We’ve sampled the city’s burgers to bring you the best. But we need you to help us scale down the list – for the first time ever, we want you to be the critic. Click here to vote for your fave and, while you’re there, learn how to cook the perfect patty. Finally, watch this space for news of our big burger event!
The Exchange Grill
The bun: At this price, even the bread is fancy. More a brioche than a bun.
The toppings: Patties come topped with a generous helping of melted aged cheddar.
The burger: The meat is ground wagyu. The quality is so good, the burger hardly needs any seasoning.
The sides: Served with perfectly cut, crisp truffle fries (purely addictive) and a portion of fennel coleslaw.
Cohesiveness: All men in a kilometre radius will envy this beast’s width and girth, making it tricky to eat without spillage.
Fairmont Dubai (04 311 8316). Burger available lunchtime only. Dhs125
The bun: No-frills: squishy, white and passable.
The toppings: There’s a range to choose from. Our personal favourite is the barbecue ranch burger, which comes with turkey bacon, crispy onion rings, cheddar cheese and a creamy combo of barbecue and ranch sauce.
The burger: Juicy, plump and cooked to order.
The sides: A portion of thin-cut fries that are crisped to perfection.
Cohesiveness: The excess of toppings makes it messy. Bring a bib.
International City, Persia (04 420 0600)
The bun: Crisp on the outside thanks to a turn in the toaster.
The toppings: Beef bacon, fried egg and cheese are all available. All burgers come loaded with shredded iceberg (urgh), tomatoes, onion and gherkin.
The burger: The patties – each served well-done – are shrivelled and dry.
The sides: The thick-cut fries have a crisp shell that gives way to fluffy heaven, while the onion rings are chunky and coated in a crumbly batter.
Al Samadi Café and Sweet Shop
The bun: Fluffy and coated in sesame seeds. The toppings: Quality lettuce, tomatoes and melted gruyère cheese. Simple, but effective.
The burger: The patty is made of lamb and is loaded with Arabic spices. The result is a juicy beast with lots of flavour.
The sides: We only wish they served more of the meagre handful of otherwise lovely chips. There’s also a small side salad sprinkled with fresh herbs and pomegranate seeds, which left us feeling rather smug.
Cohesiveness: A well-sized, though thoroughly manageable burger.
The Boulevard, Old Town (04 432 9520)
The bun: Well balanced between soft and crisp, sprinkled with sesame seeds and branded with the More logo. Impressive.
The toppings: The three-tiered tray of toppings comes with everything any burger connoisseur could hope for: mango chutney, fried onions, gherkins, wholegrain mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, lettuce and tomato.
The burger: Plump, juicy and cooked perfectly to order.
The sides: If you want fries, you’ll have to order them separately, and if you have the cash we recommend you do. The resulting chips are perfect, square-cut, crisp shards of heaven.
Cohesiveness: Even if you use a knife and fork, chances are you’ll end up with chutney on your chin.
Garhoud (04 283 0224). Other locations: Gold & Diamond Park (04 323 4350), Al Murooj Rotana (04 343 3779), Festival City (04 232 6299), The Dubai Mall (04 339 8934)
The Irish Village
The bun: A standard, squishy bun.
The toppings: It comes with lettuce, tomato, onion and cheddar, though you can add real bacon or a fried egg for an extra Dhs8.
The burger: Averagely seasoned. Huge, but kind of mushy.
The sides: Somewhat floppy, thick-cut fries.
Cohesiveness: This depends on how many toppings you get. The more that are stacked on, the more impossible the burger.
Aviation Club, Garhoud (04 282 4750)
The bun: This poor thing is so hard and dry we actually feel sorry for it.
The toppings: This has to be the most outlandishly topped burger available in Dubai: pineapple, pickle, coleslaw, tomato, beetroot, bacon, onions and eggs.
The burger: All the toppings in the world aren’t enough to make up for the flavourless, dry thing that Nezesaussi calls a burger.
The sides: Crispy (but very salty) chips and a tasty tomato salsa.
Cohesiveness: Hard to tell – you’ll have to disassemble this burger before you can eat it.
Al Manzil Hotel (04 428 5927)
The bun: Little and cute, but also soft enough to let the meat patties shine.
The toppings: Cin Cin serves a trio of mini wagyu burgers. One comes topped with short rib, another with foie gras, and the third with blue cheese. These work well with each individual burger, making them something unique and delicious.
The burger: Made from wagyu beef, they’re tender and lovely, though not cooked to order.
The sides: Sadly, given the price, these morsels don’t come with anything. If you want to spend an extra Dhs75, you can order some seductively addictive truffle fries.
Cohesiveness: Because they’re tiny, they’re also neat. You may even be able to finish each one in a single bite.
Fairmont Dubai (04 332 5555)
The bun: Slightly too thick. It’s as though Eric knows that bread’s his thing, so tries to make it the highlight of the dish.
The toppings: The burger comes with deep fried onions and a side of ‘special sauce’ that tastes like a combo of tartare and red peppers, as well as melted cheese, some plump tomato slices and gherkins.
The burger: Medium-rare is actually closer to medium-well. The meat is good quality, if a little bland.
The sides: Hand-cut potato fries served with the skin on – classy.
Cohesiveness: Although it’s an effort to fit it all in, the burger stays intact.
The Dubai Mall (04 339 9375)
The bun: This is similar to those you can buy in bulk from Carrefour.
The toppings: Tomato, lettuce, onions, cheese and gherkin. You can also choose pork bacon and mushrooms.
The burger: While the meat isn’t cooked to order, there is a very subtle hint of herbal seasoning. The generous slab of beef is quite succulent and extremely easy to chow down.
The sides: The oven chips could be slightly crispier, and we initially mistook the dollop of coleslaw for rice. Strange.
Cohesiveness: Thankfully, the bun is entirely drip-free and easy to get your mouth around.
Rydges Plaza, Satwa (04 398 2272)
The bun: Soft, warm and with a fresh-baked feel. It even has a sprinkling of flour on top.
The toppings: A tangy onion chutney, melted cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and an option for beef bacon. The burger is already so flavourful that you may not need any extras, but they work beautifully.
The burger: When it comes to seasoning, this may be the best patty in town. The beef is top-quality wagyu and, when combined with minced carrot, parsley and leeks, it’s certainly packed with flavour.
The sides: The dish is served with a helping of perfectly crisp, thick fries.
Cohesiveness: The burger holds together surprisingly well, given the amount of toppings and the generous size.
Desert Palm Resort and Spa (04 323 8888)
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
The bun: A bit too big and a bit too crisp. We ended up removing the bun altogether.
The toppings: Standard fodder: tomatoes, onion, pickles and lettuce.
The burger: Massive and meaty and made from scratch, but lacking in seasoning.
The sides: Small salad and thin-cut fries.
Cohesiveness: Impossible to eat with the bun.
The Monarch Dubai (04 501 8666)
The bun: Flimsy. The kind of bread that disintegrates in the mouth.
The toppings: You’ll get cheese, tomato, special sauce and iceberg lettuce. But somehow, these few toppings completely overwhelm the patty.
The burger: We were excited to try our first camel burger, and wanted to get a taste of the meat. Alas, the patties are cooked well-done, and are shrivelled and dry.
Cohesiveness: This is a slippery, sloppy mess. Come armed with napkins.
Al Musallah Roundabout, Bastakiya (050 734 9926)
The bun: MBCo’s three mini burgers are served in brioche buns that are fluffy and fresh, though they struggle to hold in all the ingredients.
The toppings: One of the mini burgers comes with brie and onion marmalade, another with feta and tomato confit, and a third with mushroom and goat’s cheese. We like the different tastes.
The burger: Nicely cooked, even if teeny.
The sides: Mmm... chunky chips that are crisp and well salted.
The bun: Multigrain bread gives this burger a healthy sheen.
The toppings: Comes with fontina cheese, grilled red onion, tomato chutney and mesclun salad. Simple, but effective.
The burger: Plump, flavoursome and cooked perfectly to order.
The sides: A handful of fries (we wanted more) and a salad.
Cohesiveness: A little too big to fit in the mouth. We sadly had to cut it in half.
The Address Downtown Dubai (04 436 8888)
Gourmet Burger Kitchen
The bun: GBK’s basic burger bun is okay, it’s just not overly inspiring.
The toppings: When we order blue cheese on a burger, we expect a tart, sensory overload. Alas, this blue cheese doesn’t deliver.
The burger: Cooked exactly to order, but lacking the necessary spice and seasoning to leave a lasting impression.
The sides: Full and flavoursome, the chunky potato wedges go some way to redeeming the burger’s lacklustre performance.
Cohesiveness: The burger squishes together nicely, meaning diners aren’t in danger of unsightly ketchup stains.
Uptown Mirdif (04 288 9057). Other locations: DIFC (04 425 0187), Dubai Festival City (04 232 8818), Dubai Marina Mall (04 399 7705), Mirdif City Centre (04 284 3955)
The bun: Your choice of New York’s famous H&H bagels (we opted for onion). Though we feared it would be too stiff to support a burger, it was nicely squishy.
The toppings: Brie, rocket, lettuce and, in place of ketchup, a sweet onion chutney. Overall, a nice combo.
The burger: Made from lamb and cooked to order. The patty is substantial and juicy.
The sides: The menu says the burger comes with chips, so we expected french fries. What we got was cheap crisps. Not appreciated.
Cohesiveness: The burger stays together very well, though cutting it in half makes it more manageable.
Dubai Media City (04 391 5170). Other location: Beach Park Plaza, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 342 8177)
Caramel Restaurant & Lounge
The bun: Like a sweet, toasty mini brioche.
The toppings: Mayonnaise is slathered over both the top and bottom bun, and there are sharp pickle slices and smoky aged cheddar.
The burger: They call them sliders, or mini burgers, and they come out three to an order, but these are huge. They are to a slider what the Jumeirah Sceirah is to a slide.
The sides: None come with the burger, but you can order a side of thin-cut, crisp garlic and parmesan fries – yum.
Cohesiveness: Easy to manage, but super juicy. Watch your chin.
DIFC (04 425 6677)
The Meat Co.
The bun: A soft, toasted sesame bun.
The toppings: The classic comes with lettuce, tomato, onion and ‘pink sauce’ (which we suspect is just mayonnaise and ketchup). Go for a gourmet version with bacon and pineapple.
The burger: The flame-grilled patties come up juicy and plump.
The sides: Every glutton’s dream: you get fries and onion rings.
Cohesiveness: This is way too big for even a loud mouth.
Madinat Jumeirah (04 368 6040). Other location: Souk Al Bahar, Old Town (04 420 0737)
Bob’s Easy Diner
The bun: Simple, but with a balanced thickness, allowing the burger to sing.
The toppings: There are a few to choose from. Classic comes with all the usual suspects (lettuce, tomato, ketchup, pickle), though you can get Swiss cheese and mushroom as well.
The burger: Cooked to order and served at the perfect temperature.
The sides: You get fluffy, thick-cut fries and standard coleslaw.
Cohesiveness: This burger is big, but it sticks together nicely.
The Dubai Mall (04 339 9361). Other location: Jumeirah Beach Residence (04 439 3710)
Spurs Steak Ranch
The bun: Soft and a little sweet.
The toppings: Wide and varied. You can choose from Hawaiian style with pineapple, or opt for guacamole, barbecue sauce and mushrooms.
The burger: Non-greasy and tastes so good it’s like eating well seasoned, juicy steak rather than a burger.
The sides: Either a generous house salad, a baked potato or a serving of well-cooked fries and onion rings.
Cohesiveness: Easy to pick up and tuck into.
Dubai Festival City (04 232 8866)
Fire and Ice
The bun: Light, fluffy and coated with sesame seeds. A greasy glaze helps the look, but not the palate.
The toppings: There’s only one choice of burger, which comes with lettuce (fresh), tomato (juicy) and sweet onion relish (tangy), plus a side plate of three optional extras: gherkin, tomato relish and tomato ketchup.
The burger: A thick and tasty patty. Ours came out more medium than medium-well, and was a bit crumbly, but delightfully juicy.
The sides: It doesn’t come with fries, but we recommend you order the thick-cut chips on the side. They’re cooked in animal fat, so are fluffy and crisp (the best around).
Cohesiveness: The restaurant’s fancy atmosphere means this is a knife and fork job.
Raffles Dubai (04 324 8888)
The One Café
The bun: Home-made, and it shows.
The toppings: The basics, though more upscale. Emmental cheese replaces cheddar, and a sweet onion relish replaces onions.
The burger: Seasoned with love. We could taste traces of cooked onion and assorted herbs in the patty, plus a bit of tang. Was that mustard?
The sides: These you choose separately. We recommend the mash.
Cohesiveness: The little brown bun helps to keep everything in place.
The One, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 345 6687)
The bun: A toasted, stale sesame bun that crumbles to dust on impact.
The toppings: A lost dollop of tomato sauce completely soaks into the bun, two slices of tired tomato stick to a piece of insipid lettuce, and there’s enough cheddar cheese to cover France.
The burger: Actually very good: grilled to medium-rare perfection.
The sides: Three battered, soggy onion rings, plus a portion of hot crunchy chips that unfortunately are the highlight of the experience.
Cohesiveness: It looks as pretty as a picture; sadly, the bread soon falls to pieces, leaving a greasy hand clutching a mound of melted cheddar.
Barasti, Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort (04 399 3333)
The bun: Soggy and sad. Was the chef weeping as he cooked it? The toppings: Melted cheese, some hulking tomato and limp lettuce.
The burger: The meat is rather spongy and strange. Plus, there are a couple of textural abnormalities that caused us some serious pause.
The sides: Creamy coleslaw and some floppy chips. These would be better with an extra turn in the deep fryer.
Cohesiveness: You have to give it a good squeeze to get it all in the mouth.
The Dubai Mall (04 339 9110)
The bun: Soft and greasy, thanks to overspill from the burger.
The toppings: Chunky, spicy chilli and a sloppy mound of melted cheddar. A heart attack in a bun.
The burger: Massive and greasy. If you like it dirty, you’ve met your match.
The sides: Crispy oven fries help to scoop up the run-off of chilli and cheese.
Cohesiveness: Expect spillage.
Jumeirah Rotana Hotel (04 345 5888)
The bun: Nothing special, but nothing awful.
The toppings: Real bacon, a fried egg that doesn’t dribble (boo!), melted cheddar, lettuce, tomato and onion, with English mustard on the side. The combo makes the dish.
The burger: Big, but mushy, in that ‘was it frozen?’ kind of way.
The sides: Average chips. Not enough crisp and too much grease.
Cohesiveness: It holds together, barely. We added a chip and the whole thing spilled onto our shirt. D’oh!
Millennium Airport Hotel (04 282 3464)
We test out the meat patties at Dubai’s top chains
Bottom line: Lots of bread, but not a lot of sauce. Result: a dry mess.
Bottom line: Is this patty even made of meat? Still, the taste is so familiar it can’t help but be comforting.
Bottom line: Even by burger standards, it’s greasy.
Bottom line: Good for a basic burger (albeit one with elephantitis). Still, it’s a bit sloppy for our liking.
Bottom line: The best of the bunch. It’s a real burger, and, coupled with the ’50s decor, is so vintage it makes us want to wear bobby socks.
Bottom line: TGIs provides a solid patty, though it could do with a little extra flavour. We recommend the sweet potato fries on the side.