In India, juicy, delicious burgers are a lot like unicorns. You’re teased by the possibilities they conjure up but really, only a handful of nutters claim to have actually experienced one. Add to that Maharashtra’s infamous beef ban and it’s not surprising that most burger lovers probably gave up the hunt for the best a long time ago.
Only—and it pains us to say this because it’s become our favourite excuse to hate on our current government through our food lists—that ban probably didn’t affect the quality of burgers we were eating that much anyway. Endless people in the demand and supply chain of the culinary world have made it amply clear that most restaurants in Mumbai were using Buffalo meat all along.
So yeah, the beef ban sucks for many, many reasons that we won’t begin to chronicle here because politics and good food should not be discussed in the same breath, but most of our favourite foods didn’t end up suffering too much.
Now getting back to one of the few things that matter when the country isn’t up in arms about something—burgers. We spend so much of our year using these heaven-sent, patty-stuffed delights to fill the gaping void inside us, we figured it was only fair to share the love. Scroll on for an updated list of Mumbai’s best burgers. From us, to you.
— Heavier on the wallet, and probably heavier on your heart —
I. Indigo Deli
Our pick: BBQ Pulled Pork Burger
Everything at the Deli is worth writing home about, but this particular baby is especially tender. The pork burger is juicy, a little bit sweet, and bound to leave you sucking on your fingers after you’re done with it. It’s served with sweet pickled onions as sides that surprisingly enough goes ridiculously well with the burger. Of course, if pork’s not an option, their regular tenderloin burger is equally scrumptious, just be sure to get yours with a fried egg on top.
Cost: Entirely worth it at Rs. 645
[P.S. - A good vegetarian option at Indigo Deli is also the Corn-crusted Potato and Jalapeno Burger with creamy feta on a multi grain roll, or the Roasted Mushroom and Tofu Burger with garlic spinach. Don’t ask us why, but we’ve tried both and we were far from disappointed.]
II. Hard Rock Café
Our Pick: Legendary 10 oz Burger or Hickory Barbecue Bacon Cheeseburger
Famous all around the world, the Legendary 10 oz Burger is topped with seasoned bacon, melted Cheddar cheese, crisp fried onion rings, lettuce, tomato and pickles. Although delicious, it is also a little dry, in which case you try the Hickory Barbecue Bacon Cheeseburger, which has almost the same ingredients but is basted with bbq sauce. Something we just cannot get enough of.
Cost: Almost cheap at Rs. 450 considering you’re unlikely to be able to finish it.
[P.S. - The vegetarians can try the Hard Rock Café Veggie Burger, which is served on a toasted bun. No, we haven’t tried it.]
III. Café Zoe
Our pick: Tenderloin Cheeseburger
So this isn’t our number one pick on this entire list, by any means. The overall flavour has room for work, but it’s the quality of the meat that keeps us coming back. What is the one word that comes to your mind when you eat a good piece of meat? Myaainsydhkz. Exactly, it leaves you brain-dead, and that is exactly what the Tenderloin Cheeseburger does to you. It is big, filling and the beef is cooked as per order. What else does one need?
Cost: Not for light wallets at Rs. 510
IV. Salt Water Café
Our Pick: Fish and chips burger or Bacon + spiced Brie + cranberry jam burger
Done with chicken, beef and bacon? Well then try the Fish and Chips burger at Salt Water café! Crunchy and scrumptious, it is basted with smoked malt mayo. And if you’re adventurous enough, try the Bacon + spiced Brie + cranberry jam burger, and feel the delicious combination of sweet and spicy hit every corner of your mouth.
Honestly, this is our editor’s favourite and she will be mighty pissed off that this wasn’t put first but hey, it got its mention. Both the burgers are served with mustard cabbage slaw and fries as sides. Keep in mind, though, that the bacon one is only available at the Bandra outlet, not the South Mumbai one.
Cost: Fish and Chips – Rs. 380, Bacon + Cranberry jam – Rs. 400? We’d be willing to pay more.
V. Café Universal
Our pick: O.M.G Burger
While the Steak Bun is brilliant burger in itself, the OMG burger is the real deal. It is massive – with three steaks, sauces, cheese and a tough bun. It comes with a steak knife, and is almost impossible for a person to finish it in one sitting. If you’re up for the challenge, get the OMG burger. If not, stick to the Steak bun, which is equally good.
Cost: OMG burger – Rs. 550
VI. Woodside Inn
Our pick: Double cheddar tenderloin burger
Served in multi-grain bread, the tenderlion burger is pretty succulent to say the least. It is suggested to add some eggs to the burger, which further enhances the flavour.
Cost: A little high at Rs. 545
VII. The Irish House
Our pick: Smoked Chicken Burger
This chicken burger comes with a molten sauce made of three cheeses and homemade pickles. Make sure you pair it with a good beer. It deserves it.
Cost: The three-cheese sauce alone should make this priceless. But it isn’t. At Rs. 475
Our pick: The Godfather Burger
This burger should only be attempted by those with some serious eating skills. It’s got three mutton patties blanketed in cheese, jalapenos, caramelised onions, onion rings, mustard, BBQ sauce and a fried egg all doused in a special hot sauce.
Cost: A serious whopper at a very reasonable Rs. 500
— Lighter on the wallet —
Our pick: The Lamb Burger
The brand new Social @ The Palladium’s lamb burger is definitely our current favourite. The patty is made from tender shoulder meat and is mixed with garlic and capers before being shaped and grilled. It is then topped with bacon jam, which is made by slowly crisping bacon in a pan with onions and gently letting them caramelise together.
Finally, it’s topped with cheddar and stuffed into a soft, fluffy brioche bun. It’s also only available at the Palladium Social. Another hot favourite at this restaurant is the pulled pork—delicious, tangy, slow-braised pork with a mango relish served in a brioche bun. For this, the restaurant marinates pork shoulder in pineapple juice, soy sauce and jalapeno brine overnight, before slow-cooking it overnight again. The result of this two-day marinating and cooking process is delicious, juicy meat that seriously melts in your mouth.
Cost: Worth the trip to Lower Parel (even if you’re coming from Andheri) at Rs. 320
X. Smoke House Deli
Our pick: Double Cheeseburger
In the running to give Indigo Deli a serious run for its money, Smoke House has been making our mouths water. And what’s better than a cheeseburger? A double cheeseburger! Served with cabbage slaw and sweet paprika fries (no seriously, these are abnormally good) the mouth-watering burger looks just as good as it tastes.
Cost: A steal at Rs. 320
XI. Between Breads
Our Pick: Double Cheeseburger
The double cheeseburger at between breads consists of a minced tenderloin patty, grilled onions, tomato, pickle, lettuce and cheddar cheese. Although it is a bit dry, it is still delicious none the less. You can also add bacon bits for a minimal amount.
Cost: Pretty good at Rs. 385
Our pick: Hamburger with extra cheese
One of the best places to go when you’re broke, the hamburger at Imbiss consist of mince patty, cheddar cheese, sautéed onions and large burger buns which all combine to form a pretty decent, juicy. It is available in chicken or beef, depending on your preference/mood.
Cost: So, SO worth it at Rs. 120
Our pick: The Lamb burger
Served with a side salad, every bite of this juicy burger is filled with impeccable flavour. The meat in the burger is herbed and minced into a patty, making it extremely tender and delicious to say the least. The place is locally renowned for burgers, and they have various other equally delicious options too.
Cost: A bit over-priced at Rs. 300
Our pick: Steak Chilli Beef Burger
One of the cheapest ones of the list, the Gondola steak chilli burger is also one of the most delicious ones. Make sure you know what you’re saying when you place the order though, as it peeves the owner when you call it a burger (it is listed under the rolls section in the menu card). Whether a roll or a burger, it is flavoursome, slightly spicy, and more than filling if you’re looking for a quick cheap bite.
Cost: YES, YES, YES at Rs. 140
XV. The Bagel Shop
Our Pick: The Chorizo Burger
We’ve always loved the Bagel Shop’s chorizo bagel, and even recently featured them on our ‘Best Breakfast Options’ in the city list, but post a whole lot of heckling, we passed up on our usual orders to try this fun-in-a-bun and it’s even better than the bagel.
Mostly because we’re talking more chorizo. And when it comes to their perfectly spicy porcine preparation, lightly sautéed with onions and tomatoes, there’s no such thing as enough. But the burger does come close to satisfying the craving.
Cost: Considering it’s not a common option, we’d pay more @ Rs. 340
Our pick: Bacon Butty
Theo’s isn’t only good for its brownies. Their bacon butty is a big, soft bun, overflowing with French fries, topped with rashers of bacon and smothered in a cheesy, garlic sauce. If that picture isn’t convincing enough (and we think it should be), take our word for it: this is one seriously good burger.
The taste, the texture and the sheer eating pleasure alone will make sure you come back for more. PS: it’s a good idea to ban photos of this meal—unless you want your friends to get click-happy while you have that sauce dribbling down your chin.
Cost: Keep those tissues handy, because this one’s a mouthful at Rs. 230
XVII. Fat Man’s Café
Our pick: Rosemary Lamb Sliders
Sliders are amazing. They just are. There’s something wonderfully beautiful and magical about taking a big burger and turning it into a bite-sized piece of heaven. And the Lamb Sliders at Fat Man’s Café, with their soft bread and juicy filling, are just that—little pieces of heaven. The blackened sesame seeds on top also add that little extra oomph to the flavour.
Cost: Bite-sized pleasure comes at Rs. 360
XVIII. The Nutcracker
Our pick: Black Bean Burger
This is another cafe that’s more known for its desserts. But don’t let that put you off. The black bean burger is a refreshing vegetarian option for those who are sick of potato patties. One bite in, and you’ll soon realise that the patty made of chunky, spiced black beans topped with caramelised onions and garlic aioli is simply delicious. You won’t even miss the meat.
Cost: Tasty veggie bliss at Rs. 380
XIX. Café Free India
Our pick: Louisiana Crab Burger
A crab burger is always a good departure from the traditional, red meat kind. And Café Free India’s crab burger comes with caramelised onions, lettuce, tomato and a generous dollop of their in-house jalapeno mayonnaise.
And lots of delicious, crisp golden fries. If the rich, smooth taste of crab and the zing of the jalapeno mayonnaise doesn’t make your day, we’re afraid to say that very few things will.
Cost: A little trip to the seaside for your tastebuds comes at Rs. 345
XX. Yorrick’s Cook House
Our pick: Double Trouble
This burger behemoth consists of two chicken patties smothered with slaw, cheese, bacon, egg and gherkins all (just about) contained in a fresh bun. Make sure you open your mouth wide enough to take a hearty bite so you get a little bit of everything.
Cost: Heavy duty digestion at Rs. 290
XXI. Eddie’s Bistro
Our pick: Miniature Lamb Burgers
Look at that picture. Just look at it. They look like nimble little ballet dancers waiting to perform swan lake on your palate. And perform they will!
The tender lamb is flavoured with harissa, mayonnaise and cheddar and is sandwiched between two buns. You’re definitely going to love these. But don’t embarrass yourself and stand up and applaud, though. Simply ask for an encore.
Cost: Yummy in your tummy at Rs. 280
XXII. MOBAR Burger at Monkey Bar
Our pick: MOBAR Burger
Brace yourselves. Monkey Bar’s signature burger is a whopper—two patties of buffalo meat heaped with American cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato and grilled onions in a black bun.
Don’t let the black bun put you off—it’s not coloured with squid ink as one would imagine, it’s coloured with a powder made of eggplant that is dehydrated for 24 hours. This burger is incredibly juicy so be prepared for a messy, messy meal. After all, if your fingers aren’t covered in sauce, is it really a good burger?
Cost: There’s no monkeying around with this one at Rs. 390
XXIII. Hearsch Bakery
Our pick: Chicken Burger
This favourite Bandra bakery is not only known for its delicious snacks and baked goods, it’s also famous for its chicken burger—a delicious, affordable, homestyle burger. The patty is juicy and the mayonnaise is the old-school kind, the kind we’ve all grown up with: tangy and sweet.
Cost: The most affordable thing on this list at Rs. 70
[Know any more burger joints that can match these levels of awesomeness? Please share them with us in the comments section below!]