It may seem odd now but once upon a time, Sydney didn't really have a burger scene. Then came Dan Hong's Lotus cheeseburger, followed by Mary's and Chur Burger. Not long after there were countless imitators and even more innovators.

Now burgers are everywhere. They're on cafe menus, at the bar in fine diners, and in just about every second food truck that's ever rolled onto a Sydney street. Style-wise it may look all over the place with wild specials, attention seeking ingredients and even more ridiculous names but all the basics are classic American. Beetroot, eggs, defrosted patties and sesame buns are relics now, now it's all about milk buns, American cheese, house-ground patties and special sauce.

Whether they're classically American, stacked like fatty Jenga towers or filled with experiments, here's where to find the best in town.

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Pub Life Kitchen

Restaurant

When Pub Life Kitchen, the Lord Wolseley’s in-house bistro, closed five years ago, it left a vacuum in Sydney’s burger scene. We’re glad it’s back. PLK is still run by original owner Jovan Curic. Ping the bistro hotline (0467 644 434) to order ahead for pickup. But if you live out of the area and are dying to try the OG burger, you can order the grill-at-home version from natural wine retailer DRNKS and have it delivered to your place.

Lord Wolseley Hotel 265 Bulwara Road, Ultimo

Mary’s Newtown

Bar

Sydney’s most influential burger joint.

6 Mary Street, Newtown

Baby Rey's Burgers

Restaurant

This popular food truck now has its own permanent spot. You no longer have to wait for it to pop up to get your hands on the popular American-style burgers, mac’n’cheese balls and cheeseburger spring rolls.

4/129 Marrickville Road, Marrickville

Nameless Bar

Restaurant

The short menu here focuses on American-style burgers inspired by a certain Californian burger chain. There’s also hot wings, jalapeno poppers and more. Sauces include the sinus-clearing “death sauce.” Available for pickup and delivery via Menulog.

77 Liverpool Street, Sydney

Bar Luca

Restaurant

Famous for the Blame Canada: Wagyu patty, maple-glazed bacon, American cheese, maple aioli and poutine in a milk bun.

52 Phillip Street, Sydney

Mary's Circular Quay

Restaurant

Burgers, craft beer, minimal intervention wine, thumping rock music and a fern-filled outdoor dining space with 30 seats. And the whole menu can be ordered vegan.

7 Macquarie Place, Circular Quay, Sydney

Happy Ending

Restaurant

Concord’s finest experimental burgers come from the same guy behind the popular Mister Gee food truck. Go experimental with choice items such as the “psychedelics” burger: a dry-aged beef patty or deep-fried chicken thigh; topped with American cheese, jalapeno and pineapple relish, maple bacon and truffle mayo.

55 Majors Bay Road, Concord

Burgerhood

Restaurant

Burgerhood is from the gun team behind Grandma’s, Wild Rover and Wilhelmina’s next door. And In-N-Out is the inspiration for these burgs, which feature thin, house-ground patties composed of chuck steak, brisket and streaky skeins of bacon. If you’re down to try one, you can order from the restaurant directly.

Shop 1 332 Darling Street, Balmain

Smoky Sue’s

Restaurant

A game-changing Maroubra smokehouse with some pretty mean burgers. Southern comforts such as platters of brisket, pulled pork slathered in sticky sauce, and Southern-fried buttermilk chicken are also a big thing here. Our highlight? The Ribby McRibface – get it, if only for the name. It’s all available for pickup and delivery.

737 Anzac Parade, Maroubra

Ume Burger

Restaurant

While Bar Ume is sadly shut now, its inimitable Japanese-inspired burgers are still going strong at the Barangaroo burger outpost. Fill-out your order with sides such as Koji fried chicken, house-made kimchi and those signature Lotus root crisps. Open for lunchtime pickup, Monday to Friday. Order here.

Walugul Walk, Barangaroo

BL Burgers Darlinghurst

Restaurant

A takeaway burger joint by the duo behind Bar Luca.

1/151 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

Superior Burger

Restaurant

Nostalgic burgers from the man behind Pub Life Kitchen.

Shop 5 30 Bulls Road, Wakeley

Burger Head

Restaurant

Three young ex fine-dining chefs took Penrith by storm when they opened Burger Head. If you’ve ever wondered what a cheeseburger made by Quay and Momofuku Seiobo alumni tastes like, put in an order on the snazzy Burger Head website. Or keep an eye on Instagram for upcoming food truck locations.

Shop 17/98 Henry St, Penrith

Vic’s Meat Market Butcher

Shop

Trust a butcher to make a topnotch burger. Vic’s smokehouse is now open for takeaway, serving burgers piled high with either Wagyu brisket, 12-hour Boston Butt pulled pork, southern fried chicken or a classic Wagyu patty.

Sydney Fish Market Bank Street, Pyrmont

Five Points Burgers

Restaurant

This North Sydney joint does a burger inspired by each of New York City’s five boroughs. Work your way down the list by ordering direct through the major delivery apps or from the restaurant directly.

124 Walker Street (enter via Berry Street), North Sydney

Mister Gee Burger Truck

Restaurant

A cult food truck that gained fame from serving a truffle burger. You can still walk up and order these gut-busters from the truck’s North Strathfield location, or via Uber Eats and Menulog in a pinch. Plus Oreo shakes, “bacon boy” fries, and piping-hot cinnamon doughnuts. Fridays and Saturdays from 7pm until 10pm.

315 Parramatta Road, Haberfield

Soul Burger

Restaurant

Vegans shouldn't be denied a good burger, Soul’s plant-based crowd-pleasers are available for takeaway and delivery all week long. Order through the restaurant’s own app to receive $5 of your first purchase, plus competitive pricing and loyalty points. Download here.

49 Perouse Road, Randwick

Paul's Famous Hamburgers

Restaurant

Paul’s hasn’t changed its recipe since 1957. That means you won’t find fancy burgers here – just classic, homemade burgers and chips. That famous works burger with the lot is available on Deliveroo and Uber Eats, but you can still rock up to Paul’s place for a spot of takeaway.

12 Princess Highway, Sylvania

Burgers Anonymous

Restaurant

It may have made forays into tacos of late, but this Breaking Bad-inspired chain is still running the goods across all five of its burger locations. Trading hours vary, so keep an eye on Instagram for the changes and you’ll be hoeing into a Heisenburger in no time. Order here.

80 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

The Tuckshop Glenhaven

Cafe

This cafe and takeaway shop in Glenhaven gives locals a taste of tradition and local pride.

Shop 1/78 Glenhaven Road, Glenhaven

The General Eatery & Supplies

Cafe

Many cafes attempt the burger, but few pull it off quite like this handsome Dully mainstay. It’s trading 8am until 2pm daily, which means you can pick up the bacon-cheese burger or chicken royale for lunch any day of the week. Burger nights do happen often, so check The General’s Instagram for updates.

514 Marrickville Road, Dulwich Hill

One Penny Red

Restaurant

There’s a seriously on-point burger at this neighbourhood fine-diner, housed inside a historic post office building. It’s a grass-fed beef patty number with gruyere and pickles on a milk bun.

2 Moonbie Street, Summer Hill

The Oxford Tavern

Bar

It’s changed hands a few times now, but the one thing that’s never changed at The Ox is its strong Texas-style barbeque and burger game.

1 New Canterbury Road, Petersham, Petersham

Bonditony's

Restaurant

Bondi’s original rock’n’roll burger joint is now serving up on Deliveroo. If you’re ordering on Deliveroo, you can also add a side of love to your order. Go on, it’s free.

144-148 Glenayr Avenue, Bondi