Dukes has a huge selection of burgers – making a decision about what to eat here is always a bit tricky. Do you go for their suggestions or do you make your own? Beef, lamb, chicken or veg? The options are endless, but you can rest easy knowing that whatever you decide on will be juicy and delicious.
Where: 14 Gleneagles Road, Greenside, Johannesburg.
Our pick: The Big Cheese, which is a hearty beef patty with tomato relish, melted cheddar, mozzarella and feta topped with homemade gherkins and a cucumber ribbon.
This trendy Illovo spot (there are two others in Joburg) encourages you to design your own burger. You pick everything from the bun and the patty to the sides and the sauces – it’s an Andiccios kind of vibe, you know? Besides for burgers, they also serve waffles and killer milkshakes, so be sure to leave room for dessert.
Where: Illovo Junction, Corner Oxford Road and Corlett Drive, Illovo, Johannesburg.
The Buzz Shopping Centre, Witkoppen Road, Fourways, Johannesburg.
Green Valley Shopping Centre, Corner of Greenstone and Stoneridge Drive, Edenvale, Johannesburg.
Our pick: A chicken burger with mozzarella, grilled mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and fresh avo, with a side of curly fries.
First of all, the décor at the Wolfpack in Parkhurst is fabulous. The whole Little Red Riding Hood theme carries throughout the place and really is a great touch. Okay, onto their actual food… it’s great! All burgers come with a ‘fresh’ or ‘fried’ side, which is a cool way of offering accompaniments like Asian and salted apple and cucumber salads on the ‘fresh’ side, and sweet potato or polenta chips on the ‘fried’ side.
Where: 21, 4th Avenue, Parkhurst, Johannesburg.
24 Central, Corner Fredman Drive and Gwen Lane, Sandton, Johannesburg.
Our pick: Their signature burger, aptly called The Big Bad Wolf – it’s a cheddar stuffed patty, pan finished in tomato stock, rested on crispy lettuce, topped with wasabi onion rings, pineapple, pancetta, tomato and garlic aioli. Have it with shoe lace fries and an Alpha Female cocktail.
This is the most unpretentious burger restaurant you’ll ever step into, and that’s part of what makes it so great. BGR shares its premises with the Caltex Garage on Jan Smuts and is easily missed if you don’t know it’s there. Here, your options are few, which is nice because you don’t have to think too hard about what to order. Their meat is of the highest quality, they only use the freshest ingredients, and all their toppings are free. Your options are simple: cheeseburger, double cheese burger, hamburger, double hamburger, and a ‘cardio burger’ sans the roll – you get a lettuce cup instead.
Where: 172 Jan Smuts Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg.
Our pick: A double cheese ‘cardio’ burger with the works – lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, pickles, BGR sauce. That, plus a frozen custard milkshake = happiness.
Originally from Cape Town, Hudsons was a warmly welcomed addition to Parkhurst. It doubles as a great after work watering hole since they have no shortage of cocktail options! The burgers here are catered to everyone, from the carb conscious and non-meat eaters to those who just want a huge, meaty meal. Plus, you can swap any patty out for one of your choice – chicken, veg, ostrich, you name it.
Where: Corner 4th Avenue and 14th Street, Parkhurst, Johannesburg.
Our pick: The Health Nut (I like to pick the ostrich patty) which is topped with basil pesto, tomato relish, roast butternut, mushrooms and baby marrows. Go for a side of sweet potato wedges.
Love Food is the cutest spot in Braamfontein. During the week, they serve up all kinds of things, from salads and sandwiches to cakes and more. But, on a Friday, they do something different – Fridays are for burgers, and it’s well worth the week-to-week wait! There are three patty options to choose from: pure lean beef, prego chicken breast or beetroot and legume. Then you add a salad and/or wedges to your plate and you’ve got yourself a hearty meal.
Where: 4 Ameshoff Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
Our pick: The veggie burger is so great! Order that with a sesame seed roll, a side salad and wedges. Toppings-wise, cheddar, honey mustard mayo and pickles make for a winning combo.
JB’s is one of those great ‘something for everyone’ restaurants. So, while they’re not specifically a burger place, their burgers do shine through! They’ve got healthy options as well, so if you’re looking after your figure, you’ve got the choice to have your burger in a bowl of cauli rice instead of on a bun.
Where: 3 High Street, Melrose Arch, Johannesburg.
Sandton City Shopping Centre, Corner Rivonia Road and 5th Street, Sandton, Johannesburg.
Our pick: The Old Fashioned – lettuce, tomato, fresh onion, pickles and mustard mayo. Have it the regular way, with a bun, and you’ll also get chips and coleslaw on the side.
While they may be known more for their waiters than their food, don’t be fooled – Beefcakes certainly lives up to its name (in both senses of the word!). It’s a great spot for a lively night out, a bachelorette or, simply, some great food and tasty cocktails. Entertainment varies, depending on the night.
Where: Illovo Muse Centre, 198 Oxford Road, Illovo, Johannesburg.
Our pick: Babycakes – three small beef burgers on mini buns, served with cheese, gauc and a mushroom sauce. How about adding a glass of rosé to that order?
Okay, so this is a vegan restaurant, but hear me out… their chickpea burger has got to be one of my all-time favourite meals. I know, I know, it’s a vegan place and this is an article about burgers but, until you try it out for yourself, I don’t want to hear any of it! Trust me, it’s delicious!
Where: Shop 5B, Reithmere, Corner of Delta Street and Corlett Drive, Birnam, Johannesburg.
Our pick: The Chickpea Burger, served on a toasted gluten- and grain-free bread round, with hummus, grilled brinjals, tahini, fresh tomato, red onion relish and sweet potato wedges with salsa dairy-free cheese. Bonus: it’s all healthy!
You’ll find Salvation Café in the 44 Stanley complex. Go here and don’t even look at the menu, just order one of their burgers – you won’t be sorry! They come in three varieties and are sure to satisfy your burger craving within the first bite.
Where: 44 Stanley Avenue, Milpark, Johannesburg.
Our pick: The Salvation Gourmet Burger – it’s a grass-fed beef burger with bacon, caramelised onion, guacamole and Dutch cheese, served with potato wedges… yum!
by Nikki Samakosky
Remember that our “Top Picks” are not paid for and are compiled at the discretion of the journalist. We only write about what we love.