Did “The Menu” Leave You Craving a Cheeseburger? Here Are Our Food Critic’s 10 Favorites.

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Who’s hungry?

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FULL DECADENCE: A burger to remember at Vermilion in Old Town. Photograph by Rey Lopez.

Did you spend this weekend watching The Menu, the deliciously funny satire/thriller that is now streaming on HBO? Perhaps you are in the mood for a cheeseburger—or as Anya Taylor Joy’s character puts it, “a real cheeseburger. not some fancy, deconstructed avant bullshit.” Here are my current favorites: 

Garden District

1801 14th St., NW

Juicy, compact, delicious. The 14th Street beer garden’s offering is everything you could want in a cookout-style burger.


1250 Ninth St., NW

The one-time pop-up took over the Espita space in Shaw last year. I’m partial to the Frenchie, with blue cheese, mayo, and a ton of caramelized onions, but the straight-up cheeseburger is good too.

Le Diplomate’s Burger Américain.

Le Diplomate

1601 14th St., NW

The still-buzzy Logan Circle spot’s Frenchified take on a Big Mac pairs a sesame bun, American cheese, and special sauce with an upgraded Pat LaFreida beef blend. 


449 K St., NW

Elias Taddesse’s double-decker, another Big Mac riff, has the toppings you’d expect—shredded lettuce, pickles, onions—but it’s made with Roseda Farm beef from Maryland and crafted with uncommon skill.

New England Smash Burger at The Salt Line.
The Salt Line’s New England smash burger.

The Salt Line

79 Potomac Ave., SE; 4040 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

The New England seafood kitchens’ straightforward double smash burgers are big and messy in the best way.

Social Burger

350 Maple Ave., W., Vienna

You can design your own burgers—made from Virginia beef and set on a Lyon Bakery bun—with toppings like chimichurri,  cherry-cola barbecue sauce, and housemade pickles at this Vienna stripmall stop. My favorite is one of the house creations: a double cheeseburger with bacon, fried jalapenos, sauteed onions, pickles, and special sauce.

A double smash burger at Swizzler. Photograph courtesy of the restaurant.


1259 First St., SE

If only all fast food spots were as good as this food-truck-turned-burger-shop in Navy Yard. Go for the classic cheeseburger: two smashed grass-fed patties, pickles, grilled onions, ketchup, and mustard on a potato roll (you can get it with special sauce, too).

Unconventional Diner

1207 Ninth St., NW

Yet another smash burger, yes, but this one is extra-juicy thanks to a beef mix with a 30(!) percent fat content. It gets housemade pickles and caramelized onions, plus American cheese and a Martin’s potato roll.


1120 King St., Alexandria

Not a smash burger! The hefty patty at this Old Town dining room is a nice contrast to the ubiquitous style. The mix of Maryland-raised dry-aged ribeye and flank steak is ground in-house and gilded with Grayson, the soft, nutty washed-rind cheese from Virginia. Caveat: It’s only on the lunch and brunch menus.

Woodmont Grill

7715 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda

The veggie burger gets most of the attention at this Hillstone outpost in downtown Bethesda, but the standard cheddar-burger heaped with shredded lettuce and pickles is really tasty, too.

Ann Limpert

Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

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