“We don’t care if it’s bad for you god damn it, we need to know, stop being a pussy and go eat some burgers.” I was off to a roaring start already, having a prime-cut team of burger connoisseurs for friends who weren’t afraid to tell me if my opinion was slightly incorrect, or belittle me relentlessly until I returned to an outlet for yet another trial run. This is a big deal, possibly the biggest ever – because a burger is a beautiful thing – and the potential to get this list wrong was enormous. I couldn’t let the people down, I couldn’t let myself down – I had to know.
Now, as you read through this list, a caveat; each of the places listed here either is entirely burger-centric, or is a takeaway joint renowned for its burgers. If you’re after a $25 burger, try Sale St (it’s delicious), but if you’re looking to dine only at places that pride themselves on a commitment to the BBP (best burger possible), you’ve come to the right spot.
You should know that not only do we take the amazing deliciousness of the burger into account, as this is the primary factor in attaining its place in the ranking, but we also consider hidden-gemness, efficiency, customer service and overall ambiance.
Each potential outlet has been ruthlessly tested, with many of the shitter burger outlets (of which I discovered, there are many) being singled out for harsh criticism elsewhere. But this isn’t the place for that, this is the place where you discover the hidden gems, the king of the hill, and find out once and for all where you can find the best god-damn burgers in this whole wide city.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present Auckland’s Top 10 Burger Joints (and their best burgers).
1 Melton Road, Mt Wellington, Auckland
I received a substantial amount of criticism for deciding to mention Big J’s at all, because those in the know are selfish, and want to keep this for themselves. You see, Big J’s is the ultimate in hidden-gemness – if you have a hunt on Facebook, you might just find the group where he’ll publish the current special (the Cajun Chicken for example). This special is what you need to get, every time. If a man (Big J) dedicates his life to producing the best burger possible, you listen, and you don’t question or ask for no cheese – you take what you’re damn well given and enjoy it. Tucked away in the back streets of Mount Wellington, it’s a hard to find location, but well worth the trek.
CP Burger of Choice: Cajun Chicken Burger
18 Fort Street, Auckland CBD
Ahhh Velvet. I’m not an Otago University student, but I’ve only heard amazing things. Hence, being the burger loving person I am, I was quick off the mark to get downtown and have a munch on this scarfie outlet and see what all the fuss is about – turns out I fell in love. Despite managing to get their 8,500+ fans Facebook page deleted recently for not following the T&Cs, they do make some amazing burgers, and have a liquor license to boot (usually).
The concept of washing down a Big Brown with a Double Brown (nectar of the gods, they say) just can’t be beat. My personal favourite is the Hottie – packing a bit of a punch but overall well-balanced and perfect. Velvet says they ‘commit to providing you with the best gourmet burger's we can possibly make’, and they aren’t lying. Respect.
CP Burger of Choice: The Hottie
128 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland
One of my old flatmates was sleeping with a manager at Murder Burger a few years back, so for a couple of months I had the honour of being his mystery shopper – it was a sweet deal for everyone involved. But that has nothing to do with my placement of Murder Burger at number three on the list of Auckland’s top burgers, because it was a long time ago, and while he has long since left, Murder Burger are still producing some of the finest meat sandwiches on offer.
With the right amount of attitude and a focus on their meat selection (across both burgers, and the side dishes), you will not and cannot go wrong by wrapping your gums around one of these bad boys. My personal recommendation would be The Selection – packed with your daily dose of good stuff.
CP Burger of Choice: The Selection
Sure it’s a chain, but for consistency and overall awesome burgers, Burger Wisconsin can’t be beat. The servings are substantial, classy and tasty – plus they’ve got some innovative recipes. With the finest aioli of any burger outlet, BW proves that Americans do still retain a place when it comes to their national food. If you’re after an easy bite from somewhere quick – the Beef & Garlic gets a thumbs-up.
CP Burger of Choice: Beef & Garlic
455 New North Road, Kingsland, Auckland
One of the most award winning outlets in Auckland, Hand Made Burgers does a damn good job of looking flash and tasting great. With extra-size burgers, amazing sauces and just the right blend of veggies, it hits the spot nicely. While many rankings put this near the top, I find their B2B (bun to beef) ratio has a few disparities which unfortunately I just won’t accept. To balance this issue out, I recommend going for the King Pin – it’s substantial content ensures satisfaction guaranteed. The milk shakes are top notch too.
A quick point of note - opinion tends to lean towards the chicken being more amazing than the beef when it comes to size and taste. Now this is only hearsay, but it's something to bear in mind.
CP Burger of Choice: King Pin
Burger Fuel – the homegrown success that’s world famous in New Zealand. From humble beginnings, it has spawned an international empire of good burger production, if now a little formulaic. With regular specials on offer, and a hefty standard menu, Burger Fuel is the Toyota Hilux of burgers: reliable, dependable and a good all-rounder. Personal favourite would most definitely be the Ford Freakout.
I'd like to congratulate Burger Fuel Henderson - at late notice in the list I popped out that way for some car repairs, dropped in at their Hendo store and was treated to their best service and meal to date. The boys out that way are a credit to the chain, and their burger production skills (Hashius Clay, swap the egg for cheese) were top notch.
CP Burger of Choice: Ford Freakout
160 Sandringham Road, Sandringham, Auckland
An unexpected standout, The Fish & Chip Shop in Sandringham wasn’t at the top of the list, but it’s delicious. One of the top ranked Fish & Chips shops in our fine sea-side town, their burgers are also great value for money. A hefty size, well cooked and packed with homemade aioli and onion jam, this is the perfect example of a tucked away neighbourhood chippy. Stay classic with the beef burger with cheese.
CP Burger of Choice: Beef burger with cheese
18 Commerce St, Auckland CBD
An Auckland institution. Having recently celebrated their 60th Anniversary, you can be sure your dad probably wooed his fair share of ladies outside the While Lady between 3-5am with the promise of a warm bed and a few bites on his burger, the kind with special sauce if you know what I’m saying. 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 of Choice: King Burger
496 Parnell Rise, Parnell, Auckland
Another piece of Central Auckland history, my mum tells me Al & Pete’s has been going since she was a teenager. And while I doubt her commitment to sourcing the best quality burgers available, I must agree that if you’re after a solidly reputable takeaway burger this is the place for you. Go for anything really, my personal choice would be Beef & Bacon – simple yet timeless.
CP Burger of Choice: Beef & Bacon
151 Mt Albert Rd, Mt Albert, Auckland
Hidden deep in Mt Albert, Burger Queen is another uniquely classic burger joint. With friendly staff, great burgers, good prices and the right attitude – it’s hard to beat. As a fellow burger aficionado said, "It’s the first time I’ve been delivered a burger on its own plate wrapped in tin foil. Wow."
Don’t let the exterior fool you, this is everything you could want from a neighbourhood burger store.
CP Burger of Choice: The Beast
And that's the lot! It has taken a long time to eat my way through a good amount of Auckland's finest - I can safely say that Kiwiana Fish & Chips ("The Best Fish & Chips in the world") are some of the worst I've ever tried, however their dedication to customer service was outstanding - bravo.
If I could offer one addition, it would be the most glorious Ferg Burger in Queenstown does not (obviously) feature on this list. Let me tell you, Ferg are the finest burgers I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying in our fair nation - and should you find yourself in that quiet little mountain town, you must embrace your inner carnivore, and venture to them.
It will be the best day of your life.
PS - big thanks to The Corporate Lunchbox and Initech for their continuing support as I ate my way across Auckland's burgers.
May 27, 2012 by Jeremy De Angelo