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the best hamburger...where is it?

  • r

where can I find the best hamburger in around the SF bayarea? How does "best burger" stack up against the rest of them, been to most of the "sliders" and enjoy my burgers flamed broiled.

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  1. Go to Bullshead. Its right next to the West Portal Muni station. They have the juiciest burgers. Where else can you find your burgers showcased when you walk into the restaurant.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      My vote goes to Bistro Burger--various FiDi locations. Last I checked, lunch only. Absolutely great Niman Ranch burgers with a wide choice of toppings (sauteed mushrooms, gorgonzola, bacon, etc. ) I'm surprised no one has mentioned them.

      1. re: Steve

        NOTE: This is a revived 2005 thread. Most of it still seems valid though.

        1. re: Steve

          Agreed... Bullshead has probably the best burger in SF, at least the best one that isn't cooked in duck fat or has "Chez" in the name. Also, they are one of the few places that serve Buffalo meat as an option for your burger. For the uninitiated, buffalo sounds a little strange but once you try it you will wonder why people are still eating ground beef. The place is a hole in the wall, and it should be. They serve burgers, not fois gras. You will not be dissapointed.

        2. Zuni's, hands down.
          Fresh ground with sufficent salt and fat. Has caused me to fresh grind my own beef at home. Every ingredient is fresh or house made - makes a huge difference.

          24 Replies
          1. re: A Amore

            This from AOL cityguide regarding Zuni: "Burgers come with fancy accoutrements like house-made ketchup and micro-greens..... arrive on focaccia bread, which soaks up the tasty juices perfectly but needs to be eaten with utensils." *Utensils?!?* I thought we were talking about a hamburger here. I feel the same way about pizza - no fork should be anywhere near it. But to each.....

            I happen to like Mo's and Joe's Cable Car. Can be eaten by hand, but takes some finesse.

            1. re: Burger_miser
              Robert Lauriston

              Zuni's burgers are the best. I have no problem eating them with my hands. They come with house-made pickled onions, which are great. No "micro-greens." If the ketchup were housemade, which I doubt, would that be bad?

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                >>If the ketchup were housemade, which I doubt, would that be bad?

                Of course not. In fact, homemade ketchup would be a plus. Haven't tried it yet, but then again I have yet to try a $12 burger. Recommendation noted.

                  1. re: wolfe


                    Joe's Cable Car
                    4320 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

                  2. re: xanadude

                    The fries comment is pretty goofy because the fries at In-N-Out are HORRIBLE.

                      1. re: wolfe

                        Their "well done" fries are way too crispy. I am also not a fan of IN-N-Out's fries.

                          1. re: EnderWiggin

                            In-N-Out Fries Medium-Well is a happy medium for me. :-)

                        1. re: Atomica

                          I've always been disappointed with them too. I have to confess to much preferring McD's french fries.

                        2. re: JimVanTassel

                          Haha! Yes, everybody should go to Joe Grinds His Own Fresh Chuck Daily at least once. With that, they are initiated into the secret cult of People Who Have Been To Joe's Once and Will Never Go Again.

                          Members of the cult recognise each other with the following verbal handshake:
                          [someone mentions Joe's Cable Car]
                          Person 1: Haha, I once went to Joe's.
                          Person 2: Me too!
                          Person 1: Was it the most insanely expensive hamburger of your life?
                          Person 2: Yes! I so wanted to like it but I couldn't believe how stupidexpensive it was!
                          Together: Wow! Let's never go there again!

                          And as far as LOCATION, JimVanTassel, I'm pretty sure there's a
                          a brief segment in that crazyfamous chase scene in Bullitt (or maybe
                          it was the Seven Ups) where the director wants to convey the idea that
                          "now the chase has left San Francisco and is way the heck out in the
                          boonies". That is the point where he has the cars drive down Mission
                          near Silver.

                          1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                            You can get pretty much the same thing that Joe's serves (4 oz cheeseburger) for way less at Tennessee Grill...$11.00 vs. $4.95 (fries included).

                            I don't know about best burger but it's the best deal in town if you ask me. The "Tennessee Special" is a cheeseburger, fresh ground round, cooked to order, charbroiled, with fries. The bun is only average (about as good as Joe's), the fries are standard/nothing special, it looks to be 4 oz...but the hard to argue with $4.95, including fries. (They serve a bigger burger for $6.50)

                            I just had one the other day. I ordered it med-rare thinking they'd over-cook it just a bit...but they cooked it on the nose. Should have gone with medium but it was good...and the price, cheap. Soda is $1.50...and they refill it for free.

                            1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                              I'm with them. I couldn't get over how expensive it was. Then, there is no sharing, so my DD had to order a burger we all (including her) knew she wasn't going to eat, but we couldn't figure out why because we also ordered large fries and onion rings (cost more than a burger), but then realized afterwards that the server didn't hear us place the order for fries and onion rings, so we had to order that (cuz we had to try it since we knew we would never go back) and waited about 20 minutes for it, and it wasn't that great. At least not the fries.

                          2. re: Burger_miser

                            Joe's Cable Car is terrific, but it should be noted that the fries are subpar. (and in my book, that counts toward the overall hamburger experience)

                            Luckily, their onion rings are excellent. Thick slices of onion, nice thick crust.

                            1. re: Burger_miser

                              Mo's Baby... All I can say is... Mo's...

                              Well, I guess I can also say that my vote is for Mo's. Just in case you couldn't hear me while I was drooling.


                              1. re: Geoff

                                I must say that Mo's does provide a tantalizing visual in preparation - from the guys grinding the chuck, to the sizzling patties and fresh condiments just over the counter. Very appealing in a primordial way. Definitely a better-than-average burger.

                                1. re: Burger_miser

                                  Mo's is so salty though! and they are like trying to get your mouth around something as thick as a hockey puck....
                                  i don't know, but most people think i am a burger murderer anyway, cuase i like mine medium well.

                                  but i think my favorite burgers in the city are at Bill's Burgers at Clement and 25th. a burger and a chocolate peantubutter milkshake....mmmmm
                                  their fries are only so/so though.

                                  but i haven't been to Bullshead yet. that is the next burger stop.

                                  1. re: Jupiter

                                    i get the feeling some of these suggestions are coming from 25 year old guidebooks. Bullshead serves total garbage. YUCkYUCKYUCK! They were once the best in the city, but that time has long passed. I would also repeat the criticism with about 90% of the other places which have been named here.

                                    On a positive note: Cafe for all Seasons had good burgers, but they changed the bread and got chintzy on the meat. Kezer can be good, but the homemade buns are often a bit raw. EOS, also at carl and cole makes a great burger, as does Momma's in North Beach, providing you like them on sourdough.

                            2. re: A Amore

                              Agreed on Zuni, and would add Slow Club as a close second.

                              1. re: A Amore

                                Awesome burger at The Richmond - and a steal at around $9. I believe it's Niman Ranch beef and the handcut fries come with some great housemade ketchup and other sauces on the side. I've spoken to several people who go there just for the burger and a glass of wine from the very reasonable and interesting list.

                                1. re: Maya
                                  El cocinero loco

                                  and "The Richmond" is where?

                                  1. re: El cocinero loco

                                    The Richmond is in Google...

                                    Richmond Restaurant and Wine Bar
                                    615 Balboa St
                                    San Francisco, CA 94118
                                    (415) 379-8988
                                    Cross Street: Sixth Avenue

                              2. I like the burger at Yankee Pier.
                                The mini burgers at Picco Restaurant are pretty tasty too.

                                Link: http://bunrab.com/yummychow/BurgerGra...

                                1. Original Joe's has an amazing burger (if you catch them on a good night). Absolutely huge portion of fresh ground meat, with a huge slab of cheese, on good sourdough.

                                  1. I'm putting in a rec for Luka's Taproom burger. It's not filled with a million extras, but the pattie is juicy and tasty, the bun is great, and it comes with their great french fries and dipping sauces (bbq, aioli, and a third - something with basil in it?) as well as the usual condiments.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: oakjoan
                                      Robert Lauriston

                                      In the East Bay, Cafe Rouge is my favorite (similar to Zuni's).

                                      That reminds me, Oola does a stellar burger too. And is open after Zuni closes. And seven days a week.

                                      Link: http://oola-sf.com

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        never had the burger at oola... i live close by and well i really like the place.. and it still has foie on the menu.. have you noticed lately of the over salting of the food?
                                        maybe it was a bad week or something?

                                        1. re: Lizzybeans
                                          Robert Lauriston

                                          I've never had any problem with the food at Oola, except that I don't think truffle cheese works on the burger.

                                      2. re: oakjoan

                                        Meal Ticket on San pablo in Berkeley makes a fantastic burger. Includes a side of good potato salad and it's a deal for $6.50.

                                      3. For many, many years, some friends and I have been on a burger quest...a holy grail, one might say. Like the Holy Grail, there is no best burger. It all depends on what suits the individual, and tastes differ. Just keep searching for a "better burger". You might go from "Mike's in the Yard" to Zuni...to Original Joe's to Boondocks...its all a matter of taste.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: Jim H.

                                          Downside to Mike's at the Yard is he doesn't serve fries.

                                          1. re: Roger W

                                            They are not good for you.

                                            1. re: Jim H.

                                              Neither is the burger... but that doesn't stop many people.

                                              1. re: Tom Hall

                                                Are you suggesting that people are trying to commit "burgercide"?

                                          2. re: Jim H.

                                            Is Mikes that place in Petaluma at the stockyards?

                                            1. re: Sharuf

                                              Yes...no fries, and if you don't want cheese on the burger, its 5 cents extra. Mike is a bit eccentric.

                                          3. I can't believe no one has even mentioned Val's Burgers in Hayward. My boyfriend brought me here even though he doesn't even EAT burgers because he heard that they were so good and he thought I'd enjoy it.

                                            They grill over an open flame and make a standard burger. But it's a startlingly good burger. Probably because they age and grind their own beef. Sizes range from the 1/4 lb "Baby" burger to the 1/2 lb "Mama" to the two-patty, 1 lb "Papa."

                                            I'm not a fan of their fries, but they do serve one of the best milkshakes I've EVER had and in a very generous portion.

                                            It's a quaint, diner-style restaurant and they serve other food, but I usually go for the burgers and shakes. They are very popular locally, so I've had to wait on occasion for a booth. If you go alone, you'll probably end up seated at the counter. I believe that they are closed on Mondays and Sundays.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: thimker

                                              I second Val's. Old style diner style food. Cash only and closed on Sundays. Only minus they use regular grocery store hamburger buns.

                                              1. re: theSauce

                                                i disagree. after recommendations on this board, i tried it out and decided that the burger was mediocre and nothing special. the greasy spoon throwback ambience was cool tho.

                                                both the zuni (more gourmet style) and luka's taproom (more diner style) recommendations are good. should i try cafe rouge first or gregoire's? im in the east bay.

                                                1. re: Fatass
                                                  Robert Lauriston

                                                  Cafe Rouge, since there's no burger on Gregoire's menu this month.

                                                  1. re: Fatass

                                                    I also respectfully disagree. Val is nothing special but they are better than McDonald or even InNout. But would never consider it as a great burger.

                                                    Great burger must have exceptional tasty meat and great buns (not the regular storebought variety). Val has NEITHER.

                                                    Just like TOP DOG used to be great buns and great sausages. But now the buns are just so-so even though it is not store bought variety.

                                              2. A friend recommended the burger at 21st Amendment to me. Can anyone confirm the hamburger is worth trying?

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. Not in the same class as Zuni's, but Triple Rock in Berkeley has upgraded their food, and their burger is the best of the new offerings. Better than other local burger options.

                                                  Link: http://www.triplerock.com/pub2.html

                                                  1. Cable Car Burgers on Geary and Presidio. Your "Alternative" Fast-Food Joint.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Z. Williams

                                                      Sorry, meant Joe's Cable Car.

                                                    2. Maybe this one never comes up because it's served in a biker bar, but the cheeseburger at Zeitgeist is definitely one of my favorites in the city.

                                                      Just a basic burger, but always juicy, not greasy, and a pretty good value at $6 for a cheeseburger made with Niman Ranch beef.

                                                      Combine that with one (or more) of their super spicy bloody marys on a Sunday afternoon, and life is goood.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Ms. Quaalude

                                                        Zeitgeist has one of my favorite burgers in the city, but be warned, they do tend to cook them rare to raw.

                                                      2. Chez Maman mixes herbs into its beef and the result is very flavorful burgers.

                                                        1. OK, while it might not be the place you thing of for great burgers, One Market has THE best burger in San Francisco hands down. It is served on a sesame seed bun (I can't deal with my burger on focaccia like at Zuni) with caramelized onions and blue cheese. It comes with thick steak fries that have been cooked in duck fat.

                                                          You will not find better anywhere.

                                                          1. just had one at Rosemunde this week, first time i've had a chance in over half a year. tasty stuff, but only on tuesdays and you have to get there before like 2p otherwise they run out.

                                                            1. i read all of the replies...
                                                              oh my gawd... no one has said anything about Absinth's burger on Hayes and Gough in S.F. not avaible at dinner, but at lunch and the bar menu before dinner...
                                                              my thoughts- get it with the gruyere, spicy onions, and fried egg! on a fresh rosemary bun, and aioli... can't beat it...
                                                              doesn't come with fries, but who needs it!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: lizzybeans

                                                                Agreed on Absinthe's burger. They do serve it for dinner now after 8 p.m now and get fries on the side. You might be able to only get it on theater nights though so call ahead.

                                                              2. The best burger I have had in/near SF is at Farley Bar, directly across the GG Bridge from SF. Technically in Sausalito but really in Fort Baker, Farley Bar is part of the resort that includes Murray Circle.

                                                                The burger there is something like $17 and includes french fries and is incredible. The meat is flavorful and not packed too tightly. The buns are made in house. So juicy and delicious.

                                                                I had a very good - one of the top in the city - burgers at Spruce last night. Not inexpensive ($14) but includes french fries. A dress up spot but I can't imagine ordering anything else but their burger as it delivers consistently.

                                                                3640 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94118

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: Senor Popusa

                                                                  Eh, sure ... the rest of the links ... well, at least the ones I'm certain have not changed ... places like 21st Ammendment change too often for a 2005 rec to be reliable. I'm rworange and this is just linking and is not necessarily an endorsement of any of these.

                                                                  BTW, a lot of places in Fisherman's Wharf, of all locations, seem to charbroil burgers. Don't know how good they are but keep it in back of your mind when down that way.

                                                                  Zuni Cafe
                                                                  1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                                                  Luka's Taproom
                                                                  2221 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

                                                                  Molinari Delicatessen
                                                                  373 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                                                  Cafe Rouge
                                                                  1782 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710

                                                                  Oola Restaurant & Bar
                                                                  860 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                                                                  One Market Restaurant
                                                                  1 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

                                                                  Absinthe Brasserie & Bar
                                                                  398 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                                                  The Richmond Restaurant
                                                                  615 Balboa, San Francisco, CA 94118

                                                                  Chez Maman
                                                                  1453 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                                                                  Rosamunde Sausage Grill
                                                                  545 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                                                                  375 Alabama St # 490, San Francisco, CA

                                                                  199 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                                                  Val's Burgers
                                                                  2115 Kelly St, Hayward, CA 94541

                                                                  Bullshead Restaurant
                                                                  840 Ulloa St, San Francisco, CA 94127

                                                                  772 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                                                                  Bill's Place
                                                                  2315 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                                                                  Farley Bar
                                                                  601 Murray Circle, Sausalito, CA 94965

                                                                  Bistro Burger
                                                                  201 Mission St # 110, San Francisco, CA

                                                                  1. re: Senor Popusa

                                                                    I've had great burgers at multple places in the bay area, but I absolutely agree that the burger at Spruce is phenomenal--and I don't even like beef!

                                                                  2. Chow Restaurant. It served on a baguette and is juicy. I usually order it with the wedge salad.

                                                                    1. Marin Joe's special burger. Just put the saute unions on and that is all you need.
                                                                      Down market some is Mike's at the crossroads. The yard location is closed.

                                                                      1. Ive become a big fan of Bear Naked burgers in the Temescal area accross the street from Bakesale Bettys. I now have a hard choice when in the area whether to get a burger or a fried chicken sandwich. Pimenton and garlic fries are also great there.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: slipson

                                                                          Those are good burgers and the (good) fries are served in a very cute shopping cart basket.

                                                                        2. Zuni and Joe's are pretty tasty, but I'm surprised there hasn't been more mention of Bill's on Clement. If an alien landed in my backyard and wanted to know what a hamburger was, I'd probably point him in that direction...

                                                                          I'd also give a wink to "Hamburgers" in Sausalito...

                                                                          1. I love a great burger and by far the best I have ever had is at Eccolo in Berkeley. Mind blowingly GREAT. I use to think Zuni, Slow Club were top but no longer. I have had some of the others mentioned- Cafe Rouge why bother, Absinthe is good, Chez Maman ok, Zeitgeist good but not in the same caliber, Rosemunde is good only one day a week grab and go so again not the same.

                                                                            I dream of the Eccolo burger, its worth the drive, 4th street is a nice little shopping enclave. They use Niman Ranch beef grilled over wood, the best bun from Sweet Shop in Berkeley not too thick thank you, fresh house made condiments...all organic fresh ingredients. Great fries too, full bar, good wine list.. Send me there now.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Lori SF

                                                                              I am floored that no one has mentioned Lazlo on Mission. The burger is only offered on Saturdays. Blody Mary and a burger with maple-glazed bacon and your choice of cheddar or gorgonzola cheese. I'm a burger fanatic and this burger is the cream of the crop.

                                                                              1. re: Lori SF

                                                                                It's not really a sit down place, but the Culina Burger at Culina's deli in Alameda's Marketplace is quite delish--juicy, well seasoned--and the onion rings are fabulous (thin, dredged, not batter, onions)! It's the same owner and a cook from Pappo's.

                                                                              2. I would by far say Big Mouth Burger on 24th st. between Mission and Valencia, peppered bacon, bbq sauce, three choices of cheese, and a bevvy of other toppings. Not to mention some of the best milkshakes I've ever guzzled.

                                                                                Also try Flipper's on Hayes at Octavia. You get big steak fries and a salad with your meaty goodness.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: deadbrother

                                                                                  Sorry deadbrother but Flipper's? That has to be one of the worst burgers I have ever had and that place is down right dirty.

                                                                                2. Surely Slow Club in the city should be in the top-ten list of burgers?

                                                                                  Slow Club
                                                                                  2501 Mariposa Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                                                  1. I like the burger and fries at fog city diner. Chow makes a great burger on french bread. Best-o-burger on Belden Place is a new favorite for sliders. You can get a bag of 2, 3, or 5, burgers or cheesburgers with an addicting fries/onion rings combo. I would check all three places out if you are looking to expand your burger horizons.

                                                                                    1. Finnegan's in Novato. Perfect every time.

                                                                                      Finnegan's Marin
                                                                                      877 Grant Street, Novato, CA 94945

                                                                                      1. The burger at Liverpool Lil's is very good. It is served on toasted bread instead of a traditional bun, so some would eliminate it from the great burger competition for that. But the flavor is very good, and the bread makes for a slightly lighter burger.

                                                                                        1. Maybe I was hungry but a hamburger this week at a dive club called Thee Parkside rocked my world. They freshly cut the french fries and amply douse them with salt and pepper. $8 for burger and fries. I was in HOG heaven and I don't eat burgers that often. Judge by the pic if it's your style.

                                                                                          Thee Parkside
                                                                                          1600 17th St, San Francisco, CA

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: wolfe

                                                                                              I think GA happened to the bun. :o)

                                                                                          1. Two places in Palo Alto:
                                                                                            The Counter on California Ave. (Try them with the sweet potato fries -- to die for!)
                                                                                            Kirk's in Town & Country Shopping Center (THE original steakburger place on the Peninsula-- a real old-timey place)

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: batchoy

                                                                                              Ah, the burger sadness of California Ave. Kirk's may be the original, but that's not the original Kirks. When it was an old shack just a little ways logical east of The Counter (a chain which at the time did not yet exist) and not too long ago, it was so good. The new location is just a fluorescently-lit shadow of its former self.

                                                                                              The burgers at Antonio's Nut House are still ok, $6 for a half pounder. But again, nothing like they were before it went all mexican a few years back.

                                                                                              1. re: batchoy

                                                                                                The fun of the Counter is the endless combinations of flavors you can put together. They have a menu that lists dozens of cheeses, toppings, sauces, and other condiments. You can create hundreds of custom burger flavors there. Lot's of fun.

                                                                                                Kirks is sadly a shadow of its former self and not much better than cafeteria quality.

                                                                                              2. Just wanted to add Rico's Diner. I had the burger last week and was impressed. It was on the small side (1or 2 more ozs would have been nice) but over all it was very good to excellent. NR beef, Acme bun toasted with a little butter, overall very fresh for a burger, balanced and bright if you can believe that. Also the fries were amount the best I've had in a long time.

                                                                                                I wasn't really hungry but I saw their sign and needed to eat, so I pulled over. It was just the right amount of food. You could actually eat this for a work day lunch and it wouldn't be too much. Burger, side of fries and coke - $9 bucks. Very fair price for the quality.

                                                                                                Rico's Diner
                                                                                                400 15th Street, Oakland, CA

                                                                                                1. Taylor's Automatic Refresher. The St. Helena location is my favorite with all of the picnic tables. Bring your favorite bottle of red wine and have your own version of the Carl's Junior "$6,000 combo meal" (a bottle of bordeaux and a burger for those who do did not see the commercial from a few years ago). My wife and I followed up our tour of Opus winery by having a burger & Opus combo at Taylor's......absolute heaven!!!!!

                                                                                                  1. Namu. Move over, Zuni, this is perfection.

                                                                                                    In the East Bay, my current go-to is Mua. I'm not sure it's better than Cafe Rouge's but Mua's open later and my burger cravings usually hit after 10pm.

                                                                                                    439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                      Seriously? Pan Asian with Korean and Japanese ingredients...and they serve an awesome burger? Any details on what they did that made it so special for you?

                                                                                                      I had a burger at Jeffreys today, they are generally serviceable burgers, although not remarkable. I skip the fries and go for the milkshake..

                                                                                                      1. re: dhoffman1421

                                                                                                        There was nothing Asian about Namu's burger, just a perfect, charcoal-grilled patty, slice of Swiss cheese, and excellent bun. I guess there might have been some daikon sprouts and pickled daikon among the garnishes on the plate but I didn't add anything but a slice of tomato.

                                                                                                      2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                        I've reported on Namu's burger twice now, and I agree that it's fantastic. The bincho charcoal and the skill of the griller make all the difference.

                                                                                                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                                                                          I had the Namu burger this evening and agree, it's pretty great. The meat was a huge patty and I thought to myself there is no way it'll be cooked MR as requested but it was. Fries were hot and crisp and the complimentary kim chi/bean sprout/zucchini was also a nice touch.

                                                                                                          I will definitely be back to try more of the menu at Namu.

                                                                                                      3. Since this thread is still going strong and I don't see my favorite, here it is. Phyllis' Giant Burgers on the Miracle Mile in San Rafael. It's a hole-on-the-wall place that serves very large, cooked to your specs, very juicy burgers at a very good price. You can get grilled onions on yours if you ask (no charge). They have a newer and laarger location in Novato that I don't like as well (less juicy burgers).

                                                                                                        I also like Pearl's Phatburgers in Mill Valley. They also have buffalo burgers which are supposed to be a lot better for you.

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Mick Ruthven

                                                                                                          Forgot the links. PLEASE let us add links when editing a post.

                                                                                                          Phyllis' Giant Burgers
                                                                                                          2202 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901

                                                                                                          Pearl's Phat Burgers
                                                                                                          8 E Blithedale Ave, Mill Valley, CA 94941

                                                                                                          1. re: Mick Ruthven

                                                                                                            Big fan of Phyllis' Turkey Burger here.

                                                                                                        2. i'm a big fan of zuni (always the first stop when i touch down at sfo) and pretty fond of the burger at epic roast house.
                                                                                                          upon further review, i have to stick up for the cheapo interlopers from los angeles. yup, in-n-out. a double-double with crispy fries and a pink lemonade is only half the deal. it's battling for a window seat that makes the difference between a merely ok semi-fast food meal and something special.
                                                                                                          watching mr. magic at work on the sidewalk is very cool. bushman is not cool. entertaining, but not cool. hopping a classic street car back to the fidi makes for a decent burger safari.

                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: steve h.

                                                                                                            I see nothing listed south of Palo Alto except for the chain operations. Unfortunately I see nothing mentioned for the South Bay. Any favorites in the South Bay?

                                                                                                              1. re: cheesecakeking

                                                                                                                I absolutely LOVE the "bubba burger" at Restaurant James Randall in Los Gatos, in the South Bay.

                                                                                                                Also, Kirk's on Saratoga-Sunnyvale makes a solid burger, if you're looking for something a little more down n' dirty.

                                                                                                                1. re: PulledPork

                                                                                                                  I got to this thread because of Murray Circle, since I practically never order burgers in a restaurant (back in the "day" I used to love typical SF burgers, such as served at New Joe's and Vanessi's and, at least a version, still at Balboa--on part of a sourdough loaf, ground to order, onions in, Jack on top); however, my BH 's burgers at Nopa have been so good, the last time I was there I actually ordered one of the grass-fed delights for myself. I heartily (!) recommend it.

                                                                                                            1. OK, having revisited Cafe Rouge's burger last night, I'm declaring a personal three-way tie for second place.

                                                                                                              Best patty: Cafe Rouge. I think they must grind some of the scraps from their dry-aged roasts in with the chuck or something, the flavor is amazing.

                                                                                                              Best grilling: Namu. The grill is right behind a glass panel along the hallway to the bathroom, you can watch the guy work, he's so precise.

                                                                                                              Best bun & overall composition: Mua. I believe it's an Acme, classic hamburger bun, and they toast it. Cafe Rouge uses an Acme kaiser roll, which isn't quite as perfect, and they don't toast it.

                                                                                                              Cafe Rouge
                                                                                                              1782 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710

                                                                                                              439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

                                                                                                              2442A Webster Street, Oakland, CA 94612

                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                  Yes, Namu is crazy good at grilling. Another factor is the bincho-tan charcoal which gives a special flavor. But I guess I should add a disclaimer that Sara Deseran blogged at 7x7 magazine that she doubts I can taste the difference. :-J

                                                                                                                  I guess I would invite her to taste the burger at Don Pisto's in North Beach that grills over mesquite. I also like this burger a lot, made with Niman houseground beef, then mixed and marinated with bacon and onions to let the flavors permeate every crevice of the thick patty. Even when topped with guacamole, salsa, and jalapeƱos, the more robust, heavier, darker, almost creosote taste of the mesquite comes through and tastes much different from the bincho-tan.

                                                                                                                  Don Pisto's
                                                                                                                  510 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                                                                                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                                                                                    I don't think mesquite has flavor, it just burns hotter so you can char faster wtih a rarer center, so the results taste different than hardwood charcoal or petroquettes. Though Lazzari mesquite is the default charcoal around here.

                                                                                                                    To me, a burger is about the meat and the bun. If you start adding stuff to the meat and garnishing with more than lettuce, tomato, and mayo, it's apples and oranges. Can be great but it's a different dish.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                      I'd say mesquite definitely has an aroma and thus a flavor.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                        Hmm, interesting that you don't detect this. As ML8000 says mesquite has a distinct aroma and flavor for me compared to other charcoal or briquettes. Yes, it does burn hotter, but there's more going on than just the char and degree of doneness. Mesquite is also known for throwing off more creosote in the smoke, so you have to be careful to only use it for fast grilling or you get off flavors.

                                                                                                                        Don Pisto's burger is called "hamburguesa", so yes, it is of a different stripe. No onions for you?

                                                                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                          >garnishing with more than lettuce, tomato, and mayo<

                                                                                                                          Everything is regional (and personal). I didn't grow up (in Missouri) with mayo or lettuce or tomato on a burger so those are out for me (way too California :-), but mustard and ketchup are a must and a slice of onion is very welcome.

                                                                                                                      2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                        Had the burger at Cafe Rouge tonight for the first time. The meat was very good. The bun was pretty good but I agree it could use some toasting. Service was really disjointed (i.e., bread came out after we were done with the salad, ketchup came out after we had our burgers for awhile.)

                                                                                                                        Cafe Rouge
                                                                                                                        1782 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710

                                                                                                                      3. I'd cast my vote for the burger at The Broken Record on Geneva, with bacon and avocado. Nopa comes in a close second

                                                                                                                        1. the best hamburger is at mission burger

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                                                                                                                          1. Any leads on a good crisp-edged burger?

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