There’s a time for fast-food burgers, and then there’s a time for a more high-end, cooked-to-specification restaurant burger. We’ve already supplied you with the best fast-food Seattle burger list, from when our supper club went on an epic Seattle burger quest to try and rate 7 top Seattle fast-food burger joints, so now we’re back with a list of Seattle’s best restaurant burgers.
When we say “restaurant” burgers, we mean the top grade, grass-fed beef patty, piled high with toppings, usually including multiple strips of smoky bacon with tons of oozing melted cheese on the top and a heaping pile of top-quality french fries on the plate – and of course, they have to be served in a restaurant setting, ordered from a waiter and delivered to the table. No ordering at the counter and waiting for your name to called. There are plenty of these type of burgers in Seattle. We’ve eaten many of them as part of our traditional “going out of the country” burger. Since we go out of the country a lot, we eat a lot of burgers.
Thus, here are our recommendations for Seattle’s best restaurant burgers.
Palace Kitchen, part of the Tom Douglas empire of restaurants, has always been our favorite Seattle high-end burger. There’s nothing about it that we don’t like. The burger is a handground Washington chuck burger with a Dahlia bakery bun and a boatload of skinny fries on the side. The burger comes with lettuce, tomato and pickles and your choice of cheese (we always choose cheddar) and you can add your own ketchup.
The best parts of the burger are the freshly-baked bun and the fact that the meat is juicy and flavorful (unless, of course, you ask for it well-done, whereby all beef immediately loses its appeal). Now for the bad part – the price has risen to $18.50 (as of this posting), so when ordering 2 burgers and 2 beers for dinner the bill comes to somewhere around $80, which just seems egregious for a couple of burgers.
Tip: If there are two of you, order just one burger and split it (it’s plenty of food!)
We’ve been hearing about the Miller’s Guild burger for a long time. It’s been growing in epic status for us because it’s so elusive. You can’t get this burger on the dinner menu. You will only find it on the lunch and late-night menu. Not being about to go in for lunch during the day, we had to wait until a rare chance opened up to try this burger. It’s a Wagyu beef burger with thick slices of applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, onions, tomato, pickles and a motoraioli (whatever that is), and it comes with beef-fat fries on the side.
It’s an impressive-looking burger and the price is right at $16. We thought the bun could use improvement. It wasn’t warmed up at all, so it had difficulty staying together and holding all the ingredients in. A little messy for my taste. The motoraioli didn’t do it for me either. It needs more flavor (add the ketchup!). But it is a great burger, cooked perfectly over the flames!
Tips: Sit at the chef’s counter and definitely order the brussels sprouts!
The burger at Quinn’s Pub is slightly more subdued and orderly than the other burgers on this list, but that doesn’t make it any less tasty. It’s an 8oz Painted Hills beef patty, with bacon, white cheddar and mayo on a brioche bun with fries on the side. It’s served with a little flag reminding you how you asked for it to be cooked, and we’ve always found it to be spot on.
The good part about this burger is that it can be easily contained within the bun. I like messy burgers, but I don’t want all of the parts to be falling out as I attempt to take a bite. The bun is good and soft. If you like lettuce, tomato and pickles on your burger, you might not like how minimalist this burger is. The burger is currently priced at $16.
Tip: At Quinn’s Pub, there’s also the option to order the Ultra Burger, which is a chef’s choice burger that can be piled high with all kinds of things like foie gras, an egg, onion rings, etc, perhaps on a pretzel bun. It’s a roll of the dice, and it costs a whopping $30, but it might be really, really worth it. Plus, there’s no where else in town that serves a burger like that.
8 oz. Burger & Co.
When we did our burger quest looking for the best fast-food burger in Seattle, we sort of mistakenly added in 8 oz. Burger & Co as a contender. It was clear to see that it did not fit into the fast-food category. It is a definitely contender in the high-end burger category, and is definitely a restaurant burger, rather than fast food, but the price is quite a bit more affordable at $11.
They have around nine burgers on their menu to choose from. I prefer the Classic Burger that comes with tomato, pickle, white cheddar cheese and a special sauce. It is clearly stated on the menu that the beef is all natural, 100% NW grass-fed, antibiotic and hormone free, and the bun is 100% organic from a local bakery. I’ve always liked their bun the best. It’s really good, and it’s always warmed so it doesn’t break or feel stale. The beef is very tasty and juicy.
Tip: You can build your own burger, so it’s perfect for you each time.
RN74 is a Seattle outpost of Michael Mina’s restaurant empire. It’s one of our favorite places to order a tasting menu in Seattle. Everything is good. Of course that means you have to try out the burger there too! It’s called the RN74 Burger Royale, with 8oz Angus beef, cheddar fondue, secret sauce, romaine lettuce and fries on the side. You also get your choice of an egg or house-made bacon on the top. The price is a whopping $24.
I love to see melting cheese pouring down the side of my burger, so that’s a very strong point for this burger. I just think I should probably like it a little more for the $24 price tag. The beef is a little dry, even though it’s cooked properly, and the bun is not the best – taste or texture-wise. Regardless, it’s still one of the best restaurant burgers in Seattle.
Tip: Ask them to heat the bun!
An honorable mention goes to:
Located in University Village, Eureka! is a great place to get a burger in Seattle. It doesn’t make the main list because it is technically a chain restaurant with locations in other cities, and we didn’t want to include chains in the list. But, if you’re looking for a delicious burger, you should still know about this option.
The Original Eureka burger is a good place to start with smoked gouda, lettuce, tomato and special sauce. You can add bacon or an egg. Or you could go for one of their specialty burgers. We really like the Cowboy Burger. When I was linking to their site, I saw that they currently have a Bone Marrow burger as a limited time special. So see, you can get some really great burgers at Eureka!
So many great burgers! You have to try them all.
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.