Umami Burger founder Adam Fleischman
Umami Burger founder Adam Fleischman

Hometown: Silver Spring, Maryland
Occupation: Founder, Umami Burger; Co-founder, 800 Degrees; Managing Director, AdVantage Partners
Years lived in Los Angeles: 17
Accolades: “Burger of the Year,” GQ (2010)
Rising Star Concept Award, StarChefs.com (2010)

Go to Adam Fleischman’s shortlist

Name the top restaurants and dishes that you think every visitor to Los Angeles should try. 

Sushi Zo omakase. Best sushi in the U.S.

Morning glory salad at Jitlada Thai.

BBQ galbi at Genwa Korean BBQ.

Tamale with black mole at Guelaguetza on Olympic.

Dim sum at Elite Restaurant.

If you had to name one favorite item from Umami Burger, what would it be and why?

The Throwback Burger [with two 3.5 ounce seared beef patties, white cheddar cheese, miso mustard, Umami house ketchup, soy pickles and minced onions]. Reminds me of my youth.

What’s your earliest memory about food?

Picking blue crabs on the Chesapeake.

What do you love best about L.A.’s food scene?

Its immense diversity.

What’s your favorite neighborhood to dine out in? 

Hollywood. It has a great energy.

What are some of your go-to places for cheap and quick eats?

Sweetgreen, The Farmers Market, Joe’s Falafel, Zankou Chicken.

What’s one dish you tried in Los Angeles that blew you away and left you wishing you came up with the recipe yourself?

The pastrami sandwich at Langer’s Deli.

Since Eats Abroad is geared toward travelers, are there any restaurants or bars at the Los Angeles area airports or hotels you would recommend?

Kogi and Lemonade at LAX.

Since it’s Los Angeles, we have to ask: what’s your favorite place for Mexican food?

Lotería! Grill. Love all the tacos.

What’s your guilty pleasure and where in L.A. do you go to get it? 

Gelato at Amorino in Beverly Hills.

Finally, what would you say is the one thing any visitor must see or do before leaving Los Angeles? 

Drive on the freeways aimlessly.

Adam Fleischman’s Shortlist:

Umami Burger, 1520 N Cahuenga Boulevard (Hollywood); burgers, lunch and dinner daily.
Multiple locations in and around L.A., northern California, New York City, Las Vegas and Chicago.

800 Degrees, 800 Wilshire Boulevard (Downtown L.A.); pizza, lunch, dinner and late night daily.
Multiple locations in and around L.A. and Las Vegas

Sushi Zo, 9824 National Boulevard, Suite C (Cheviot Hills); Japanese, lunch Monday-Friday, dinner Monday-Saturday, closed Sunday.
Second location: 334 S Main Street, Suite 1106 (Downtown L.A.); lunch Monday-Friday, dinner Monday-Saturday, closed Sunday.

Jitlada Restaurant, 5233 1/2 Sunset Boulevard (Little Armenia); lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday, closed Monday.

Genwa Korean BBQ, 170 N. La Cienega Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA; Korean, lunch and dinner daily.
Second location: 5115 Wilshire Boulevard (Mid-Wilshire); lunch and dinner daily.

Guelaguetza, 3014 W Olympic Boulevard (Koreatown); Mexican, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.

Elite Restaurant, 700 S Atlantic Boulevard, Monterey Park, CA; Chinese, dim sum and dinner daily.

Sweetgreen, 8055 W 3rd Street (Beverly Grove); salads, lunch and dinner daily.

The Original Farmers Market, 6333 W 3rd Street (La Brea); open daily.

Joe’s Falafel, 3535 Cahuenga Boulevard W, Suite 105 (Studio City); Mediterranean, lunch and dinner daily.

Zankou Chicken, 1716 S Sepulveda Boulevard (West L.A.) Mediterranean, lunch and dinner daily.
Second location: 7851 W Sunset Boulevard (Hollywood); lunch and dinner daily.
Multiple locations around L.A.

Langer’s Deli, 704 S Alvarado Street (Westlake); delicatessen, breakfast and lunch Monday-Saturday, closed Sunday.

Kogi, Los Angeles International Airport, Terminal 4; Korean-Mexican, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.
Multiple locations throughout L.A.

Lemonade, Los Angeles International Airport, Terminal 5; seasonal California comfort food, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.
Multiple locations throughout L.A.

Lotería! Grill, The Original Farmers Market, 6333 W 3rd Street (La Brea); Mexican, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.
Second location: 6627 Hollywood Boulevard (Hollywood); lunch and dinner daily.
Multiple locations around L.A.

Amorino, 9605 S Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA; gelato, open daily.


About the Chef: For wine expert and consultant Adam Fleischman, it all started with his curiosity in the science of taste – specifically the fifth taste of umami, or savory. He soon started to apply this thinking to burgers after he noticed a void in gourmet burger places, ultimately arriving at the idea for Umami Burger. The first location opened in 2009 in L.A.’s La Brea neighborhood, and Los Angelenos were introduced to burgers topped with flavorful delicacies such as parmesan crisps and truffled aioli. Fleischman had elevated the humble burger to something so much more than just a fast food or backyard BBQ staple.

Umami Burger now boasts two dozen locations from coast to coast and a loyal cult-like following that can’t get enough of its decadent offerings. It’s easily Fleischman’s most prominent brand, but he’s also been busy with other ventures including 800 Degrees (Neapolitan pizza), Chop Daddy’s (barbecue), Smoke Oil Salt (Spanish tapas) and Tacoteca (Mexican).

So what’s next for the restaurateur? Through his company, AdVantage Partners, Fleischman has teamed up with Chef Joshua Skenes of the acclaimed San Francisco restaurant Saison for a new fast-casual Chinese eatery concept called Fat Noodle. He’s also hoping to focus on seafood and kids’ food for future restaurant concepts.

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