The Malmö Burger Guide
The perfect burger... Does it exist? Is it even possible? If so, where can we find it?
These are the great questions of our generation. Luckily, the answer is yes and the perfect burger resides right here in Malmö. Before we tell where to find it, it's only fair to give you a little breakdown of the burger scene here and some strong contenders for the top spot.
Over the past decade, Malmö has had a large influx of burger restaurants/shack/joints spring up, as has been the trend in almost any city in the world. Burgers are/were cool again and so of course there should be a wave of places opening up to satisfy our ravenous lust for meat, cheese and buns. We've seen great places open as well as some questionable establishments open too (and close, thankfully). But since the burger wave of 2010, we're now left with the places that survived and flourished. You could say that the fat has been trimmed, leaving us with only the best of the best in 2020.
Luckily for us, the trend of using organic and locally sourced ingredients has caught on and is now considered the norm at most restaurants. Not everyone does it, but a majority do and we are always appreciative as Skåne has a wide range of skilled and quality producers.
Full disclosure, this burger guide does not claim to be impartial. This is a guide of burgers that we love and think are really really good. Think of it as asking a well informed friend for a recommendation as opposed to a hard-hitting piece of burger journalism. With that out of the way, we can continue.
This first choice is sure to ruffle feathers and question our integrity immediately. And that's fair. But we're including it anyways. Here's why: sometimes you need something quick, good, consistent, available and isn't related to a clown or king. Max checks all the boxes in that regard. It's not the best burger by far, but it has been a solid meal on roadtrips, after late nights, and just before payday.
First and foremost, they're Sweden's first burger restaurant. Opened back in 1968 in Gällivare (that's up in the north), they are still family owned to this day. They are also leading the charge in carbon sustainability. In 2013, they became 100% carbon neutral via carbon offsets and today they operate at 110% emission offset.
Aside from that, their burgers are actual pretty good. They offer a wide range of burger options and toppings, but they are also very inclusive for vegetarians and vegans. The recently released halloumi burger is a fantastic budget umami bomb when you're heading home from a long night on the town. Their crispy fries are also one of our biggest guilty pleasures.
217 51 Malmö
Charlie's is basically the stylistic opposite of Max. Cozy, dimmly lit, inviting and has that "neighborhood" bar vibe that you want when going out to eat on a Thursday-Saturday evening.
When it comes to burgers, Charlie's is DAMN GOOD. The buns are toasted just right, the burger is always medium rare, and their weekly special is never dull (it can be hit and miss though, so stick with The Original or The Cheese if it's your first time). One of our favorite things about this place is the taste of umami - it's everywhere. The fries, dips, and burgers have an. every-present taste that just keeps you licking your lips and wanting more. It's a perfect place for a quality gourmet-esque burger in an environment that feels like you're at a neighborhood establishment.
They make stiff cocktails and have a select range of quality local brewed beers on the menu as well which make the experience that much better.
Surf Shack Beach Diner
217 59 Malmö
We have to preface this by saying that we actually worked for Surf Shack many years ago. However, that in no way taints our judgement. The Surf Shack Beach Diner is the second location of the original Surf Shack, which is located in the Gamla Väster neighborhood. The beach diner is predictably located by the beach (Ribban to be exact). It's a fantastic location for 4 months of the year when the wind is calmer and the long days are plentiful.
The burgers menu is painfully difficult to navigate. Something that hasn't changed since our time there. However, if you can manage to get through the menu and actually order, you'll be reward with a burger that is a tad messy, a tad over stuffed and every bit as delicious. It's not a "beautiful" burger, but it's a delicious burger. They ability to get exactly what you want on it can be a gift and a curse, as you're always left wondering "what if", but that just keeps you coming back to try again. The Smash Burger is the way to go - two patties is the best meat-to-other stuff ratio, as it gives you a chance to really enjoy the flavour of the meat while letting your add-ons work their magic.
Surf Shack's fries are also one of the bright spots on the menu. They cut them all by hand and cook them old school for maximum crispy-to-fluffy ratio. Treat yourself to the garlic fries if you're into that sort of thing.
211 35 Malmö
The newest players in town, Bronx Burgers are a sub brand of Bastard Burgers, which are well known in Sweden as a chain of hip burger restaurants.
You're definitely aware that you're walking into a franchise when you enter Bronx Burger (not a bad thing, just a matter of fact), but the menu is simple and they offer the exact same menu for vegans, which is a HUGE plus as it's 2020 and it's time to finally be nice to the vegans. Our favorite is the Los Angeles Burger. It had everything we love - sweet, salt, spicy, and fatty. The fries are crinkle cut, something which you won't know bothers you until you see them.
The "AnimalStyle" fries are hidden gem here. If you're from California, then you know what "Animal Style Fries" are and you'll appreciate them that much more. If you're not (like 99% of the world), you'll enjoy them all the same. Fries, melted cheese, bacon, jalapeno, and onions make this a proper hangover cure.
And now the perfect burger: Casual Street Food
211 56 Malmö
Ok, when we say "perfect burger," we may be exaggerating just a pinch. We all know perfection is just an ideal that no one can ever achieve and keeps us pushing forward create new and amazing things. We know that. But Casual Street Food's "Meals on Wheels" burger is about as close as we've gotten to perfect. On paper, it's nothing out of the ordinary: two beef patties, cheese, pickles, onions, mustard, ketchup and mayo. However, they're doing something magical in the kitchen because the balance of everything is perfectly executed. You end up with a burger that hits all the nostalgia points of when you had a truly good burger for the first time. It catches you off guard and makes you have to ask "what's in this thing?" On many occasions, we've finished the burger and immediately had the urge to order another, knowing damn well that we can't fit it inside our puny bellies.
The guys at Casual have just opened a new restaurant, which is literally 5 meters from their old restaurant, but is about 10 times bigger and looks much nicer inside. it has the structure of a diner, but the lighting and ambiance of a high class restaurant.
So there you have it - our brief guide to Malmö burgers. There are plenty of quality burger restaurants that we didn't get a chance to review above, so we added them down below.
Södra Vallgatan 3, 211 40 Malmö
Great location with a decent menu of classic burgers and sides. Go for the ambiance, stay for the Smokey burger.
Södra Skolgatan 45, 214 22 Malmö
The Tennessee Whiskey Smack Burger is our favorite. Located in Möllan, you can start your night here and hits the bars with a full stomach and healthy conscience.
Gibraltargatan 6, 211 18 Malmö
Located in the Saluhall, you'll be tempted by some incredible food, but stay the course and grab a classic burger. Nothing pretentious, just an old fashioned smash burger you'd get from a diner griddle.