UPDATE (October 2017): We’ve got a whole new up-to-date list of The Best Burgers in Jakarta, including a bunch of mouthwatering new burgers we’ve fallen hard for. Check it out and let us know which one is your favorite!
It used to be hard to find a truly great hamburger in Jakarta, but the number of serious burger contenders have increased dramatically in recent years. Over the last few weeks I’ve forced myself to undertake some serious hamburger research, at great risk to my own personal health, to find what I think in the best burger in the Big Durian.
Finally, after following reviews, rumors and recommendations from my fellow burger-loving brothers, I believe I have found a new hamburger champion.
Just to make clear my personal burger preferences in making this list:
- A truly great burger needs a great bun and great toppings, but the most important element has to be an awesome beef patty (and it needs to be beef – chicken and vegetarian burgers can be delicious but they’re beyond the scope of this particular list),
- I think a truly great burger should be simple and relatively inexpensive comfort food. For that reason, I decided to only put burgers on this list that are Rp 100k and under (including fries, an essential burger accompaniment in my view). That means I left some really good ones off this list – including those from Three Buns, Union, Cazbar and Avec Moi – but I do feel pricing should be a factor when judging burgers.
Ranked in order from great to greatest
Double Fatburger with Cheese Combo
I’m not a burger snob and will happily eat a Whopper or even a Big Mac (especially after drunkenly ordering McDonalds home delivery at 2 am). But at the same time, I wouldn’t call them great burgers. The only truly great fast food burger in Jakarta is Fatburger, which is pretty pricey by fast food standards, but they’re also consistently great. The veggies are always fresh and crisp while the 100% American beef patties are substantial, juicy and not overcooked like at other fast food places. Their skinny fries also blow McDonald’s out of the water. But fair warning, you probably won’t be satisfied with anything less than a Double Fatburger with cheese (Rp 91,589 for the combo with fries and a drink).
Fatburger, Plaza Indonesia, Basement Floor, Jl. MH Thamrin, Jakarta, p: 62-21/2992-3852. Hours: 10 am – 10 pm. Other locations in Senayan City and Mall Pondok Indah.
The new management at De Hooi put a major emphasis on burgers and fries on their new menu and they certainly set a high standard for pub burgers in Jakarta. The large patties weigh in at 150g and come with a wide variety of tasty toppings. My favorite would be the American (Rp 95k), which, somewhat ironically, comes topped with two strips of English bacon and two slices of Australian cheese. The thick crisp fries here are also consistently great.
De Hooi, Jl. Metro Duta Raya Blok B4 No.31, South Jakarta, (021) 7500742.
JJ Royale Brasserie
JJ Royale Brasserie’s Western Bacon Burger
Honestly, I can barely stand the decor at this place (especially the ubiquitous pictures of models creepily photoshopped to have giant anime eyes) but I’ve put up with it on more than one occasion because their Western Bacon Cheeseburger (Rp 99k) is that good. The excellent presentation (just look at the melt on that cheese!) is also functional. You can add the toppings that you want yourself, including a tasty tangy special sauce as well as a grilled mushrooms and beautiful caramelized onions (which I feel should be an option with all burgers).
JJ Royal Brasserie, Lotte Shopping Avenue, Jl. Prof. Doktor Satrio No.5, South Jakarta, p:62-21 2988-8980.
The Goods Diner/The Goods Cafe
The Good Diner’s Coffee Rubbed Burger (BTW, you really shouldn’t eat a burger with a fork and knife. It’s like eating Padang food with a fork and spoon – you can do it, but it won’t taste as good.)
One of the best burger outlets in the city, they are also one of the few that consistently serves up perfectly medium-rare patties when I ask for them. All of the burgers here are great but the Coffee-Rubbed (Rp 80k) is their signature for good reason. The coffee spice rub gives the patty a slightly bitter, earthy edge that plays off the flavors of the beef and the sweet tanginess of the barbecue sauce. The parmesan fries that come with the burgers are totally addictive.
The Goods Diner, Fairgrounds, SCBD Lot 14, Jl. Jenderal Sudirman, SCBD, South Jakarta, p: 62-21/515-2969. The Goods Cafes located in Lotte Shopping Avenue, Pacific Place and Pondok Indah Mall 2.
Obviously best known for their breakfasts, this Kemang-based purveyor of homemade bacon also makes one mean burger. The Baconerie Burger (Rp 100k) plays on the restaurant’s strength by including bacon not only as a topping but also in the patty, which is 50% beef and 50% you-know-what. It comes on a delicate brioche bun, baked in-house, topped with a special sauce that compliments the pork-y richness of the patty and bacon as beautifully crisp as in your dreams. The only problem is that the whole thing tends to fall apart when you eat it, but it’s an utterly delicious mess.
Baconerie, Jl. Benda 1C, Kemang, South Jakarta. 021 7883 8291
Blue Fox’s Cheddar Melt Burger
This gastropub in Senopati doesn’t have the same buzz as some of its flashier neighbors, but it has quietly gained a reputation for making some of the best burgers in the city. A new menu offers burgers with loads of inventive toppings. I’m partial to the Cheesy Melt (Rp 85k), with a luscious three cheese sauce and “frizzled” onions adding the right amount of crunch. But what makes all of Blue Fox’s burgers great are the patties. Made with a custom blend of beef cuts, they are juicy, loaded with intense flavor and a satisfying, almost-steaky texture.
Blue Fox, Jl Suryo No 6, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta. 021) 93700044
My overall favorite new place for burgers in Jakarta
Pizza Barboni’s Crispy Cheddar Burger – I apologize that this smartphone photo does not do justice to the magnificence of this burger
Yes, I was just as shocked as you are. But, in my honest opinion, the burgers I’ve had at Pizza Barboni are the best I’ve had in Jakarta recently. In fact, I had to go back and try them several times to confirm my findings – for science!
Coconuts has written about Barboni’s before and proclaimed them to make some of the best pizza in Jakarta, so it may seem unbelievable that that they would also be capable of making some of the best burgers this city has ever seen. But somehow, they do! (Editor’s note: we promise we don’t have a sponsorship deal with them, but if they felt like throwing us some free burgers or pizzas at this point, we wouldn’t say no…)
They have two new varieties of burger, the Sexy Mushroom Beef Bacon (pictured at the top of the article) and the Crispy Cheddar Burger (both Rp 75k),
The Sexy Mushroom burger is indeed sexy, with a luscious cream-cheese based mushroom sauce and crispy bacon (too bad there’s not a pork option, but I’d say the beef bacon is far better than you’ll find on other burgers in Jakarta).
But it’s the Crispy Cheddar Burger, which comes with a disc of crunchy, molten cheddar and an assertive (but not too spicy) jalapeno relish, that really blew me away. The cheese is a savory umami bomb adding to the delectability of the beef while the acidity and heat of the relish cuts through the richness, balancing out the burger’s big flavors in every bite.
The toppings on both burgers are creative and well-executed, but its the beef patties that really make Barboni’s burgers stand at the top of the pack. This recipe for the Sexy Mushroom Burger gives a hint as to what makes them so great – a higher fat to meat ratio in the ground beef that gives each patty a powerful meaty punch. They also manage to stay incredibly moist and juicy even though they cooked to well done.
The unique fries that come with the burger are also ridiculously good – the thin slices of potato in a crisp, well-seasoned batter taste like the results of french fries and potato chips having delicious deep-fried babies.
It’s kind of important to me that every burger lover in Jakarta give Barboni’s burgers a shot. Because frankly I’m worried that nobody else will ask for them (who else but a crazed burger maniac such as myself would think to order a burger at a pizza place?) And I’m worried if people don’t order them enough, they might stop offering them. And that would be a tragedy.
Pizza Barboni 1. Jalan Kemang 1, No. 72, Kemang, South Jakarta. 021 718 1101. 2. Plaza Festival, 1st floor, Jl. HR Rasuna Said, Kuningan. 021 52961411.
Final Note: This is a list based on my personal preferences and, although I tried my best, I haven’t tried every single place that sells burgers in Jakarta. So if you think there’s a burger missing from this list, no worries, let me and your fellow burger lovers know in the comments on Coconuts Jakarta’s Facebook page. Selamat makan!
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