Five of the best Auckland burger joints
McDonald's and Burger King aren't going anywhere any time soon.
But everywhere you look across Auckland the big American chains are being surrounded by new and constantly evolving indie burger outlets.
The city has had an influx of food trucks, pop-ups and start-ups serving Instagram-worthy creations.
And the seemingly endless combinations of meat in a bun means there is something out there for everyone's taste.
So with that in mind, and with the proviso that more burger joints will probably have opened by the time you finish reading this list, here are some of the top picks of Auckland's burger options.
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1. Tiger Burger - Great North Rd, Grey Lynn
The paint has barely dried on the Grey Lynn restaurant, but the hype has been building for more than a year. The couple behind Tiger Burger ran stalls at markets before finding a permanent home on Great North Rd. It's a mix of Korean and Western flavours, which includes fermenting their own food. "We emphasise traditional Korean flavours and achieve this by making everything from scratch, including making our own Kimchi and Gochujang," Esther Jeong, from Korea and her partner Matt Shephard, from England, say. To give you an idea of one of their specials, they have a 'Nakji' burger, made up of crispy octopus, shredded lettuce, sweet chilli dressing, spring onion and black aioli.
2. Al's Deli - 1/492 Queen St
With a French-Canadian influence, the burger combinations are all a bit quirky, and often outlandish. The rotating menu includes a poutine burger, scotch egg burger, mac and cheese bacon burger with white truffle and 911 burger (that's the American emergency phone number, not the terrorist attack). They've all got their own flair and Montreal-born owner Aleks Lazic says pretty much everything is made from scratch. "We make our own brioche buns by hand, the meat we use is top quality and everything else is super fresh. Everything is authentic as we can get, we even make our own cheese for the poutine burger." They're in Queen St in the CBD with a second store opening in Kingsland in late June.
3. Burger Burger
Juicy burgers plus pretty reasonable prices in the middle of Ponsonby equals a popular formula. And the initial Ponsonby site formed the launching pad for equally popular spin-offs in Newmarket and Takapuna. Co-owner Mimi Gilmour says their signature is their sourdough brioche bun "and the extra special blend of brisket, wagyu and blade that we developed for our beef burger. We think people come to us for the food, our awesome team of BB hustlers, and the fact that you can enjoy our burgers with a delicious range of beverages – we have everything from French Champagne to Lion Red swappa bottles."
4. Bearded Clam
Having the word beard in the title would make you think it's targeted at hipsters. And you'd be right. But the burgers are reaching a wide-ranging base of fans. Set up at The Streetfood Collective on Ponsonby Rd owners Adam Crickett and Ryan Kneebone say their aim is to make "American-style dirty burgers using only the best 100 percent free-range, ethically sourced meat. We proudly use processed cheese and imported American ketchup and mustard to create those nostalgic, familiar flavours everyone loves in a good burger." The beautifully cooked fillings on soft glazed buns make for a pretty unbeatable meal. Below is their signature Chilli-Cheeseburger.
5. Ralph's Bar and Eatery
According to owner Hadleigh Donald, who is also behind Vinyl cafe, it's about simplicity. "We stick to the fundamentals of good cooking, we make sure we season food properly, use fresh quality produce and make as much as possible in-house, sauces, patties and bacon." It's hard to argue with that. And the trendy setting on Dominion Rd, with a decent list of craft beer, has made it a popular haunt for locals and former Prime Ministers who work for the UN.
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