Umami Burger

This young Los Angeles chain isn't a true fast casual chain, with its servers and sit-down set-up. But many of its qualities -- the hand-formed patties, the localization of its menus, its wine and beer list, its buzziness -- put it squarely in the better-burger category. The company has 10 Umami Burger locations in Southern California and one in the Bay Area. Founder Adam Fleishman recently paired with Sam Nazarian of the SBE hospitality group to begin expanding nationally to locations in New York and elsewhere. The buns are lightly toasted and slightly sweet. Burgers -- including varieties such as Truffle, Port & Stilton, the Lemon Miso Crab Melt at the new Laguna location and the standard vegetarian Earth -- are made without substitutions. The most basic burger, the Cali, costs $10.
Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times
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