I currently live in Sweden hence this is a list dedicated to Swedish burger joints. Swedish newspapers and food circuits often have no idea what they’re talking about. A newly opened fancy restaurant in the good neighborhoods are often praised for their staff and beautiful establishments, and somewhere along the way the food gets a good review even when it’s ok at the most e.g Bistro Bon with their dry bread and tasteless meat, or Oljebaren which is quite good but not much to boast about. Then there’s Babas Burgers that was praised by Swedish food critics, although it’s worse than your average fast food restaurant).
Keep in mind that it’s the food I’m reviewing here, not the surroundings, the locale nor the staff and service. If you want to know where to take your sunday date for a romantic candle dinner, you should listen to some other critic.
1. The gold medal goes to Lilly’s Burgers. If you’ve been to Five Guys or Shake Shak, you know what a perfect burger should taste like. Soft bread, tender meat even when it’s cooked well done, crispy bacon and excellent condiments. Lilly’s Burgers is almost as good. As a matter of fact, the burgers are as good. It’s the fries that hold Lilly back from world domination.
2. This guy traveled the world (i.e USA) for the best burgers, and blogged about it. After coming back to Sweden, he started Flippin’ Burgers and it became an immediate hit. For the first time in Swedish history, somebody had cracked the magic formula of making great hamburgers without trying to invent the wheel all over again. The restaurant eventually moved to a bigger locale, but the lines are still massive and it most often takes over two hours before you get a table. And no, you can’t book a table in advance. So why isn’t this guy on top? Well, because Flippin’ is freakin’ overrated. Yes, the burgers are great. Yes, he was a pioneer, but the burgers are still not better than Lilly’s. The fries, however, are.
3. Prime burger have great burgers, and unlike the other two on the lest – there’s a distinct smokey flavor to the meat, like you would expect from burgers cooked over open fire. Several varieties to choose from, and they’re all tasty. The fries are ok. They have a relatively wide variety of beer, and the premisses are laid back casual dining-like, but who cares?
Yup, only three Swedish burger restaurants on the list. The rest are so far behind, that it would be an insult to the gold, silver and bronze medalists to extent the top 3 list to a top 10. Worth mentioning, however, is Bronx Burger in the southern Swedish city of Malmö. They’re not quite there yet, but you’ll still love it.
As for burger places in the US, there is such a vast number of amazing burger restaurants and fast-food chains, that it’s hard to narrow it down. From the top of my head, Five Guys, Shake Shack and In’n’out are definitely on my short list. But so is Apple Pan in L.A. Just to give you perspective of how high the general quality of burgers in the US, take Cheer Burger for example. If you look at Yelp, you’ll see that the average rating is quite low. If you ignore the people giving out low grades because they had to “wait too long”, they’re talking out of their ass, (you had to wait because there was a long line, what does that have to do with your thoughts on the burger?), you’ll still end up with Americans saying Cheer Burger serves quite average or below average hamburgers. If put next to the average burger in Europe, the burgers from Cheer Burger are among the best ever known to man. I’m not kidding.