Updated: Jul 1
As a kid, I was quite the burger snob. I would have the same thing on every burger, comparing memories of the burgers. As it is one of my favorite foods, you’d assume I’d eat them anytime, anywhere. But you’d be wrong. As a kid, I quickly learned that the UK and Mexico, my most repeated travel destinations, had atrocious burgers. So, I cut Mexico and all of Europe off my cuisine list regarding lunches and dinners. But I’ve grown and have since had burgers in Perugia, Italy, and Amsterdam, Holland. But don’t worry, some US burger places will be added to this list shortly. This blog is a live document, and my favorite burger places from NYC to Roma will all come soon.
Burger Bar; Amsterdam, The Netherlands
With The Netherlands being so close to England, I was unsure of the quality of the burger. But I dared to try new things. I ventured off to Burger Bar after researching some burger places, and one website ranked the burgers 8th in Europe. The words “8th best in Europe” rang over and over, so Burger Bar dangerously challenged me to a duel of the taste buds. I got the classic: cheddar cheese, onions, tomatoes, pickles, and bacon. I believe that the classic burgers should not include bacon, but I digress. I told the lady that I couldn’t eat cheese and asked if I could replace it with avocado free of charge. It was. So caught up in my lie that I forgot to remove the bacon. When I first received the burger, I knew that it would be spectacular, and it was. The bacon was definitely a low point because it wasn’t as good as American bacon. Plus, I wouldn’t say I like two different types of meat in the same bite. So, I ate the bacon and started chopping. I rate the burger 8/10; it was cooked beautifully and tasted delicious. But as they purposely added bacon, and the last few bites of the burger resulted in a poor burger-to-bun ratio, I had to take off some points. Plus, nothing is perfect. The fries, on the other hand, were 9/10. The only reason they lose a point is that you have to pay for ketchup and different sauces. I find that despicable and a pure example of capitalism. But hey, it’s not too bad because depending on your burger, it can come with fries, and mine did, so I’ll take the ketchup, please. I’ll definitely be going back, and good thing I don’t live in Amsterdam, or I’d be a regular. (July 2022)
Gusto; Perugia, Italy
Visually, Gusto has the most eye-catching burger I’ve ever witnessed, and its luscious taste makes tops the experience off. Before the waiter even arrived at my table, I would see the sesame-seeded burger and try to guess which flashy burger would be placed in front of me. On my first couple of arrivals at Gusto, I stuck to my go-to burger, which they called Sasa. Sandwiched in between a colorful homemade bun, a Sasa burger was a classic cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles. Held together with a toothpick, the vivid crescent-shaped bread of the burger is garnished with taco-shaped french fires. As my time in Italy went on, I became more adventurous, so I tried a pesto-buffalo mozzarella topped burger. I was unsure of my order because I never liked cheese on my burger. But this elevated type of mozzarella dissolved in my mouth, despite the cheese never being melted. Its clash with pesto and tomato added Caprese salad-esque energy to the burger, almost accomplishing an Italian take on an American staple. I would name these burgers 10/10, a very high rating. Partially because of its perfect replication of a US classic abroad and the ingenuity of the Italian spin. Lastly, the fries. In my decades of consuming fries, I have had waffle, thick, ridged, skin-on, curly, regular, seasons, and some fry-adjacent foods like tater tots and onion rings. But Italy, or at least Perugia, has taco-shaped fries. These addictive ridged-v-shaped fried allow for a large amount of fried surface area. I would rate these 8/10. They were striking and unforgettable but had a limited amount of actual potatoes. And while I don’t like fries with an overwhelming amount of potato, these had too little.