ONCE a staple of drive-thrus and fast food restaurants, burgers have had something of an image overhaul in recent years.

You can now get gourmet burgers right across the country, with an assortment of fillings, toppings and flavours to ensure that your dish never gets boring. Here’s our pick of the best burger joints in Scotland.

1. Lebowskis, Glasgow

Burgers are the indisputable centre-point of the Lebowskis menu. There are nine options to choose from, which can then be customised to your exact preferences via the 26 separate toppings on offer – including Dingwall haggis, Scottish brie and red onion marmalade.

Our personal favourite is the Jamaican Me Crazy: a rather unusual combination of marinated jerk chicken, mango salsa, pineapple fritters, chilli cheese and a pickled pepper. The pineapple, in particular, can be a bit of a shock to the taste buds, but you can guarantee it’s a burger you won’t forget in a hurry.

Make sure you also try one of the famous Lebowskis White Russian cocktails – inspired by the Coen Brothers’ film – to accompany your meal.

1008 Argyle Street, Finnieston, Glasgow. 0141 564 7988. Open every day, 11am-12am (opens at 10am on Saturday and Sunday)

2. The Grill by HW, Bridge of Allan

Japanese-originated Wagyu beef is considered by celebrity chefs and food critics to be among the finest meats in the world.

It was brought here in 2011, when a husband and wife team based in Perth decided to breed Wagyu cattle and bring its distinct taste to Scottish diners. This Bridge of Allan restaurant offers Wagyu beef in the form of both steak and burgers – with the Highland Wagyu meat needing little garnishes or sauces in order to pack a punch.

You can choose from the classic burger and chips, the cheese and bacon burger and the egg and nduja burger, as well as a skinny version served with salad. It doesn’t come cheap, but you are unlikely to leave disappointed.

2 Inverallan Road, Bridge of Allan, Stirling. 01786831188. Open Tuesday- Saturday: 12pm-3pm and 6pm-10pm www.hwgrill.co.uk

3. Burgers and Beers Grillhouse, Edinburgh

The undeniable star of the Burgers and Beers Grillhouse is its Mac Attack: a patty that’s topped with Scottish cheddar cheese, a mac n cheese fritter, sweet cured bacon and lettuce. But if that doesn’t appeal then there is a plethora of alternatives to choose from, including the “build your own bad boy” option.

Start by selecting your patty (either Aberdeen Angus beef, grilled chicken or vegan “moo-less” mince and “cluck-less” chicken); then pick a bun (gluten-free is available); choose your cheese (there are eight on offer, including a vegan alternative); and add one of their 13 sauces.

READ MORE: Scotland's best cosy pubs for winter

If that wasn’t enough, you can top it off with extras like pulled pork, onion rings and even peanut butter and jam. Each to their own…

192A High Street, Edinburgh 0131 226 1214. Open every day, 11am-11pm (closes at 12am on Friday and Saturday). www.burgersandbeersgrillhouse.co.uk

4. Max and Ben’s Bistro, Perthshire

The sleepy town of Auchterarder is turning into a bit of foodie hub, with Max and Ben’s Bistro just one of the impressive restaurants that occupy its high street. The M&B chefs pride themselves on their substantial 8oz burgers, with 10 different options to satisfy even the fussiest of eaters.

The most noteworthy are the Blues Burger (topped with blue cheese) and the Peppercorn, garnished with a homemade sauce that complements the beef to perfection. But for those trying to stay healthy after weeks of festive indulgence, there is a Keep Fit Burger on offer –served with no bun and a side salad. But where’s the fun in that?

149 High Street, Auchterarder, Perthshire. 01764 664092. Open Monday- Friday, 12pm-2pm and 5pm-9pm and Saturday and Sunday, 12pm-9pm www.maxandbensbistro.co.uk

5. Angus & Ale, Aberdeen

As it is situated in the heart of Aberdeen, it is only fitting that this restaurant serves 100 per cent Aberdeen Angus beef. Angus & Ale also ensure that all their beef has been dry aged on the bone for a minimum of 28 days, meaning you should be guaranteed to get a suitably juicy burger.

Most of the dishes have a Scottish spin on them, so expect burgers like the Big Jock (with Highland cheddar and peppercorn mayonnaise), the Rob Roy (with chicken breast and a haggis fritter) and the signature Angus & Ale (featuring Arran cheese and a delightful apple and ale chutney).

But in honour of the upcoming Burns Night, why not try the Tim’rous Beastie? With beef, haggis, a mustard mayonnaise and “neep chutney”, it’s a burger that even Rabbie would be proud of.

28 Adelphi, Aberdeen. 01224 643324 Open every day, 12pm- late www.angusale.com

6. Harmonium, Leith

Burgers are usually tailored to meat-eaters, with most restaurants only offering one or two vegetarian burgers. But at Harmonium, a 100% vegan venue, there is an abundance of animal-free options on the menu.

Diners can select a quarter pounder or a chicken-style burger, then add toppings like bacon, haggis and sausage – safe in the knowledge that it is all fully vegan. And as an added bonus, the restaurant welcomes dogs with open arms and offers them water bowls and treats on request.

60 Henderson Street, Leith, Edinburgh. 0131 555 3160. Open from 12pm Monday-Friday and from 11am on Saturday and Sunday, kitchen closes at 10pm www.harmoniumbar.co.uk

7. Scotch & Rye, Inverness

We might now be entering into the 2020s, but this restaurant is inspired by the “roaring twenties” with New York-inspired burgers, speakeasy cocktails and sultry music. There are 11 burgers on the menu, but which ones stand out?

READ MORE: Scotland's best cosy pubs for winter

The Cayenne, with four deep-fried cayenne chillies, is certainly hard to forget, but the Pulled Pork burger is delicately seasoned and hard to beat. For those who are already missing Christmas, Scotch & Rye also offers a year-round Festive Fella burger, which is topped with cranberry sauce and indulgent melted brie.

21 Queensgate, Inverness. 01463 715 374. Open Sunday- Wednesday, 11am-12am, Thursday 11am- 1am and Friday & Saturday 11am - 2am www.scotchandrye.co.uk

8. Ad Lib, Glasgow

Having been open for more than 40 years, Ad Lib was serving Glaswegians gourmet burgers long before it became trendy.

The concept is simple: choose from one of three burgers (dry aged steak, southern fried chicken or curried potato and chickpea) and then “ad lib” it with any of the 12 toppings on offer.

The goats’ cheese and beef brisket make particularly welcome additions, but there are also plenty of vegetarian and vegan toppings, as well as the choice of a gluten-free or dairy-free burger bun. For those watching their wallets post-Christmas, be sure to visit Sunday-Thursday between 12 and 5pm, where all the burgers are just £10 and come with a free soft drink.

111 Hope Street, Glasgow. 0141 248 6645. Open Sunday-Thursday, 12pm-11pm and Friday and Saturday until 3am www.adlibglasgow.com

9. Starkey’s Gourmet Burger, Dumfries

In the case of Starkey’s, gourmet doesn’t have to mean expensive. Instead, all eight burgers on the menu cost £8.50 or less – despite using locally sourced meat and high-quality toppings.

The restaurant has been open for just nine months but it has already developed a loyal following in Dumfries, with the Sloppy Joe and the Highlander burger both proving particularly popular.

Beef burgers are their speciality – but vegetarians should be sorted with the Spicy Bean burger, which is topped with nachos and cheese.

150 High Street, Dumfries. 01387 247444. Open Monday- Saturday, 9am-5pm.

10. The Niche Restaurant, Irvine

Notwithstanding its name, there should be something for everyone at the Niche Restaurant.

The Bonnie Burger and the Classic Cajun Chicken are ideal for those who like to play it safe, the Salt N Chilli Chicken burger will go down a storm with fans of Asian cuisine and the three-patty Skyscraper is perfect for those who like a challenge.

READ MORE: Scotland's best cosy pubs for winter

You can also add extras including a fried egg and houmous, with the choice of hand-cut chips, sweet potato fries or loaded fries as a side. The restaurant’s location – on the cusp of Irvine’s quiet harbour – is an additional selling point.

106 Montgomery Street, Irvine, North Ayrshire. 01294 683107. Open every day, 9am-10pm (closes at 9pm on Sunday) www.thenicheirvine.co.uk