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Brewsta’s Burgers 2011

Brewsta’s Burgers 2011

Brewsta addresses the burgers of Prague

Brewsta’s Burgers 2011

Brewsta’s Burgers 2011

Brewsta addresses the burgers of Prague


Published 30.11.2011
Last updated 30.11.2011

"Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger." Abbie Hoffman

It's that time of year again. Holiday decorations are everywhere. Shopping madness is underway. And I've got my list of hamburgers I've eaten in the past year.

Last year's list
was huge and had too many sub-par burgers. The compilations from 2008 and 2009 are distant memories.

I must repeat my standard disclaimer: This is not a list of the "best" burgers. It is a purely subjective survey of the ones I either liked or disliked the most, based on my personal taste.

For example, I prefer flame-grilled beef seasoned only with salt, perhaps pepper, and classic, American-style construction and toppings. I tend to look down on excessively creative reinterpretations of time-honored standards.

I now present the 16 hamburgers I have consumed from my least favorite to the most enjoyable.

16. Greenz Restaurant

Brewsta’s Burgers 2011

Since they didn't have a straight up bacon cheeseburger, I had the "Ultimate Burger." The patty was like meatloaf, which is not acceptable in my book. It came topped with bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, barbecue sauce, ketchup, mayo and Burger King-like onion rings. It was an overloaded bomb to eat, priced at 179 CZK with fries. The "classic" with only lettuce, tomato, ketchup and mayo is 129 CZK. I do love the irony of "Prague's first salad restaurant" specializing in steaks and burgers.

15. Bohe(my)a Lounge and Grill Bar

Brewsta’s Burgers 2011

The best I can say here is that this burger was large, it had good grilled onions, and it was not too expensive. The patty was decidedly un-American. The ground beef was mixed with onions, herbs, and spices. It had what looked like parsley in there. The bun had tons of mayo. There was too much curly red lettuce. For what it was, the taste wasn't bad, but the burger was a total mess to eat. The steak fries were nice and crispy. The price was 148 CZK. On a sour note, the ketchup bottle said "Heinz." However, the watery red sauce that poured so freely out of it said "cheap Czech stuff." Thankfully, the tapas there are much better than the burger. The restaurant is an outdoor rooftop, so the burger is only available in warm weather months on non-rainy days.

14. La Republica

Brewsta’s Burgers 2011

I was seduced from afar by this burger. But goods looks alone are not enough for a long-lasting relationship. Not for me, at least. The patty, topped with egg, was a rubbery meatloaf, mixed with all sorts of non-standard items. Not good. When it comes to classic burgers, less is more. Don't reinvent the burger wheel. This restaurant was open for a short period during the summer when I tried this. It reopened after a redo last week. I can only hope they have reconsidered their attempt at this too clever by half recipe. And that they shouldn't be so stingy with the ketchup. The only good things were the fresh, quality bun, and that it was 155 CZK.

13. Mlsnej Kocour

Brewsta’s Burgers 2011

The dense, overcooked patty was no fun. It had a smoky flavor, but I think it was due to mixing with smoked meat rather than from the grill. There was lettuce, tomato, pickle, no ketchup, and too much mayo. Bad Czech ketchup was brought later, on request. It came with fries and the price was decent at 165 CZK.

12. Yes Burger

Brewsta’s Burgers 2011

I like to champion the little guy (or burger joint) when I can. I just can't do it here. I've heard happier tales from others, but my one experience was lackluster. The patty was thin, dry, and overcooked. The bacon was undercooked. The cheese was melted into oblivion. The beef sat on a small bun with tomato, pickle, red onion, and too much lettuce. The patty warmed the toppings, or should I say, "bottomings", to an unpleasant state. This burger was the best bargain of them all at 65 CZK plus fries for 20 CZK. But cheaper is not always better. I am in no hurry to go back.

11. Kobe

Brewsta’s Burgers 2011

Several people have raved about and recommended this burger to me over the years. I finally broke down and went for broke at this high-end steak and sushi joint. Their offering fell far short of expectations, according to my standards. On the positive side, it had an enjoyable smoky, grilled flavor and good grilled red onions. However, the puck-like beef patty had several negative issues for me. The meat's grind was too fine and the fat content too low. This made for an overly dense, chewy patty. A very lean burger is not a good burger. The bun was inundated, top and bottom, with an herbed mayo that overwhelmed the meat and cause it to slip and slide. The bacon was so thick it could be served separately as smoked pork belly. That's not a crime, but it's not the classic style I look for, either. The final insult here was the price. The burger by itself cost 320 CZK. A stingy serving of fries was an extra 50 CZK. And to add injury to insult, a small dish of ketchup was 20 CZK. That's a grand total of 390 CZK for the combo. Not worth it.

10. Burger King

Brewsta’s Burgers 2011

Every year, I include a sample from Burger King as a "control" of sorts. To my mind, this is not necessarily a low bar. I actually like BK in moderation and this limited edition, flame-broiled XXL Bacon Double Cheeseburger was a pleasure. Sure, the American cheese was a too processed, but the bacon was better than usual. It was a smoky, heavy beast that mainlined straight to my heart (and that's not all good). Yes, I would rather have this burger than all of the above.

9. Kofein Restaurant

Brewsta’s Burgers 2011

This is one of the few burgers I like that falls outside the classic construction category. It was served on a grilled ciabatta. I've made them myself on this crunchy Italian bread and I like it. Overall, it has a homey taste and feel. The burger includes grilled onions, soft bacon, cheese, shredded lettuce, and a tomato-mayo mixture. There may be something extra mixed in the beef as it was a little more rubbery than it should be. But it had a lovely charred crust and it was quite juicy. The first time I tried it, it was overcooked. But the second time it was cooked medium on request. Either way, it had good flavor. The burger comes with great, homemade steak fries for just 125 CZK.

8. LokalBurger

Brewsta’s Burgers 2011

These burgermeisters don't have an actual address. You have to check their website to see where they'll turn up next. I caught them at Bukowski's cocktail bar and I'm glad I did. The well-put-together burger consisted of top-quality ground beef, a lovely homemade bun, lettuce, pickles, too much tomato, and special sauce. It reminded me vaguely of the In-N-Out Burger I had recently in California. It's the closest you'll find in Prague, anyway. This 95 CZK burger went down very nicely with my tasty Bukowski's beverage.

7. Bohemia Bagel in Holešovice

Brewsta’s Burgers 2011

The Bohemia Burger with bacon and cheese was once at the top of my list. I still think it is pretty good, but the mighty burger has fallen in my esteem. The big, thick 200-gram patty was made with good ground beef and had good flavor from the grill. There was a generous amount of smoky, properly-cooked bacon. A bottle of Heinz is provided and they offered decent, but not crisp enough homemade fries, salad, or a combination of both. As for the negatives, the burger is served with all toppings already on it, including way too much lettuce. I don't like that. The bun was their sesame seed roll that held up well, but was much too chewy. Overall, it is the best value, with all of the above for 165 CZK.

6. Krystal Mozaika Bistro

Brewsta’s Burgers 2011

The meat was the star here. It was high-quality ground beef, cooked medium, very juicy, with no excessive seasoning beside salt. The bun was homemade and top notch. The bacon was cooked to a fine chewy crunch. The burger came fully assembled. It has pickles, which I like. But there was way, way too much mayo mixed with whole grain mustard that caused the bun to lose structural integrity. The thing fell apart in my hand before the last bite. Next time, I'd take the advice of a reader and ask for the mayo on the side. The 150-gram burger was 169 CZK, but the fries were an extra 39 CZK.

5. Fraktál

Brewsta’s Burgers 2011

I hadn't had the Fraktal Burger in a couple of years. It was just as I remembered it, which is to say pretty good. There were, however, a few flaws. Though cooked over a fire, there isn't much grill flavor in the salty 150 gram patty. I asked for medium, but it was cooked all the way through. The cheese was bland. Some bacon was perfectly cooked, but some was fried to an improper hardness. They get extra points for putting the lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle on the side, along with a bottle of Heinz ketchup. Despite the issues, there was some burger synergy, it all worked well together, and I liked it. It comes with fine fries for 185 CZK.

4. Potrefená Husa on Vinohradská

Brewsta’s Burgers 2011

This burger was compact and well-built. It was not the largest one out there, but it's enough to get the job done. They use good ground beef, but often overcook it past medium. It was too lean and was not juicy enough. The bacon was smoky, but soft and more English-style. They give you thick mayo on the site, but a tiny dish of ketchup costs extra. Do I use it on the burger or the fries? Do I order a second dish? These are questions I'd rather not contemplate. I like that they put the toppings on the side so you can build the burger as you want. I enjoy this burger and have it a few times a year. This is partly because I live near the restaurant. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most expensive at 250 CZK.

3. Resto Café Patio (AKA Le Patio)

Brewsta’s Burgers 2011

This restaurant on Narodni has a well-built, fine-looking burger. But the beauty is not just bun deep. The patty was thick and juicy and cooked to medium as requested. The bacon was just right and the cheese was above average. On the downside (for me at least), is the very fact that the burger comes pre-constructed with lettuce, tomato, vinegary red onions, ketchup and mayo. I personally prefer more control over the type and quantity of condiments and toppings. It comes with a cute wicker basket of good fries, but only small dishes of ketchup and mayo -- no Heinz bottle. Even so, it was a very tasty meal, and friends who also ordered it also liked it very much.

2. Hard Rock Café

Brewsta’s Burgers 2011

This burger was my favorite last year. And it was still great this year. Yes, this is an international chain, but they hit the right American notes, with a giant, flame-grilled 280-gram (10 ounce) patty. The brioche bun was actually too small for it. Toppings were lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and an onion ring. The price was also seriously hefty, weighing in at 320 CZK.

1. Restaurace Jáma

Brewsta’s Burgers 2011

This burger was truly excellent. Let me count the ways. The large thick patty was a perfect medium -- a hand-formed taste of home cooking. The fat content of the loosely packed, coarsely ground meat was just right, probably around 20 percent, giving just the right amount of juiciness. The generous portion of bacon was cooked in crispy American style, only slightly overdone. There was real cheddar and it was the best cheese I found. That is as it should be. The cheddar was an extra 39 CZK on top of the 175 CZK bacon burger. It also came with crunchy, skin-on potatoes along with a rack of condiments, including Heinz ketchup. As an overall package, including price, it just worked for me, hitting most, if not all of the right notes.

So that's my list. I'm sure there are some great burgers out there that I've missed. Feel free to let me know in the comments.

Brewsta’s Burgers 2011

Brewsta’s Burgers 2011


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Paul(Guest) Published: 02:51:51 11.05.2012
Thanks Brewsta for this insanely dedicated research and deep analysis of layering methdologies and relative fat content in the patties. Have just come back from having the Le Patio Burger for lunch. Why pick No. 3 on your list when I could have had No.1? I like pickles and lots of lettuce in my burger so your photos decided for me. Looks like they've dropped the pickles altogether and the lettuce was a rather uninspiring clump of plain lettuce. They do include fries now but I had to ask for a second thimblefull of ketchup to wash them down with. Still, the burger was very tasty and deserves to retain its No.3 spot for now.
Mrs Matt(Guest) Published: 09:38:29 05.04.2012
We had the Jama-burger last week. The Meat was excellent, the bread had probably been roasted, but had reached the temperature of just out of the fridge when we got it on our table. The fries we're just okay. Maybe they are letting it slide ..... We recommend some other place. Service was friendly and relaxed, really pleasant.
Comment from: Published: 09:05:12 18.01.2012
Brewsta's Burgers look as tasty as ever! Although, if I'm honest, I think the inclusion of yet another Burger King item is a blemish on an otherwise fine list. Jáma's burger is definitely a worthy winner. I am no stranger to Jáma, or the delicious burgers that accompany any good pub session. They have a great medium-cooked beef patty that melts in the mouth and a good number of additional toppings...everyone loves an egg on their burger right?! I would recommend Jáma to every burger lover out there...
Comment from: Published: 01:45:27 15.01.2012
A little late in the day but here's my comments on the Jama burger. I'd agree with a lot of what Brewsta says but the fries are always over done. Most annoying I find, is the patty placed directly on top of the lettuce. Hot patty + Cold lettuce = slimy ugh! Is that one really so difficult? And I'm not sure where the olives belong???
Comment from: caycee Published: 01:35:11 14.01.2012
www.udedka.cz U Dedka in Vinorady only has one burger on the menu, but its amazing! Great sesame seed bun too, all toppings are served on the side and are fresh, including red onions, jalapeños, tomatoes, lettuce and onion straws. Cheese and bacon come on the burger. Meat was juicy and fit the bun perfectly. Fries were separate and were also very good, McDonalds style. 149 czk for the burger.
Comment from: jamamax Published: 10:47:08 23.12.2011
I have read both the article and the comments below. Thanks to Brewsta for putting us at the top in this year's burger breakdown! We have been working hard on the burger and am glad to be in the running for any burger listing! As to the comments from readers, we appreciate all the feedback and will do our best to keep our service friendly and our burgers great every day. I have read both the article and all the comments to the staff at our meeting this past Monday. One change we implemented immediately as of that reading, was the shift-change policy at 5pm where guests were asked to pay their bill and start a new one with a new server. As of yesterday, we have eliminated that policy. So thank you for all the input. If there are any other questions or concerns, please contact me directly through Expats. All the best, Max at Jáma
Comment from: Published: 12:29:08 19.12.2011
I have been frequenting Jama for several years now and the only trouble I have ever encountered was inconsistency of the burgers (maybe 2-3 years ago). I mentioned this to management and saw an immediate improvement from that point forward. I have never experienced any of the issues mentioned in any of the other comments. The staff have always been pleasant to me and even on very, very busy nights I have had my food served promptly. I read these comments and wonder if I'm actually going to the same restaurant as those who seem so unhappy with Jama. I will continue to frequent Jama, both for the service and the food. Hopefully those unsatisfied will find someplace that lives up to their expectations.
Comment from: Brewsta Published: 12:23:03 19.12.2011
Having experienced Jama and its burger many times over the years, I knew it would be a controversial and possibly divisive choice. It's great to hear what everyone has to say, even if there is not a lot of agreement on that one as a top pick. It just hit the spot that day. I'm already hard at work consuming entries for next year's list. In fact, I've had a lot of sub par burgers in the last few weeks and need to give it a rest for a while.
Comment from: Published: 01:17:05 16.12.2011
staff asking for the bill when they change shift is completely normal- asking for the bill whilst you´re eating is all part of the Czech customer service.
Comment from: animaleyes76 Published: 05:19:06 13.12.2011
They are doing that a lot in Jama, staff go off then they ask for the bill... surely the computer still knows what's owed. ANNOYING.. well it was but i dont ever go there anymore
Comment from: Published: 10:51:07 12.12.2011
Hi Brewsta, I have been really dissapointed with the Jama Restaurant , I did not fine that it was the best burger also the service was really unfriendly as the waitress had to leave she brought and requires us to pay the bill while we were eating ,I have never seen this case of service before , please Brewsta next time makes us good recommendations.
Comment from: coco Published: 05:50:04 11.12.2011
Hi Brewster, Thanks for the reviews, I usually find them to be spot on and have tried and enjoyed a great many new restaurants based on your recommendations. Sadly I don't think wild horses could ever drag me to eat at Jama again, I've had such bad experiences there over the years. I love the kofien one though.
Comment from: Published: 03:36:47 11.12.2011
Always look forward to yer list, Brewsta! Btw, I recently tried the "megaburger" at Marná snaha; it's a new pub/restaurant (with a nicely done interior) @ Sekaninova 189/58 Praha 2 - Nusle (halfway between Folimanka and Nuselsky most). It was nothing more than a (rather large) karbanatek in a bun, topped by a slab of uncooked slanina. Consider yourself warned;)
Comment from: Published: 08:22:23 07.12.2011
i just got back from Jama ! not going to lie, ive had better burgers ! but i always said with restauraunts they deserve a second chance. i hope it was them on a bad day as i would hate to be the one to try the last burger on this list
Comment from: Brewsta Published: 12:32:21 06.12.2011
Paul, I appreciate your feedback. The interesting thing from my perspective is that 4 or 5 comments here and on Facebook and in emails agreed with you about Jama, saying I got it wrong (not always in such graphic terms). But almost the same number agreed with me and say I got it right. A number of Yes Burger fans have written in, but a few people told me they had bad burgers. All this illustrates the larger point I've made before, which is restaurants have good and bad days, different cooks working -- consistency can be a big issue. I never ranked Jama so highly in the past -- but on the day I was there, it was particularly good, suited my personal tastes, and I liked it
Paul(Guest) Published: 12:11:40 05.12.2011
Been going to Yes burger for about 2 or 3 months now, and I can say that its much, much better than Jama. A few weeks ago my friends and I decided to do something like Brewsta did and we went to quite a few places. I would actually have to rate Jama with some of the worst. I agree with the comment someone left below that it looked like someone threw up a burger on my plate and it tasted similar. The thing is, I know the owner (his mom and my mom worked together) so i feel obliged to show my face every once in a while but I just drink beer there. And Husa? Dude, half of the time they can't even get Czech food right.... So far Yes burger has been the place that my friends and I can all agree upon which has the best consistency of a burger in Prague. Oh yeah, I absolutely refuse to pay more that 200kc for a f-ing burger- so some of the places above I wouldn't go out of principle... But good list, a lot of the places you went to I tried also and I can say I agree with the order you put them in
Comment from: Published: 10:43:57 03.12.2011
nice list. thanks. i'll check some of them out. I've been getting my burger-on at at U Dedka in Vrsovice (on Na kozacce) http://www.udedka.cz/ 200g 149kr. won't beat the top burgers in this list (patty is not seasoned amazingly, cheese not mindblowing) but their burger has its own thing going on. build it yourself, thin onion rings, jalapenos available, very filling, etc
Comment from: Published: 10:17:56 01.12.2011
My favorite is the Two Fist Burger at Cafe Imperial. Costs about 250 or so.
mikele(Guest) Published: 02:39:39 01.12.2011
Yesterday I went to Potrefena Husa in Vinohrady, I live close by so I go regularly there. I had a terrible burger, almost raw and cold. The fries were the worst I ever had, grease and hard, I told the waiter and she said that they were home made, and that was the reason ( amazing ). Anyway, I recomend the one at Cafe Palanda, with Hard Rock , are my two tops in Prague by far.
Comment from: halo_bender Published: 01:28:26 01.12.2011
haven't had a burger or anything else at jama for years. hate that place - hate the food, the "atmosphere", the concept, the clientele, etc. it would take more than a burger to ever entice me through the doors again. some of those other burgers (that i haven't tried) look/sound great. but not the one from burger king... nope. never ever. fui.
Comment from: Published: 12:35:43 01.12.2011
I tried Hard Rock's and Jama's and both were good, but expensive. I will take the tower burger from Yes Burger in Zizkov anyday. double meat, double cheese, double bacon, double salad all for only 80 kc. I add Jalepenos for 10kc. Also Butch's Burger on Slezka in Vinohrady makes a tasty burger. The Hombre Burger is 70 something crowns and is a good sized bacon cheeseburger with jalepenos and a great bun.
jake(Guest) Published: 08:54:02 30.11.2011
I too got a cheap bun at Jama. Other than that the meat was great. The best burger of 2011 for me was at Hard Rock Cafe. It was everything Brewsta described in his 2010 list. Bohemia bagel is great too, but they lack consistency; sometimes the meat is overcooked, or fries are way too soft. Black Dog cantina really deserves a chance, even though it is technically outside of Prague.
Comment from: Published: 06:49:07 30.11.2011
I know it's not in Prague, but worth a mention is Black Dog Cantina in Beroun. I haven't tried all the burgers in Brewsta's list, but I agree that Jama is the best one (as far as meat quality and prep) that I've tried so far in Prague. Black Dog's burgers are even better. Luckily for me, I happen to live in Beroun. They're definitely a small shop and sometimes have trouble with logistics (sometimes they post on their FB page that they will be closed on a Sunday because hungry customers ate all the beef on Saturday, or that they ran out of their buns so burgers will be sold without, for a slight discount) but to me that's a plus, not a minus. http://www.praguepost.com/night-and-day/restaurants/9586-berouns-blackdog.html http://www.expats.cz/prague/t-347456.html Anyone else made the trip to try them out?
Comment from: animaleyes76 Published: 03:36:31 30.11.2011
I wonder if Jama will add the Expats.cz burger winner to their adevertising.. They're still advertising the fact they won it in 2004!!! lol
Comment from: Tuco Published: 02:52:53 30.11.2011
@sevenape right, Im also attracted by a couple of those cheap 10kc "plastic packet" olives... who the f**k serves olives with a burger anyway? Shameful.
Comment from: Published: 02:36:35 30.11.2011
I love the presentation of the jama burger. It looks like someone just threw all that in the general direction of the plate. Not very appealing!
Comment from: Tuco Published: 02:35:41 30.11.2011
Jama is WACK! I got served a burger there once in a 2kc houska... it's over priced with terrible service... I dunno why people feel an unconditional love for this place... glad the breakfast review was honest!
Comment from: Brewsta Published: 01:23:02 30.11.2011
I'm not familiar with Fatso's. Was it Fasty's? Never had the Globe burger or iBurger. I will have to add them to my list and also want to get to Cafe Palanda and Merlin some day, which were recommended last year. What's my obsession with burgers? An exciting trip for a burger -- White Castle in Bayside, Queens, actually -- is one of my earliest memories. A happy, familiar taste from a simpler time.
Comment from: Published: 12:36:26 30.11.2011
Fatsos is missing. 108Kc with drink and fries included is a great deal and a great burger. It was well reviewed last year but under another restaurants name.
scrub78(Guest) Published: 12:04:00 30.11.2011
what's your obsession with burgers?
Comment from: animaleyes76 Published: 11:58:20 30.11.2011
By the way, has anyone tried iBurger? It's on Smetanovo Nabrezi in between Karlovy Lazne and Cafe/Bar Atmosphere. Looks relatively new, didn't get a chance to look at the menu. Might be worth a look.
Comment from: animaleyes76 Published: 11:44:55 30.11.2011
One thing this article shows is how inconsistent half the places are. That Bohemia Bagel burger is definitely not up to their usual (recent) standards and to be fair i have yet to EVER eat any food at Jama that was ever above "ok". Usually it just fills me with disappointment that i didn't go somewhere else, which, incidentally is why i don't eat there anymore! Fraktals have definitely improved over a year ago and Krystal probably deliver consistency.
Comment from: Published: 11:22:56 30.11.2011
What about the burgers at Globe? Not only their own but the monster burger!
Comment from: charlie Published: 09:43:27 30.11.2011
You picked the wrong burger at Kobe - there's no point going for the standard one. The Kobe burger is the star.
Comment from: imissluziny Published: 09:34:08 30.11.2011
can someone tell me why so many places insist on putting the toppings on the bottom (bottomings as Brewsta calls them)??? It always spells disaster and where I come from, it is simply not even an option, for obvious reasons. Where did that method come from?
Comment from: Published: 09:28:26 30.11.2011
BREWSTA, please get yourself down to Merlin Irish Pub and try their burger! Bacon cheese burger, with steak fries for 149czk ... Merlin's is located at Bělehradská 68, Prague 2, just a short walk down from I.P.Pavlova. I've been eating there for 12 years, and it's still one of the best places for prices and meal sizes in Prague. IMHO. They also do Guiness (0.4l) for 59czk ;) Enjoy