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I need a hamburger so bad! [San Diego]

I'm craving a hamburger and I've decided to go get one for lunch, which place in SD has the very best burgers? Fancy burgers are nice but so are down home good messy burgers.

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  1. Straight up Burger - Rocky's
    Spicy Stuffed - High Dive
    Greasy Goodness - Waterfront/Longhorn
    Bacon With That - Hodads
    Over Rated - Lodge at Torrey Pines/Burger Lounge
    Artisan - Whisk 'n' Ladel

    If you want fries/O rings with that that would require a whole other discussion.

    2 Replies
    1. re: stevuchan

      The Jayne's burger at Jayne's Gastropub is legit.

      1. re: stevewag23

        Has anyone had the Jayne's burger recently? After being totally in love with it for a year, it now seems to be a slightly less perfect version of itself. And maybe the same goes for other items on the menu?

    2. I went to Rocky's in Hillcrest recently and found the burger to be overrated. Ritual Tavern makes a great burger though the fries were not so great. Can't beat Waterfront for combination of food, beer, ambiance (or charming lack thereof) and price. And I will admit to an occasional trip to In-n-Out.

      2 Replies
        1. re: stevuchan

          Mea maxima culpa ... I meant Lucky Buck's. What was I thinking???

      1. I honestly do not get the love for Rocky's. It makes me think that most burgers are so bad that theirs looks great by comparison. The biggest problem with Rocky's is they use commodity ground beef, that they don't grind themselves, which means that it has to be overcooked. Meh.

        Best burgers, IMO, are at places which grind their meat, or use stuff from sources where E. Coli isn't a concern.

        Burger Lounge
        Linkery
        Ritual Tavern
        Neighborhood

        My current favorite is Burger Lounge, because they use grass-fed beef (which means I can get it rare) and have the best rolls.

        19 Replies
        1. re: Josh

          just had the burger at the Pearl hotel restaurant-excellent. great frites also... on par with ritual tavern burger.
          just curious, what makes the torrey pines lodge burger overrated? i'm thinking of taking my dad there when he visits...

          1. re: smile81

            Heard rave reviews and was let down. Burger was on the dry side with less than produce. Many folks enjoy it.

            1. re: stevuchan

              That must have been an off day. The two times I've had it, it's been anything but dry. They call it the "drugstore burger" for a reason though - it's not gussied up, it's just a really good classic cheeseburger.

              1. re: Alice Q

                Think I built it up in my head a little too much, and I meant less than fresh produce. I work in the area, so I will be back.

          2. re: Josh

            Doesn't the Linkery use Tallgrass Beef too?

              1. re: Josh

                From the latest Linkery newsletter:

                * Our burgers now feature grassfed California beef from Open Space
                Meats in Newman, CA. We're grateful to the Nietschke family for their
                great farming and friendly partnership

            1. re: Josh

              I personally found Burger Lounge pretty plain. Really thin burgers with no real seasoning. So what if they use grassfed? I'd rather have a great burger =(
              They also seem to have incredibly rude management who posted on my blog with fake usernames .

              http://clayfood.blogspot.com/2007/09/...

              1. re: clayfu

                I think they have improved a lot over the past year. I first ate there in early '08 and wasn't really bowled over. I thought it tasted okay, but the rolls had an unpleasant dusting of raw flour on them, and the overall flavor wasn't so great. I tried them again in the summer of last year and found it much improved. The rolls were a lot better, and the burger was more flavorful. This has continued to be the case with my subsequent visits, and with friends of mine who have gone.

                If I had to guess, I think that they probably changed the fat ratio in the beef mixture they are using. It may have been leaner before. Or they got the message like they did with the rolls and added more seasoning. To me, it seems like they're trying to do a typical "American burger joint" burger, just with better ingredients.

                The grassfed thing is actually a big deal to me. I know a lot of people don't really care that much about it, but once you're aware of the realities of feedlot meat production and the corn economy, it's hard to eat that stuff in good conscience. You might want to read Fast Food Nation or Omnivore's Dilemma. They are good books on the subject that will teach you a lot about modern food production.

                1. re: Josh

                  I think they are pricy for wha they serve. They need to improve the fries and rings. My wife likes the turkey burger.

                  1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                    If you're comparing to places serving feedlot beef and Sysco rolls, then yes they are pricey. I usually get the half-salad, which is quite a nice bowl of vegetables for the price, IMO.

                    1. re: Josh

                      I just do not think the rolls should crumble in my hand, and you should be able to taste what you are eating. The dimunitive cups of ketchup are a bit annoying too.

                      1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                        I don't recall the rolls crumbling in my hand, and I've always found the food quite flavorful. YMMV.

                  2. re: Josh

                    Which location do you normally go to? Have you noticed a difference between the locations?

                    1. re: DougOLis

                      I've only ever been to Kensington.

                    2. re: Josh

                      My personal experience with Burger Lounge has varied quite a bit over the time since they've been open - at both the LJ and Kensington stores. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's just meh. They need to stop pressing the patties down on the grill to get them to cook faster, it just dries them out. The buns have improved though, and I also like the turkey burger.

                    3. re: clayfu

                      I go to burger lounge occasionally, it's good but pricey for what they serve. But where I live, this is the closest place that offers better than Inn-and-Out, but I+O definitely beats Burger Lounge in value. ;-)

                    4. re: Josh

                      Just had a Neighborhood burger recently.

                      Solid burger, but grumpy service at the bar. Lame.

                      1. re: stevewag23

                        try the Cowboy Star burgers (bison and regular) about 2 blocks away

                    5. To throw in my two cents, Tioli's Crazee Burger on 30th (1 block south from El Cajon Blvd.) in North Park is pretty good. Ritual Tavern's burger is pretty good as well.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: jmtreg

                        Just did a review on Ritual, great burger, I hope they do something about the fries, too common to sit next to that burger. I also like Cafe on Park for their burgers. One major criteria for me is that the burger has to be excellent and with all the fixins, under $10 if possible.

                        1. re: cstr

                          I remember like the fries. . .of course, I haven't been to the Ritual in awhile.

                      2. I thought clayfu had abandoned this board for ebob; anyway, my favs:
                        Dobsons bar burger
                        Waterfront - texas burger with cheese and onions
                        Longhorn - pattymelt
                        Cowboy Star - bison burger with anaheim chili
                        Arterra - simply one heckuva burger, get it with bacon
                        Neighborhood

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: ibstatguy

                          san diego lunch suggestions are hard to come by at Ebob =P
                          Thanks for the suggestions so far guys.

                          1. re: ibstatguy

                            update: eatemup and I ventured up to Arterra for the burgers and experienced good and bad. the bad - both burgers were ordered medium rare and were delivered well. the good - upon notification to our server, she very politely whisked them away to get new burgers. the good - the manager made a point of coming over to apologize and deducted the price of both burgers from the bill. the so/so - the replacement burgers were not what I'd call medium rare so next time I'm ordering it rare to medium rare. had a excellent though pricey glass of Viader Dare (cab franc).

                            1. re: ibstatguy

                              At least the mgr. did the right thing, how was the flavor sides etc.

                              1. re: cstr

                                my burger, with bacon, was very good. having had the frites at Blue Boheme the day before, I can easily say that I prefer those at BB. I am in complete agmt with you regarding the mgr and give them full credit for same.