Whether Charlie Nagreen first formed patties using pork at the 1895 Seymour Fair in Wisconsin; Louis Lassen crafted beef patties at Louis’ Lunch (still standing) in New Haven; or Otto Kuase first cooked beef patties in Hamburg, Germany, the international appeal of cooked meat patties remains pretty clear. In L.A., several restaurants anchored in Asia and the Middle East serve global versions, often without buns. Learn about six of the best Los Angeles international burgers.
Establishments appear in alphabetical order instead of in order of preference.
1. BILAL HALAL [CLOSED]: Chapli Kabob
This Pakistani restaurant dates to 1999, when Malik Awan named Bilal for his oldest son. The family’s from the village of Haripur, near Islamabad, and they deliver some regional specialties to Airport Plaza, near LAX. Chapli Kabob ($7.99) is a specialty of Peshawar, featuring four ground beef patties bound with flour and egg, mixed with onions, tomatoes, cilantro and coriander and deep-fried. The juicy, moderately spicy patties come with a sauce caddy in case you like to spoon on spicy red chile sauce, tamarind sauce, or mint chutney.
2. GOTTSUI [CLOSED]: Tsukune Hamburger
This Sawtelle branch of a Tokyo okonomiyaki parlor belongs to actor Tsuyoshi Ihara, who appeared alongside Ken Watanabe in “Letters From Iwo Jima.” Savory pancakes aren’t the only things that sizzle at Gottsui, including a Tsukune Hamburger ($8) that’s an oversized, burger-ized version of Japan’s popular chicken meatball yakitori. Here, the seared minced chicken patty appears on a bed of cabbage, topped with fried egg dusted with nori, squiggles of mayo, and sweet but not cloying teriyaki sauce.
3. HUMMUS BAR EXPRESS [CLOSED]: Middle Eastern Kabab
This Third Street Promenade outpost of a popular Tarzana restaurant features skylights, high-top blonde wood tables, a patio with white umbrellas, and a stripped down Israeli menu. Middle Eastern Kabab ($13.99) showcases juicy Angus beef shoulder patties blended with 20% lamb fat, onions, parsleys and “secret spices” from Israel. Choose two sides, the best being tangy minced Israeli Salad and colorful Veggie Rice, which changes daily but may include eggplant, celery, onion, carrot, cumin and olive oil.