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Best burger and fries in the East Bay?

So there are lots of threads about where to get a great burger in the East Bay -- the departed Eccolo, 900 Grayson, Cafe Rouge, Mua, Lukas are all mentioned. But where can you get the best burger and really good fries together? I love the fries at Wood Tavern, and their burger is good, but when I want a burger, I want it on a bun, not baguette. I loved the burger at Eccolo (does anyone know where any of their chefs have landed?), but did not love their fries -- my ideal fries are slightly thicker than the McDonalds type, not shoestring or steak fries. I've had some good experiences with Christopher's Burgers, which I think has gotten better lately, but I don't love their fries, they have a strange aftertaste. Is Luka's the best bet? Or is there another great burger/fries combo hiding out there in the East Bay?

Answers in enough time may determine my lunch today, we'll see.

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  1. Cafe M in the Fourth St. complex might fit the bill. The fries fit your description exactly.

    1. Rico's diner in downtown Oakland serves up a very good burger and fries combo. Don't know how they compare with other places. I eat burgers on a non-regular basis, bi-monthly or less basis.

      The burger is smallish but they use Niman Ranch beef and an Acme bun and fresh produce. It's very fresh. The fries were on the thick side but not steak or "chips". They came out very good...fresh and hot, not frozen, crisp with a sleen of oil but not greasy, tender inside. Everything seemed fresh despite it being burger and fries.

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

      1. What was missing from Rouge's combination?

        Mua's fries are good but not outstanding.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          I haven't been to Rouge in a while, and the last time I was there I got oysters and fries but no burger so I can't remember their burger in that much detail. I do love their fries.

          1. re: JasmineG

            Their burger's normally served on an Acme bun. Last time I had one, they were out, and substituted focaccia or something without checking, so next time I'll ask, and maybe specify that I want the bun toasted as well.

        2. The burgers at Rico's and 900 Grayson are both very good, if not spectacular. But I don't know if I've had a spectacular burger (on the level of Zuni's) in the East Bay. Sidebar is another I'd add that's on the same level (substitute the smoked-paprika fries for the oven baked ones to get something more along the lines of what you like, and don't get it with the blue cheese or that'll be all you can taste).

          I like all three, but I'm somewhat partial to the one at Grayson, which just has a nice combination flavors. I really like their herb fries, but maybe too shoe-stringy for you.

          I need to go back and retry the burgers at Mua and Cafe Rouge, the latter of which I haven't been to since they switched to using Acme buns.

          1 Reply
          1. re: abstractpoet

            just went to sidebar last night for the burger, and you are spot on about the blue cheese. they also offer choice of cheddar and gruyere. Otherwise, the burger was excellent, thick, juicy and cooked perfectly to a med-rare for me. very tasty and messy if you add the fried egg.

            One thing to note, I thought the bun was a little small as I had a hard time keeping the patty from sliding out on my first bite.

          2. Well, I was going to go to Cafe Rouge today, but the inclement weather made me not want to drive over to 4th St., so I went to Luka's. I think that the answer is that no, it's not the best. The fries are good (though I like mine thinner than the ones at Luka's, but I like theirs), but the burger wasn't great. I'm not sure if it was that the bun wasn't toasted, or that the grill wasn't hot enough for the burger, but it fell apart, and not in the good way. I didn't get much flavor out of the burger, I tasted the toppings more than the burger itself. It was a fine burger, just not up to what is possible, or what is out there.

            2 Replies
            1. re: JasmineG

              It may not be the absolute best but I still really like the burger and pimenton or garlic fries at Bear Naked burgers in Temescal.

              1. re: slipson

                I am sad to say that Bear Naked in Temescal is closed. Drove there for a burger yesterday and it is closed. The owners are working on opening a new lace in the same spot.

            2. So I have found my answer, and it's Mua. The burger was as good as all of the reports, really flavorful meat, cooked to perfect medium rare, with a great bun, perfectly cooked bacon, and just the right cheese. The fries weren't outstanding, but they were probably a 7.5 out of 10 -- a good size, well salted, skins on, and nicely crispy, I only wished there were more of them (though I couldn't finish my burger). Thumbs up, Mua, I'll be back for that burger. I just wish they were open at lunchtime.

              2442A Webster Street, Oakland, CA 94612

              1. Val's in Hayward, without a doubt. Genuine diner fare. A mama burger and a huge basket of fries will get you through the day. Granted, they're steak-cut fries, but for me that's how I like them.

                Best part about Val's is the lack of pretension. It's not high art or something that you can charge fifteen bucks for with a straight face. It's just a damned good burger.

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

                3 Replies
                1. re: LarryW

                  Val's is a place you go and try once, but that's about it. It's a cross-over between an old diner and cafeteria -- more cafeteria than diner in my opinion. The burger were just okay, you get three choices baby (1/3 lb), mama (1/2 lb) and papa (1lb) of patty. Seriously, it's old school back yard BBQ burger. Safeway buns, lettuce and a tomatoes.

                  The worst part is the wait. Usually, 30 min. on weekends during brunch hours. Not to mention borderline soup nazi owner that can careless about customers unless you know him personally.

                  1. re: LarryW

                    Used to go here a ton when I was in college at Cal State Hayward. Always got a steak sandwich, steak fries (which was shared with a few friends) and a banana milkshake. And you have to have the shake there, or you get shorted...

                    1. re: Jason Kwong

                      Does anyone know when Pearl's Burger will open in Alameda?