The Best Burgers in Medellín

Hard to top a lamb burger, known as the Middle Eastern Burger at Bonuar.

Hard to top a lamb burger, known as the Middle Eastern Burger at Bonuar.

Editor’s note: this article is out-of-date and was updated in June 2017 here.  There are now many more places with good burgers in Medellín.

Writer’s note: This is the ninth story in a monthly series on the “best of” Medellín and the surrounding area. To read the eighth story, click here.

This post was updated on Nov. 30, 2013

How do you define a great burger?

Is it just taste? Or size? Or a combination of the two, in relation to cost? Or does cost not matter?

Everyone has different criteria. I’ll tell you mine.

I want my burger to be big. Not too big, but enough to fill me up until my next meal, no snacks in between. That eliminates a popular place some people think is the best, a place I will not name, to be polite.

It better taste great too, and cost no more than 22,000 pesos (about $11.50).

With that in mind, here are my favorite places to find a great burger.

1. Bonuar

When I found out Bonuar has a lamb burger, I made plans to go as soon as possible. It might not be just the best burger in Medellín, it might be the best ever.

I love lamb and I loved it at this tiny posh restaurant next to the Museo de Arte Moderno.

I forgot to tell them to prepare it medium rare, something you have to do at a lot of places because most Colombians like their meat well done. But even though it was overcooked, by my standards, it was still extremely tender and the hummus paste it comes with puts it over the top.

The service is great too, along with the atmosphere, not only in the restaurant, but outside. Just look at the mural across the sidewalk in my picture. An enjoyable lunch, definitely.

Hey, listen up, Colombian burger chefs...that's what medium rare looks like!

Hey, listen up, Colombian burger chefs…that’s what medium rare looks like!

2. Barbacoa Burger & Beer Flip Flop Sandwich Shop

Take away the lamb and the gimmicks and the fancy dressings and no burger comes close to the one at Flip Flop Sandwich Shop.

It’s a big, flavorful stack of bread, meat and toppings, but only the basics, the cheese, lettuce, onion and tomato, the ketchup and mustard, and the perfect amount of each.

I was especially pleased when I ordered my burger medium rare and got exactly that. Why Colombians like to overcook their meat I’ll never understand.

The pile of chips that came with it ensured the meal kept me full until 7 p.m., and I ate at noon, and I’m usually hungry three hours later. That tells you it was 13,000 pesos (about $7) well-spent.

Yeah, that's what I'll have...the gypsy burger.

Yeah, that’s what I’ll have…the gypsy burger.

3. Ego Barbacoa Burger & Beer

It’s hard to choose at Barbacoa. They have about a dozen options.

After flipping through the menu twice, I went with the gypsy, a burger with gouda cheese and grilled vegetables, as well as the obligatory lettuce and tomato. Wow, was it flavorful. And big. I had a hard time finishing it.

As soon as I had the chance, I told Dave, “I’ve found the best burger in Medellín.”

Two weeks later, I went to Bonuar. Six months later, I went to Flop Flop Sandwich Shop.

You can never go wrong with a classic cheeseburger, like the ones they have at Ego. Even better, it comes with fries and a drink, all for 9,000 pesos (about $5).

You can never go wrong with a classic cheeseburger, like the ones they have at Ego. Even better, it comes with fries and a drink, all for 9,000 pesos (about $5).

4. American Town Ego

This is where you go for your classic burger. No fancy sauces or toppings, just the basics: lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, and maybe some mayo, ketchup or mustard.

It was tasty and I plan to go back. I only wish it were bigger. I didn’t stay full all afternoon.

But when you get a burger, fries and a soda for 9,000 pesos (about $5), you can’t complain.

The Hollywood, a burger with caramelized onions and mushroom sauce, one of a handful of gourmet burgers at American Town.

The Hollywood, a burger with caramelized onions and mushroom sauce, one of a handful of gourmet burgers at American Town.

5. Firehouse American Town

Thank you, Groupon Colombia, for telling me about American Town. I didn’t know it existed, and how sad, considering I’ve passed the little plaza where it’s located, Mall Villagrande, several dozen times.

I went with the Hollywood, which came with Swiss cheese, caramelized onions and mushroom sauce. Mmm mmm, it was good, and I was full.

I wondered, as I left, why no one had ever recommended the place before. I found out soon enough that was just a fluke.

A week after I went, famous Medellín reggaeton singer Maluma was there.

Where’s your favorite place to grab a burger in Medellin?

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About Ryan

Ryan is the former Managing Editor of Medellín Living.

Comments

  1. I don’t know what it is but Colombians do a damn good job at preparing hamburgers. I’ve never had a Colombian hamburger that wasn’t juicy, loaded and delicious. I’m more of a prepare sancocho de bagre at home type while in Medallo but when I’m craving a burger after cleaning my esophagus with some guaro, Bonuar’s Middle East burger will be quite the delight!

    As always, thanks for the recommendations Ryan.

    • I’m a bit of a burger snob, as that’s one thing I miss from the US. I think the average burger in Colombia isn’t worth writing home about, but now that I’ve caught onto some of these places Ryan mentions, like Bonuar and Chef Burger, I have faith in the burger abilities of some cooks!

      • Fellini Hamburguesas Gourmet would probably be on my list, which has good burgers. I have been to all the places listed, but still prefer many burger joints in the US ahead of Colombian burgers. After spending years in Medellín I haven’t yet found a place in Medellín that tops the best burgers in the US.

        Many of the Colombian burgers I have experienced are lacking in the quality of the meat. I guess Colombians are more concerned about endless toppings than they are about the meat. However, my Colombian girlfriend actually prefers Burger King (Steakhouse burger) over several of the Colombian burger joints due to the higher quality of the meat.

    • thanks kevin! the truth is, i would not have known about bonuar if it weren’t for dave, which i think i mentioned…checking…still checking…no, i didn’t say that, but it was dave who told me there was a middle eastern burger, and i had heard there was a lamb burger, so i went.

      and i gotta agree: good burger + guaro = good times!

  2. I think the best place to eat a burger is The Grill Sation Burger in Medellin in laureles , its a awesome meat and size is good, the place is fantastic www. thegrillst.com

  3. Just ate a burger at the grill station in Laureles.

    It was a pretty solid effort. Had the Grill Station Original as is (I don’t know how to say different ways to make it in spanish) So it was a bit more cooked than I’d prefer but it was a hefty burger and left me feeling very full. Siesta time.

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