Bold claims are made in top “X” lists, and this one is no different. I often hesitate to rank places, as I lose sleep for weeks on end, and it results in me returning to an establishment that I didn’t rank well, thinking the whole time that “they know”; it’s honestly beyond traumatising.
However, I felt I would be doing you a disservice with my cowardice, so as a compromise I have put together a list of my favourites rather than saying “this is the best one ever” – a claim I’m not comfortable making, nor one I think anyone should be too quick to make.
The burger, whilst a menu staple throughout the city, has a sheer number of variations and incarnations defying comprehension. Whilst essentially being a shaped mince and onion patty grilled and placed between two slices of bread, the honest burger has taken on a new life here in Manchester, and it means business.
100-102 High Street
It may be a 2000 cult movie sensation staring Kate Hudson, but Almost Famous is also the name of one of the best-known chains in the city. With two venues to choose from, they serve an exceptional selection of burgers – a staggering twelve different options to choose from, each, I might add, with a rather humorous name. This is my go-to for an American burger joint experience. My personal recommendation is the quaintly named “FILTHIEST SHOW IN TOWN”, and boasts cheese, chorizo, pepperoni, fried mozzarella, shoestring onion, parmesan, “Mumma’s Red Sauce” and French’s mustard. This behemoth of a dish will not only fill you up for about a month – it won’t empty your wallet either.
39-41 Edge St. Northern Quarter
Established in 2004 in the trendy Northern Quarter, Common broke onto the scene with one hell of a bang. Winning multiple awards including The Sunday Times North West’s Best Brunch Spot, and named one of the Top 25 Places to Eat in the UK by The Times, Common is anything but ordinary. With fifteen beer lines and killer live events, this place has it all. The burger of choice has to be the Korean Fried Chicken Burger, a signature “KFC” breast served with kimchi and gochujang – a spicy red chilli paste – all served in a brioche bun. It’s simple, but it’ll knock your socks off and make your taste buds explode with an amazing variety of subtle flavours, perfectly balanced and beautifully served. This edgy-yet-discreet venue is a hot favourite for city locals. You won’t be disappointed.
The Avenue North, Spinningfields
Not your traditional burger joint, Neighbourhood, found in the fashionable Spinningfields area of the city, has been at the heart of Manchester’s food revolution since its conception in 2012. This mock-modern-styled diner and late night venue has cultivated quite the reputation, and secured its place firmly within Manchester’s dining scene. The burgers are here to prove the rule that size isn’t everything – their infamous “Lil’ Burgers” are an absolute treat. Served slider-style, these three appetising delights may not be big but they sure pack a punch. The Wagyu burger is to die, if not kill for, cooked and seasoned to perfection. Next up, the “Mac Sauce” is everything you could want, and the final mature cheddar treat is everything you’d hope for. I highly recommend this place, I take all my friends here, never a bad meal, never had bad service, one of the best.
Turner St, Northern Quarter
Regularly rated one of the top hundred restaurants in Manchester. Located just below the Ancoats in Manchester’s Little Italy, it’s the home of some very naughty burgers. An exceptional Inka Grill, allows them to cook delicious burgers with that perfect chargrilled flavour. It’s the home of “The Big Manc”, a Golden Arches-esque classic on steroids! They have a multitude of creations that go above and beyond anything you could imagine.
Home Sweet Home
49-41 Edge Street
I am a classicist in many respects: I take my whiskey neat; my cigars Cuban; my burgers in the purist form. A well-cooked bit of beef, between a sturdy bun, with lettuce, tomato, cheese, and a dill pickle. Home Sweet Home is, for that, my burger Mecca. Served with the freshest onion, this special burger is actually an appropriate size so you can get your chops around it. The simple “Burger” here at Home Sweet Home is just perfection. I’ve always been a huge supporter of doing the basic, classic things well, and this joint does just that. Usually my breakfast venue of choice, they do five varieties of Eggs Benedict, and killer milkshakes, but their dining options too deserve so much more attention than the place gets… just don’t sit at my regular table.
As the infamous Gigi Hadid once quipped, “eat clean to stay fit, eat a burger to stay sane”. Manchester can certainly help you here – and this is just a snapshot of what is on offer in this magnificent city. Happy hunting!