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.


This article was originally published in May 2019. It was updated on June 21, 2021.


Et Al Burger

$17 from Et Al


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It’s the combination of local beef, cooked just medium, with bacon, cheddar, the sweetness of Maui onion confit and the jump of jang sauce all in one big, juicy, satisfying bite. Burgers aren’t supposed to be part of my diet so I’ll order Et Al’s, cut it in quarters, gobble just one and pass the plate around, collecting parts of other people’s lunch in exchange. Works for me! —Mari Taketa, digital dining managing editor


$17, 4210 Wai‘alae Ave., (808) 732-2144, etalhawaii.com, @etalhawaii


SEE ALSO: First Look: Foodland’s Chic New Restaurant Et Al in Kāhala


Wagyu Umami Burger

$21 from Merriman’s Honolulu


I’m not usually a fan of specialty burgers. With concept often put before execution, usually the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts. The Wagyu Umami Burger from Merriman’s Honolulu is different. It reads rich on the menu, but it’s the balance between its buzzworthy elements that earn it my top spot. A half pound wagyu beef patty is topped with herb and garlic sautéed mushrooms, melted Gruyère, baby arugula, truffle aioli, and pickled onions on a house-made kaiser bun. The patty has a nice crust on the edges whose salty bits pop against the truffle aioli. The echo of earthy mushrooms is deepened by a slight funk from the cheese only to be lifted up by tangy onions and grounded by a bitter finish. The house-made bun is important in maintaining its structural integrity, another one of my metrics. While this burger is an absolute flavor bomb, it’s not death by richness—and that keeps this specialty burger at the top of my list. —Maria Burke, digital dining editor


1108 Auahi St., #170, merrimanshawaii.com, @merrimanshonolulu


SEE ALSO: New Daily Happy Hour at Merriman’s Honolulu Offers Deep-Fried Shrimp, Poke, Taro Hummus and Signature Cocktails


Cheeseburger DLX

$8.95 from Liliha Bakery

Liliha Bakery Cheeseburger Credit Thomas Obungen

Photo: Thomas Obungen



I love a crispy smash burger as much as the next burger aficionado but when I think of a cheeseburger deluxe, Liliha Bakery comes to mind. Freshly baked buns, layers of cold iceberg lettuce, sweet pickles and a honkin’ big Angus beef patty make it sound artisanal but this is the way the nanas and tatas at Liliha Bakery have been making burgers for generations. Whether it’s 3 a.m. or 3 p.m., this is the burger that lets you know everything’s going to be alright. —Thomas Obungen, contributing dining editor


Multiple locations, lilihabakery,com, @lilihabakery



Double Down

$11 from The Daley

Favorite burger from The Daley

Photo: Katrina Valcourt



I try to go to The Daley at least once a month to satisfy my burger cravings, which are serious—I need the double stack of Kaua‘i grass-fed patties, smothered in special sauce, onions and American cheese, super crispy edges poking out of La Tour’s incredibly soft potato bun. No matter how many times I get this no-fuss burger, I want more. —Katrina Valcourt, managing editor


1110 Nu‘uanu Ave., thedaleyburger.com, @thedaleyburger


SEE ALSO: We Tried the Entire Menu at The Daley in One Sitting


The Mocha Java Burger

Starting from $11.33 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 S. King St.), and Saturday mornings at KCC Farmers Market.Robbie Dingeman, editor at large


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


SEE ALSO: Best of Honolulu 2020: The Best Food and Drinks on O‘ahu


Royal Hamburger

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


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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

$21 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, contributing editor


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


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


The Impossible Burger

Starts at $19 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-up 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, @thecounterburger


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


The Counter Burger

Starts at $15 from The Counter


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, former account coordinator


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


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


’50s Burger

$9 from Chubbies Burgers


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 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m at 940 Auahi St., chubbiesburgers.com, @chubbieshawaii


SEE ALSO: 3 We Tried: In Search of the Best Smash Burger in Honolulu


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





Turkey Burger

$8.25 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, @burgersonbishop



A Blast From the Past (fingers crossed it returns!)

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.—RD


Moved to the Ala Moana Hotel, pintandjigger.com, @pintandjigger


SEE ALSO: Pint + Jigger Is Reopening Next Spring