Dining: Prime burgers

Agadir offers Wagyu beef; Gordos features international variations.

A hamburger from Gordos (photo credit: PR)
A hamburger from Gordos
(photo credit: PR)
Agadir broke new ground in Israel when the hamburger chain opened in 1997 as the premium hamburger alternative to the better-known brands with the familiar English names. And it has certainly carved out a successful niche for itself, earning such accolades as Time Out Magazine’s Eating and Drinking award for best Israeli hamburger five years in a row; making American Express Departures’ list of 10 Best Burgers from Around the World; and most recently, coming out on top of Channel 10’s taste test comparing the country’s leading hamburger chains.
Not content to rest on its laurels, Agadir keeps upping its game. Last year, it introduced for a limited time a hamburger made from famous Wagyu beef imported from Japan, and now it is back by popular demand. The burger doesn’t appear on the menu, but the wait staff will explain it: 250 grams of freshly ground Wagyu beef cooked to your order (medium is recommended) and served on a brioche, with lettuce, tomato, dill pickle and red onion. The Wagyu burger meal (NIS 89) includes a generous side of French fries and beer.
The Wagyu burger also comes with homemade tartar sauce, fortunately served on the side, because the thick, juicy burger really needs no condiment. It definitely lives up to its billing as one of the best burgers available in an Israeli chain restaurant. If you do want a condiment to moisten the brioche, there are plenty to choose from: ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, Tabasco sauce and Thousand Island dressing.
Of course, neither is the beer de rigueur. Agadir has a full bar, serving both specialty and classic cocktails. The house red sangria served hot is a good choice on a cold winter’s evening.
Besides the Wagyu, Agadir has a full complement of burgers in a variety of sizes, as well as a standard restaurant menu offering starters, salads and sandwiches, including vegetarian and vegan options and a kid’s menu. There are also several tempting desserts (NIS 33).
The chain offers discounted meals every weekday (business lunches from noon to 5 p.m.) and again late at night (after 11:30 p.m.). Delivery service is also available.
Not kosher
51 Derech Ramataim, Hod Hasharon
Tel: (09) 744-8441.
Ten other branches nationwide
The entertainment and retail complex adjacent to the Yamit Water Park in Holon is home to several popular restaurants, none more so than Gordos, a hamburger restaurant with the feel of an American diner, complete with oversized portions, loud music and noisy conversation. There is also a large al fresco seating area alongside the water park’s “river.”
What keeps the customers coming is the quality of the hamburgers, which are ground on the premises daily from premium cuts of beef, then cooked up and served in creative ways inspired by world cuisines.
The menu here proclaims: “Gordos productions proudly presents: The show must go on, an all-star collection of burgers and more.” I quote the entire heading because that is the last bit of English you will see on the food menu, apart from the occasional section heading; all the dishes are listed and described in Hebrew only. Fortunately, however, the large pictures on the colorful menu are helpful, while the hostess and several waitresses speak excellent English and give thorough explanations.
The full bar serves a few specialty cocktails – both hot and cold – although both our first choices were unavailable. We didn’t notice a wine list, although draft beers are available in half-liter glasses only.
The burgers – along with variations of meat sandwiches – are the stars at Gordos. Our waitress recommended two of their most popular: The Mac and Cheese burger and the Ooo La La (each NIS 75).
The former is the restaurant’s standard 220-gram burger topped with macaroni in a creamy cheddar and Parmesan sauce, nonetheless served in a bun, with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. Despite the carb overload, it also comes with a choice of even more: Belgian fries or baked potato. Fortunately, a third choice of side is a small Caesar salad, for balance. The cheesy pasta with excellent burger is comfort food at its finest.
The Croissantburger, meanwhile, is topped with goose breast and melted cheddar cheese, on a butter croissant with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, fried onion and egg salad. This time we did order the house fries: a mixture of Belgian-style potato fries and shoestring sweet potato fries, with adobo seasoning.
The dish as a whole is every bit as rich and tasty as one would expect from a cholesterol extravaganza.
Desserts come in two categories: milkshakes so thick they can be eaten with a spoon, and decadent lollapaloozas designed for entire families to share. As long as you don’t think about the calories, dig in for delicious fun.
Not kosher
222 Sderot Yerushalayim, Holon
Tel: (03) 773-3366
The writer was a guest of the restaurants.