Here are my top three Paris burgers. So far, that is.
Le Louvre Ripail, 1 Rue Perrault, 1st
This is the fancy burger, mostly because it costs €20 and it's across the street from the eponymous Louvre museum. But it also has a magical, meta-beefy flavor, almost as if the thick patty was infused with a beef stock reduction. The fries were delicious golden-brown, one-inch-tall cubes. I am curious to try the other things on the menu.
Café Crème, 4 Rue Dupetit-Thouars, 3rd
Situated on a deeply tree-shaded lane, Café Crème offers three burger options. The Hamburger Buns is the standard burger on a bun (just one, contrary to the name) with great beef, good cheese, lettuce-tomato-onion, a slice of perfectly chewy, porky poitrine (bacon) and standard thin fries, served on a wood cutting board; next is the Hamburger Muffin, same as above, except with a slightly smaller patty, served on an english muffin; and lastly, the Hamburger Diet, same as the Hamburger Muffin, but served with a pile of sautéed veggies instead of fries, but I think you still get the bacon. French diet style. One time we asked for avocado instead of bacon and our waiter recoiled and said "Really? On a boorgoor?" I explained, "We're from California, we put avocado on everything, it's really good..." He cut me off as he walked away, "No no no, it's fine," and whispered, "I try it tomorrow."
Chez Prosper, 7 Avenue du Trône, 11th
This classic Auvergnat brasserie is always packed, and serves burgers everyday except Saturday, which has always seemed weird to me because if there is any day of the week that is a burger, it's Saturday. But whatever. Their cheeseburger auvergnat is simple, french burger perfection: a sizable patty of excellent beef, onions, emmental cheese, served with classic bistro fries, a side salad, and a small ramekin of sauce maison, something akin to a creamy, shallot bearnaise sauce. They also serve good steaks, big dinner salads, and delicious desserts, my favorite of which is the Nutella Tiramisu, served in a flip-top glass jar. This is where the guy ate his burger in four bites. Me, I cut the thing in half and eat it with my hands, dipping each bite in the sauce, which, in French manner, lasts for exactly one burger.
(*Auvergnat means "from Auvergne", which is a mountainous, forested region in central France. A great majority of the brasseries in Paris were started by people from Auvergne in the mid 19th century. Many men from there worked as coal porters and their wives would set up inns and restaurants at their houses where people would come to buy coal. Even today, around three-quarters of the brasseries in Paris are run by auvergnats.)
Hamburger Muffin at Café Crème
Coyote Burger, Wagon Wheels, and a side of Homemade Ranch Dressing at Good Ol' Burgers
Also, I couldn't talk about California burgers without mentioning In-N-Out. It is the classic drive-thru. They use all natural ingredients and they've kept the menu the same since the fifties, at least the written one. If you've been to one, you know about the secret menu. If you haven't, you should go and find out. In-N-Out.
And just to balance it out with my three Paris burger recommendations, my third California burger pick is my hometown favorite, The Hamburger Habit of Goleta, Santa Barbara, and Ventura. Great all around for burgers and other things. I'm not ashamed to admit that I usually order the Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich and, of course, onion rings. It's especially good if you are exhausted from surfing and you've had too many burritos in a row. The Habit.
Posting by Adrian