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Best burgers in the Bay Area 2011

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  1. Mua's my current go-to. I'm a minimalist, all I care about is the meat and the bun.

    Namu in SF grilled the best patty I've ever had.

    I still love Zuni's, great meat, though their use of focaccia rather than a bun is debatable.

    Luka's has gone downhill.

    I thought Trueburger was tops in that sort of griddled In-N-Out fast-food style.

    -----
    Zuni Cafe
    1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

    Namu
    439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

    Mua
    2442A Webster Street, Oakland, CA 94612

    Trueburger
    146 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

    14 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      I like Trueburger, but the last time I ordered from there (about a week ago) they were using some different kind of bun than they had in the past--it was puffy, dry, overly big, and not really toasted either). It ruined the burger for me. Anyone know if that's a permanent change or just an anomaly (like maybe they ran out of their normal buns that day)?

      Scolari's in Alameda makes a great burger. That and Sidebar are probably my two favorite places in the East Bay currently to get a solid, unfussy, better-than-fast-food burger.

      -----
      Sidebar
      542 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA

      Trueburger
      146 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

      Scolari's
      1303 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

      1. re: abstractpoet

        I agree about Trueburger. I like the meat and how the burger is dressed with mayo, tomato and lettuce. But the bun, was just a little bit too big. The meat should stick out a little. Good to hear they were at least using a better bun in the past. Maybe they'll go back. I almost brought this up with owner because they do seem to really care about their product. The fries BTW were perfect!!

        -----
        Trueburger
        146 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

        1. re: apophis

          I don't think the patty should overlap the bun.

          1. re: apophis

            I like the patty overlapping the bun since it's hard to get them to synch up exactly. Nothing worse than a bite of empty bun--much better to get a bite of patty with no bun.

            1. re: rccola

              i wasn't paying attention and got the empty bun bite @ SR24 on Telegraph. other than that, it was a really nice burger. thick and juicy patty. i was surprised at the size difference since it's a house-made bun.

              -----
              SR24
              5179 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

          2. re: abstractpoet

            Ordered from Trueburger again last night and was happy to see that the bun was back to normal -- website says they make their own, so maybe last time they had run out and were using store-bought or maybe it was just a bad batch. Phew.

            Anyway, I still like the Acme burger bun best, but I can live with these.

            -----
            Trueburger
            146 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

          3. re: Robert Lauriston

            Cafe Rouge has great meat, maybe the best patty in the area, but the last couple of times I've been there they were off their game on the bun.

            -----
            Cafe Rouge
            1782 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              i'm not a fan of the Acme Kaiser roll / bun either. did it used to be something else?

              1. re: drewskiSF

                Normally Rouge uses what looks tome like an Acme hamburger bun, which is hard to beat, provided I remember to ask them to toast it.

                One night a few months ago they were out and neglected to mention that they would substitute ... I forget what, but I didn't like it.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  OIC.

                  both times i've had the burger there it was the Acme Kaiser, not the hamburger bun. both were within the last couple months so maybe they've changed over completely.

              2. re: Robert Lauriston

                I've enjoyed many purchases from Cafe Rouge's meat counter, but tried the burger here for the first time and was quite disappointed. The burger had the appearance of what I am looking for--cooked to the requested medium rare, some char on the exterior, good bun/burger/toppings ratio, but the flavor was shockingly lacking. So much so that I can't attribute it to my love of salt--it just didn't have much beefy taste, which is the primary thing I'm looking for in a burger. I thoroughly enjoyed the fries, mayo, and 8 oz beer, perfect for lunch.

                -----
                Cafe Rouge
                1782 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710

                1. re: ...tm...

                  The main thing I like about Rouge's burger is the flavor of the meat, it often tastes like it has some aged beef scraps mixed in. I wonder if it might vary from day to day depending on what the butcher counter has been doing?

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    rouge uses beef chuck that has been cut, salted and ground. they might amass a larger following if they put some of that dry age in there. I would definitely go more often. i think the scraps from the dry age are unusable as there are parts they shave off and throw away. also, if they are using dry age, it would be a result of a very costly mistake

              3. re: Robert Lauriston

                May be old news but looks like the much-vaunted Namu burger is coming back at the end of this month at the soon-to-open Namu Gaji: http://www.tablehopper.com/newsletter...

              4. still like grayson's burger.

                thought trueburger was ordinary. liked val's better if i was comparing burgers by price levels.

                -----
                900 Grayson
                900 Grayson St, Berkeley, CA 94710

                1. Anyone have the burger at Rico's recently? I still haven't gotten around to checking myself to see if the recent downhill reports are true.

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

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: abstractpoet

                    I haven't been but I was driving by a few weeks ago and it was open around 7 or so. That's significant because I remember talking to the previous owner about the hours and he said it wasn't worth staying open late due the neighborhood (mostly lunch) and gets weird at night. I have to take the new late hours and report of a owner change as real. I was tempted to stop but decided against it...didn't want to be disappointed.

                    I had the 4505 burger at the food truck fest in Jack London Sq last summer and it was excellent...but it was also grilled on a BBQ. If they could do that all the time, it might be at or near the top.

                    Also had the burger at NOPA...very nice but I think I should have gotten it with bacon and cheese. The grass fed beef was very good but a little dry...not enough grease.

                  2. Broken Record, Rosamunde Sausage Grill (Haight St. location, Tuesday lunch only), Foreign Cinema, 4505 Meats.

                    -----
                    Foreign Cinema
                    2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

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

                    Broken Record
                    1166 Geneva Ave, San Francisco, CA

                    4505 Meats
                    1 Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94111, CA

                    24 Replies
                    1. re: scarmoza

                      I will 2nd Broken Record and 4505 Meats with BR being my fav ever... ever? Yes... I think ever! Why? Because they grind their beef chuck with BACON fresh every day. Plus, good bread.

                      -----
                      Broken Record
                      1166 Geneva Ave, San Francisco, CA

                      4505 Meats
                      1 Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94111, CA

                      1. re: Keesey

                        It wasn't by coincidence that I listed Broken Record first. It is a very lovely thing and my current favorite. But Mission Burger still holds a very strong place in my heart for all time favorite.

                        1. re: scarmoza

                          would agree with you on misison burger. here's hoping they resurrect it some day

                          1. re: vulber

                            Here, here! The only thing that's come close to that same texture is the burger during brunch at Foreign Cinema. It's made me wonder if they also use the Heston Blumenthal method for their patties.

                          2. re: scarmoza

                            The Mission Burger burger will reportedly be served at the Mission Bowling Club, due to open next year:

                            http://www.tablehopper.com/chatterbox...

                            -----
                            Mission Burgers
                            135 Anza St, Fremont, CA 94539

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              The Mission Burger burger is officially on the menu at the Mission Bowling Club, which opens next week. $15!! $1 benefits local youth related causes. I loved that burger, but i would not have paid $15 for it. Nor $14. Of course, it may be a bigger burger than the one they were serving out of Duc Loi... one hopes. I know better burgers cost more now but it's a bowling alley. and yeah i know, it's a fancy, hipster bowling alley in the Mission. *sigh.*

                              http://sf.eater.com/uploads/menudraft...

                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                agreed - it was $8 at duc loi - i would hope they would have at least included fries with it. i'm also trying to figure out how mission bowling club's menu is more expensive than the menu at lucky strike, which occupies twice the space in a far more expensive area....

                                1. re: vulber

                                  Mission Bowling Club's burgers are $15 ($10 at happy hour) with $1 going to charity and are made with dry-aged beef and that labor-intensive Heston Blumenthal "granulation" technique.

                                  Lucky Strike's burgers are $11.75 and it's the kind of chain where they feel the need to tell you on the menu that they're "hand made."

                                2. re: mariacarmen

                                  $10 during happy hour? Now to find out what they consider to be happy hour -- not from their lame-o website though :-). But here http://www.missionmission.org/2012/03... it says 3-6 pm along with an explanation of the high price tag on the burg.

                                  1. re: grayelf

                                    http://missionbowlingclub.com/dining also says happy hour is before 6pm. They've been open for two days so I'd cut them some slack.

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      she's not going to be in town until mid-April so they have plenty of slack.

                                    2. re: grayelf

                                      i'll buy that explanation. I remember he really didn't like making them - too labor intensive, he said. same thing with the fish sandwich, which i adored.

                            2. re: scarmoza

                              broken record and rosamunde's tuesday burger are both very very good. And you can wash down your rosamunde burger next door at toronado with a death and taxes black lager.

                              1. re: chuckl

                                So you need to go into Toronado and order your burg there to get the D&T beer?

                                I just found out the Tuesday burger is griddled not grilled. Would it be hairsplitting to ask posters to indicate one or the other in their replies? (I know some people have already).

                                1. re: grayelf

                                  Order the burger at rosamunde first and they will come over to rosamunde and tell you when its ready. And its definitely griddled. I'm not sure why they are so addictive.

                                  1. re: chuckl

                                    Rosamunde's flame grilled patties have a really nice thick crust while still being juicy and flavorful on the inside and - like all others on my favorites list - the bun (actually an onion roll at Rosamunde) is tasty and doesn't fall apart.

                                    Here's someone else's guide to ordering: http://mcduffwine.blogspot.com/2009/1...

                                    1. re: scarmoza

                                      Okay so it's actually flame grilled, cool. But that writeup scared me. I'm severely lineup averse. Is it still an hour plus cooking time or has that settled down since 2009?

                                      1. re: grayelf

                                        Once they open, orders are taken fairly quickly. You'll likely wait in Toronado for 45 minutes before your name is called. They make them in batches so it all depends on where you are in line. If you get there past 11:30 you're taking risks that they'll sell out. Also, it's cash only.

                                        1. re: scarmoza

                                          I've never waited more than about 20 minutes, though that might be beer time. Usually they have burgers at least til 2

                                          1. re: chuckl

                                            That's been my experience as well for the past year or so....20 minutes give or take, the time nicely lubricated by whatever Toronado has on cask. win-win.

                                            1. re: tranewreck

                                              Thanks for the feedback on the waits, y'all. I'll split the difference and call it half an hour, which is most tolerable with a Death and Taxes on tap.

                                              1. re: grayelf

                                                Price to performance - Rosamunde's burger is excellent - it's not a fancy burger - it's perfectly cooked - if a tad under seasoned. Paired with hand pumped ale at Toronado- brilliant !

                                                1. re: osho

                                                  It was pretty tasty, for sure, osho, but I think your burg was a little less done than mine (looked pinker). I was happy to note when ordering that they are indeed grilled at Rosamunde so there was lots of tasty char. Agree they could have used a bit more salt. I had mine with pomegranate cider (!).

                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                    I ask that they hold the salt on their burgers - too salty for me :^)

                            3. Anyone tried SF Grill, the new burger joint on California St. just west of Divisadero?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: DavidT

                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/755399

                                -----
                                Bistro SF Grill
                                2819 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                                1. re: Cynsa

                                  Just wondering if there were any more followup reports.

                              2. Any recent reports on FiveTen Burger Truck? I have been meaning to try.

                                http://www.fivetenburger.com/

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Scott M

                                  ooh, haven't checked out the E-ville food truck scene in awhile. will need to check these guys out.

                                  1. re: Scott M

                                    Great burger. Loosely packed patty, cooked medium rare, good sear, great pickles and a good bun. Housemade mayosauce. Tasty garlic fries as well, often thrown in for free loose in the bag. Some mild variations in cooking time can be exacerbated when there's a real traffic surge. Also makes a grilled cheese made of the good bun, two slices of cheddar, a big slice of tomato in between and some truffle oil. Haven't had the steak sandwich or sausage, or the grassfed patty option. Serves lunch most days Tu-Sa and dinner in front of various east bay bars. Follow on Twitter for easiest updates.

                                    1. re: Scott M

                                      I had a “loaded 510 burger” for lunch today; it was decent but I wouldn’t involve them in a discussion of best Bay Area burgers. Along the lines of Trueburger, only with ketchup, mayo, mustard and a better bun. If they were in downtown Oakland regularly (Ogawa Plaza today) I’d have found my replacement for Rico’s (I can confirm the Rico’s downhill reports BTW), but I wouldn’t go out of my way, nor would I stand in the 30-deep line that had formed by the time I left.

                                    2. I love the burger at Marlowe. The horseradish aioli is delicious and the bun stays together. It's messy, though - definitely a knife and fork kind of burger for me. Their fries are good too.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: farmersdaughter

                                        Ditto on Marlowe's burger! It's as close to a perfect sandwich as I've ever had. Not only are all the ingredients are first rate, in and of themselves, but the whole sandwich comes together greater than the sum of its parts. There is nothing I would change in a Marlowe burger served medium-rare.

                                        And that horseradish aoli is the perfect foil for the meat and for some of the very best fries in town!

                                        1. re: pilinut

                                          i thought marlowes was pretty close to perfect. it would benefit from either not buttering the bun, or putting the aioli on the side or something. it was a bit of a grease bomb, kind of over-gilding the lilly. in my humble opinion

                                        2. re: farmersdaughter

                                          +1 for the marlowe burger (i had the one at park tavern.)

                                          i'm certainly no burger expert, but i'd rank it as my favorite, above cafe des amis (another one i really like), 4505 meats, spruce, and umami burger.

                                        3. I like the Sunny Side, double, at Roam Artisan Burgers in the city...

                                          -----
                                          Roam Artisan Burgers
                                          1785 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                                          1. My favorite burger within the last year was from Mission Beach Cafe. Nothing fancy...just perfect.

                                            -----
                                            Mission Beach Cafe
                                            198 Guerrero St., San Francisco, CA 94103

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Civil Bear

                                              Even better with foie gras on top. One of my top 5 bites of 2011.

                                            2. Zuni burger is pretty decent: good meat, decent bun, properly cooked to order. I like the pickled veggies on the side. The string fries are a satisfying option if you have a big appetite. Oysters and gimlets to start, beer with the burger.

                                              -----
                                              Zuni Cafe
                                              1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                              1. The SFWeekly wrote up the burger at Lark Creek Steak online yesterday, a half-pound burger made from their butchery trimmings and grilled over mesquite and almond that has me thinking I need to get to the Westfield Center...can anyone vouch for it?

                                                http://blogs.sfweekly.com/foodie/2011...

                                                -----
                                                Lark Creek Steak
                                                845 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                                1. Nopa has been my favorite for a while. Also fond of Slow Cub and Cafe Rouge.

                                                  -----
                                                  Nopa
                                                  560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                                                  Cafe Rouge
                                                  1782 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710

                                                  1. I've been really enjoying the burgers at Sidebar, Scolari's and Truburger lately. My wild card pick is the Thai burger at Homeroom Racing Cafe in Alameda - a thick, juicy patty spiked with chilis, Thai basil, and shallot (I think). Their fries are great too - thick cut, possibly dredged in rice flour or some other starch - they're always greaseless, perfectly fried and seasoned.

                                                    -----
                                                    Homeroom Racing Cafe
                                                    1305 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

                                                    Scolari's
                                                    1303 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: daveena

                                                      Had the opportunity to try a burger at Scolari's this past weekend and I'm jumping on the bandwagon and saying it's probably my favorite in the East Bay currently. But note, the burger I had was one of the specials on their board that came with Pimento cheese and bacon. Just excellent. Nicely cooked and they use butter lettuce which I really liked.

                                                      -----
                                                      Scolari's
                                                      1303 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

                                                    2. Don Pisto's in North Beach. Yes, it's largely a Mexican restaurant, but an amazing burger. Buns come from the French-Italian Bakery two doors up. Bacon, onions and guacamole.

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

                                                      1. Who has the best buffalo burgers? Pearl's Deluxe, Bullshead, Acme Burgerhaus, Holy Grill, Buffalo Burger Restaurant, Prather Ranch Grill, Urbun Burger, or Bistro SF Grill? Grilled or griddled?

                                                        -----
                                                        Holy Grill
                                                        659 Townsend St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                                        Prather Ranch
                                                        1 Ferry Bldg # 32, San Francisco, CA

                                                        Bullshead Restaurant
                                                        840 Ulloa St, San Francisco, CA 94127

                                                        Buffalo Burger Restaurant
                                                        5317 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

                                                        Urbun Burger
                                                        581 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA

                                                        Acme Burgerhaus
                                                        559 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                                                        Bistro SF Grill
                                                        2819 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Cynsa

                                                          Sounds like a new topic deserving its own thread.
                                                          Who has the best buffalo burgers?

                                                        2. I noticed Burger Bar located upstairs in Macy's Union Square has not been mentioned...has anyone been there recently? Opinions???

                                                          10 Replies
                                                          1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                                            I heard it was closing. I had one, it was decent, but not spectacular, but I did not load on all the special toppings and they had many available.

                                                            1. re: myst

                                                              Reviving part of an old threat... Outta curiosity... :)

                                                              I noticed from an article, that Burger Bar is still open... And I too heard/thought it was closing last year...

                                                              Does anyone know what changed to keep the place open? Or was the rumor just that... A rumor, and false...

                                                              1. re: slew

                                                                Reviving once again. Just returned from a lunch at Burger Bar and to be frank: it sucked.

                                                                I had the American Classic, a bacon cheeseburger for $14.95. It was cooked decently, but the meat quality was NOT reflective of the price. Nice view of Union Square, quiet in the mid-afternoon. Excellent beer selection, for real, but you pay for it. My 21st Amendment "Back in Black" was $7.95. (The menu said $7.00, which annoyed me; the bartender mentioned that "the minimum wage had gone up" so the price was raised. Print new menus, seriously.) I had an 8-Ball stout for dessert for another $7.95. What a splurger I am.

                                                                The Burger Bar burger is handily beat by any East Bay stalwarts--Plum Bar, Mua, Sidebar, Chop Bar, etc. I don't think the quality of the food is the thing keeping this place open. Another luxe-burger lover's heart is broken. Liver doing OK, though.

                                                                1. re: lakemerritter

                                                                  If the menu says $7 can they really charge more? Is there a disclaimer on the menu saying prices can change without notice?

                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                    I was pretty peeved, but quibbling over 95 cents when eating a $15 cheeseburger and preparing to order another overpriced beer just didn't seem worth it at the time. The bartender was nice and I really didn't want to get into it. I'm sure I could have gotten it changed, but like to pick my battles. And snark anonymously on CH, apparently.

                                                                    Bears noting that last time my wife and I tried to go here on a Saturday in December (holiday time) the line was out the door and we went to Bluestem instead. So I guess some people go here... but I won't again. Just three tables were occupied in the 2:00 hour.

                                                                  2. re: lakemerritter

                                                                    I actually walked through Union Square today at just after 1 pm and glanced up at BB. Only one table along the windows was occupied. I wondered how they were doing, and realized I hadn't heard anything about it in awhile...from anyone. If not the quality of the food, what IS keeping the place open?

                                                                    1. re: Frosty Melon

                                                                      Macy's has a lot of hungry shoppers?

                                                              2. re: ChowFun_derek

                                                                I went there once about a year ago or so. Nothing special to note about the burgers or the rest of the menu. I'll never return.

                                                                1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                                                  It's been downhill for me. When they first opened, the Hubert Keller burger was really good. Since then, I've tried that and several other burgers, which were decent at best.

                                                                  1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                                                    It was only sorta okay - especially with the price consideration - and it broke my little, luxe-burger craving heart.

                                                                  2. I am big fan of the usual East Bay places mentioned (Sidebar, 900 Grayson, Cafe Rouge, Mua), but I have been really enjoying the burger at Triple Rock lately. Despite just being a bar burger, it is now my current go-to when I am craving a burger.

                                                                    Disappointed to hear that Luka's burger has gone downhill...

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Cafe Rouge
                                                                    1782 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710

                                                                    900 Grayson
                                                                    900 Grayson St, Berkeley, CA 94710

                                                                    Mua
                                                                    2442A Webster Street, Oakland, CA 94612

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: The Dive

                                                                      Triple Rock's food improved a year or so back. It is an above-average burger. Better than the most recent one I had at Luka's.

                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                        +1 on that. A fine burger.

                                                                    2. You don't need to spend $15 for a great burger. Here are three great economical places:
                                                                      Buckshot Restaurant
                                                                      Darla's
                                                                      Burgermeister

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Nopa

                                                                        Buckshot Restaurant, Bar and Gameroom
                                                                        3848 Geary Blvd
                                                                        Darla's
                                                                        822 Irving Street

                                                                      2. I just had my first burger today at Super Duper Burger (on Market in the Castro). It was stellar and inexpensive. Delicious, toothsome, toasted bun, and just a very flavorful and juicy burger. They also have soft serve dip cones. Prices are extremely reasonable for food of this quality.

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Super Duper Burgers
                                                                        2304 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94101

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Atomica

                                                                          Another vote for Super Duper. I loved it and look forward to my next one.

                                                                          1. re: Atomica

                                                                            Was pleasantly surprised as well - just an overall solid burger at Super Duper.

                                                                            1. re: Atomica

                                                                              Today I had my first Super Duper Burger (Marina, Chestnut & Pierce). In spite of not getting to specify a "doneness" and being made out of two patties instead of one thick one, it was really good. Very juicy, very very flavorful as in beef flavor, not heavy seasoning. You get it "your way" for addons, for me (ex-midwesterner) meaning no mayo or lettuce or tomatoes or "special sauce", but red onions, mustard, and ketchup. The house-made pickle spears are also quite good. There's one getting ready to open in Mill Valley next to Whole Foods on Miller, and I'm afraid I'll be there too often.

                                                                              -----
                                                                              Super Duper Burgers
                                                                              2201 Chestnut St, SF, CA 94123

                                                                            2. Showdogs on Market....my guess is that most people don't even know they have a burger
                                                                              Perfectly balanced, with a nice dose of arugula and lemon/cayenne aioli....the meat is suoer fresh, bun is a perfect size and texture....1/2lb for $8

                                                                              1. I'm surprised no one has mentioned Wayfare Tavern's burger. My husband is still talking about it - nearly 5 months later. He had it with the egg on it, and wouldn't let me have a taste even - and he usually doesn't hog his food.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Wayfare Tavern
                                                                                558 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                                                                1. I'll speak up for Martin's West in RWC. Just had their burger, and a very unusual spice to it, and a well made brioche bun. They also have an excellent new drink they call the Whiskey Brick - great for manhattan lovers, a splash of absinthe with the bitters.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: bbulkow

                                                                                    Martins West's burger is so unusual I almost would call it something else, kind of like the one at the Spotted Pig in NY. The onion-bacon marmelade takes it in a totally unique direction. If the chef's goal was to make a burger that paired perfectly with good Scotch, he achieved it.

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Martins West
                                                                                    831 Main Street, Redwood City, CA 94063

                                                                                  2. I have to go old school and plug Joe's Cable Car. I know for an essentially take out burger it is a bit pricey, but a 6oz with onions cooked in and just a bit of blue cheese is heaven on a bun!

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

                                                                                    1. There has to be room on this thread for the Epic Roasthouse "burger, beer, brownie" special you can grab at the upstairs bar. $20, easily feeds two (half-pound burger). I like to sit at a table near the window. The club chairs are comfortable. Deb usually orders a glass of white wine during happy hour. This is good food with killer views for a modest sum. Noise can be an issue.

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      Epic Roasthouse
                                                                                      369 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105

                                                                                      1. Chop Bar wins for me. It passed Mua by a long shot (and Mua's burgers are excellent.)
                                                                                        Default include toppings: bacon and avocado
                                                                                        The bun is a yummy buttery kaiser style roll.
                                                                                        There are "cowboy onions" that are sauteed with smoked paprika. Definitely check it out. They are also open pretty late.

                                                                                        -----
                                                                                        Mua
                                                                                        2442A Webster Street, Oakland, CA 94612

                                                                                        Chop Bar
                                                                                        247 4th St, #111, Oakland, CA 94607

                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: jade408

                                                                                          If they put all that on the burger, how can you taste the beef?

                                                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                            Haha, good question. They actually do not put a ton of bacon or avocado, it is a good compliment. But I'll admit, I remove the bacon and eat it on the side -- because I like bacon. I am pretty plain about burgers, so for me it rarely has more than onions. I only have avocado and onion on my burger there (no mayo, etc..), My sister eats hers only raw onions. The meat is very tasty, and the star of the burger!

                                                                                          2. re: jade408

                                                                                            Maybe I had an off burger but the last time I had one at Chop Bar, the patty size to roll ratio was definitely not in my preferred proportion. The bun basically overwhelmed my patty and the bacon was a little too crisp, to the point of borderline burnt.

                                                                                            Thus, I've never ordered a burger there again, but all the other food I've had there has been good.

                                                                                            1. re: jade408

                                                                                              I thot the cowboy onions were tasty but too wet - I dislike having to "fork & knife" a soggy burger. Really like the arugula salad garnish too.

                                                                                              Wish they had crispy fries to make it "perf".

                                                                                              1. re: jade408

                                                                                                I finally tried Mua, based on hounds' much-professed burgerlove for them. I wasn't wowed -- it was cooked right, and juicy enough -- but there was no next-level tastiness in effect, and a handful of demerits against it (including an over-thick, mealy tomato that has/had no place on a great burger). I'd vote Chop Bar over Mua for Oakland eateries. (Mua was awesome inside, though, and I can't wait to go back... and order something else.)

                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                Mua
                                                                                                2442A Webster Street, Oakland, CA 94612

                                                                                                1. re: jade408

                                                                                                  I've had a couple great burgers at Chop Bar. And Flora has a very good one too. Used to like Luka's, have heard they are not as good. Also have had a very good one at Christopher's on College--good mayo, good bun...Grayson's was not so great when I went there.

                                                                                                2. Have to say that the Cheeseburger at Seabowl in Pacifica is one of the best burgers I have tried. Manny (whom I have not seen for awhile) cooks it to perfection. Flame broiled beefy taste, doesnt even need condiments. I have only had the ones that Manny cooks, but I know they grind their own meat for the burgers. Its a bowling alley, but hardly a bowling alley burger--Top Notch

                                                                                                  1. Oops, accidentally posted to the old 2008 topic someone bumped. Plum has a great burger on its late-night menu (10:30 on, $15, comes with a small salad). Highly superior patty: ribeye, gamy and fatty. Griddled, very juicy. Small Kaiser roll, also griddled, not my favorite but works well.

                                                                                                    A few other recs added to the old topic:

                                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3219...

                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                    Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe
                                                                                                    4081 Hollis St, Emeryville, CA 94608

                                                                                                    Ravenous
                                                                                                    420 Center St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

                                                                                                    Sidebar
                                                                                                    542 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                      Went to Plum last night and they had completely changed the burger. This time it was two thin patties that tasted like bits of crisp bacon had been mixed in. Good but not the gamy item I've been craving since having a quarter of a burger at Zuni the other night.

                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                      Zuni Cafe
                                                                                                      1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                        I recently had the Plum burger at lunch and they do grind bacon into the meat. It was good, the bun may have been a little too soft, but overall it held up fairly well to the juices from the two patties. I also noticed that Plum puts thin sliced carrots on top of the burger. I'd order it again.

                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                        Plum
                                                                                                        2214 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

                                                                                                        1. re: Scott M

                                                                                                          I don't believe there were carrots on the one I had.

                                                                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                            They were very thin the shape of a pickle chip but instead a thinner carrot chip. I hadn't seen it done before.

                                                                                                    2. My two favorites (being way out in the easy bay): Jon's Charburger in Livermore and Pearl's Deluxe in Alameda :)

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: westernmeadowlark

                                                                                                        Reposting from outdated thread:

                                                                                                        I made The Burger my grail upon arriving here in the Bay -- I'd been disappointed by my options in Boston, and was craving them for some reason at almost menopausal-she-wolf levels. I've slowed down in my quest, but still check back in with my faves:

                                                                                                        Sidebar, in Oakland. Get the egg on it. And the gruyere. Trust me. I've done it without, just to ensure that I wasn't being seduced by eggy, cheesy tomfoolery, and it was an amazing burger on its own. But let me repeat: get the egg and gruyere.

                                                                                                        Spork: this is a kind of postmodern homage to In N' Out, and it's really, really good.

                                                                                                        Namu: almost perfect. They somehow manage to make kim chi on your burger seem as natural as ketchup -- i.e., like it should always have been there, and it's been your fault for having been so dense as not to have ordered it specially.

                                                                                                        Ravenous, in Healdsburg: this was a real surprise; I was in a bad mood, and wasn't all that wowed by the restaurant's ambience for whatever reason, and was almost petulantly prepared to not like my meal (I mention this to add weight to what comes next), at which pojnt one of the most singularly juicy and classic burgers I'd ever eaten arrived. I felt upbraided by the angels.

                                                                                                        Zuni: I have nothing to add here, really -- it's great. At first the focaccia thing didn't do it for me. Then it did. It's great -- though I'll take Sidebar over it any day, oddly enough.

                                                                                                        Nopa: my burgerquestmate's favorite. I think it's very, very good, but not good enough to medal.

                                                                                                        Fish & Farm: tied with Nopa.

                                                                                                        Lastly, for the grotty ambience and QPR, I'll mention Red's Java Hut.

                                                                                                        I thought Slow Club's was meh.

                                                                                                        Full disclosure: have not been to Rouge or had a Rosamunde burger yet. Can't wait.

                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                        Zuni Cafe
                                                                                                        1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                                                                                        Nopa
                                                                                                        560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                                                                                                        Slow Club
                                                                                                        2501 Mariposa Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                                                                        Spork
                                                                                                        1058 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                                                                        Namu
                                                                                                        439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

                                                                                                        Java Hut Cafe
                                                                                                        60 Greenfield Ave, San Anselmo, CA 94960

                                                                                                        1. re: uberslop

                                                                                                          Namu reopens on March 31, 2012 as Namu Gaji.
                                                                                                          Namu Gaji - 3579 Dolores St. @ 18th Street, San Francisco

                                                                                                      2. The ones I grill at home.

                                                                                                        Short of that... this is going to sound like a bizarre answer... there is a (dive) bar on Polk Street in Russian Hill called Bullit. For whatever reason, they make *exceptional* burgers. I mean, *holy crap* exceptional burgers all for under $10. I don't know why or how it is even possible that this place makes these burgers, but they do. Very few people seem to know about this, but those I know that do get takeout from there all the time.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: wolfe

                                                                                                          Bullitt

                                                                                                          -----
                                                                                                          Bullitt
                                                                                                          2209 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                                                                                                        2. Any reports on Greenburger's burger?

                                                                                                          -----
                                                                                                          Greenburger's
                                                                                                          518 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                                                                                                          1. Ihave been eating Val's for 25 years. It is my personal gold standard for burgers. The consistency of the burger is scary good. The shake is remarkable. The Onions Rings are perfect. Val's knows how to do what they do and they do it well. The Papa Burger is admittedly excessive. That, an order of fries/onion rings and a chocolate shake are in my estimation no doable by one. I have tried and failed. I never finish the fries alone.

                                                                                                            Returned after testing all the top rated burgers on both sides of the bay. Ricks Deli in Emeryville is on the right track. Bullshead beats Marlowe, both in quantity and quality, True Burger is not in the same league. Zuni has slipped mightily.

                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                            Zuni Cafe
                                                                                                            1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

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

                                                                                                            Bullshead Restaurant
                                                                                                            840 Ulloa St, San Francisco, CA 94127

                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: theomordha

                                                                                                              i think Val's has a pretty good burger. the one thing i don't like about Val's is their bun. it looks like your standard supermarket sesame seeded hamburger bun and it disintegrates from the onslaught of juices from the patty.

                                                                                                              1. re: drewskiSF

                                                                                                                Drew, I think you are right. I always get the French roll, turn it upside down, let the juices run in to the hard crust and it all is very eatable.

                                                                                                                1. re: theomordha

                                                                                                                  thanks for the tip! i'm not usually big on French rolls for sandwiches / burgers, but will give it a shot next time i'm at Val's.

                                                                                                                  1. re: drewskiSF

                                                                                                                    I just ate a cheeseburger at Val's this past weekend. I'm happy to tell you that their burgers are still amazing.

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

                                                                                                                  2. re: theomordha

                                                                                                                    Granted I order the steak sandwich, but I used to get crazy looks in college when I would do that at Val's.

                                                                                                                2. re: theomordha

                                                                                                                  Ricks' Deli?

                                                                                                                  1. re: sydthekyd

                                                                                                                    All Hounds, I am so sorry, Rudy's Cant Fail Cafe in Emeryville. First class burgers and shakes.

                                                                                                                3. Wood Tavern!

                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                  Wood Tavern
                                                                                                                  6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: chemchef

                                                                                                                    To me, the chunk of baguette Wood Tavern uses is too chewy, doesn't work well with a burger, though it's fine for the pastrami.

                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                    Wood Tavern
                                                                                                                    6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

                                                                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                      I can't stand it when restaurants use hard baguette for a burger. Joe's of Westlake comes to mind. And they can't replace it with something softer.

                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                      Joe's of Westlake
                                                                                                                      11 Glenwood Ave, Daly City, CA 94015

                                                                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                        Wood Tavern is now using Acme buns, or at least they were the other day.

                                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                                        Wood Tavern
                                                                                                                        6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

                                                                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                          this might have been temporary... I stopped in La Farine on College Ave the other morning and they had no baguettes because of an electrical problem with an oven at their Fruitvale location. My first thought was "Uh oh, what is Wood Tavern going to do for their burgers?"

                                                                                                                          I agree that a La Farine baguette is/was a little too chewy for a burger. Luckily, it's great for lots of other things like cheese plates and scrambled eggs.

                                                                                                                          -----
                                                                                                                          Wood Tavern
                                                                                                                          6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

                                                                                                                          La Farine
                                                                                                                          6323 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

                                                                                                                          1. re: tripit

                                                                                                                            We split a burger and a pastrami, and the latter came on the usual chunk of baguette.

                                                                                                                          2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                            I don't think it was temporary; I also had an Acme bun a couple times later last year, well past June. I now think this burger comparable to Mua.

                                                                                                                            I agree with the 4505 partisans, the cheeseburger at the Ferry Building is a wonderful breakfast.

                                                                                                                            I also liked a couple variants of the Plum burger, but don't know if I'd recommend it specially at that price point/restaurant style.

                                                                                                                            Single experience with Chop Bar was positive.

                                                                                                                            Luka's is definitely not what it once was, but still decent and substantial.

                                                                                                                            Chez Papa Resto had a good burger for lunch in the past.

                                                                                                                            1. re: twocents

                                                                                                                              by in the past do you mean when baqzirgan was there? i'd imagine if so, it's carried over to the fifth floor bar menu....

                                                                                                                              1. re: twocents

                                                                                                                                I thought the plum burger was transformative, but I don't even classify it as a burger. It's chopped meat, cooked, put on bread, and that's where the similarity ends.

                                                                                                                                1. re: twocents

                                                                                                                                  I was looking at Wood Tavern's menus today, and it says the burger's on La Farine baguette.

                                                                                                                          3. Another vote for the Marlowe burger. It really is perfection and well thought out. Not too complicated or pretentious, and awfully delicious.

                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: FoodieGirl16

                                                                                                                              I went to Zuni couple of weeks back with high hopes that the burger would be as good as many say. I was hugely disappointed. Sent back twice till they finally managed to cook one "medium" as requested and not nuked beyond oblivion. Patty was hockey puck-esque, meat not great taste-wise and on the dry side to boot. Focaccia "bun" truly dreadful and disintegrated within 2 minutes. Even worse were the shoestring fries which were massively over-seasoned, crispy to the point of inedible and utterly impossible to eat in a civilized manner. Halfway thru I was longing for a star trek teleporter to beam me back to the spotted pig in nyc for the real deal (not wanting to start a pointless SF-NYC comparison here but impossible not to compare the sad looking grey meat of zuni to what a burger should be...). Heck I would have taken in n' out over the zuni effort at this point.

                                                                                                                              Left scratching my head about this place. I've now been 3 times and had sub-par over-priced food every time. I won't be back.

                                                                                                                              -----
                                                                                                                              Zuni Cafe
                                                                                                                              1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                                                                                                              1. re: Scotty100

                                                                                                                                I'm not sure there's any point to Zuni's burger unless you like your meat rare or medium-rare.

                                                                                                                                Shoestring potatoes are supposed to be like that, completely crisp with all the moisture fried out.

                                                                                                                                Tipsy Pig's burger is very good. The half-pound patty's thicker than at most places so it can take more grilling without drying out. I haven't encountered a burger like that around here.

                                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                                Zuni Cafe
                                                                                                                                1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                                                                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                  Yup...I have had many a shoestring in the past so am well acquainted but thought zuni's version wasn't up to scratch. Thanks for the heads-up on tipsy - I will try it next.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Scotty100

                                                                                                                                    Sorry, got my wires crossed, I meant Spotted Pig. I haven't been to Tipsy Pig.

                                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                                    Tipsy Pig
                                                                                                                                    2231 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94123

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                      I'm a fan of both the Pig and Zuni. Very similar. Maybe too many herbs on the Pig's string fries but that's a personal choice. I like to pop in around 2:30-3 p.m. and sit at the bar there. The neighborhood around Jane is pretty cool. Like Zuni, timing is everything when it comes to dining.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                    I strongly disagree. While I personally think a medium burger is an abomination, I recently had chemotherapy and HAD to eat my meat medium. A GOOD chef with control of the quality of the meat and the amount of fat added should be able to make a palatable to more than palatable medium burger. My daughter managed at home for me, so at Zuni's price and reputation, they should have been able to. Or say, "Sorry, we can't cook a decent medium burger so we recommend ordering something else."

                                                                                                                                    And then there are those who just like no pink in their meat. It's their right.

                                                                                                                                    And shoestring potatoes should be dry and yet not dried out. Sound's like Scotty's were over-fried.

                                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                                    Zuni Cafe
                                                                                                                                    1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                                                                                                                    1. re: rccola

                                                                                                                                      I consider a medium burger to be warm and pink throughout, cooked to no more than 140-145ish internal temp. which if done correctly does not render good quality meat dry and grey to the point of being inedible. At home when I'm in control, I'll cook med-rare. But really temp control cooking meat is 101 stuff...I'm giving zuni a wide-berth from now on. 3 strikes and they are out for me...

                                                                                                                              2. I just had the "little burger" appetizer at Thermidor. They also have a big burger on the menu (which I didn't try). The burger had swiss and mushrooms and was served on a small eggy bun. The burger was cooked perfectly (well, I'd ordered rare and it was) with a crisp outside, juicy inside.
                                                                                                                                I'd definitely go here again (combined with ability to sit outside and have an incredibly well-made cocktail).

                                                                                                                                1. Last night after a shopping run to Whole Foods on Potrero Hill (did you know that Saturday, 8:45pm is dead there, parking all over the place), we stopped at Chez Maman for a bite to eat. I'd not been there since 2004 --- yikes, where did the time go? Seats at the counter, moules & frites for him, a basic burger with side salad for me, and the best part was watching the frenetic cooks turn out crepes, burgers, couscous kabobs, and many orders of mussels. I probably wouldn't recommend the moules again, despite the luxurious reduction of butter, white wine and garlic cooking juices, but I did enjoy my hamburger mightily. Lovely light textured bun from Brioche Bakery toasted on the grill held together well. I was skeptical watching the thin patty tossed on the grill, but it was beautifully cross-hatched with char markings and rare and juicy inside as ordered. Seasoned well and squirted with garlicky aioli, I didn't need to add anything else but the carmelized onions and slices of tomato served on the side. Excellent salad, not stinting on the bitter baby greens, and bountifully portioned and almost falling off the plate.

                                                                                                                                  I wouldn't assert that Chez Maman makes the best burger but it is certainly worthy of honorable mention.

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

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                                                                                                    good call. definitely an above average burger.

                                                                                                                                    i lived on Portrero Hill until 2008 and Chez Maman was a staple of my weeknight dinners . . . how quickly we (i) forget.

                                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                                    Chez Maman
                                                                                                                                    1453 18th, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                                                                                                                    1. re: drewskiSF

                                                                                                                                      A seat at the counter at Chez Maman is a ringside seat at a great show too. The main cook had saute pans on four burners, something under the salamander, and two burgers going. We wondered if there might be height and weight maximums to work there watching the cooks and the one server slide by each other with caliente dishes behind the counter.

                                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                                      Chez Maman
                                                                                                                                      1453 18th, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Melanie Wong

                                                                                                                                      Glad to hear it's still as good as I remember. I haven't been in too many years but it was my favorite burger back when they still had a location in Bernal. I didn't list it above only because it's been too long to judge. It's definitely in my top 5 still.

                                                                                                                                    3. I was disappointed in Pearl's. But, cook a slider at home and put it on Kings Hawaiian dinner roll-you will thank me later-

                                                                                                                                      Used to love Bullshead on West Portal Ave. I was probably on of their first customers. But last two burgers have been D-R-Y!

                                                                                                                                      I am dying to try the burger at Chez Maman- anyone recommend it?

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Saxby

                                                                                                                                        Chez Maman makes a solid burger always cooked nicely to the requested doneness, though I haven't been since I moved from Potrero a few years back.

                                                                                                                                        Melanie mentioned it earlier in the thread and gave it good marks (june 2011).

                                                                                                                                        1. re: drewskiSF

                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the recomendation. Can't wait to try that place. Almost everything on their menu sounds good.

                                                                                                                                      2. I just had a very tasty Turkey burger at Patty Shack in Redwood City. Also liked the regular burger.

                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: hannah

                                                                                                                                          I vaguely recall this place opening. DD doesn't eat beef nor does she enjoy veggie burgers; therefore, very discriminating when it comes to turkey burgers (prefers lamb or chicken). How are the prices? On my to do list now, thanks for mentioning.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: ceekskat

                                                                                                                                            If you want to discuss non-beef burgers, you might want to start a new topic so the discussion won't get lost among 135 posts about beef.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                              Ooh, but then I'd be obligated to indulge her :)

                                                                                                                                            2. re: ceekskat

                                                                                                                                              Prices are very reasonable. Good fries too.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: hannah

                                                                                                                                                Thanks!

                                                                                                                                          2. Accepting the possibility that the view played a role in it, the 1/2 pound Niman Ranch burger at the Mountain Home Inn in Mill Valley is pretty great.

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: ferret

                                                                                                                                              Does it come with fries? I spend some time occasionally in the parking lot waiting for husband who can outwalk me.. How is the rest of the menu.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: wally

                                                                                                                                                Yes on the fries. I've only had their burger.

                                                                                                                                            2. A & W in Corte Madera. Surprise! Surprise!- while definately not the best burger by a long shot, they are still pretty good for a fast food burger. I got caught in summer traffic and pulled over to give it a try and they tasted so good I ordered another. Rinsed it down with a frosty glass of root beer--- yummy.

                                                                                                                                              1. really enjoyed the burger at Gather tonight. kinda want to do a side by side comparison with nopa

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: vulber

                                                                                                                                                  hmmm, Berkeley/San Francisco - which one travels?

                                                                                                                                                2. Two good burgers no one else has mentioned for Alameda and Contra Costa counties:

                                                                                                                                                  Oakland - La Calaca Loca taqueria in the Temescal. An eccentric, low-key place that focuses more on quality than quantity. Nonetheless, the Mexican burger is a hefty, delicious beef patty on a superb telera bun. Get it with the Dry Jack melted on top. It comes with shredded lettuce, tomato, and a generous amount of pickled jalapenos. LCL offers three salsas if you really need even more heat! My spouse doesn't care for burgers, but after one taste of mine, he got one for himself. Finishing it all, he said, "You're right - that's a REALLY good burger."

                                                                                                                                                  Lafayette - Duck Club Grill. This upscale, quiet, comfortable dining room in the Lafayette Park Hotel offers free parking underneath (seminars and business meetings can fill up all the slots, though). There are two burgers: a regular and the American Kobe burger. The Kobe is the star, a massive 1/2 lb. with melted Gruyere and Boursin cheeses on a fresh, perfect ciabatta roll. It's beautifully seasoned with shallots and finely chopped sauteed mushrooms, with "all the fixin's" on the side, as they should be. One of the few burgers I'd rate as better than even a fine steak.

                                                                                                                                                  La Calaca Loca
                                                                                                                                                  5199 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, CA 94609
                                                                                                                                                  (located in the tiny corner Check Cashing strip mall, behind the now-closed SR24)

                                                                                                                                                  Duck Club
                                                                                                                                                  Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa
                                                                                                                                                  3287 Mount Diablo Boulevard, Lafayette, CA 94549

                                                                                                                                                  1. The burger at American Oak in Alameda deserves to be on this list. Ranking it over both Flora and Sidebar right now. Coarsely textured, juicy meat, perfectly seasoned, good toasted bun. Every time I have it I try to think more critically about what makes it good but I can't think when I'm eating this burger. Their cocktails are good too.

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: daveena

                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the tip. This place had flown under my radar, but I'll be checking it out soon!

                                                                                                                                                    2. This is my first post on here--I registered some time ago and never used the account but have enjoyed this thread, as I love burgers! Luckily for me, I also live a couple of blocks from Sidebar, where I have enjoyed many a burger over the 4 or 5 years I've been here. I like going for a late lunch--so hard to find a place that stays open between 2 and 5 and I often work from home, so a midafternoon bite at Sidebar offers a nice chance to get out in the world and see some other real live people.

                                                                                                                                                      I think Sidebar is probably my favorite area burger, followed by Mua and Chop Bar. Trueburger is just OK in my book. Recent big burger disappointment: Sparky's on Piedmont Ave., not good at all (horrible bun, among other indignities).

                                                                                                                                                      The reason I am posting, though, is that Ahn's Burger hasn't been mentioned in this thread and when I'm looking for no-frills, thin patty flattop grilled, and a non-artisan airy and "enriched" bun from a bag, Ahn's is where I often wind up. It's basically across the street from Sidebar and a total dive, but I do appreciate the simplicity of their burger. Carefully seasoned with just a dash of salt and pepper. Crinkly fries. Good shakes. Easily accessible walk-up window; a 90% chance of getting a contact high in the parking lot. Fun to get to go and eat by Lake Merritt or amble on down the street to Room 389 and enjoy on their patio with a Sierra Nevada or three.

                                                                                                                                                      That's pretty much all I have to add, except that I too will be trying out American Oak soon. Always like an excuse to go to Alameda. (Great name for a place, too, it just sounds warm and inviting somehow!)

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pdanglger

                                                                                                                                                        Burgers in the air! This afternoon I went to Flipside; very good burger. Like a fancy Burger King. Good fries. Unfortunate large wall menu typo: "Choose you bread".