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Where to find the best burgers in LA!

Wrap your laughing gear around these juicy babies!

I take my job very seriously so when tasked with finding the best burgers on my recent trip to Los Angeles for New Idea Magazine, I barely ate anything else.

I went from one side of Los Angeles to the other, from north and even as far south as Orange County (ok, I know that’s not LA, but it does have a great burger!)

Ready to drool? 

Pono Burger – Santa Monica

829 Broadway, Santa Monica

Social media comes into its own when one needs advice. I was staying in the beachside town of Santa Monica and hands’ down it was Pono Burger that came highly recommended.

Santa Monica burgers

Pono Burger’s barn in Santa Monica

Housed in a corrugated iron barn with tables down the sides, I went for the signature Piku fig burger. The organic beef patty had me at “drunken caramelised fig jam” but also included Brie, bacon and crushed hazelnuts with rocket (or arugula, as the Americans call it).

You can also build your own, and chef will cook it medium-rare unless you specify otherwise.

Pono Burger

My fig burger and herb dusted fries at Pono


In and Out – Hollywood

7009 Sunset Boulevard

In and Out Burger is located all over the place. Ask the locals and they’ll swear it’s great. They’ll tell you that Miley Cyrus eats there after the Oscars because this restaurant is just a block away from the Roosevelt Hotel and all the stars grab a burger here before they head out on the town.

In and Out LA

You know I’m all about that bass!

I went along to satiate my curiosity, it turned out, not my appetite. It was packed with young families and young hispters heading out for the evening. Numbers are yelled out to collect orders.

It’s really a cross between McDonalds and Burger King and is probably best loved by people who know the difference. However if you do know the difference then ask for your burger and fries Animal Style. It’s on their “secret menu” which might explain the cult-like status this otherwise basic looking fast food joint enjoys. Animal Style includes mustard fried onto the patty, cheese, fried onions and secret sauce.

In and Out burger

I shoulda asked for Animal Style!


25 Degrees – Huntington Beach (Orange County)

412 Walnut Ave

Located on the coast, Huntington Beach is officially in Orange County. It’s a surf Mecca with a huge pier, cyclists and Segway riders and in the last few years its food and bar scene has boomed.

I was pointed in the direction of 25 Degrees and would absolutely put this on my must-eat list. Sitting at the busy bar chatting to people on either side of me, I got to evaluate their burgers before plunging in with my own order.

But first my new friends insisted I try the poutine. It’s made of pulled pork with gravy and mushrooms liberally spread over fries – and tasted a lot better than it sounds!

I went for the #1 burger. That’s as clever as the names get. It came with gorgonzola cheese, bacon and thousand island dressing and is named #1 for a reason.

Huntington Beach

This burger was a winner at 25 Degrees!


Mel’s Drive In – West Hollywood

8585 Sunset Boulevard

This is an old-school, kitschy 1960s burger joint – with parking. It’s meant to hark back to American Graffiti (which readers of a certain age will know). There are mini juke boxes at your table and Hollywood posters around the walls.

Mels Drive in

You gotta love an old-school diner like this

I was almost burgered out by this point, so chose the little sliders of three kinds just so I could tell you about it. In a word, delicious. Grass Fed Beef (which we would call ‘beef’), Short Rib and Turkey with Goat Cheese.

This is a really fun place for lunch while celebrity spotting from the veranda.

Mels Diner, LA

Sliders are more like a ladies size


But if you want something my upmarket, check out my review of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills actress Lisa Vanderpump’s gorgeous and girly restaurant Pump in a former car park decorated with 100-year old olive trees and chandeliers.

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!