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The Ten Best Burger Joints in Auckland

We ate our way around Auckland to find the city of sails best Burger Joints. And here they are...

88kg – before the original burger quest began

96kg – the end result of last year’s best burger quest

84kg – 3 months of hard work after my burger quest

92kg – where I’m back to after once again eating my way across Auckland’s burger chains

Life is too short to eat shit burgers, and god knows there are enough of those around (sorry Ronald). Which is why we embarked on a quest, a mission to find Auckland’s absolute best burger outlets – and did we ever.

Some points to consider… the primary factors we are sought out were taste and quality – these burgers needed to sing. Sure, the use of super-premium ingredients is always well received, but they need to deliver an outstanding uplift in flavour and tastiness. We also examine innovation, attention to detail, service and overall BJN: burger joint-ness. As such, all entries in this list are burger-aficionados and speciality shops, so while Jervois Steak House’s Clevedon Buffalo Burger might justify the existence of the divine, it isn’t exactly your local takeaway joint or a burger shop so you won’t find it in this list.

I consider burgers to be nearly the perfect food, a practical and hand sized nirvana of carbs and meat, mixed with fillings, grilled and served for 24/7 consumption. There are some amongst us who have elevated it to a true artform, heroes of innovation, creativity and craftsmanship who go forth every day to deliver the very best burgers money can buy. Here, we salute, commend and recommend them.

So dear reader, please continue and discover what we consider to be the pinnacle of life, the conveyor of cholesterol – the BBP, best burger possible.

10. White Lady

Commerce street, Auckland CBD

An Auckland institution. Now more than 60 years old, you can be sure your dad probably wooed his fair share of ladies outside the While Lady between 3-5am. Arriving in a haze of glory to service late night punters from 6:00pm onwards, she’s the only lady that’s open all night.

The burgers are enormous, greasy and heaven in a bun when you’ve reached that terminal point in the evening. Go for the King Burger, because if you’ve made it to her highness the Lady for a feed, you probably need it.

CP Burger Suggestion: King burger

9. Late Night Diner

152b Ponsonby Road Ponsonby

A relatively new entrant on the rankings, Late Night Diner again blurs the line between eatery and fast foot outlet. On one hand sure, it’s a diner that specialises in burgers and other greasy snacks – but how many burger joints have staff in braces?

Ignoring those points, LND has some fantastic characteristics – friendly staff, excellent décor, weird new things to try and the skill to create some top notch burgers. Overall, this establishment is a great addition to the local scene and creates a new atmosphere to enjoy burgers in – even if the menu is a tad limited in that specific area.

CP Burger Suggestion: Cheese and bacon burger, with pickles on the side

8. Burger Wisconsin

Various locations

A little more chain-like than some of our other listings, Burger Wisconsin nonetheless stack up well and are known for consistently awesome burgers.

The servings are substantial, classy and tasty – plus they’ve got some innovative recipes. With the finest aioli of any burger outlet, and being sticklers for top-notch ingredients, BW proves that American influence still retains a place when it comes to their national food. If you’re after an easy bite from somewhere quick, with a bit of neighbourhood vibe, Wisconsin can’t be beat.

CP Burger Suggestion: Beef and garlic burger OR Chicken satay burger

7. Burger Fuel

Various locations

Moving from strength to strength, Burger Fuel has taken the game of gourmet burgers and gone pro. Now located around the world, this stock exchange listed business is doing pretty damn well – and they make a very reputable, very reliable burger. Looking at the regularly changed specials, the last 12 months in particular has done some great things and really provided an incentive to visit the purple building.

As a franchise chain, you’re always going to get the same formulaic product wherever you are, and that’s certainly not a bad thing when it these meat-and-bread dealers. While not having that homemade or chip-shop feel, they’re nonetheless not to be underestimated and make a convenient stop for when you just want a quick burger that’s going to satisfy. Consider it the Toyota Hilux (the expensive model with all the high-quality additions) of burgers: trustworthy, dependable and a good all-rounder.

CP Burger Suggestion: Ring Burner burger

6. Food Truck Garage

Shed 1 90 Wellesley St West

Blurring the line between burger joint and classy eatery, this TV-star outlet has me in a bit of a bind. I wouldn’t consider it a traditional takeaway place yet their menu is exclusively that – burgers, dogs and other snacks – but in a dignified sort of way. After much debate, due to the damn-fine nature of their product, it has to be included.

With no fryer and a drive to make healthier food using less salt, less sugar and less fat, you might struggle to punch through the Sunday AM hangover but you’ll be rewarded if you can handle the frequently long wait for a table (due to tremendous popularity). A truly gourmet offering, the Garage is exceptional in its quality but unfortunately ranks a little lower due to a sparse menu (only 3 burger options). 100% worth a trip however and an extremely good place to take family, in-laws or those you wish to impress.

CP Burger Suggestion: Beefroot burger

5. Burger Queen

151 Mt Albert Rd

A true neighbourhood local, Burger Queen has been keeping it real, affordable and fun for the populace of Mt Albert. Sitting comfortably between ‘chinese takeaway’ and ‘upmarket burger joint’, BQ has the best of both worlds and is a solid competitor when matched against other outlets. With a wall dedicated to hand-written notes from the community, the menu entirely hand-written in coloured chalk along one wall and complete lack of tables to sit at, BQ provides all the charm, character and low-cost options of your down the road local. However, their burger prep and creation quality, combined with a wide range of options, means that when it comes to burgers, this shop is punching far above its weight. Mt Albertans should consider themselves lucky.

CP Burger Suggestion: Any beef burger, but get a hash-brown in there too. Yum.

4. Flaming Onion

1 Lydia Ave Northcote

The most gourmet of outlets ranked in our article, the Flaming Onion is a foodies dream. Alistair Bingle (ex The Engine Room and Euro) and mate Adam Weinstein launched the eatery as a local takeaway with a lean towards exceptionally high-quality food.

The standard menu keeps it simple but doesn’t pack any mind-blowing innovation (their burger of the week does get the creative juices flowing), but a passion for good ingredients means every taste and flavour has a little added bonus. The buns? Brushed with herb-infused olive oil. The chicken? Corn fed, infused with garlic and thyme. Chips? Hand-cut from agria potatoes. The result? Excellence in burger making.

CP Burger Suggestion: Special of the Week OR Spicy chicken burger

3. Hand Made Burgers

455 New North Rd

One of the most award winning outlets in Auckland, Hand Made Burgers does a damn good job of making great tasting burgers. With extra-size burgers, amazing sauces and just the right blend of veggies/salad, it hits the spot nicely.

For me the best part about a ‘Hand Made’ burger is the fresh taste – somehow their salad fillings really do just rock my socks and make the meat a treat. Similarly the sauces, plum in particular, all have a unique, zingy taste that leave you craving more.

The menu is a bit of fun – offering nothing you’d consider boring, with plenty of flair when it comes to the more unusual offerings. While I find their beef-to-bun ratio to be a little slim, the tastiness delivers on the mark meaning Hand Made always provide a very high standard burger.

CP Burger Suggestion: Rectifier burger

2. Velvet Burger

18 Fort St

At number two in the ranking, Otago export Velvet Burger have once again shown they are dedicated to doing it right. With a hefty menu (and hefty burgers) that provides a more than suitable meal for the demanding connoisseur, we are yet to have anything but an excellent and delicious meal at this establishment.

Despite some kerfuffle with liquor availability a few months back, Velvet’s continual provision of creative and extensively flavoured burgers makes them a force to be reckoned with. When their namesake and stock standard, the Velvet Burger, has venison, grilled pineapple and chilli mayonnaise, you know someone there really cares.

Combining a fat stack of ingredients into a bun is Velvet’s speciality, hence; Big Bro, Big Bird, Bib Brown and Gone Burger. It’s a job done right and done well, so if you’re looking for a Central City hunger buster or gourmet burger delight, you’ve found it. Nice one VB, you’re GCs in our book.

CP Burger Suggestion: Hangover-fixer Big Brown washed down with a Double Brown

1. Big J’s Takeaways

1 Melton Rd, Mt Wellington

We are proud to announce Big J’s Takeaways as our winner of the best burger joint in Auckland. Big J’s consistently surpassed every category we consider for evaluation – while not served on a focaccia bun, the burgers have care and dedication put in to their creation, and it shows.

The taste and quality level of their standard menu is always supremely satisfying, while the everchanging ‘Burger of the Week’ provides an avenue for innovation and creativity on a scale rarely seen in a humble takeaway joint. Flying Dutchman, Cajun Chicken with bacon and banana, Grande Mexican, Tandoori Chicken and Soy Chicken burger with crispy noodles are just a few of the specials that have arrived every week to touch our hearts, minds, stomachs and tongues.

With what could only be a 100% commitment to flavour, every burger is simple in its design, but outstanding in quality and excellent tastiness. They also serve wraps, hotdogs and other delicious alternatives, but seriously, get a burger and make it the weekly special – you’ll soon discover why this formerly hidden-gem is easily our choice for Auckland’s best burgers.

Not to be considered a fine-dining establishment by any stretch of the imagination, Big J’s instead provides the ultimate burger destination, and a true taste sensation, tucked away in the suburbs of Mt Wellington.

CP Burger Suggestion: Special of the Week OR Spicy chicken and bacon burger

Note from Editor: Please note this article dates back to 2012. We are currently in the process of revising this much contested category due to significant change in the burger market in Auckland. If you have your favourite place that you think should be considered (some notable omissions above, please comment below).

Published on May 27 , 2012 by

  • Reader comments...

    - May 29, 2012


    - May 29, 2012

    How the shit does Burger Fuel come in at #6 - you on some kind of drugs?! Eh, you on some kind of freakin drugs!Today... I go to Mt Wellington to try this Big J, it had better be good.

    - May 30, 2012

    You have not tasted burgers until you've tasted a Big J's burger!! It is a definite gem and glad to see it being recognised for exactly that. Mind you, there burgers are not the only things served up with nothing but top quality standard, they have a wide range of foods like their famous Chimichungas, or the homemade salads, or the wrap of the week that put them at the top of my list. I check the facebook page every Tuesdays to make sure I don't miss out on the weekly special because that's just how committed to their food I've become. Big J's at number one, sweet as!

    - June 4, 2012

    I'm going to do this list! Who's keen to join me?

    - June 12, 2012

    Big J, totally amaze...

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