umami burger / hermosa beach

After the Crave Expo, we realized we were in Los Angeles. Just before 5PM… at the height of the dreaded rush hour. A peek at Google maps confirmed that traffic was horrendous and we were pretty much stuck… so Jake decided to just drive. I eventually stopped looking at Google maps and tried to just “enjoy the ride” and not let my controlling side take over. We eventually ended up in Venice Beach and then hit the 101 and started driving south, avoiding the 405 at ALL COSTS.


I did peek at the map eventually though… I mean, come on. I had to know where we were! And then I realized we were inching closer and closer to LAX and we had to make a pit stop at Randy’s Donuts! They had these awesome “You deserve a donut” bags that I adored and after excitedly pointing them out, Jake asked the nice lady if we could have one (we had a box of donuts and I NEEDED that bag).


Our haul: three creme filled chocolate bars, one filled maple bar (because they only had one left), a regular maple bar, a raised glazed (I can rhyme!) and … I forgot what that thing in the top left corner is. I mean, obviously it’s some square donut but I can’t remember what the heck it is… Ah well, no matter.


I feel like this should be our Christmas card. What do you think?

By the time we got our haul of donuts to bring back home, the 405 was still bloody awful (look, I turned British). We drove further South and hopped onto the 101 again and drove through the beach towns. Trusty Google maps again helped me to decipher that we were getting closer to Hermosa Beach and the location of a burger place that Minion has recommended to me and I’d been wanting to visit.

It was totally a sign.

Naturally, we do not ignore signs around here, especially when they point us towards FOOD.


Umami Burger was our new destination!


This location is incidentally just a couple of doors down from the Comedy and Magic Club were we have seen Gabriel Iglesias a number of times.

The hostess asked if we wanted to sit at the bar or a table. Uh, table, please. Forever and always. I can’t express to you how annoying bar seats are to a person who is short.


Jake and I were still a little full from the expo so we decided to share a burger. We both honed in on the Truffle Burgers pretty quickly. Me, because, helloooo truffle cheese, him because helloooo short ribs. The Royale ended up being a pretty easy choice.

We order our burger medium rare and our waitress warned us that the burgers would be cooked a little more on the rare side. BRING IT ON.


Here’s the burger’s hat, er, bun, all branded with their cute little logo.


Dear god… LOOK AT THAT CHEESE. It perfectly covers the whole patty and is melted oh-so-nicely. The short ribs are stacked on top and it’s not overkill on the short ribs either. The burger will still fit in a normal sized (Mary sized) mouth!


There’s nothin’ else on this burger: truffle aioli, cheese, short rib, meat and bun. That’s it. No roasted heirloom tomatoes, no housemade pickles, no artisan handpicked leafy greens… just meat and cheese. And look at how crazy juicy this burger is. And how perfectly pink it in. Heaven.

The meat was perfectly seasoned and I loved that melted truffle cheese. As juicy as the burger was, it did not soak through and ruin the whole bun (not that we gave it much chance to). The short ribs kind of melted into the burger and the meat and it made itself all harmonious and full of all kinds of yum.

Suffice it to say, I enjoyed this burger a heck of a lot.


And since it felt wrong to not eat a burger with fries, we also got an order of the Thin Fries ($3.50). I liked seeing they had french fry options for all of your french fry dreams (ie: poutine fries!) but we just wanted to keep it simple. These were light and quite crispy, I enjoyed them!


One of the waiters told us that traffic doesn’t really clear up around here until after 7PM so we took a little stroll down by the beach where I was amused by these “stairs to no where”. Or I guess really just a hand rail straight into the ground. I guess they decided to fill it in with sand!

We left Hermosa Beach a little after 7PM and on the way home my throat got crazy dry and I started hacking and coughing… thanks a bunch, Los Angeles, for filling my lungs with your smoggy air! But you have so much delicious food, I can’t stay away from you for too long.

Umami Burger
Multiple Locations in OC and LA (sadly none in SD yet)
1040 Hermosa Avenue
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

Umami Burger on Urbanspoon

16 thoughts on “umami burger / hermosa beach

  1. Eeep that burger looks so tasty! I’ve been wanting to try Umami burger for a while now, but LA is just so far, and there are SO MANY THINGS TO EAT THERE! Hopefully they’ll open one in San Diego (I know, I know, wishful thinking…). I LOVE how much cheese is on that patty!

    1. Hi Jinxi – I know, LA is full of so much good stuff, damn them!! 🙂 I have heard rumors hear and there that they might open one in San Diego, but sadly it hasn’t happened yet. They have them in OC, too, which is slightly closer (I think the closest one to us is Laguna Beach). I adored that melted cheese.

  2. I think you and Jake should have donuts as your wedding favors. Forget candy or dumb chocolates. You and Jake would have donuts as favors to your guests. Holla.

    I have wanted so badly to try this burger place. I love truffles so badly. And that burger looked so bloody delicious. I wants. I’m surprised the buns held up though. Did you think it was well worth the $12?

    LA traffic just sucks so bad. It always helps when you have a cool driving companion. That’s for sure.

    1. Hi Faye – Haha, okay, if somehow we ever get married we’ll have donut favors. Just for yoooooooou. We actually got the crazy $15 burger because we don’t care! I’d actually be happy with the non-short-rib burger, too, so I think the price point is worth it. The burgers were so juicy and flavored so nice… it was deliciouuuuuuuus.

      Yes, a good driving companion makes the trip so much better!

  3. YES, that photo should be your Xmas card!

    FYI – the iconic Randy’s Donuts also appeared in the 2nd Iron Man, I believe. It it’s good enough for Robert Downey Jr, then…

    “controlling side”….I have one too!!!!

    I’ve heard so much about these burgers and man do they look pretty good! Just meat and cheese. Sold!

    1. Haha, thanks CC, I thought that photo would make a good Christmas card, too 🙂 I do remember seeing the Randy’s sign in Iron Man! Kind of one of my motivations for visiting Randy’s the first time. The controlling side really wanted to navigate so it took a lot to “let go” but a few peeks here and there didn’t hurt.

      Yeah, I kind of dug the burger didn’t come with anything else. This place is a stickler for no substitutions or changes though (that’s what our waitress told us anyway) so maybe that’s why all of the burgers are on the simpler side.

  4. I think that photo would be perfect for a Christmas card and I’m totally loving the bag for the donuts and the donuts look so good! (burger looks good too, but i’m more about the donuts! lol)

    1. Hi Kirbie – haha thanks! I love that bag, kind of wish I got two for a keepsake. Totally understandable. Too bad I forgot to photo it with the cream filing showing!

  5. Hi there! I’m new to your blogosphere but the look of that burger and your writing reeled me in! I know that every Umami location has a special burger specific to that branch. Is that Royale burger unique to Hermosa? Just seeing whether I need to fill up my tank to head to Hermosa Beach NOW or if a closer Umami will do. 😛

    1. Hi Cara – The Royale is available at all locations. The Hermosa speciality was some tempura Baja burger. I’d rather have truffle cheese 😀 Thanks for your comment!

    1. Hi Foodwanderer! Hmm, maybe Umami is the place to try Brussels sprouts (which I have avoided for years since I didn’t like them the last time I tried them). Sweet potato fries sound yummy, too!

  6. I AM SO JEALOUSSSSS. I still have never had Umami Burger and what you ordered looks SO GOOD. And I would totally spring for the poutine fries. I was so excited to try Shake Shack in NY and then thought it was just ok, but I don’t think Umami Burger will disappoint me like that. Must make it to LA soon 😉

    1. Hey at least Umami Burger is a lot closer than NY! Easier to get to 🙂 You must go try it! If we had been less full, I think we might have sprung for those poutine fries. Next time. Oh yes.

  7. Oh I didn’t really know Umami was strictly an LA thing. The burgers are tiny though. I don’t eat burgers often, but when I get the craving once in a while, it feels sooo good when the burger hits the spot. But I feel like shit afterwards lol.
    I can see you opening up a doughnut shop or even starting a new blog strictly dedicated to doughnuts, Miss Doughnut expert lol.

    1. Hi Miss Kim! Yeah, it’s in LA and OC but not down here in SD 🙁 SADNESS. I’ve only tried to make donuts a couple of times and never the yeast kind! I should experiment though. 🙂

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