While the hamburger may have taken its name from the city of Hamburg and the German Frikadelle, it is undoubtedly the Americans that have brought this humble meat sandwich to its current fame. Supposedly, the average American eats three hamburgers a week, while McDonald’s sells more than 75 hamburgers every second. But Dubai seems to be catching onto the craze with veritable relish, from the ostentation of a Dhs165 foie gras-topped burger at Rhodes Twenty 10, to the all-American challenges implicit in Dubai’s hottest burger at Qube and biggest burger at Claw. Find out how we fared, when faced with Dubai’s finest burgers.
Ruth’s Bistro Burger at Ruth’s Chris Steak House Ruth’s signature burger is unassuming in appearance – there are no special toppings or sauces, just meat, bun and some cursory salad – but put the pieces together and take a bite... and oh my, it’s some tasty cow. Great quality beef, surprisingly lacking in grease or fat, all ensure this burger goes down a treat. Dhs80 (lunch menu); Dhs100 (evenings). Open Sun-Thu noon-4pm for lunch; Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm for brunch; daily 6pm-2.30am for dinner (last orders at midnight). The Address Dubai Marina (04 454 9538). 3/5
Classic Belgian Beer Cafe Burger at Belgian Beer Cafe This colossus arrives on a sturdy wooden block. Cooked as you like it, the quality of the meat is top notch, even if it is a bit of a handful to manage. Expect the buns here to be fresh too, if ever so slightly sweet. The only complaint is we would prefer less mayonnaise, but you can’t fault BBC for its portion sizes, and this offering is enormous to the point of excess. Dhs85. Open daily noon-2am. Madinat Jumeirah (04 447 0227). 3/5
B&S Burger at Baker & Spice Served with home-made chips (that more resemble roast potatoes) and a side salad, this burger is among Dubai’s pricier offerings. While the presentation and layers of onions, pickles and condiments are mouthwatering, it’s hard not to ignore the bitterness of the overly charred bun and the intense saltiness of the juicy patty. Dhs85. Open daily 8am-11pm. Marina Promenade, Dubai Marina (04 362 4686). 3/5
Hot Rod at BurgerFuel This is well and truly a colossal burger, and it comes with a New Zealand beef patty, cheddar cheese, jalapeno peppers, tomato, lettuce and aioli. It’s so big you’ll need to take a firm grip of it with two hands, although the eatery does supply cute cardboard trays to combat this problem. The beef is tasty, nicely cooked (more medium rare and not at all chewy) with a surprisingly sweet taste to it. Overall, though, it adds up to a decent burger which is worth your dirhams. Dhs32. Open daily 11am-5am. JBR, The Walk (04 445 8220). 3/5
Cheesy at The Burger Joint This 6.2oz wagyu burger is topped with melted cheddar, fresh lettuce, onions tomatoes and pickles, along with a splash of the diner’s ‘original sauce’. Though there’s a lot of bread to contend with here, the burger is among the least greasy and freshest we tried. Vegetarians are also well-served at TBJ – the Mighty Veggie’s crunchy patty makes for a hearty lunch. Dhs50 (cheesy), Dhs40 (mighty veggie). Open Sat-Wed 11am-10pm, Thu-Fri 11am-11pm. The Avenues, Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626). 4/5
The Fat Cow at Soho Bar & Grill A huge, thick patty of either Angus or wagyu beef, stuffed with goat’s cheese, garlic, feta and red peppers, the appropriately named Fat Cow is then topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber, more cheese and Soho’s signature burger sauce. Liberally seasoned and full of flavour (with that many ingredients, so it should be), Soho’s signature burger is not to be trifled with. Dhs80 (Angus), Dhs95 (Wagyu). Open Sat-Wed noon-1am; Thu-Fri noon-2am. Century Village, Garhoud (04 286 8520). 5/5
Bean Burger at Gourmet Burger Kitchen You’ll have trouble finishing this huge burger, which is made of mixed beans along with garlic, coriander, oregano, red chili and paprika. One of the tastiest veggie burgers we’ve tried, it’s made even nicer with a slice of cheddar and tomato chutney. The chillies meant it had more of a kick to it than we expected, and we’d have been happier with a bit less bread, but the paprika makes for a unique taste. Most importantly, the beans in the burger are tender and soft. We’re hard-pressed to find a better veggie patty in the city. Dhs28. Open daily 10am-11.45pm. Dubai Marina Mall, Dubai Marina (04 399 7705). 4/5
Classic Beef Cheeseburger at Nezesaussi Grill A belt-busting beast of a patty, Nezesaussi’s offering is decent enough, but it’s a little on the unremarkable side considering the reasonably high prices on the menu at this sports bar. The relish is impressive, as is the freshness of the ingredients and despite its size, we polished it off without any mishaps. Dhs75. Open daily noon-2am. Al Manzil Hotel, Downtown Dubai (04 428 5888). 3/5
Bagatelle Burger at Maison Bagatelle The only burger on the menu at this swanky bistro is a posh version at a not unbearable price. You get a slab of wagyu beef, housed in sweet, buttery brioche and it comes with an intensely scented truffle mayonnaise. We like that it arrived ‘open’, and laden with salad in order to allow diners to build it up to their heart’s desire. Dhs76. Open daily 9am-11pm. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 420 3442). 4/5
Jones Wagyu Burger at Jones the Grocer Moist and tender, this thick Jones patty is layered with veal bacon, cheese, salad, Jones’ bois boidran sauce, and served between two halves of a milky, slightly sweet brioche bun. Yes, it’s indulgent, but goodness, it is worth it. If you’re feeling like taking things to the next level, there’s the option to add foie gras, truffle mayonnaise or even melted truffle brie if you fancy it. Good luck. Dhs69. Open Sun-Thu 7.30am-11pm, Fri-Sat 9am-11pm. Near Manara Road, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.jonesthegrocer.com (04 346 6886). 5/5
Route 66 at Johnny Rockets Named after the most iconic of highways in America, this USA-themed diner’s Route 66 burger is a decent-sized patty with Swiss cheese, onions, mushrooms and mayo. Our meat was a little more well done than we’d have liked for a medium-rare and we left with a sneaky feeling that the mushrooms may have been tinned and not fresh. But the whole thing adds up to a reasonable meal in fun surroundings (think 1950s US diner) and the burger ought to go down well with one of Johnny Rockets’ excellent milkshakes – try the chocolate vanilla twist or the Oreo cookies and cream. Dhs39. Open daily. Noon-1am. Dubai Marina (04 368 2339). 3/5
Beef Bacon and Cheeseburger at Mooyah This new Texan burger import serves up a classic American diner burger, with a choice of one or two patties and multiple options for extra. This two-tiered beef patty signature is made with streaky, smokey beef bacon, oodles of melted American cheese, and while it is definitely at the fast-food end of the burger spectrum, it is a pleasantly greasy and greedy affair. Dhs35. Open daily 11am-11pm. Ibn Battuta Mall, China Court (04 453 9815). 3/5
Inferno Burger at Qube This beast is made with eight different types of chilli, including one of the hottest known to man – the chocolate habanero. Meydan Hotel’s Qube bar caused quite a stir when it launched its Inferno burger earlier this year, which combines the habanero with seven other types of chilli in the patty and the bun, easily branding it Dubai’s hottest burger in the process. To put things into perspective, the Scoville scale, which is used to measure the temperature of a chilli, rates it as having a heat of 400,000 SHU (units). In context, jalapeno has a rating between 3,500-8,000 SHU. Not surprisingly, you’re asked to sign a waiver before eating it. But is it worth trying? No, unless you enjoy feeling like your stomach and mouth are literally on fire. There’s a wall at Qube with photos of diners who’ve managed to get eat all the burger in less than 30 minutes – and some of them don’t look very happy. We struggled to eat even a quarter of it in an hour and one small morsel of meat the size of a pea causes sweats, palpitations and the onset of the shakes: not to mention a burning feeling in our stomach for the rest of the day. We bravely managed a quarter of the meat and a third of the top bun (which also has chilli in it) before calling it a day. The intense heat means you quickly lose your appetite, but the bigger disappointment is the quality of the beef. Our burger was so well done it was black in places and the beef was crumbly. The Inferno is great for crazy folk looking for bragging rights among their mates, but sadly, not a lot else. Dhs60. Open daily 6.30am-10.30pm, noon-2.30pm, 6.30pm-2am. The Meydan Hotel, Nad Al Sheba. (04 381 3231). 2/5
Ketchup Old Timer at Ketchup A classic beef burger served with lettuce, tomato and onion on a seeded bun, Ketchup’s patty comes with a selection of toppings to choose from including cheese, guacamole, pico salsa or mushrooms. Expect a herb-infused, meaty affair. Dhs84 (with one topping). 10am-midnight, Boulevard Plaza, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 363 8595). 3/5
Single Camel Burger at Best Burgers Forever This is one of the only places you can get a camel burger in a fast-food setting in Dubai. Sandwiched between two enormous slabs of white bread (which take the shape of the brand’s logo), the delicate patty is too crumbly, but well-cooked. While we’d have preferred less of the sweet burger sauce, we did enjoy the generous scattering of pickles. Dhs34 burger only. Open Sat-Wed 11am-midnight, Thu-Fri 11am-5am. Dubai Marina (800 996). 3/5
American Burger and Asiatic Chicken Slider at Burger Rebel, Wafi Mall A classic beef patty with beef bacon and cheddar cheese, the combination proves to be flavoursome, but the bread a little dry. The Asiatic Chicken Slider, made up of three mini burgers, is another perfect blend of flavours, but slightly let down by a dry burger bun. American Burger Dhs37, Asiatic Chicken Slider Dhs32. Open daily noon-midnight (04 324 4252). 3/5
Steak Burger and Rib Burger at Ribs & Rumps The Ribs & Rumps’ offerings certainly rate highly in the succulent stakes. The Steak Burger is a feast, served with rib sauce, which gives the meat a sweetness, while the Steak Burger is cooked to perfection. If you’re particularly hungry, get a side dish as the burgers are small and do not come with fries. Steak Burger Dhs66, Rib Burger Dhs78. Open daily noon-midnight. The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 434 0468). 4/5
Cabana burger at Cabana A decent quality bun, good quality cheese and a tasty sauce. Although this burger is unlikely to warrant a Michelin Star, we think it will do a more than adequate job of fulfilling its role as a humble burger. The ingredients are fresh, the burger well-cooked, and the meat is the texture you’d expect with the correct bite and consistency. While this patty is not devoid of grease, it wasn’t overwhelmingly fatty either, which is just as it should be. Dhs80. Open daily noon-1.30am. The Address Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3444). 4/5
Rhodes Twenty 10 burger at Rhodes Twenty 10 With a touch of fine French flair, chef-auteur Gary Rhodes elevates the humble burger and makes it very much his own. Instead of the common bun, this plump and perfectly cooked piece of beef sits on thin slices of buttery confit potato. A fillet of foie gras comes on top of that, and the whole dish is brought together with a rich ‘devilled sauce’ of caramelised onion. Dhs165. Open daily 7pm-midnight. Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort and Spa, Dubai Marina (04 399 5555). 3/5
BBQ Burger at Gourmet Burger Kitchen A former Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards winner, GBK’s burgers come with a reputation for quality – and its BBQ burger maintains the brand’s good name. A simple white bun holds together a 6oz black Angus beef patty along with onions, tomato and lettuce (there was so much veg in there we felt the need to take half of it out). The beef is juicy, tender and extremely moist. Unlike some we ate for this feature, the burgers here feel like they are made with plenty of due care and attention. Our only issue is with the BBQ-style condiment, which tastes – and looks – more like sweet chilli sauce. We recommend adding a slice of cheddar to head it back towards savoury. Dhs35. Open daily 10am-11.45pm. Dubai Marina Mall, Dubai Marina (04 399 7705). 4/5
Shack Burger at Shake Shack An all-natural Angus beef burger with cheese, lettuce, tomato and shack sauce in a burger bun. Cooked medium and of average size, it is certainly tasty but sadly a little on the greasy side, and it doesn’t come with anything; all extras have to be ordered on top. Dhs25 for a single burger or Dhs37 for a double burger. Open daily, 10am-midnight. Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha (04 347 5513). 3/5
Smokey Sheikh at Sheikh & Shake It’s nice to see a burger that meets the edges of the bun – even better when you get a patty that exceeds those perimeters. The Smokey Sheikh is one such sandwich, and wins points with us for its meaty generosity. Unfortunately, the advertised barbecue sauce in this burger isn’t quite as present as you might hope. Dhs26 burger only. Open Sat-Wed 9am-1am, Fri-Sat 9am-3am. MAG Tower, Cluster R, JLT (800 123456). 3/5
Seafire Classic at Seafire Other than forcing an Americana theme on diners, the Seafire restaurant’s signature burger could not be more classic. Sesame seed bun, crisp lettuce, juicy tomato and crisp fries are all in attendance and as they should be. It is the quality of the meat, however, that prevents ‘classic’ from becoming ‘boring’. Like all meat at Seafire, the chefs ensure a premium grade is used and the grill taste is fantastic. In this price bracket though we want to see at least the option of a home-made burger relish instead of Heinz ketchup and mayonnaise pots. Dhs95. 12.30-3pm Sat-Thu, 6pm-11.30pm; Fri 7pm-11.30pm. Atlantis, The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626). 3/5
Steak N’ Shake Signature Burger at Steak N’ Shakee A 6oz steakburger topped with gooey American cheese, tomato, pickles, red onions and tomato ketchup, this patty is well-done (there’s in fact no other option), nicely presented and you get a paper cup of skinny, crispy fries. Seriously tasty, there’s not an ounce of grease in sight. Dhs35. Open weekdays, 10.30am-11pm, weekends, 10.30am-midnight. The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 330 8180). 5/5
‘Rib’ Wagyu Beef Burger at The Rib Room The quality of this wagyu beef patty, cheddar cheese and interesting chili con carne side dish is at one with the upscale surroundings at this venue. The meat is the star attraction here, and although half a dozen beautifully presented condiments are available (the best being a smoky barbecue), let the wagyu taste come through without drowning it. Dhs115. 12.30-3pm Sunday to Thursday, 7pm to Midnight daily. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 440 9300). 4/5
Swiss and Mushroom at Butcher Shop & Grill Once you get past the sheer size of the enormous white bread buns surrounding this monster, you’ll find an enjoyably meaty centre cooked to perfection. It’s topped with Swiss cheese and tangy grilled mushrooms too. Dhs49. Open daily noon-11.30pm. Mall of the Emirates (04 347 1167). 3/5
Rib Meat Burger at The Meat Company A disproportionate hunk of fat-marbled braised beef rib meat explodes from the centre of this brown bread burger, just one of the showstopping offerings at this eatery. This particular patty is filled with French onion puree and a rather meaty and garlic-infused Portobello mushroom. It’s rich and not for the faint-hearted. Dhs100. Open daily noon-11.30pm. Souk Madinat Jumeirah (04 368 6040). 4/5
Rivington Burger at Rivington Grill The meat in this burger is about an inch thick and contributes to the sheer bulk of this signature sandwich, which needs to be handled with caution. The texture and freshness of the home-made burger relish (served on the side) is the stand out element of one of the city’s most expensive burgers. Dhs120. 12.30-3pm Sat-Wed, noon-11m; Thu-Fri, noon-11.30pm. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 366 6464). 3/5
More to try... the best of the rest of Dubai’s burgers
Barasti This notoriously lively beach-side haunt serves two burger options, a fairly classic beef burger, with curly fries, or a chicken burger, made with a fillet coated in panko crumbs. Le Méridien Mina Seyahi, Umm Suqeim (04 318 1313).
Fatburger Founded in LA back in 1952, this stalwart among Dubai's burger scene serves, as the name suggests, giant specimens, with some excellent fries. The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 339 8493). Other locations: Jumeirah Road (04 394 52 96); Mirdif City Centre (04 284 3741).
Fuddruckers This fast-food burger chain gives diners the option to build their own burger, to include how the patty is cooked and it comes with a lengthy list of toppings. Garhoud (04 282 7771). Other location: Festival City (04 232 9884).
Gaucho The excellent Argentine steakhouse serves one burger, with plenty of Latin flair. This quality dish is made with a beef patty, brioche bun, portobello mushrooms, chimichurri and chipotle. DIFC (04 422 7898).
Hardee’s This popular fast-food option serves typical, American style 'charbroiled' burgers, including a turkey option. Deira City Centre (04 295 1611).
Hard Rock Café This all singing, all dancing bar-meets- diner has branches throughout the world. Dubai's own outlet honours the food scene here with the local legendary burger, which includes a beef patty with date chutney, kholas dates and cream cheese to boot. Dubai Festival City Mall, Festival City (04 232 8900).
South St Burger The Canadian burger chain prides itself on using good quality, hormone-free beef, and it also allows diners to build their own burger. There is also a new branch of South St Burgers coming soon to Dubai Media City. Ibn Battuta Mall, Tunisian Court (04 423 8018).
Who sells Dubai’s quirkiest burgers?
Claw Newly launched at this American venue is the beast burger, a 2.7kg monstrosity, worthy of TV show Man V Food. Finish it in 30 minutes and you’ll get it for free, as well as a T-shirt and your mugshot on the wall of fame. Dhs245. Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai (04 432 2300).
Double Decker The ominously named ‘big daddy’ burger is a 2.5kg beef burger with cheddar cheese and turkey bacon. Diners visiting Double Deckers for Man Up Mondays can try their hand at fi nishing this patty in 45 minutes to be in with a chance of getting it for free. Dhs140. Al Murooj Rotana, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 321 1111).
Elevation Burger Dubai seems to like its weighty burgers, but at Elevation you can set your own challenge of a burger that stands seriously tall. The Vertigo burger allows diners to add as many patties as they desire, from three to ten, to build their own meaty Burj Khalifa. From Dhs42 (extra patties Dhs8). Latifa Tower, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 388 0000).
Spikes Dubai’s baby bear of burgers is the 1.2kg RTJ cheeseburger with beef sirloin, Angus brisket and wagyu beef. It’s named after Robert Trent Jones II, the architect of Al Badia Golf Club, which we assume means he spent far more time in the clubhouse than on the greens. Dhs295. Al Badia Golf Club by InterContinental Dubai Festival City (04 601 0101).
The Golf Academy Café For a fusion twist, this new eatery offers an internationally inspired selection of burgers, including ‘The Turkish’ made with a lamb patty, date chutney, coriander and mint or ‘The Rajasthani’ with paneer, potatoes, cashew nuts and mango chutney. From Dhs54. Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, Deira (04 295 6000).
West 14th This New York-inspired steakhouse may just win the award for the most bizarre offering, thanks to the ‘bunless wagyu signatureburger’. It is made with a base of potato wedges, Australian Wagyu beef, cheese, egg tempura and blueberry barbecue sauce. Dhs155. Oceana Residence, Palm Jumeirah (04 447 7601).