Mill Burgers. We went to the Ballard Locks location, called Red Mill Totem House. In each of their locations, the tables outside add a lot of extra seating space to the small interior. Since there’s often a line at Red Mill, it’s good to have additional seating available. It’s nothing fancy, but it works.
In my opinion, Red Mill has a good, reliable burger. We ordered the Red Mill Deluxe to stick with our guidelines. They also offer a basic cheeseburger that comes without onion, tomato or pickles. It says American Cheese on the menu, but you can upgrade to cheddar.
There’s nothing super fancy about Red Mill. It’s just a good, quick burger. Going in with that knowledge is part of the appeal.
The patty is the most “fast-food”-like of any of the ones on this list, but the toppings and sauce make up for the patty. At least the meat wasn’t dry. The burger isn’t the most pleasing to the eye, either. We were there late – about 10 minutes before closing – so it’s possible they just tossed together our burger so they could go home. If you don’t mind the sloppiness, it’s a tasty burger. All of the ingredients are in balance with each other.
The fries here are up to standard. The serving size is slightly bigger than we got elsewhere (except for Lil’ Woody’s), and there was a good mix of crunchy and soft fries. We got the ketchup to go, so it was served in packets. No fermented ketchup here!
Cost of two classic cheeseburgers & fries: $19.50
And now for the bonus burger!
8oz. Burger & Co.
As I mentioned above, we decided to leave out Restaurant/Pub burgers and anywhere that we might have table service or the burger would be priced higher than anywhere else. Those rules technically exclude 8oz Burger & Co. from participation in this round. However, I really love 8oz so we threw it in the mix anyway.
Doing this helped prove that we made the right decision. There was no comparison between 8oz and the more fast-food type burgers that we got at the other 5.
When our burger arrived, we knew immediately that it wasn’t a fair battle with 8oz in the mix and it shouldn’t be included in the competition. We did, however, enjoy the burger very much and I wanted to share the pictures anyway, because this is a really good burger that shouldn’t be missed!
The patty on the 8oz burger far exceeds any other patty. It’s thick enough to cook to order, and it was served a perfect medium, just like we requested, and it was still really juicy. Unfortunately, because of the juiciness, the bottom bun was soggy. The cheese is also superior and it was melting down the sides of the patty. There was just the right amount of sauce. The bun was fresh and tasty, though somewhat soggy on the bottom.
The french fries are perfect here. They somehow manage to get them dark and crispy, but maintain the moisture in the inside, so they aren’t dry or hard. The ketchup was also superior. There was a bottle of a premium brand of local organic ketchup on every table.
Of course, all of this awesomeness comes at a price. The cost of the burger is $11, and that’s without fries. Plus, you have to pay for service. So the total came to around $30. Obviously it was outside of the range we were going for. But it was a really great experience and an even better burger, so no regrets! As you can see, it received near-perfect scores across the board. Yum!
So without further ado, here are the results of the Seattle Burger Battle:
Blue Moon: 25.5
Uneeda Burger: 38
Giddy Up: 34.75
Lil’ Woody’s: 24.5
Red Mill Burgers: 30
UNEEDA BURGER WINS!
The Uneeda Burger far exceeded our expectations and blew away the competition. It solidly won the battle to become the Best Burger in Seattle.
If you’re from Seattle that you’ll read this list and instantly get fired up that your favorite isn’t on the list. Some of the honorable mention burgers are Rain City Burgers, Zippy’s Giant Burgers, Kidd Valley, Scooter’s and Bent Burger.
Other awesome Seattle burgers that didn’t make the list because they didn’t fit our criteria — are the pub burgers at Palace Kitchen, Quinn’s, Skillet Diner and Two Bells Tavern. We have a separate post that focuses on the best pub/restaurant burgers in Seattle, so be sure to check that out too.
What is your favorite burger joint in Seattle? Do you have a favorite Seattle burger to tell us about? We want to hear it!
Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited 70+ countries.