No condiments needed.

No condiments needed.

Versus: Grinding Out a Win at Latona Pub

The Dish: There’s no shortage of good burgers in this city. West Seattle has Zippy’s, Ballard has Lunchbox Laboratory, Fremont and South Lake Union each have a Blue Moon, and Phinney and Magnolia have their Red Mills. A constant stream of inventive new burgers seems to be hitting the scene, attempting to blow our minds. But here we set out to determine which of two beloved Seattle pubs has the better classic rendition.

The Rivals: Two Bells Bar & Grill, 2313 Fourth Ave., 441-3050, BELLTOWN. The sign dangling outside the Two Bells tells you all you need to know: The place serves famous burgers. There are several on the menu, including the tavern burger (with bacon and grilled onions), the blue burger (with bleu cheese), and the mushroom burger. But we came for the classic: five ounces of freshly ground beef charbroiled to order and served with mayo and mustard on a sourdough roll.

Tomato, red onion, lettuce, and pickle simply garnished our plate. The burger was tall, thick, and a little wobbly due to the small bun. Regardless, the roll was fresh, tasty, and provided the perfect sponge for the incredibly juicy beef. The burger, ground fresh from a local meat market in North Seattle (our server didn’t specify), was cooked to perfection and really didn’t need any condiments because it was so damn flavorful on its own.

Latona Pub, 6423 Latona Ave. N.E., 525-2238, GREENLAKE. Latona Pub has one hamburger on its menu: the Latona Burger ($9.95). And that’s all it needs, really. It comes with a thick, plump Painted Hills natural beef patty with lettuce, tomato, onion, and chipotle mayo on a toasted Columbia City Bakery bun. While the meat was expertly cooked and tasted fresh with a nice consistency, the bun was really the star of this burger. The fresh, flour-dusted dome, a bit larger than the actual patty, acted as a nice, doughy container, keeping the burger steady during consumption. Smiles crept across our faces as soon as we took our first bite. It was heaven.

The Champ: You can’t go wrong with either burger. Both are simple in concept, and each one’s taste is something to appreciate and value. But Latona Pub‘s burger was more enjoyable—and easier—to eat. It was also slightly heftier and more satisfying.

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