I have been a burger fan for as long as I can remember. Ask my parents — no matter where we went, if there was a burger on the menu, that's what I was having. From palm-sized sliders to triple-deckers as big as your head, there's a burger for every occasion and appetite.
This list is the ongoing result of my lifelong quest to discover Oahu's best burgers.
Artizen by MW
Soft homemade buns sandwich a thick patty made with USDA Prime Brandt beef and topped with bacon, cheese and local lettuce and tomato. At the Hawaii State Art Museum, the Artizen burger fits right in with the other works of art.
450 S. Hotel St. • Downtown • 524-0499
You can't go wrong with a $5 happy hour burger. Inside Duke's Lane Market & Eatery, Basalt does them right with fresh brioche buns baked in-house, wagyu beef and local produce.
2255 Kuhio Ave. • Waikiki • 923-5692
Chefs Michelle Karr-Ueoka and Wade Ueoka partnered with San Francisco's Michelin-starred Michael Mina to bring a burger concept to The Street Social House in the International Market Place. The result is a magical collection of Asian- and local-inspired smash burgers that feature hula skirts of crispy cheese. The sukiyaki burger ($9.99) has a sweet undertone enhanced by onions and deliciously thick pickles.
2309 Kuhio Ave. • Waikiki • 377-4402
Burgers on Bishop
Unapologetically saucy and equally generous, Burgers on Bishop's wagyu burger ($13.15) features a juicy wagyu beef patty with whole-grain mustard jus and sauteed mushrooms and onions for maximum umami.
745 Fort St. #130 • Downtown • 586-2000
The Butcher & Bird
Butcher Chuck Wakeman uses the trimmings from USDA Prime dry-aged ribeye steaks to create this wonderfully beefy burger ($16). Two grilled patties take centerstage on a This Is It brioche bun with lettuce, tomato, cheese and mayo. It was Wakeman's goal to highlight the extremely flavorful marbled beef, but the dry-aging takes it beyond with a bit of funk lingering on the palate. The sweet pickles on the side help to counteract the savory nature of this behemoth.
324 Coral St. #207 • Kakaako • 762-8095
The 50's burger ($8.50) at Chubbies is their simplest execution of a smash burger: a local beef patty, cheese, fresh produce and a tangy sauce on pillowy homemade potato buns. While some say it's close to Shake Shack, I say it's delicious in its own right.
960 Auahi St.• Kakaako • 291-7867
Give us this day our Daley burger. This newcomer has been the darling of Chinatown denizens for the last two months and I can see why. I've had the Daley burger ($11 for a double) six times now. Two Kunoa beef patties develop a nice crispiness on the flattop. Well seasoned, they work well with the sweet, caramelized onions, gooey cheese and sauce. It's bliss on a bun.
1110 Nuuanu Ave. • Chinatown
The Chaz ($17) has an aura of its own. Its glistening brioche bun and hulking local beef patty are the first things you notice, but the best attribute of the The Chaz is that the first bite is as delicious as the last.
2 N. Hotel St. • Chinatown • 369-1390
Sometimes a fast-food burger is just what you need; for that, there's Five Guys. What I like most about the burgers is their consistency – the bacon cheeseburger ($11.99) I ordered today tastes the same as when I first had it six years ago. No frills, just a big burger with loads of toppings of your choice.
Multiple locations • www.fiveguys.com
Hank's Haute Dogs
Since Grant "Chuggy Bear" Shindo first turned me on to the HankBurger ($8), I haven't looked back. I bypass the wild boar sausage dogs and head straight for the Chicago-style charburger every time! I might vary it up for special occasions, but my go-to is a HankBurger combo with cheddar, chipotle mayo and a pineapple ice drink.
324 Coral St. • Kakaako • 532-4265
If you want a burger the size of your head, gaze upon the half-pound classic burger ($14) at HiCraft Kitchen in Kakaako. Chef-owner Carlos Jorge insists on grinding his own Kauai beef for the patties and loads them up with local produce and his version of secret sauce. It's a super juicy burger, so ask for about 23 napkins (to start).
516 Keawe St. #D • Kakaako • 379-1842
Island Vintage Wine Bar
I was surprised to find a burger at a bougie wine bar, and even more surprised to discover that it's actually very good. A luxe venue, Island Vintage doesn't skimp on the ingredients: This is a double wagyu cheeseburger ($16) with a potent wasabi aioli that cuts through all the beef fat that coats your mouth, while the brioche bun, heirloom tomatoes and sweet pickles balance it out. The crispy fries are also noteworthy and come with more wasabi aioli for dipping.
2301 Kalakaua Ave. • Waikiki • 923-3383
La Tour Cafe
La Tour's Pho Burger ($14.90) is one of those sandwiches you're skeptical about until you try it. It's shockingly delicious with a rich pho mayo and fresh herbs and veggies piled on. If it's too hot for soup but you want that smoky, beefy pho flavor, why not have it in burger form?
Multiple locations • www.latourcafe.com
My definition of a cheeseburger deluxe ($14.50) is shaped by Liliha Bakery. Freshly baked buns, layers of iceberg lettuce, sweet pickles and a big Angus beef patty make it sound artisanal but this is the way the nanas and tatas at Liliha Bakery have been making burgers for generations. Whether it's 3 a.m. or 3 p.m., this is the burger that lets you know everything's going to be alright.
Multiple locations • www.lilihabakery.com
See also: Foodmap: Waikiki dessert crawl
The Tavern Burger ($20) has a very European feel with bacon-onion marmalade and melting gruyere cheese stretching over top. Just watch out, it'll put you down after lunch.
49 N Hotel St. • Chinatown • 537-2577
The Rainbow Royale ($4.25) is that reliable friend you can call anytime and they'll be there. Two grilled patties, cheese, raw onion, juicy tomato and green leaf lettuce on a Love's bun with a dab of mayonnaise.
Multiple locations • www.rainbowdrivein.com
The Bent Tail Burger ($16) is beery solid offering from Real Gastropub: It was made for pairing with a pint. You can have it with cheese ($1 more) or let the zingy IPA aioli sing on its own. You can even customize it barnyard style for $10 more with layers of bacon, pork belly and pastrami.
506 Keawe St.• Kakaako • 200-2739
Shige's Saimin Stand
Whoever thought to pair saimin and a cheeseburger ($3.25) was a complete genius. Yes, you're eating the equivalent of two meals, but this dichotomy of shrimpy, umami noodle soup and grilled beef on a bun works so well that it's now hard to get one without the other. If you're jonesing to satisfy that craving, Shige's is the place.
70 Kukui St. • Wahiawa• 621-3621
See also: Yakitori in Honolulu: Foodmap
Square Barrels has so many burger options, it's hard to pick one. I started out loving the off-menu patty melt because who doesn't love Thousand Island dressing? But the chipotle chorizo burger ($18) has taken its place in my heart. The not-so-subtle hint of spice is a nice kick in the mouth and the sheer height of this sandwich assures you that you're not going to be hungry until tomorrow.
1001 Bishop St.• Downtown • 524-2747
Stripsteak's Double Double cheeseburger ($21) doesn't hold back. It's got two prime beef patties, American cheese, caramelized onions and a secret sauce. Simple and to the point: That's just how Michael Mina's steakhouse does things.
2330 Kalakaua Ave. #330 • Waikiki • 800-3094
W & M Bar-B-Q Burger
If there's a line for parking at W&M, wait in it. Something about a slightly sweet Royal char burger with cheese and all the toppings on a lazy Sunday afternoon checks all of my boxes.
3104 Waialae Ave. • Kaimuki • 734-3350
This has to be one of the best deals in Waikiki — a half-pound Angus beef burger with piles of french fries and onion rings for $12.95. I remember when it was $10, but it's still a heck of a great deal from one of Honolulu's premier steakhouses.
2301 Kalakaua Ave. • Waikiki • 922-3600