Bob's Big Boy. Fine coffee-shop-modern design. $; breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. 4211 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake; 818/843-9334.
Father's Office. Sublime burgers. $$; dinner daily (under 21 not permitted). 1018 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; 310/393-2337.
In-N-Out Burger. Kanner Architects' Westwood outlet is a burgertechture classic. $; lunch and dinner daily. 922 Gayley Ave., Los Angeles; 800/786-1000.
Irv's Burgers. Irv's survival is cause for celebration. $; breakfast, lunch, and dinner Mon-Sat. 8289 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; 323/650-2456.
McDonald's. Golden arches and memories. $; breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. 10207 Lakewood Blvd., Downey; 562/622-9248.
Tommy's. Iconic L.A. chili-cheeseburger. $; breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. 2575 W. Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; 213/389-9060.
Fine points from the experts
Josie Le Balch at Josie recommends:
• To keep the juices in, don't overwork the meat mixture.
• To prevent sticking, preheat grill; make sure it's really hot and clean.
• Once you put a burger on the grill, leave it alone ― just turn it once.
Jeff Weinstein at the Counter recommends:
• Choose ground beef that contains 18%-20% fat.
• Wash your hands with cold water before handling the ground meat; you want to keep the fat in it cold.
• Put cold condiments such as lettuce, tomato, and pickles under the burger, and hot condiments on top.
Martha Gamble at the Apple Pan recommends:
• Use lettuce from the inner section of a head of iceberg, between the heart and the outer leaves.