You can find them everywhere, from old-school fish and chippers to fancy-schmancy restaurants. Here are a handful of the burgers we've got on our "would eat again" list.
A lot has changed down St Kilda way. For instance, when you put your elbows on a table in the Prince Public Bar these days, you'll no longer stick to it. It's had a huge glow-up, and chefs Dan Hawkins and Dan Cooper are doing tasty things with meat. But it's also good to know that if you want a good burger after a brisk walk along the beach, the PPB Classic Burger is available all day, with a side of proper chips.
29 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, theprince.com.au
On the bistro menu at the Builders Arms there's a simple entry: Builders Arms cheeseburger, fries. And we're not gonna lie: it's a simple burger, but it's a good 'un. A proper beef patty, cheese, pickles and tomato sauce on a bun that doesn't disintegrate. We've lost count of how many we've scoffed, sitting in the winter sunshine at a footpath table while watching the passing parade.
211 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, buildersarmshotel.com.au
Oi, oi, oi
It can be disappointing to pick up a lengthy menu at a burger joint someone's raved about, only to find a distinct lack of proper fillings. And when we say proper, we mean Aussie. And when we say Aussie, we mean beetroot, fried egg, bacon and pineapple (it's not only for pizzas, after all). That's why the Fat Bob at Fat Bob's, featuring grass-fed beef mince cooked to medium in a bun with all the trimmings, gets our vote.
80a Cochranes Road, Moorabbin, fatbobs.com.au
Moon Dog World's crispy chicken burger. Photo: Supplied
Cluck it up
What goes well with beers? Burgers. And at brewpub Moon Dog World, the kitchen knows it. The crispy chicken burger is a fine representation of its flock, with a huge portion of crunchy chook, coleslaw and pickles on a soft milk bun with barbecue sauce and mayo. It comes with a side of chips, too.
32 Chifley Drive, Preston, moondogbrewing.com.au
No meat, no worries
It might be the great philosophical question of our time: if there's no meat on a burger, is it really a burger? If it's one Shannon Martinez has dreamed up, it certainly is. The patty on the Classic Smash Burger at Lona Misa, the restaurant at Ovolo South Yarra, is made using mushrooms and soy mince. Can you tell it's not meat? Sure. Is it tasty as heck? You better believe it. You can order it with non-vegan cheese, making it wonderfully gooey. We stan.
234 Toorak Road, South Yarra, ovolohotels.com
OK, we'll admit it… The first time we ordered the Ron Swanson at The B.East it was for the name alone. But if you don't love a beef burger that is drizzled with red wine beef jus, we just can't be friends. (Order it as a takeaway and the jus comes on the side for dipping.) The Swanson also includes gruyere and jack cheddar as well as caramelised onions, bacon and horseradish aioli. Grab a stack of napkins because it's messy AF.
80 Lygon Street, Brunswick East, theb-east.com
America the beautiful (burger)
A couple of slices of maple bacon give a suspicion of sweetness. Fried onion straws offer a scintilla of crunch. The rest of Burgerlove's All American (patty, cheese, pickles, special sauce) is regulation, but those two additions make this the sort of dirty burger that works spectacularly well after a big night.
Various locations, burgerlove.co
The Merrywell's namesake burger. Photo: Supplied
Sometimes it's as much about where the burger is as what's on it. For anyone heading to the footy, Crown eatery Merrywell Burger Bar is an excellent option before games at either stadium. It's quick, and serves tip-top American-style burgers. A favourite is the signature Merrywell, where the grass-fed beef patty comes with lettuce, tomatoes, pickle, cheddar, thousand island dressing and wholegrain mustard aioli. Order sides of onion rings and sweet potato waffle fries to get you through four quarters.
Riverside at Crown, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank, crownmelbourne.com.au
Fake bird is the word
There's nothing better on a sunny afternoon – or later in the evening between bands – than tucking into one of Howler's tasty burgers. The kitchen also looks after non-carnivores with the tasty vegan fried chicken burger. The spicy non-bird comes with spring onion, red cabbage and pickled daikon, topped with spicy tonkatsu barbecue sauce and togarashi mayo. Nice! Especially on Thursday when all burgers are $15.
7-11 Dawson Street, Brunswick, h-w-l-r.com
Sea burger, eat burger
Some purists would say fish doesn't belong on bread. They obviously haven't met a fish finger sandwich, but we digress. For its panko fish burger, Hunky Dory offers up a two big pieces of fish in a roll with coleslaw and its own spicy sauce. The fillets are crunchy and the sauce gives a decent kick. We like it when we're fanging for a burg but pretending to be healthy.
Various locations, hunkydory.com.au