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best burger in san francisco?

l
lokelani Jun 20, 2006 05:29 PM

has anybody found a great burger place in sf?
for any Bostonians out there, I'm talking about something comparable to Bartley's burgers in Harvard Square.

  1. k
    kresge86 Apr 24, 2007 11:01 AM

    I just had a great burger with fries at Burger Meister on Church St. The meat was nice and juicy, and the fries nice and crisp. I can't believe I hadn't tried this before. Also, my friends just had great burgers at Dago Mary's (sadly... closing forever this Friday).

    In terms of "best" burgers, I think you have to distinguish between "restaurant" burgers and "fast food" burgers. The Richmond on Balboa has a great restaurant burger, but that's not going to cut it when I'm looking for a casual, fast burger spot. Similarly, most of the time I'm not going to fight for a table at Zuni in order to have a burger. Best "fast food" burgers for me include Slider's, Flippers and now Burger Meister.

    1. d
      dkgoody Jun 23, 2006 10:59 PM

      AVOID Flames on 2nd street
      Dirty place. Burgers are not terrible but just a sty.

      1. f
        fredocorleone Jun 22, 2006 05:45 PM

        I've never been disappointed at Bullshead Restaurant out in West Portal. Then again, I've never been disappointed at Original Joes either. That OJ burger is pretty durn big. The fries are excellent at both. I really like that Bullshead has Heineken Dark in the bottle. I rarely ever see that anywhere.

        3 Replies
        1. re: fredocorleone
          n
          NancyH Jun 22, 2006 07:55 PM

          Since nobody has mentioned it i'll put a plug in for the burger at the Rite Spot. It's a divey little bar on Folsom at 17th. The bar is much nicer on the inside than the outside would lead you to believe and the bugers are phenomenal. Huge, juicy, excellent quality meat. If the place had a beergarden it would be heaven.

          1. re: NancyH
            j
            Jim H. Jun 22, 2006 11:18 PM

            Oh my God! Is the Rite Spot still there?? Every SF Chowhound should eat at the Rite Spot to complete his/her food education. Of course, I remember it as it was 30-40 years ago...but I'll bet it hasn't changed.

            1. re: Jim H.
              r
              Robert Lauriston Jun 23, 2006 12:27 PM

              It's evolved but it's still an artists' hangout.

        2. s
          Steve G Jun 21, 2006 03:22 PM

          You should probably specify what makes a burger great for you:

          Grilled for griddled?
          Gourmet bun, pickle, etc., or classic bun, lettuce, etc.?
          Thick cut fries? Shoe string fries?

          My ideal is grilled with classic additions, which I find at Burger Joint. I haven't yet tried the Rosemunde burger or Nopa's burger. I enjoyed the Joe's Cable Car burger, but it was too greasy for my taste because it was griddled.

          The only problem with Burger Joint is sometimes the staff is pretty lazy and they don't pay attention to the doneness level of the beef (they err on the more cooked side).

          If anyone finds a place that grills a burger over actual charcoal or wood, please post as I've only ever found gas grilled burgers.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Steve G
            m
            Melanie Wong Jun 21, 2006 03:25 PM

            Original Joe's in the Tenderloin ages and grinds its own beef. At dinner time, the burgers and steaks are grilled over mesquite (but not a lunch time). Note that it's served on a hunk of Italian bread and not a bun.

            1. re: Melanie Wong
              r
              Robert Lauriston Jun 21, 2006 03:57 PM

              The specialty at Original Joe's is not the hamburger sandwich but the 3/4-lb. hamburger steak.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                m
                Melanie Wong Jun 21, 2006 04:14 PM

                The hamburger steak at dinner time is a full pound, whereas the hamburger sandwich is a mere 12 oz.

                Link: http://www.originaljoes.com/menu.htm

                1. re: Melanie Wong
                  r
                  Robert Lauriston Jun 21, 2006 04:51 PM

                  Wrong Original Joe's, that's the one in San Jose.

                  Link: http://www.themenupage.com/originaljo...

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    m
                    Melanie Wong Jun 21, 2006 04:59 PM

                    Whoops, thanks, that what I get for moving too fast. I had been scratching my head wondering when OJ's SF got a website. In any case, I do believe the hamburger steak is closer to a pound in size.

                    Link: http://www.inetours.com/Pages/Dining_...

                    1. re: Melanie Wong
                      m
                      Melanie Wong Jun 21, 2006 05:05 PM

                      Here's the Chronicle article that describes the making of a hamburger sandwich and alludes to 12 ounces.

                      Link: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                      1. re: Melanie Wong
                        r
                        Robert Lauriston Jun 21, 2006 05:16 PM

                        Whatever the weight, I don't think I've ever had anything at Original Joe's where the portion didn't seem huge.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                          m
                          Melanie Wong Jun 21, 2006 05:23 PM

                          Yep, me too. It's a once-a-year event, and now that it's summer with more daylight, time to hit OJ's again.

            2. l
              Liz B Jun 21, 2006 12:19 PM

              If you're looking for something comparable to Bartley's, try the Prather Ranch stand at the Ferry Building on Tuesdays. Especially when they layer on the fresh tomatoes from a nearby market stall.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Liz B
                f
                Frosty Melon Jun 21, 2006 12:42 PM

                Actually, on Tuesdays, if I had the option, I would go to Rosamunde Sausage Grill in the Lower Haight (only served on Tuesdays). I've not had one yet but the reviews on this board put it right up there.

              2. v
                vietgourmand Jun 21, 2006 11:24 AM

                Tower Burger is relatively new. They claim to use the best ingredients. It's actually pretty good.

                2 Replies
                1. re: vietgourmand
                  b
                  bdl Jun 21, 2006 11:57 AM

                  good, but not so new. It's been there at least 5 years. They do use Niman Ranch meat and cook a pretty solid burger. Nice folks, too.

                  1. re: bdl
                    j
                    Jeff Jun 21, 2006 08:43 PM

                    Tower Burger is basically the same as Bistro Burger, of which there are a handful of locations downtown/in the FiDi.

                2. s
                  Sharuf Jun 21, 2006 05:19 AM

                  Haven't been in a long time, but what about Bill's in outer Clement? Or Kirk's in Palo Alto? Both are legendary temples to the ground cow.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Sharuf
                    m
                    Melanie Wong Jun 21, 2006 05:25 AM

                    I like Bill's Place - here's a link to my post from last year. But I think I'd vote for Original Joe's.

                    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                    1. re: Melanie Wong
                      s
                      Sharuf Jun 21, 2006 05:32 AM

                      Wonder if Bill's still has the orchids in the back patio?

                  2. m
                    Maya Jun 20, 2006 11:27 PM

                    21st Amendment, Zuni, and Slow Club. The Richmond and NOPA also have a great burger.

                    1. m
                      missmobtown Jun 20, 2006 08:01 PM

                      That's gotta be Joe's Cable Car burger -- its a veritable temple to burgers and fresh ground chuck (Joe grinds his own fresh chuck daily!)

                      Link: http://www.joescablecar.com/

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: missmobtown
                        b
                        bdl Jun 21, 2006 11:59 AM

                        I used to think so...but in the last few years the prices have shot up astronomically, and the burger seems to be shrinking correspondingly (even though the burgers are sold by weight).

                        1. re: bdl
                          n
                          nsheth Jun 24, 2006 01:51 AM

                          I was inspired by this thread to go have lunch there today. I got the 6oz number 2 (Joe's Fresh Ground Beef Steak - "Onion lover's treat, mixed with diced Bermuda onions, sesame seed bun and garnish").

                          It was a very good burger, juicy, flavorful, and the service was very friendly, but in the end, I don't think the price was justified. Note that the prices on their online menu aren't accurate, everything is slightly more expensive. No fries or onion rings, no drinks, just the burger, and it still cost me $16 to get out of there after tax and tip.

                          Rosamunde's burger is on deck this Tuesday, excited to try that one!

                      2. s
                        siZZle Jun 20, 2006 06:20 PM

                        if you can get past all of the preppiness, the balboa cafe has a great burger...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: siZZle
                          s
                          Sandy Stadtfeld Jun 21, 2006 03:12 PM

                          Would that it were merely preppiness - try arrogance, rudeness and entitlement. The food isn't worth it.

                        2. f
                          Frosty Melon Jun 20, 2006 05:41 PM

                          This has been done before, but my top three are Zuni, Slow Club and Home.

                          1. g
                            glutton Jun 20, 2006 05:41 PM

                            these peeps have looked into it pretty deeply...

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

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: glutton
                              j
                              Jim Jun 23, 2006 12:03 PM

                              I gotta go with the Slow Club burger with fries(less than $10), have had it half a dozen times and always stellar. Plus, you can't beat the clubby atmosphere and hip artsy/fartsy crowd.

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