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Brewsta's Burgers 2013

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

Brewsta returns for his annual burger breakdown

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

Brewsta returns for his annual burger breakdown


Published 04.12.2013
Last updated 04.12.2013
COMMENTS (32)

VIEWS (50195)


"I would rather be having a burger and beers with my mates, but I can't do that when I know I've got to dance." Michael Flatley

'Tis the season to read about burgers. My annual burger ranking list is here.

I've decked my arteries with loads of fat and cholesterol for the last 12 months. I've eaten many old favorites, skipped some from previous years, and added some fresh meat, so to speak.

This is the sixth year of Brewsta's Burgers. Last year's list was the most read article of 2012 on Expats.cz. The hunger for burgers in the Czech Republic grows ever larger.

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

What's my taste? I prefer beef flame-grilled or with a seared crust from a steel grill, cooked medium, seasoned with salt, perhaps light pepper, and classic, American-style construction and toppings. I like my bacon lightly crisp. I'd rather not have the toppings on the bottom, where they get hot and soggy.

I did my best, whenever possible, to compare bacon cheeseburgers or to keep the comparisons as similar as possible. I do not consider price as a main factor, but it does influence my thinking to a small degree.

The 23 burgers below are a record of what I ate over the course of the year. I did cram an unhealty number of burger "tastings" into the last two months. Some I had more than once, but if the burgers got better, worse, or changed significantly the week after I was there, that's too bad.

Here we go, from my worst to my first:

23. U Tří růží

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

I tried the U3R Burger (210 CZK) early in the year. Not a good start. The patty was dense and rubbery, with a bacon-like taste. There was way too much mayo. Not even half way through, the bun crumbled and fell apart. The ketchup was not Heinz, likely a Czech brand. Big. The toppings included raw onion, lettuce, and soft bacon. This was the first time I have ever eaten a burger with a fork and it was only because I had no other choice.

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

I want to see this cute little Vrsovice diner-like spot with an American menu succeed. I really do. The True Blue Bacon Cheeseburger (159 CZK) has potential. Others have told me they enjoyed it. But the chef screwed it up every time I've been there. I always ask for my burgers cooked medium. The first time, it was well done, rendering the peppery ground beef dry and crumbly. The second time, someone suggested asking for medium rare, thinking it would come medium. Wrong. It was barely seared and pretty close to tartare. They used quality cheddar, and there was also lettuce, tomato, and smoky bacon with crisp edges. The generic bun was stale. I really liked the piquant chipotle mayo. If they get their act together in the kitchen, they'll jump much higher on the list.

Editor's note: You can order the True Blue burger by clicking on the link below: 

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

A number of dedicated burger restaurants have opened in the past few years. Being who I am, I think this a great thing. I went to Peter's with high hopes that there'd be another good place to stop for a bite in Karlin. In this case, I'll keep going. I had the Simply Classic Burger (106 CZK) shortly after they opened. The ground beef was the most dense I've come across. I asked for it medium, and indeed, it was pink in the middle. But even that part of the salty, peppery patty was rubbery. How is that possible? I found it challenging to tear off a piece with my fingers. The toppings were red onion, white onion, Gouda cheese, tomato, pickle, too much tartar-like sauce, soft, Czech-style bacon (otherwise known as Anglicka slanina), and two types of lettuce. Aside from the visual impact, I don't understand why they put so much lettuce there. It's just impractical. I found the bun too chewy. The best thing I can say is that they served Heinz ketchup and the price was low. I'll give it one more chance next year.

You can order the Peter's Burger Pub burger by clicking on the link below:

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

I really hated their burger last year. The management wrote to say they had a bad night when I was there and had made changes. The Fraktal Burger (185 CZK) I had this year was better, but not by much. The bun is still too big and too chewy. The bacon wasn't burnt this time, but it was soft and folded over on itself. I had to unfold it manually so it covered the patty properly. The ground beef was tasty, with a smoky flavor from their flame grill, but there was also gristle in there. It was cooked medium, as requested. It comes with lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickle, and garlic mayo.

You can order the Fraktal burger by clicking on the link below:

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

Every year, I include something from Burger King. This is my version of a "scientific control." It's a known quantity and quality that most people understand. But the main point of including this burger is this: if I like a BK burger more than yours, be ashamed. Be very ashamed. Although I like Burger King much better than McDonald's, this particular Steakhouse Burger was not enjoyable, with an overabundance of cloyingly sweet barbecue sauce.

You can order the Burger King burger by clicking on the link below:

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

A South American steak delivery place near Náměstí Míru? This I had to see. Plus a good friend of mine just moved to southern Chile so I had try Arriero's Patagonia Burger. It's pretty porky. In fact, it's 60% beef and 40% pork. I'm not a fan of mixing, but this one was tasty and had a loose grind with good texture. The meat was cooked medium and actually had a light, spiciness to it. There was lettuce, tomato, and raw onion wilting under the hot meat. I prefer it on top or the side. The fluffy, untoasted bun was too large and quickly crumbled. Not good. It came with really nice pieces of fried potatoes.

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

The La Bottega di Finestra Burger (295 CZK) is an odd one. The burger was offered for just a couple of months early this year at my favorite Italian cafe. The flavor of the imported Marchigiana beef, cooked medium rare, was excellent. However, it was ground too finely, making the patty too dense. It came with an over-abundance of homemade mayo, capers, mixed leaf lettuce, tomatoes, pancetta that looked very much like bacon, red onion, and Asiago cheese. These top quality toppings sat on an amazing, toasted bun baked on the premises. It came with great crispy fries. There were so many terrific flavors in there. And yet... it didn't really work for me. This gourmet creation was just too far from the classic burger flavors to achieve a high ranking. I'm glad I tried it, but would stick to their usually impressive Italian fare on my next visit.

You can order the La Bottega di Finestra burger by clicking on the link below:

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

I don't generally like drive under the influence of burgers, but I got my car out and headed to Prague 4 to try the Domyno Burger Number 1 (139 CZK + 39 CZK for fries). The patty was salty, with a slight rubbery texture. I was wondering if there was some pork in there. The bacon was smoky and slightly crisp. The grilled red onion had very little flavor. I'm not a big fan of dark leaf lettuce on a burger. The "cheddar" was flavorless. There was too much mayo. The toasted bun was good, and the branded logo on it is a cute touch. The patty was juicy and cooked medium, as ordered. I had to order and pay for a side of ketchup.

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

Yes, this Beroun restaurant has a loyal following. It's very hard to get a seat in its tiny dining area. Many say it's the best. Once again, I'm gonna go against popular sentiment. Blackdog's burgers have the potential for greatness, but they have a major flaw as far as I'm concerned. Their menu specifically says all burgers are cooked medium unless otherwise requested. I always confirm that this is how I want it with my server. And every single time I visited (and I've been many times), the burger came well done. The thick, rounded patty was dried out to its core and hard to chew. If you haven't had this problem, well, I'm jealous. On the last visit, I had the 140 gram Black Dog Cheeseburger (105 CZK). But I had the same problem with their bigger patty, too. Their burger had lettuce, dull cheese, tomato, red onion, herb mayo, and ketchup on their bready brioche-style bun. Adding their soft, smoky bacon cost 20 CZK and fries were extra.

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

The Krystal Burger (189 CZK) dropped slightly in my esteem compared to last year. The salty ground beef was overcooked, but still juicy. But I'd definitely say it was chewier and I didn't enjoy it as much. It came with very good, semi-crisp bacon, and their homemade bun was lovely, as always. On it, there was lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and an abundance of mayo mixed with mustard seed. They served it with squeeze bottles of mustard and ketchup, which tasted like Heinz. Fries were not included, but I'm not a big fan of their thin, McDonald's-style fries anyway.

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

I had the Cheddar Burger (175 CZK + 40 CZK for bacon). The bun was different than last year, I'd say breadier, but sturdier. The thick patty of high-quality ground beef had a good, loose grind. It was not cooked medium as requested. Despite being well-done, it was moist and didn't dry out, but it was crumbly. I recall their cheddar being quite good in previous years, but this time, the cheese had a less pleasing buttery flavor. There was excellent crispy, smoky bacon along with lettuce and tomato. Fries were included.

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

I've enjoyed the Bohemia Burger with bacon and cheddar (175 CZK) many times over the years. They can be maddeningly inconsistent, but I always appreciated the strong smoky flavor of their flame-grilled beef. The patty usually tastes like it just came off a backyard barbecue. They don't overgrind the meat either, which is a mistake many places make. It came with lettuce, tomato, and raw red onion. There was smoky, ham-like bacon, which they lose points for. The so-called cheddar was flavorless, processed stuff. There was no ketchup or mayo, so I ordered some ketchup. The sesame bun was softer and not as chewy as I remember. It was not cooked medium as requested. Cooking it all the way through left it dry inside. Fries were included.

You can order the Bohemia Bagel burger by clicking on the link below:

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

I had the Baconburger with cheese (165 CZK) at this popular Vršovice hangout. Fries were extra (35 CZK). This was another burger that falls into the home-style, hand-formed category. It came with soft but smoky bacon, lettuce and tomato. The cheddar had good flavor. The bun was over-toasted and became too rigid. The medium grind ground beef was cooked exactly to medium. I really love to see a pink middle. There was light mayo on it, but I added a touch of ketchup. The server brought me a Heinz bottle on request.

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

This Prague 6 place is new and I dropped by a week after it opened. I had the Gourmet Cheeseburger (135 CZK + bacon 15 CZK). Former Mood chef Jeff Cohen consulted on the menu here and it shows. The toasted, chewy bun was similar to Mood's. The lightly crunchy bacon was perfect. On top, there was red onion, lettuce, tomato, and the "cheddar" was a generic slice. It came with a relish more like chopped pickle that was less sweet than the American type. The main attraction was the obviously freshly ground beef. It was on the salty side and juicy, with a good medium grind. However, the patty, cooked medium, was fairly thin and the flavor of the beef was somewhat lost under the flavor of all the toppings. Fries were extra (35 CZK).

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

I had the burger at this restaurant years ago and didn't like it much. This year, the Beef Burger Mozaika (195 CZK) was much different, and I liked it much better. The simply seasoned ground beef was just right and cooked medium. They don't do bacon. It had a sweet onion-mushroom mix on top that I thought was quite tasty. There was also tomato, mustard, too much homemade mayo and too much lettuce. It was not easy to eat, but the dense, homemade onion bun held together well. Fries were not included.

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

Yes, it's a chain. But it's American and they have a firm and standardized grasp of the classic flavors and construction. The Bacon Cheeseburger had a perfectly circular patty of flame-grilled beef that was ground too finely, making it too dense for my taste. They have terrific crispy bacon. The cheese actually tasted like cheddar. It came on a classic, toasted bun that crumbled a little at the very end. There was red onion, lettuce, tomato, and pickles. I asked for medium, but there was only a small amount of detectable pinkness. It was 249 CZK when I had it, but the website now says it is 269 CZK. One side note. I have a habit of always ordering their excellent chocolate shake with my burger. And every time I do, the waitress gives me a funny look and comments on the "strange combination."

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

Ditto what I said above about an American chain that understands burgers. I ordered the Classic 6 Ounce Burger (235 CZK) with added bacon (30 CZK) and added cheddar (30 CZK). You could clearly taste the smoky flame grill on the Angus beef patty. I love that charred flavor. It was cooked medium, as I had asked. There was really good, crispy, smoky bacon and the cheddar tasted like cheddar. The bun was soft but strong and there was lettuce, tomato, red onion, and pickles. It came with their good fries.

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

I'd been hearing a lot about this place over the years. I finally got to the restaurant in Smichov. The first time I had the 200 gram bacon cheeseburger (119 CZK) I was blown away. The medium-grind ground beef had a perfect char-grilled crust. It was cooked medium. The toppings -- tomato, pickle, onion, and Romaine lettuce -- were on the side where I like them. Other factors aside, it was one of the best patties of the year. What were the other factors? This was their large patty, but it didn't look too big. The waiter forgot my request for bacon, and I couldn't get his attention again so I went without. There was too much mayo. The cheese was crumbled unevenly. The ketchup in the squeeze bottle had an odd flavor and didn't not taste like Heinz. I liked the burger so much, I went back the following week. And, sadly, it was not nearly as good. I saw the owner in the kitchen the first time, but this time, I saw him out on the floor. This second burger was overcooked and dried out, knocking the overall rating lower on my list. It did have good bacon this time, though. Fries (35CZK) were extra.

5. Mood

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

Right after I picked this restaurant's burger as the winner last year, the American chef left. I went back and discovered the quality dropped. Pretty disappointing, and not just for me. I went back again a few months later, and it had improved. Each time I returned, it got better. I had the Mood Classic Burger with added bacon (225 CZK). It was made with juicy, peppery ground beef loosely ground and cooked medium rare. There were some chewy bits. It had great smoked cheddar, pickled onion, and quite savory, spicy chili mayo mixed with chives. The bacon had been crispy, but most recently, it was soft and hammy. The burger needed ketchup to get flavor where I wanted it. It came with fries. Here, I'll note that a number of other items on the menu are excellent. When I am not on a burger mission, I enjoy ordering their other offerings.

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

I had the GPS House Burger (375 CZK), which was only available in the bar at this new high-end American steak house in Old Town. It was made with broiled Wagyu-style beef, smoked, aged cheddar, spicy chipotle aioli, pickle, lettuce tomato, and sweet red onion jam mixed with red wine. The medium-grind beef had a nice charred-crust exterior. It was also delivered very rare. Luckily the meat was so fine, but it needed another minute or two on the grill. The homemade sesame brioche bun was slightly stale. It came with great fries. This was the most expensive burger on this year's list and should have been larger for the price.

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

The Beef Burger (215 CZK) at this place that does mostly fish really surprised me. The quality of the thick beef, with a good grind, was top notch. It was cooked medium rare and had a delicious, smoky exterior. The toasted sesame brioche bun was the best. It came with cheddar, sweet relish, tomato, chopped lettuce, and jalapeno mustard. Bacon was not an option. It wasn't large, but the enjoyment was big. Fries and cole slaw were included.

You can order the Fish & Chips burger by clicking on the link below:

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

I've spent a lot of time in this beloved American-owned and operated restaurant. It's a big favorite among expats, but I've seen plenty of Czech people enjoying themselves there. I've had the Classic Bacon-Cheddar Burger (185 CZK) many times. They use very good beef and the burgers almost always came out cooked medium. The bacon was crisp. I really like their soft, lightly sweet homemade buns. To my mind, there were several factors that kept them from the top spot. The burgers had too much mayo, mustard, and ketchup. That masks some of the flavor and also makes them quite messy to eat, with the patty sliding around in the bun. The beef was ground too finely and compressed too tightly. This handy burger trouble-shooting guide, much of which I agree with, explains those issues.

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

How do I know which burger is my favorite? Quite simply, it's the one that draws me back most often. By that measure, the Dish Burger (189 CZK) was the winner. It was made with 150 grams of hand-pressed, loosely ground beef, which is topped with with cheddar cheese, bacon, homemade ketchup, garlicky mayo, sweet pickles, and lettuce. Sometimes the bacon was crispy, other times it could be soft. It was not cooked on a flame, but their steel grill gave the patties a perfect, flavorful sear. They sprinkle salt on top as they grill it in their open kitchen. I really like their sweet, homemade brioche bun, which almost always holds together. They were well constructed and even nice to look at. The patty can sometimes have small bits of gristle. Some say it is too small, but it is just right for me. The owner told me he modeled his burgers after America's very popular small chain, Umami Burger. I went to an Umami Burger in Santa Monica, California two years ago, and I'd say he came pretty close. Dish's homemade fries cost extra. It was already almost impossible to get a seat in the very small restaurant and it was sometimes completely booked days ahead. Good luck.

You can order the Dish burger by clicking on the link below:

Brewsta's Burgers 2013

Agree with Brewsta? Disagree? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Comment from: Footbiscuit Published: 10:31:01 09.04.2014
Please keep in mind that STS can't stand anything in the Czech Republic for more than a few minutes.
rbukovansky(Guest) Published: 07:15:09 08.04.2014
You can try reach him on Twitter: @matesola or post a tip on 4SQ.
Comment from: Published: 10:13:34 02.04.2014
If someone knows the owner/owners of Dish, can you tell them to change the oil and open the windows? The smell of oil is so overpowering now that I can't stand to be inside for more than a few minutes. The air has a disgusting thickness to it.
Comment from: Published: 09:30:57 02.04.2014
If someone knows the owner/owners of Dish, can you tell them to change the oil and open the windows? The smell of oil is so overpowering now that I can't stand to be inside for more than a few minutes. The air has a disgusting thickness to it.
Tomas(Guest) Published: 09:49:08 01.04.2014
Just like last year, I made a Foursquare list to keep track of your visits: https://foursquare.com/lezuse/list/brewstas-burgers-2013
Miguel(Guest) Published: 08:29:59 20.12.2013
I haven't been to The Dish personally bu I ordered 3 burgers for me and my colleagues in September on DameJidlo.cz and I would't make that mistake again. It was so salty nor me nor my colleagues could finish it. And I'm used to salty food...
Comment from: demian Published: 09:06:55 12.12.2013
Best Burger ever is at James Joyce Irish Pub!!!!!
Comment from: Published: 04:26:13 11.12.2013
The burgers are alright at Dish, but the fries are complete oily crap.
Tony(Guest) Published: 08:24:12 10.12.2013
I highly recommend O'Che's burgers! Big, juicy, handmade patties, grilled perfectly and fabulous fries! U can find the pub on Liliova 14, Praha 1. Also recommend their steaks as well!
Comment from: higgledy Published: 12:40:55 08.12.2013
I had a really great burger from Zephyr last night. I ordered through DameJidlo and although there was no request for a temperature, I was pleasantly surprised that when it arrived it was still juice and pink inside. I believe that's a first for me in Prague.
Comment from: Published: 09:37:54 06.12.2013
Also second the comment about WineFood t Smichov, but everything there is so nice that I sometimes feel guilty ordering a burger!
Comment from: Brewsta Published: 11:48:30 05.12.2013
I will go to Palanda! I promise!
Comment from: Published: 05:52:41 05.12.2013
Brilliant, I have been waiting for this years list. Time to go get fat. Surprised not to see Palanda on the list but nevermind.
Comment from: Published: 05:47:26 05.12.2013
James Dean Burgers are also pretty good...better than any Burger King...big tasty burgers...the best I have had in Prague so far...maybe I should give a few others a go and compare...but should surely be on the list!
Comment from: DowntownMan Published: 11:01:38 04.12.2013
Fries at The Tavern: a variety in shapes of frozen fries. Not great.
peter(Guest) Published: 09:50:12 04.12.2013
Unfriendly staff in Dish!it´s a pity...
oMicrone(Guest) Published: 04:53:07 04.12.2013
I recommend trying the new Smokehouse BBQ in The Tavern, The Dish (in my experience very bad fries and only mediocre burger) doesn't stand a chance after this.
Dave Ruzius(Guest) Published: 04:51:58 04.12.2013
Maybe checkout Big Mike in Holesovice? New and improving day by day. https://foursquare.com/v/big-mike/50b49c3de4b0a5e9f6033482 Yes burger didn't make it to the list ?
Comment from: Published: 04:30:27 04.12.2013
Regarding your comment on Dish: "I'd say he came pretty close" - I couldn't agree more. Those are the same exact words that left my mouth this September, when I went to Umami in NYC. Wifey is not a steak/burger person but she had to totally agree both the Umami and Dish burgers are very similar and fawesome!
Comment from: Crispy Published: 04:16:08 04.12.2013
Thanks Brewsta, it's nice to see the 2013 version of your list. I'm fond of your top 2 picks and I'll be sure to try 3 and 4 soon. I'll also try Mozaika's burger again, it's been years since I've had it. It's good to see Coyote Diner's burger is not on your list. They shouldn't be able to call themselves an American diner. I wish I had waited for your review before trying Peter's burger. I had it recently and I wouldn't order one again.
Comment from: coco Published: 04:06:19 04.12.2013
Dish is definitely my top burger. Keep meaning to go back and check out Tavern one day
Wrata(Guest) Published: 03:10:23 04.12.2013
Tryed Mood in June and it was horrible. Also you should try Peter's Burgers now. They improved the meat a lot :)
Comment from: Brewsta Published: 03:06:10 04.12.2013
I only heard recently that Palanda's burger had changed and gotten better. I was burgered out at that point -- 23 was my limit this year. As for the Supa Buga 500 -- I really liked it last year. Just couldn't get to it this year. New burgers join the list, some others dropped off. I'll try to get both of these in next year -- if I live to see the end of it.
Comment from: Brewsta Published: 02:22:21 04.12.2013
Like I said, not a big factor. If the price was high and the burger was bad, as has happened in few years, I'd be pretty rough on them. In this case, the most expensive burger was quite good. I love La Bottega di Finestra, but their pricey burger didn't cut it for me, and thus their quite low ranking.
Mischak5(Guest) Published: 02:20:03 04.12.2013
The list is great but where is Cafe Palanda??? Last year number 17. They've changed everything since then and got one of the best burger in town. Just in my opinion. Anyway thank you for the list :-)
Comment from: Published: 02:13:44 04.12.2013
How much did the cost of the burger play in the rating? I mean if the top burger is there on flavour alone then places charging upwards of 300 Kc up for a inferior burger should be bloomin ashamed of themselves.
Malda(Guest) Published: 02:06:57 04.12.2013
have to recommend burger at 500Restaurant.cz, called Supa Buga 500... amazing unusal burger.. but only 1 type in menu
Comment from: Published: 02:05:07 04.12.2013
I almost had a heart-attack thinking you wouldn't mention Dish because I've been all about their delicious burgers ever since I went there for the first time :D
Comment from: renuse Published: 02:02:50 04.12.2013
I like that probably best burger in Prague is served on a plate with pink flowers.. :-) It made me laugh.. :-) Anyway I like the article. Personally I am a big fun of The Tavern.
Comment from: Published: 12:55:45 04.12.2013
cafe louvre
Comment from: Brewsta Published: 11:05:44 04.12.2013
I haven't had the Wine Food Market Burger. There are many out there I have not been able to try, several I liked last year but didn't eat this time around, and many that have repeated from year to year. I wish I could do them all, but 23 was my limit this year.
Comment from: cs79 Published: 10:49:29 04.12.2013
Have you tried the burger at Wine Food in Smichov? This should def be in the list somewhere.