Warning: the following should not be read on an empty stomach.
It’s hard to believe there was once a time in my life when I didn’t eat burgers. A sad and dark time, truly. But luckily, at some point I had a life-changing epiphany and realised that burgers are amazing.
Even more luckily, Düsseldorf has some cracking burger bars – some of the best I’ve been to in fact – and I’ve gone to the trouble of sampling the best on offer in order to bring you a list of the city’s finest.
Neustrasse 41, Altstadt
Space Burger was actually the first restaurant I went to in Dusseldorf, back before I moved here. If I’m being totally honest, the restaurant itself is nothing special: the décor isn’t that interesting and the service can be very slow, but the food? The food is excellent.
Now chicken burgers are lamentably rare in Dusseldorf but Space Burger is home to my ultimate favourite: El Morte de Pollo. It has salsa. It has avocado. It has guacamole. In short: it has far too many amazing things for it to be anything but incredible. Not only that, the tortilla chips give it an excellent crunchy texture.
Top choice: El Morte de Pollo
Ingredients: crispy chicken, tortilla chips, avocado, homemade guacamole, sweetcorn, cheese, lettuce, tomato, salsa, burger dressing.
Top tip: make sure to grab the menu in German, if only for its psychedelic novelty factor.
Also in the Altsadt (old town), you’ll find the Cologne-based chain Beef Brothers. The location really is the top-selling point: it’s right in the heart of things, meaning you get a great atmosphere if it’s warm enough to eat outside and a great view from the seating on the top floor if it’s not.
The burgers are great too: nothing too out of the ordinary, just good burgers done well. A great start (or end) to your night out.
Top choice: Ol’ Dirty Bastard
Ingredients: tomatoes, onion, bacon, dill cream, blue cheese and Tyrell’s potato chips
Immermannstrasse 24, Centre
I’ll be totally honest: What’s Beef? really isn’t my favourite place – not by a long way. But it does arguably have a certain appeal and remains one of Dusseldorf’s more popular restaurants. Its interior is painfully cool (though also awkward and uncomfortable) and the food is good quality (though you any extras like cheese or bacon will cost you). Still, the end result is very tasty.
What’s Beef does get extra points for its connections, though: it is owned by the same people as Toykio, a very cool café-cum-bar two doors down, where you can get a 10% discount if you show your What’s Beef receipt.
Top choice: The ABC
Ingredients: basically just the standard hamburger, with avocado, bacon and cheese added.
Top tip: sweet potato fries – need I say more?
Bankstrasse 83, Derendorf
The new kid on the block, Grindhouse only opened just before Christmas, but seems to have gained a popular following very rapidly (expect a wait for a table on a Friday night). The restaurant is nice and intimate if a little bit charmless, but the food is really good, with a good choice of burgers.
The Chévre burger will quite literally change your life – goats’ cheese and cranberries should be on every burger.
Top choice: The Chévre
Ingredients: tomato, baby spinach, cranberries, goat’s cheese, Grindhouse mayo.
Zimmerstrasse 28, Bilk
It took me a little longer to get over to Stier Royal, but I was pleasantly surprised. Found in my favourite neighbourhood in Dusseldorf, Stier Royal is a cosy little place with a great atmosphere tucked away on a quiet side street. The menu has plenty of options available, with a range of grilled foods as well as burgers. Food is cooked on full display for that authentic feeling.
One big draw of Stier Royal is the “Burger of the Week”, which – yes, you guessed it – changes every week. It was Surf and Turf on my visit, but I opted for the “2 cheese” burger instead.
Top tip: order the sauce platter with your chips – for €2 you get a selection of five dipping sauces, which range from mango curry, wasabi and jalapeño.
Top choice: Burger of the Week
Goodman’s Burger Truck
Various – Cologne, Dusseldorf, Bonn
If you ever get chance, check out Goodman’s roaming burger truck. They have excellent burgers (with the best burger buns I know) with a range of added extras, including a beautiful goats’ cheese and mustard burger. They now come to my office every Thursday. So tempting.