The best burger in Glasgow, ever…so far

Several months ago, I set myself the considerable task of finding Glasgow’s best burger. Am I there yet? I don’t know. It could well be that I’ve devoured the best Glasgow has to offer and am now descending a slippery slope towards the city’s burger nadir. There’s only one way to find out – and that’s by eating moar burgers.

There are still a number of eateries to check off my list. After all, a blog about Glasgow’s best burger wouldn’t be complete without summaries of those offered at Ketchup, Butchershop Bar & Grill, Kelvingrove Cafe, Smoak (currently taking up residence at Tribeca) and Inn Deep. I also hear Bar Bloc, The Social and Alston Bar & Beef are worth a visit. This quest is gonna need a part 3, and who knows, maybe a part 4, too.

I ain’t gonna be the man for the job – I’m going away for a while. But don’t worry, the torch will be passed on; I’ve already lined up a replacement (though he doesn’t know it yet). Ahead of the next instalment, stick any recommendations you have in the comments section. My successor will be sure to give them a try.

Black Sparrow: 8.5

Black Sparrow offer 2-4-1 burgers every day of the week but Saturday, so I had to check it out (note: it ends at 5pm on Friday). It cost just £11.20 for my mate and I to grab two burgers and chips. I can’t remember what he ordered, but I elected for the eponymous Black Sparrow burger: 6oz of prime minced beef topped with smoked cheddar, caramelised onions, salad and crunchy jalapenos. The grub was great – the cheese had melted evenly over what looked to be a genetically engineered patty (dat thickness), and the whole thing smacked of flavour. The sour dough bun, meanwhile, was soft and ever so lightly toasted. The fact that its burgers are 2-4-1 six nights of the week makes Black Sparrow hard to beat if you’re in or around Charing Cross.
black sparrow burger glasgow

Black Sparrow: cheap and sexy.

Nice’N’Sleazy: 8.1

I’ve been a big fan of the Meathammer burgers served in Nice’N’Sleazy for a while now. Formerly, my go-to burger was the Behemoth – at least I think that was its name – but it had disappeared from the menu the last time I visited. It had a mountain of slow-cooked beef brisket perched atop the patty. The Lucretia is also a fine creation, and was once voted Glasgow’s best burger. The latest beast I sampled was called the Black Friday burger. Like all of Sleazy’s vertiginous burgers, it was a little difficult to eat due to its sheer mass, and as a result the bread can become rather sodden. You’re unlikely to care a jot though given the great taste. The Black Friday burger comes drizzled with a Jack Daniels, Tabasco and Worcester sauce, and includes bacon, smoked cheddar, little gem lettuce, tomato and BBQ sauce. At £8.50, it comes with triple-cooked chips – good value, even if the portion is pretty stingy.
nice n sleazys burger glasgow

Nice’N’Sleazy: nice n greasy.

Loks Bar: 9.1

I checked out Loks Bar having been turned on to it by the mononymous Fraser, who left a comment in Part 1 of the Quest. I was not disappointed. In fact, the well-flavoured burger at Loks blew its Southside competitors out of the water. You really will think you’re slumming it if you opt for Buddy’s rather than Loks. I opted for a simple handmade Aberdeen Angus burger with cheese, salad and pickle. The beef was tender and flavoursome while the accompanying salad was clearly fresh. Oh, and the hand-cut Cajun fries were excellent too.
loks bar glasgow burger

Loks Bar: a whole lotta awesome in a brioche bun.

[quote_center]‘‘American cheese, a crunchy onion ring, a filament of Cajun relish, a squirt of smoked chilli mayo, complete with salad and dill pickle, nestled in a brioche bun.’’ [/quote_center]

Gourmet Burger Kitchen: 9.4

I’ve pigged out on a ton of burgers this past year, but I have to say that Glasgow’s best – thus far, for my money at least – is the Taxidriver from Gourmet Burger Kitchen: American cheese, a crunchy onion ring that, for once, is crunchy without oozing gloops of oil, a filament of Cajun relish, a squirt of smoked chilli mayo, complete with salad and dill pickle, nestled in a brioche bun. Simply delicious, and well worth a tenner. Funny enough, GBK is located at the epicentre of Glasgow’s nascent ‘burger district’ – across the road, on the corner, is Handmade Burger Company, currently occupying the capacious residence of a former bank building, and Five Guys and Bread Meats Bread are a stone’s throw away.
gourmet burger kitchen glasgow

GBK: fat, filling and fabulous.

Ad Lib: 8.1

I devoured a chicken burger from Ad Lib a few years ago whilst nursing a stupendous hangover. Since any form of cheap and nasty sustenance would have been treated with the same corpulent indifference in such a state, I was compelled to return and include the bar’s offering in this burger blog. And I was glad I did; Ad Lib do a tasty burger. I opted for the Classic Ad Lib Angus beef burger, in a brioche bun, with dill pickle and homemade relish. It’s not going to vie for the top spot any time soon, but it’s vastly superior to typical pub grub and earns its mid-table berth on my list. This is a cool wee bar too, so not a bad shout for after-work dinner and drinks.

Handmade Burger Co: 8.7

The Handmade Burger Co – as its name suggests – has a preponderance of burgers on the menu. In fact, they have 21 separate burgers – and that’s not including the chicken burgers. I kept things relatively simple and plunged for the Mexican burger: handmade salsa, crushed avocado, jalapenos, chipotle sauce, lettuce, tomato and a crushing of tortilla chips. The crisps didn’t really work but the meat was perfectly seasoned and the avocado and salsa were delicious. The sesame bun was wonderful, too.
handmade burger co glasgow

Handmade Burger Co: bueno.

Five Guys: 7.9

Five Guys realise burgers are king, but also want to serve up food with the efficiency of McDonald’s or KFC. With this in mind, their new(ish) burgerplatz in the city centre aims to please. So much so that their menu isn’t so much a menu as a list of variform ingredients: you choose what you want on your burger from an exhaustive selection – all ingredients are free. I loaded mine up with crunchy gherkins, mustard and cheese, which was packed into a soft seeded bun. I was surprised (but not appalled) to receive two hamburgers when my order came up. As for the taste, it’s like the kind of super-calorific burger you’d get at a truck-stop on route 66 at 2am from a fat Mexican grill-man. While it ain’t gourmet dining, it’s pretty tasty, and at £8 is decent value. The cajun fries, meanwhile, are on point and the portion is huge, though they’re also pretty expensive at £4.50.

The McMillan: 6.5

Equidistant from Buddy’s and Brooklyn Cafe is the recently-opened McMillan, yet another burger joint looking to cash in on the craze. For me, though, it falls short of the high standards set by those eateries. Sure, it’s swankier – much, much swankier – but I’m about assessing burgers, not lighting and ambiance. I opted for the Classic Macmillan Cheeseburger, which came with tomato, dill pickle, beetroot relish and – as will be obvious from the pic – a fuckton of salad. Way too much. I extracted 80% of it before tackling the meat and bones (or in this case, the meat and bread). Verdict? A decent burger, but not unlike a million burgers served in a million pubs throughout the world. Could definitely do with a little more sauce; I found it pretty dry.
mcmillan bar and grill burger

The McMillan: lettuce explosion/10.

Ed’s Diner, St Enoch: 7.4

I expected a bonafide slice of Americana from Ed’s Diner, but although it had Elvis on the jukebox, the burger itself wasn’t anything to write home about. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t terrible; it simply didn’t stand out. My burger came garnished with lettuce, a huge tomato, ringed onion and dill pickle, and although the patty was chunky, it didn’t pack the kind of appetising flavour as, say, the signature offerings at Jacker de Viande and Bread Meats Bread. On a sidenote, the chilli cheese fries were pretty good, and the Oreo milkshake – even if it cost a princely £4.35 – were more to my liking.
ed's diner glasgow burger

Ed’s: it’s not the burger you deserve, but it’s the burger you’re gonna get.

Lebowskis: 8.5

I loved my Lebowski burger with relish and Lanark blue cheese. Made with aged minced rump steak and served on a lightly toasted bun, it smacked of flavour and, though hefty, didn’t require deconstruction with fork and knife; I simply squeezed that badboy between forefinger and thumb and it was on. There was a surfeit of lettuce – that’s about my only complaint, and it’s one that was easily resolved. Available with a selection of cheeses, from smoked Mull cheddar to mozzarella, or supplementary meats like Ayrshire haggis or Stornaway black pudding, I can’t recommend this burger highly enough. The skinny fries were also excellent.
lebowskis burger glasgow

A Lebowskis chicken burger: like beef, only chicken-ier.



Love this? Try this: The Boozy Cow: Aberdeen Burger Bar Review


Also by Ronnie McCluskey