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HONOLULU Staff Favorites: The 12 Best Meaty and Meatless Burgers on O‘ahu

From Punahou Carnival to Hale ‘Aina-winning restaurants, here are our team’s top spots to pile on the patties.


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The Mocha Java Burger

Starting from $10.89 from Honolulu Burger Co.

Honolulu Burger Co

Photo: Katie Kenny

 

Honolulu Burger Co. specializes in locally grown grass-fed beef burgers that can be customized from straight-up meat-meets-bun to eclectic options that include an Aloha Elvis with apple banana, peanut butter, bacon and guava jam. (There’s also a vegetarian-friendly Beyond Meat plant-based burger as a protein choice.) We liked the Mocha Java Burger with a little Kona coffee rub, some heat from a Latin mole sauce and creaminess from fresh avocado. We chose pickles instead of red onion and paid a quarter more for the taro roll, and the slightly sweet purple roll proved a good backdrop. We ordered online and the burger was cooked exactly as ordered, pink in the middle for medium. In addition to the Beretania shop, the company does regular pop-ups Thursday nights at the Kailua Farmers Market, Fridays from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Central Pacific Bank Building (220 South King St.), and Saturday mornings at KCC Farmers Market.Robbie Dingeman, editor at large

 

1295 S. Beretania St. (808) 626-5202, honoluluburgerco.com


SEE ALSO: The Perfect Pizza Doesn’t Exist—So We Built Our Own With Slices From 6 Honolulu Spots


 

Royal Hamburger

$5.25 from W&M Bar-B-Q Burgers

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Kevin Nakane (@knakane) on

 

The second you get out of the car in W&M’s teeny parking lot your mouth starts to water from the smell of burgers (in its signature teriyaki barbecue sauce) sizzling on the grill—mmmm. I always go for the classic royal hamburger, stacked with crunchy lettuce, a juicy tomato slice, onion and melty cheese (yes cheese, even though it’s called a hamburger), plus a schmear of W&M’s everything (mayo, mustard, ketchup and relish) dressing. The bun is wonderfully soft and not too thick. And I like that it’s not ginormous—it’s filling but leaves just enough room for a side of crispy, salty fries. Just keep them out of reach when driving home or they’ll be gone before you hit the front door!Brie Thalmann, managing fashion editor

 

3014 Wai‘alae Ave., (808) 734-3350


 

The Tavern Burger

$18 from Livestock Tavern

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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This is the luscious yet restrained burger of your dreams, fully capable of turning you into a Paleo savage after the first bite but just refined enough—and structurally designed—to not spatter your shirt and chin and hipster whiskers with juices and gore. This burger—with a bacon-onion marmalade, Gruyère, frisée and tomato on brioche—is available at lunch and dinner. And if you don’t have whiskers, so much the better!Don Wallace, senior writer

 

49 N. Hotel St., (808) 537-2577, livestocktavern.com


SEE ALSO: 36 Gourmet Comfort Food Dishes in Hawai‘i That’ll Warm Your Heart and Soul


 

90-Day Dry-Aged Beef Burger

$19 from Pai Honolulu

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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It’s pricey for a lunch burger—especially one that looks so petite—but Pai’s, dry-aged 90 days in-house, packs a lot of meaty flavor between chef Kevin Lee’s potato buns. Try not to fill up on those irresistible kettle chips.Katrina Valcourt, managing editor

 

Available Wednesday through Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Harbor Court, 55 Merchant St., Suite 110, (808) 744-2531, paihonolulu.com


 

The Impossible Burger

Starts at $17 from The Counter

The Impossible Burger

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino

 

OK, it’s not a true burger. But when I started doing a personal Impossible Burger comparison last year, The Counter’s version was my favorite. Not only can you get that meatlike meatless patty prepared medium rare (It’s pink in the middle! How does that happen?) you can also stack all your other cravings, from grilled red onions and avocado to a sunny-side-egg, right on top. Plus, fried dill pickles. What else could you want?Christi Young, editorial director

 

Kāhala Mall, 4211 Wai‘alae Ave., (808) 739-5100, thecounter.com


SEE ALSO: The 6 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches on O‘ahu


 

The Counter Burger

Starts at $14.50 from The Counter 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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I can be a picky eater, so The Counter is my favorite because I can customize my burger to my heart’s content! My go-to creation would be an all-natural beef burger on a brioche bun with applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, garlic aioli sauce (when I’m feeling adventurous) and a side of sweet potato fries.Dayni Watanabe, account coordinator

 

Kāhala Mall, 4211 Wai‘alae Ave., (808) 739-5100, thecounter.com


 

Brunch Burger

$19 from Smith & Kings

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Brunch in a burger. It sounded a little odd, but my co-workers’ rave reviews led me to order this delectable combo a few months ago. I have never craved a burger so much as I do this one. The sweetness of the bacon jam and French toast bun complement the cheddar cheese and truffle aioli. And I love the addition of the sunny-side-up egg (you can’t have brunch without one, right?). Totally #YOLO worthy in my books.—Jayna Omaye, staff writer

 

69 N. King St., (808) 537-2222, smithandkings.website


SEE ALSO: Penny’s Malasadas in Lā‘ie and Kahuku Fry the Lightest Malassadas on the Island


 

’50s Burger

$8.50 from Chubbies Burgers

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The ’50s Burger from Chubbies is my perfect classic patty. Use both hands to eat and keep plenty of napkins on standby.—Marisa Heung, special projects editor

 

Available daily 11 a.m. to 6 p.m at 940 Auahi St., chubbiesburgers.com


 

May’s Teri Burger

Punahou Carnival or most supermarkets ($17.99 for 12 patties)

Punahou Carnival

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino

 

I don’t eat a lot of cow, but I LOOOVE May’s hamburgers. I don’t know why. I guess it kind of reminds me of hanabata days when drive-ins were popular. (And, I just dated myself). At the Punahou Carnival they serve up a Teri Hamburger that will change the snobbiest of minds about previously frozen patties. The ingredients are simple: soft white bun, grilled May’s Teri Beef Patty and processed American cheese. I don’t even know if there’s mayo on it. But it’s perfect and a hot seller every year at the carnival. So, you know thousands of people, and me, can’t be wrong.Stacey Makiya, senior fashion editor

 

purityfoodshawaii.com


 

Turkey Burger

$8.15 from Burgers on Bishop

Turkey burger from Burgers on Bishop

Photo: Katie Kenny

 

I've been on a bit of a health kick lately so my go-to choice of the moment is the turkey burger from Burgers on Bishop in Downtown’s Topa Financial Center. This simple burger comes with none of the fixin’s, making it a perfect light-ish weekday lunch (when all of your co-workers are in the mood for burgers). The ground turkey patty is juicy, seasoned very well with a sage blend and requires nothing more. Sometimes less is more!Katie Kenny, digital editorial specialist

 

745 Fort St., #130, (808) 586-2000, burgersonbishop.com


 

The Pint + Jigger Stout Burger

$13 from Pint + Jigger

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Pint + Jigger Stout Burger delivers exactly what a good dinner burger should: gooey, substantial and topped with creamy sauce, crisp pickles and lettuce for balance. The freshly made patty is cooked to order with a generous slice of beer cheese, garlic aioli and comes with fries. Add avocado ($2 more) because it’s great and a healthy fat. Pair the burger with an icy pale ale, then a coffee-cream-and-rye Talventi and you’re ready for the rest of your evening.Robbie Dingeman, editor at large

 

1936 S.King St., (808) 744-9593, pintandjigger.com


 

The Specialty Burger

$9.95 from Burgers & Burritos Hawai‘i

Photo: James Charisma

 

Pure decadence on a plate. You’d think so many powerful ingredients packed into one cheeseburger—blue cheese, arugula, garlic aioli, vinaigrette—would overpower the senses. Instead, they work together to create a symphony of flavors as well-balanced as they are delicious. This is a burger that will knock you off your feet. And if you’re like me and add a second patty for $3 extra, it’ll also knock you unconscious when you finish eating it.—James Charisma, contributing editor

 

760 Kapahulu Ave., (808) 732-9490, burgersburritoshawaii.com

 

 

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