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Anyone know a great East Bay Burger joint?

The only one I have found that makes me go back again is at Cafe Rouge on 4th St. Any other suggestions?

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      1. What have you tried, found lacking, and why?

        1 Reply
        1. re: bbulkow

          We've found the burgers at Sidebar/Oakland and Cafe Royal/Albany both lacking due to: not salting beef before cooking (a real sticking point for me; salt on top is NOT the same) but more importantly, fluffy fall-apart Kilpatrick style buns. I hate those.

          Give me the great telera bun on La Calaca's Mexicanaburger any day. Or the properly trimmed, lightly toasted brioche at Vault 164 (which sadly, is in San Mateo and a loooong ride away).

          Duck Club/Lafayette made a stupendous burger, but we haven't been back since the chef changed, so will have to wait a week before reporting back.

          1. re: drewskiSF

            another vote for Mua. I also like the ones at Luka's (but even noisier than Mua...)

            1. re: escargot3

              I had the burger at Mua and came away unimpressed (not to mention that the rest of our meal was very acidic and average, but we probably just ordered wrong - great drinks though, annoying ambiance). Certainly not bad, but it didn't stand out among a lot of other burgers I've had. Plum, and Hopscotch are on my list.

              I am shocked no one has mentioned Umami Burger. When I lived in LA, this and Father's Office were the best burgers I've had (and remain that way after living in DC and Chicago since). The one time I had it here, it was way better than Mua.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  That boat has sailed. Nations and In and Out are already mentioned up thread.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    >Umami's a chain, so off-topic.
                    that is ridiculous

                    1. re: psb

                      So post about it if you want.

                      I looked at the menu and the burgers all seemed overly complicated for my taste. I can see how someone who likes the place would not be impressed by Mua's minimalist burger.

                        1. re: Alan408

                          Can we post about UMAMI in the DIN TAI FUNG thread [a chain which doesnt even exist in the bay area :-)]?


                          1. re: Alan408

                            Please post pointer to rules specifying how many restaurants there can be before considered a Chowhound Chain.

                            Umami has 21.

                            ( By comparison, Amici's has 13. Is that beyond reference? )

                            1. re: bbulkow

                              It's not about size. The Chains board is for discussion of national or multiregional operations. If a chain is limited to the SF Bay Area, it's on-topic for this board. Or if there is something unique about a local branch, that's also on-topic. One example would be Grocery Outlet --- this is a multi-state chain, but each store carries unique, one-off inventory, so individual outlets are discussed on the regional boards. In contrast, Trader Joe's tries to carry the same thing in all stores across the country, so it is discussed on the Chains board.

                              This seems to be my day to be the OT police.

                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                So we need to purge the In-n-out references, search returns a LOT of those.

                                1. re: bbulkow

                                  Assuming that you are serious about raising this point, a few issues:

                                  • If you take the time to look at those mentions of In-n-Out turned up by search, the ones in recent years are just that, mentions of the chain as a point of reference, not full blown discussions.

                                  • In-n-Out started in California. At the time that it began to expand to other states, my recollection of the moderators decision was that it could continue to be discussed on the various California boards since the vast majority of locations still are in-state. It would be impossible to stop Angelenos from talking about their local chain, don't you think?

                                  • Purging of *anything* requires somebody to find and report each individual occurrence to the moderators, then for a mod to decide whether any action in indicated. If you feel that there are improper references to In-n-Out, feel free to spend your time that way.

                                  But really, the most effective thing is for posters to be self-policing going forward. I'm not really interested in seeing this board get bogged down with repeated discussions of Wendy's, McD's, IHOP, Taco Bell, In-n-Out, etc., and I suspect that you aren't either. To hear from the mod team directly, check out this thread,

                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                    It appears there is some case-by-case that happens here. I'll be aware of that.

                      1. re: mdpilam

                        I dislike Umami burger. There are several around here - in the Marina district of SF, in Palo Alto near my house, and I don't like the style of Umami's burger. The meat is fairly thin (not costco-thin but not thick), the "umami stack" is hard to separate out by taste, the portion is small, the price extortionate.

                        I love the atmosphere at Mua. It's jazzy and energetic, typifies that part of oakland. Different strokes.

                        I was less impressed with their burger a year ago, but wouldn't hold Umami as the answer. Personally.

                        1. re: mdpilam

                          I prefer the Oakland Umami Burger's truffle burger over Mua's burger. The best burger in that area that I've had though was from Hopscotch. Really beefy and juicy. Luka's nearby also has a good burger and fries.

                          1. re: Mr_Happy

                            Good to hear this, thanks Mr. Happy. I'm slated to go to Umami Burger soon. I'm not a Mua burger fan. It was fine, but nothing special to me, and I really don't like the scene. I love Hopscotch's burger. It's been ages since I tried Luka's.... I think I remember not liking the bun? not sure....

                            1. re: mariacarmen

                              Luka's burger is of the same general minimalist style as Mua's. The place is way too loud in the evenings but Sunday afternoon it's fine.

                          2. re: mdpilam

                            i liked umami burger a lot, in Oakland. much more than i liked Mua's burger.

                        2. re: drewskiSF

                          Had their burger once - the burger itself was tasty, but the fries were limp and cold. Rather killed the experience for me.

                          1. re: drewskiSF

                            Mua would be my fav (ahead of Chop Bar), but if the bun's not toasted, it's gets too soggy. And, lately, the noise level is just too much for me.

                            1. re: Stephanie Wong

                              I make it a habit of ordering my bun toasted even at places that usually do it without asking.

                          2. Cafe Rouge is my usual place when I've craving a burger, though the Kaiser rolls they use aren't may favorite.

                            I slightly prefer Mua's, similar style but with a brioche bun, but I don't go there often because of the loud boring music.

                            The old Namu in SF beat both of them. I haven't tried the burger at Namu Gaji yet.

                            1. Cafe Royale in Albany has a surprisingly good burger. Maybe doesn't have the pedigree of other places, but I found it to be hand made, thick, juicy and very satisfying. Only open for Breakfast and Lunch though.

                              Also I really like Scolari's in Alameda.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: nicedragonboy

                                Are you referring to Royal Cafe, or is there a Cafe Royale as well? http://www.royalcafealbany.com/FinalR...

                                  1. re: nicedragonboy

                                    Great, thanks! I wanted to include your recommendation in this but wasn't sure if there was a deep underground, non-web indexed Cafe Royale I was missing http://www.chow.com/food-news/132896/...

                              2. Ditto re Cafe Rouge.

                                The patty @ Wood Tavern on College in Oakland is great, but the hard roll is all wrong.

                                Haven't been for donkey's years, but recall liking the burger @ Fat Apple on MLK in Berkeley (w/ a side of good cole slaw and a great shake).

                                And Burger Depot is a hole-in-the-wall place on lower Solano that has an inexpensive, decent burger (and good shake--it's a shop that also features ice cream).

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: sundeck sue

                                  Yeah, Wood Tavern's burger would be great if they used a brioche bun. The chunk of baguette just doesn't work for me for a burger, though I love it with their pastrami.

                                  1. re: sundeck sue

                                    Burger Depot is ok for the price, but it seems like they just use pre-processed patties. Haven't tried Wood Tavern's.

                                  2. Trueburger in oakland is the best burger I've found in the east bay IMHO

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: JohnnyontheSpot

                                      Trueburger's exceptionally good for a place without a charcoal grill and a great value. The only griddled burger I've had that topped that was the Heston Blumenthal "granulated" one at the defunct Mission Burger / Duc Loi in SF (now being served at Mission Bowling Club).

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        super duper on market st in san francisco, grass fed beef not corn fed beef

                                        1. re: ThaDu

                                          before others chime in with more SF burgers ..... the OP wanted East Bay Burgers : ~ )

                                      2. re: JohnnyontheSpot

                                        concur with trueburger. fivetenburger (food truck) is also great.

                                        1. re: shanghaikid

                                          Another truck that makes a good burger is Doc's of the Bay.

                                        2. re: JohnnyontheSpot

                                          Haven't been impressed yet by Trueburger.

                                          I've been twice. First time I didn't specify doneness and it was well done and dry. Second time I asked for med-rare and it was super rare; I like my steaks like that, but burgers I like more done.

                                          A choice of cheese would be nice too.

                                        3. Val's in Hayward. Burger and Fries for two with a chocolate shake. None better.

                                          Fatapple in Berkeley. Do not forget the slice of Ollalieberry pie. Remarkable.

                                          The others are OK but these are the top of the pile.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: theomordha

                                            Val's made a solid B grade burger.

                                            But I will not go go back since the last two times I went the burger cook smashed down the burgers as they cooked...that is a cardinal sin of hamburger cooking,never squeeze out the juices of a cooking burger...never...ever!

                                            Same reason why I won't go to Barney's hamburgers.
                                            They do the same lame thing.

                                            I'm not gonna pay $9 for a burger cooked by a fool.

                                            1. re: Mission

                                              i haven't witnessed the smash, but their patties have always been super juicy.

                                              their bun needs replacing though. it disintegrates under the juices. someone suggested the French Roll option for +$0.35

                                            2. Nizza La Bella.
                                              BELLA BURGER WITH FRITES/ 11.50
                                              Half Pound Burger with Grilled Onions, House-Made Bun & Frites
                                              Juicy burger, toasted bun, crispy fries.

                                              1. I had Nizza's burger recently. Good except the bun was too dense and chewy for my taste.

                                                1. I've become a big fan of the freshly opened Victory Burger, next to the Actual Cafe on Alcatraz and San Pablo in Oakland/Emeryville. The burgers are great, it's always easy to find parking and you can grab a pretty good coffee next door.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: exploserous

                                                    Yes, Victoryburger is worth checking out. The space is small and sparse, the staff are young and friendly and the burgers are tasty. My $8 bought a basic 1/3 lb. burger with 3 dot ranch beef grilled (not griddled) to order. Medium rare was the request and medium rare was the result. A good quality bun contained the burger and basic fixings and held up well right to the last bite. They have plenty of add-on options which, as a burger fundamentalist, I did not try. They have a few non-burger options which I have not yet tasted, though the chicken banh mi looks good.

                                                    1. re: exploserous

                                                      Checked out Victory burger. Liked the Veggie burger more than the veggie arepa, which is not really a burger since it falls apart immediately. Also the tofu needed some more flavor. I did really like the Arepa and if they somehow got the insides to stick together it would be a lot more enjoyable. My thought was that instead of multiple small pieces of tofu and plantain, they could cut them longer or wider.

                                                      The fries were good but a bit soggy, and the fried veggies were much better. Homemade ketchup is great because it is not too sweet. The house hot sauce, though, is too sweet and not hot enough. Wish they had a turkey burger instead of a chicken banh mi.

                                                    2. Surprisingly the one at Townhouse in Emeryville is memorable, more so than the ones I've had at Luka, Mua, Sidebar. I could actually taste the meat.

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: rubadubgdub

                                                        Not surprising at all. Townhouse/Emeryville is a GREAT steakhouse. Their prime rib is better than anything we've gotten at any of the East Bay steakhouses.

                                                        1. re: jaiko

                                                          wow, it's been at least 10 years since i've been to Townhouse..... really good to know about the prime rib.

                                                          ETA... Wah, it's not on their regular menu... was that a special?

                                                          1. re: jaiko

                                                            There are steakhouses in the East Bay?

                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                              And Townhouse is one?!?!? Please elaborate.

                                                            2. re: jaiko

                                                              Wait, you called Townhouse a steakhouse? The only steaks on the menu are a tenderloin and a "Thai steak salad." It's kind of Italian / American / comfort food / whatever.


                                                              I've gone there a few times for work meals and the food wasn't memorable. Around there I'd rather go to Bucci's.


                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                That's why I said "surprisingly". The other food I've had there is average and not that inspired.

                                                              2. re: jaiko

                                                                I am NOT saying that Townhouse is "only" a steakhouse. But the meat side of their menu is excellent. The filet was beautiful, and the Thai steak salad has rich beefy steak slices with an amazing lime-cilantro dressing.

                                                                What is not on the menu is their prime rib. It is strictly small end, very good quality, and perfectly done. It is also limited: last we checked, Wed-Sat only, always an off-menu special, and when they run out, that's it. Nada till the next time. They make two or three small roasts a night and that's all. Most of the time if you don't get there to order it by 7:30 it's gone.

                                                                If they've got the potatoes au gratin sub it for the mashed, the au gratin is excellent. Their prime rib beats Flemings and Ruth's Chris in CCCty.

                                                                1. re: jaiko

                                                                  By my definition, a steakhouse has a choice of bone-in cuts such as rib-eye, T-bone, and porterhouse.

                                                            3. Telegraph in Oakland does an awesome 50/50 burger, made with ground beef and ground bacon. The patty is ridiculously juicy, so much so, I don't even pay attention to details like the bun and toppings.

                                                              1. I just had a really good burger at the Berkeley Bowl West cafe.

                                                                1. Bistro 1491 has a good burger on a bun that doesn't fall apart. The ambiance isn't great, but I'm always struck by how nice the service is there. I think the burger is actually a cheeseburger (cheddar, American, blue, Swiss or jack) though I didn't have any. And the side is a choice of fries, potato salad, green salad and something else I'm forgetting.

                                                                  1. I'm surprised 900 Grayson hasn't been mentioned. Of course, you need to like Nueske's bacon and crispy onion strings on your burger to enjoy the Grayson burger.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: j mather

                                                                      I tried this today for lunch as I work nearby, and have to say I thought it was pretty good. Ordered med. rare, but came medium, but otherwise I was pretty happy with it.

                                                                      1. re: mdpilam

                                                                        I'm curious - why didn't you send it back?

                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                        Grazzy Burgers is open and I stopped by today. The "classic" (plain) burger had a flavorful patty, cooked exactly medium rare as requested, but a bit dry, probably because the beef is grass-fed. The menu said it came with mayonnaise, which I said no to before seeing that it's a home-made version with horsradish and dijon. This would have moistened the burger nicely.

                                                                        The hand-cut fries (extra charge) were good, but could have been a little crisper.

                                                                        They appear to be single-sourcing their beef from a ranch in Oregon.


                                                                        1. re: ernie in berkeley

                                                                          First trip there today:

                                                                          (1) Burger was tasty enough, but in the good, not great, department. I certainly wouldn't recommend that anyone order it more done than medium rare. I appreciate the beef quality.

                                                                          (2) Open until 10 or 11, depending on the night. That is a big plus. One would be relegated to Nations or Taco Bell or similar in the 'hood at that hour, otherwise.

                                                                          (3) The fries were odd. Plus- they come with 2 dipping sauces (choice of many) which were tasty. Minus - they looked extra crispy / well done, and were pretty floppy. Taste was ok.

                                                                          (4) They brought over taproom beer/wine menus, but we had to ask. Service was friendly.

                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                              It is split in two, with a very large opening between the two.

                                                                          1. re: ernie in berkeley

                                                                            Grazzy burger has been disappointing to me in its execution. When I go (used to live right there but i moved) i now order rare in a desperate attempt for med rare or medium. Kale chips are bomb. Some of their weird burger combos are actually good though, and the bun is a delicious acme pan di mie roll. Fries are extra though, which is stupid.

                                                                            1. re: rabbitblue

                                                                              >Fries are extra though, which is stupid.
                                                                              I like fries not being bundled with the burger ... I dont always want the calorie hit/fullness and it seems more new-agey sensitive blah blah to "honor" those who dont want to waste the food than those who have to take the "trouble" to order fries on the side.

                                                                              and unless the real issue is your cant order only a single side order of fried but have to get a 2-3 person $5-7 order of fries ... well i could see being annoyed about that but that's in the same realm as complaining "i wish their sodas were larger/smaller". Otherwise are you doing anything except complaining you wish the burger was $2 cheaper?

                                                                              Particularly at a place where you feel you have a lot of high quality side options to go with a burger, it makes sense to decouple these.

                                                                              1. re: psb

                                                                                First time back to Grazzy in over a year today. They still have problems with getting medium-rare right, but good flavor. Order rare if you want medium-rare.

                                                                                The biggest change is that they're including a small serving of fries with the burgers, lunchtime until 3 PM, so, you don't have to plow through a big basket of fries and pay extra for them. At $8.50 for their plain burger, with fries, this is now a good lunch deal.

                                                                                The taproom, like everywhere else this week, was packed with World Cup fans.

                                                                        2. While not a burger place per se, Hopscotch has a marvelous specimen with "griddled duck tongue." I had the luscious fried chicken when we were there and got to sample my friend's burger. A great reason to go back.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: edgrimley

                                                                            oh i forgot, i had that burger, it's wonderful!

                                                                          2. I had the basic burger at Hopscotch recently (not the one with tongue on top) and it was fantastic. Somebody mentioned the Burger Depot at the foot of Solano, which I also like for some reason, though it's just a char grilled frozen patty. People have mentioned problems with buns. I agree that the bun at Cafe Rouge is too dense. A hamburger bun should be soft. Pearl's in Alameda has surprisingly good burgers for a chain place, and they make a 1/4 pound version, which I appreciate. (Sorry, I don't need a half-pound of meat.) Can't Fail Cafe does a pretty good burger too.

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: TopoTail

                                                                              If you like frozen pattys, and you're in berkeley, you might like The Smokehouse.

                                                                              1. re: bbulkow

                                                                                I used to eat at Smokehouse regularly in the 1990's after a late night at the pubs and parties.

                                                                                Always thought it was quite tasty (do they still charge extra for tomatoes or mayonnaise?)

                                                                                Then I made the mistake of eating there during the day completely sober...

                                                                                Holy cow it was so bad and nasty that I have not returned in over 20 years...LOL.

                                                                                1. re: Mission

                                                                                  Yeah, I agree ... I know people who'd drive there at office lunch time and never understood why. Some kind of Cognitive Dissonance ... "it's an uncomfortable place to eat, so the food must be fantastic, otherwise why I am sitting on a picnic bench on telegraph ave".

                                                                                  And after late night occasions, we didn the drive through jack-in-the-box next door instead. So no apostasy for me.

                                                                                  1. re: psb

                                                                                    I stopped at Smokehouse one night on a hot dog crawl. Not as good as Top Dog, better than Sumo Grub.

                                                                            2. My favorite for quite a while was at B in Old Oakland. Still trying to find a buttered, toasted, brioche bun with a burger that is well-built and doesn't slide all over the place. Will check some of these out.

                                                                              1. I know some people who like Nation's... there's one in Orinda and one in Moraga (perhaps others). Might want to call in your order ahead of time - they can be slow.

                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                1. re: mr_darcy

                                                                                  Back in the day, I enjoyed the Nation's Giant Hamburgers locations in Alameda, Jack London Square, and El Cerritto -- BUT haven't gone in ages (gotta love a joint where the cops eating inside offer to escort a single gal to her car in the wee a.m. hours!) Use to love a juicy burger that once I started in, couldn't put it down cuz too messy!


                                                                                  1. re: mr_darcy

                                                                                    The biggest problem with NATION'S is too often they will use the heel -- or whatever the thick white bitter part is called -- rather than just the leafy, green part of the lettuce head.

                                                                                    Somewhat generically, like a lot of the more modest place, various food and non-food aspects of the whole experience can be highly inconsistent/variable ... ranging from getting a grilled cheese instead of burger in my to-go bag, to breaking the burger patty into two pieces, the long waits mentioned above ... and then we get into the long tail ... customer-chef knife fights, being locked inside the restaurant [actually that used to happen a lot at the one that used to be in Southside Berkeley] ... to my favorite episode ... "Uh, what happened to my fries? (after like 40min)" "You wanted fries?" "That's all I ordered! ... yes, I'd like fries for my fries."

                                                                                    If you like mayo on your burgers.

                                                                                    Yes, messy to the point of I dont like to consume them in public with with company.

                                                                                    1. re: psb

                                                                                      You just made me remember that I alway omitted the lettuce because the iceberg core made the whole thing slide off the bun at first bite -- LOL! Same reason for getting the onions grilled. And, God forbid, forgetting to have at least 3 napkings opened and ready to sopped up whatever fallout happened.

                                                                                      1. re: Stephanie Wong

                                                                                        Yes, opting for GRILLED ONIONS is essential for taste, structure, and the breath weapon-factor. But unfortunately they often under provide the grilled onions as much as they over do the raw.

                                                                                        But it is the LETTUCE CORE which drives me crazy ... I keep wanted to say "Can i give you a $.25 for a decent piece of lettuce?"

                                                                                        1. re: psb

                                                                                          Ah, Nation's- my opinions having been formed exclusively past 2am at the JLS location, I occasionally walk down from downtown for a burger to this day. In all likelihood this says more about the daytime burger possibilities downtown than it does about the quality of Nation's per se.

                                                                                          Rocky's was OK when they were here; Rico's has gone down a steep hill.

                                                                                          I've never experienced a lettuce problem at Nation's. I specify light onion, add pickle. They go crazy with the pickles- 3-4 longitudinal slices of shelf-stable dill- and it somehow works for me with the mayo and slightly diminished amount of onions.

                                                                                    2. re: mr_darcy

                                                                                      Nation's is okay...if you have to have a burger...but it's always done well and they put on the giant crappy slice of tomato and the giant piece of bitter lettuce (as described) and giant slice of onion. It seems it's there to provide bulk and hide the beef. Last time I went was 3 years ago...had to yank out most of the lettuce, most of the onion and the tomato was still over powering (bc it wasn't ripe).

                                                                                    3. anyone have an opinion on oscar's in Berkeley? I always walk by there, but have yet to try it out. whenever im in that area and need a burger, i typically go to triple rock.

                                                                                      14 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: majordanby

                                                                                        If a friend was insistent on going to OSCAR, I probably wouldnt burn my veto on it, as I havent been there for years inspite of walking/driving by it many times a week. Probably because I've forgotten why I dont go back ... whether I just didnt like it or thought it was overpriced etc.

                                                                                        And I suspect after that, I'd go back to not going there.

                                                                                        I think prefer Barney's to Triple Rock. But frankly in that zone, cheeseboard, that slider place, gregoire, possible local butcher sando, now sliver, brasa ... many options crowd it out.

                                                                                        I certainly wouldnt single out OSCAR for an inquiry covering the East Bay, i.e. "not a destination" ... not even "worth a detour", in Michelin-speak.

                                                                                        ok tnx.

                                                                                        1. re: psb

                                                                                          The food at Triple Rock improved a lot at some point in the last few years.

                                                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                            True that...we've upped it on our brewery list for this reason. an old school bun, thick fries, pickles, the norm, and a very solid old school style burger cooked right. I also like the baked potatoes here...

                                                                                        2. re: majordanby

                                                                                          I used to go, but it's been quite a few years. I remember thin patties grilled over a flame. Good fast-food style burgers. (I actually prefer thin patties.) Driving by, I've noticed veggie and chicken burgers advertised in the windows. Don't remember that in the past.

                                                                                          Any recent more reports?

                                                                                          1. re: majordanby

                                                                                            Oscar's is meh. Use to be okay in context of food in the 80s but not now with Barney's, Triple Rock and other options. Of ocurse Oscar's is cheaper. Flame grilled but thin patty and not much taste, very shallow.

                                                                                            I did stop by Oscar's a few years ago because I was driving and realized it had a free parking lot...but free parking isn't a good enough reason to go.

                                                                                            p.s. it also has a drive in..never noticed it before.

                                                                                            1. re: ML8000

                                                                                              since we moved my elderly dad up here, we've tried a lot of non-restaurantish burger places. Oscar's is meh, Smokehouse is meh, Al's is meh, Nation's is meh.... Red Onion, across the street from the Home Depot is slightly better than all these, in our opinion.

                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                Have you tried Val's? Better than most and the ones you listed.

                                                                                                1. re: ML8000

                                                                                                  No, where is Val's? yeah, the ones i listed are just the ones closeby that the Oldster will eat.

                                                                                                    1. re: kc72

                                                                                                      oh, thanks. that's a little too far for us to go just for a burger for my dad. (he lives in Albany.)

                                                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                          Can't believe no one has mentioned George's Giant Burger in Walnut Creek on Newell across the street from Kaiser. They grind their meat daily. Wonderful juicy burger that hasn't changed in 20 plus years.

                                                                                                          1. re: bigbruin

                                                                                                            I don't think most of us who live in the Oakland-Berkeley area get to Walnut Creek very often. Personally I don't even think of it as the East Bay, it's in a different watershed (Suisun Bay).

                                                                                                          2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                            i mentioned Al's. it was a go-to for awhile because it's close to my dad's, but we like Red Onion's better.

                                                                                            2. Fabulous thick, juicy niman ranch beef burger with thick sliced apple-wood smoked bacon, cheese, crispy fried onions and a great bun that doesn't get soggy and fall apart at 900 Grayson (at 7th St.) in Berkeley. Comes with julienned garlic fries. Yumm-m-m

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. Surprised no one has mentioned Disco Volante yet.

                                                                                                The fries are excellent and the burger easily beats other nearby options (Sidebar, Mua, Luka, Hopscotch). Plus the kitchen is open until Midnight.

                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: 10foot5

                                                                                                  Had the cheeseburger at Disco Volante for the first time yesterday. It is basically perfect, but very rich (well-seasoned juicy patty, good cheddar and bacon jam). The fries are first rate. The rest of the menu looked great as well (squid salad, fried pig ears, etc.), but I had to focus on the burger. It is probably the front runner for me now in the East Bay.

                                                                                                  1. re: 10foot5

                                                                                                    Just FYI for those late to this thread: Disco Volante is now closed.

                                                                                                    1. re: jaiko

                                                                                                      The former Disco Volante chef is now at Tribune Tavern.

                                                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                        Any update on the burger at Tribune? I thought it was fine, but I liked Disco Volante's better and hope for an upgrade with the chef move.

                                                                                                  2. My husband and I really dig Flipside's burger over on Lakeshore. When I was pregnant, we were there almost every week. They never fail to impress. I've tried all 3 bun offerings, but their signature classic but is the yummiest. And I'm not a huge onion ring fan, but they're beer battered onion rings are pretty bomb, too.

                                                                                                    1. The burgers at Gather and Sea Salt were great.
                                                                                                      Also, Phil's Sliders are awesome. Small taste bombs.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: billsay

                                                                                                        Sea Salt changed hands, name (Eat+Lounge), and menu, may not be the same burger.

                                                                                                      2. The Woodminster cafe is one of the best burgers in my recent memory. A rather homey sparsely appoint cafe in a very quiet area of Oakland. My current favorite is Honor Kitchen and Cocktails on Powell St at Hollis in Emeryville. The whole menu is good, yet the Honor Cheeseburger stands out above many of the places listed here, They serve to midnight and also have a great cocktail list.

                                                                                                        1. Top 3:
                                                                                                          1) Chop Bar
                                                                                                          2) Plum Bar
                                                                                                          3) Sidebar

                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: GoldMember76

                                                                                                            Have you had the new burger at Plum? One big patty, cheese, aioli, sauteed onions, good for that style (I prefer charcoal-grilled to griddled). The chef recommends the optional bacon, but they were out that night.

                                                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                              The burger at Plum, which you can get at Plum bar too, is PHENOMENAL. absolutely remarkably delicious. Perfect brioche bun, house ground meat, some crazy two cuts ground together, housemade everything, even a bunch of nice cheeses blended together as the cheese schmear on top. Out of this world good. Just wish it wasn't in Plum, and it was some casual place!

                                                                                                              1. re: rabbitblue

                                                                                                                Plum Bar's latest burger is good. I didn't see it on Plum's menu last time I looked.

                                                                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                  has it changed? different version, you mean?

                                                                                                                  1. re: rabbitblue

                                                                                                                    I'm not sure when it changed most recently. Probably in September after the new chef took over.

                                                                                                                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                    What kind of burger is it? I liked Plum Bar's take on the drive-in burger but also liked Plum's late night burger that they used to have (thicker, with big beefy flavor).

                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dive

                                                                                                                      Plum Bar's current burger is one thick 8-oz. patty with cheddar and caramelized onions. It's more like the old late-night burger before they switched to two Big Mac-style thin patties.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                        Just had Plum Bar's burger tonight, and so far, in the short time that I've been back in the Bay, it is my favorite (other than the one I can't mention). Though I will say it kind of feels like I'm eating a fancy In n Out burger, but everything (meat, bun, toppings) was good. Plus, how can you turn down the adult Happy Meal?

                                                                                                            2. I think everybody has their own Platonic ideal of a burger--mine is a thick, juicy, very beefy medium rare cheeseburger where the primary taste is beefiness, and the other elements add and not detract from this. Also, I hate ketchup. I haven't tried too hard to seek it out, but I haven't found a great version of this in Berkeley. I was disappointed, in particular, with Cafe Rouge, as I've enjoyed all the meat from the couter there, and many cuts of BN Ranch beef from there specifically for their beefiness, but found their burger lacking in both beefy flavor and juiciness. I only had it once, so it could have been an off afternoon. I did have a good example of this at Revival recently--a very juicy and reasonably beefy burger with a nicely griddled bun. The fries were nice and crispy too.
                                                                                                              I tend to be less enthused about diner style griddled thin patties, but have really enjoyed 510 burger, and I would go back to Trueburger. I've found the burgers at Al's to be okay (though I like how they have fried zucchini and mushrooms, and prefer to order these). Nations has been acceptable, though I've mostly consumed them at a late hour after drinking.
                                                                                                              One place I particularly didn't care for was Sam's in San Leandro. I was drawn in by their cute, old-timey design, but the burger was relatively flavorless and served on a blah untoasted bun. The fries were good, though--very crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: ...tm...

                                                                                                                I realize this isnt EBay, but for you, tm, have you tried the Mission Bowl Burger? Based on what I had at the precursor, back at Duc Loi, might be worth trying. Dunno if they still have the significant "happy hour" discount.

                                                                                                                It was very ... beefy.

                                                                                                                1. re: psb

                                                                                                                  I still curse the day when I made it mid-day to Duc Loi and got the fried chicken sandwich rather than the famed burger because I was more in the mood for fried chicken and I'd heard good things about on the hound. Unfortunately I didn't like it at all--though the idea of separately fried skin and thigh meat only appealed to me, it ended up being a greasy mess with a weird, large mess of tenkatsu with okay chicken thigh in the center. I should give it a try.

                                                                                                              2. My favorite burgers of the East Bay:
                                                                                                                - Plum Bar (high-class dive bar burger)
                                                                                                                - Trueburger (great griddled burger with american cheese)
                                                                                                                - Triple Rock (my favorite for a thick, beef-centric burger)

                                                                                                                I also like Mua, Sidebar and Luka's, but I find them a little less interesting.

                                                                                                                I recently had a bite of the cheeseburger at La Pinata in Alemeda -- it was very good. The bun was a torta roll and it worked really well.

                                                                                                                1. I forgot to mention Scolari's in Alameda. Their Burger Au Povire is unique and delicious.

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: rahnsibley

                                                                                                                    One more for Scolari's, although I haven't had the au poivre. The times I've been they've always had a bacon blue cheese burger as the special, which is what I get.

                                                                                                                    Was really disappointed by Trueburger. Bleh.

                                                                                                                    1. re: rahnsibley

                                                                                                                      Finally tried Scolari's yesterday. Had just the basic burger and was really impressed by the flavor and correct cooking (I asked for medium rare and it was actually that). Fries lost some of their appeal in transit, but I can definitely understand the alure, especially if hanging out at Lucky 13 (on the Lucky 13 note, I hadn't been in a while and found the beer list to be rather lackluster).

                                                                                                                    2. I had the Hopscotch burger with beef tongue. Great toasted Semifreddi bun (reminded me of their challah). Good beefy flavor, juicy, excellent overall flavor from the addition of of pickled onions and sesame aioli. One of the best griddled burgers I've had.

                                                                                                                      I stopped by Mua first but couldn't stand the music.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                        A different part of the East bay - has anyone food good burgers in the Walnut Cree, Danville/San Ramon, Pleasanton side of the East Bay????

                                                                                                                      2. did take out last night at Grazzy Burgers in Albany.

                                                                                                                        Ordered over the phone at about 7:20, and were told it would be 30 minutes. at the end of placing our order, they said more like 40 minutes. i showed up 45 minutes later and they were just bagging my order. we had the Classic Burger, with cheddar, just to see what the baseline is, and fries. We ordered them medium rare.

                                                                                                                        The drive home took maybe 4 minutes. The place is very concrete-y, bare, LOUD. They were not full, so I don't know why it took so long; perhaps they're still working out the bugs.

                                                                                                                        The burgers held up well, the fries less so. Very flavorful meat, bun held up perfectly to the fillings, and the whole thing had a very clean, meaty flavor to it. fresh tomatoes, fresh lettuce (nothing wilted), and their horseradish mayo added plenty of moisture to what might have been a drier burger owing to the grass-fed beef. And it was cooked a perfectly pink medium rare, maybe a tad more than i would normally like. This is not a big sloppy, juicy, burger; again - it's clean, neat, tasty, and a reasonable size. I'd have it again, and try their other burgers too. The fries are hand-cut, very good, tho not crispy enough, even considering the drive, i think. but i'd probably get them again.


                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                          Went to Grazzy on Saturday. Had the blue and bacon burger, which was very good and flavorful. Nice bun. the sweet potato fries were much better than the regular ones. Beer list okay (brought from next door's Tap Room). The list is long and looks like it would have something special, but too many ordinary selections and/or poor producers.

                                                                                                                        2. I just had an impeccable burger at Chop Bar tonite -- meat was perfectly cooked: medium rare. Add'l onions seemed to have been sauteed in perhaps red wine. And the bacon... flavorful. Even the half sour pickle on the side was good. And a generous portion of baby greens as well.

                                                                                                                          Oh, can I add that the margarita was fabuloso: big, strong and tasty...

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: escargot3

                                                                                                                            We tried Chop Bar but I wasn't as impressed by the burger as escargot3 was. My review was:
                                                                                                                            The burger comes on a Kaiser roll (non-seeded), with bacon and tomato. The roll is spread with mayo, and on the side is a huge baby arugula salad, easily twice as large as the one which sibling Tribune Tavern gives you with its burger, which does not make this salad twice as good.

                                                                                                                            I chose the options of Swiss and the "cowboy onions", which turned out to be braised until soft in standard hickory-smoke BBQ sauce (we are not fans of fake-smoke tomato BBQ sauces). The Kaiser roll is a tasty white bread, but it isn't large and it falls apart a little too easily. The too-high/too-small patty is salted, which is good; but doesn't cover the roll which is bad.

                                                                                                                            It's also really greasy, much more so than the Tribune Tavern burger. From a patty of about 4 oz., there was at least a tablespoon of pure grease on my plate that dripped out past the bread. My fingers were covered in grease afterwards, which I found borderline unpleasant.

                                                                                                                            Both plates (Spouse got Reuben) came with a dill pickle quarter-wedge, not a half. I gave mine to Spouse because I prefer sliced pickles on sandwiches.

                                                                                                                            In sum: not a bad burger, but there are others we like much better.

                                                                                                                          2. I really liked Victory Burger on Alcatraz at San Pablo. We had the burger on the Arepa Bun and it was really quite good. It wasn't the best burger ever, but it was really good and the Arepa bun was awesome.

                                                                                                                            1. Has no one mentioned Sparky's on Piedmont Avenue? I like it but don't get around eating enough hamburgers at different places to rank it. That's where we go, in that neighborhood.

                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                For whatever reason, the Sparky's on Redwood Rd seems to have consistently juicier burgers and better service than the Piedmont location.

                                                                                                                                I do like it better than Barney's which seems to have gone way downhill in the last couple years.

                                                                                                                                1. re: drewskiSF

                                                                                                                                  Yeah, I had a really disappointing experience at the Piedmont Ave. Sparky's, both food and service, and won't be going back.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: drewskiSF

                                                                                                                                    Even the Sparky's on Redwood Rd is not as good as it used to be.

                                                                                                                                    I grew up off Joaquin Miller Road and have been eating at that Sparky's since the 70's.(remember the Lucky Lion?)

                                                                                                                                    I used to love playing golf at Chabot GC in the 80's and 90's and then phoning in a order after the 19th tee, to be picked up on the way home.

                                                                                                                                    It was usually the highpoint of my day of golf...LOL.

                                                                                                                                    But now its...just ok.

                                                                                                                                    Don't know why...I think the same two Sisters run it.

                                                                                                                                    I will check them out and give a current review.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                    I went to Sparky's on the Ave once; won't be back.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                      Not to pile on but we went to Sparky's Piedmont the other night and were told by the server that the burgers MUST be cooked medium well to well. They wouldn't cook it less. Some mumbojumbo about how the health inspector told them it had to be so.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: rubadubgdub

                                                                                                                                        The restriction to medium or more is really a distinct topic, however, which has been discussed in another recent thread. If you insist on a medium-rare burger, your choices will be reduced.

                                                                                                                                    2. I second Plum Bar, but my first choice is Pappo in Alameda. Their burger is $16 and worth it. Well constructed, perfectly cooked, and served with great pickles.

                                                                                                                                      I've had one very good burger and one badly overcooked burger at Sidebar. I hope it was an off night, but I haven't been back since that experience. It only takes one. I also had a very overcooked burger at Chop Bar as well, but somehow I trust that was also an off night, because I like most of their food.

                                                                                                                                      Trueburger is a tasty fast-food-style burger. They don't use small-farm meat; otherwise I'd have a hard time staying away.

                                                                                                                                      1. I recently went back to Sparky's on Piedmont, after the discussion above, to pay closer attention. We went away satisfied. It's still my choice near downtown Oakland.


                                                                                                                                        Service was fast and courteous — no complaonts at all.
                                                                                                                                        Good choices — I usually get the blue cheese burger, but without the jack cheese.
                                                                                                                                        Excellent location, as I go to other places on Piedmont.
                                                                                                                                        Not too busy — foodies are lined up elsewhere.
                                                                                                                                        Price — a whole lot less than $16.


                                                                                                                                        Too much noise from the dishwasher, especially if he drops something. Next time I'll sit up front.
                                                                                                                                        Size choices are 1/4 lb and 1/2 lb. If I were extra hungry, I might want a 1/3 lb burger. I would never order 1/2 lb.

                                                                                                                                        Note: The menu says burgers are cooked medium well, but mine was cooked medium. That's just the way I want it, so all was good there.

                                                                                                                                        1. Anyone try Ahn's Quarter Pound Burger on Grand near the Lake? Yelp gives it 4 stars with close to 200 reviews. Says old school, hole in the wall. I've ridden by there a million times but never figured to stop but I'm curious...and it has private parking out front.

                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: ML8000

                                                                                                                                            I've been once.

                                                                                                                                            Pretty standard. Thin griddled patty on toasted seedless bun. Patty was still slightly pink in the center which is a plus. Wasn't particularly juicy.

                                                                                                                                            OK for a fast food type burger fix, though for that type I'd choose Sparky's.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: drewskiSF

                                                                                                                                              Thanks. I'll have to check it out.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: ML8000

                                                                                                                                              tried Ahn's a while ago. ordered burger, no cheese, medium rare, got well done. burger tasteless.

                                                                                                                                              noticed a del monte box lying around. the preformed patties came in this box.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: shanghaikid

                                                                                                                                                Ahn's Burgers

                                                                                                                                                Cheap meat.
                                                                                                                                                Cheap buns.
                                                                                                                                                Cheap condiments.
                                                                                                                                                Cheap frozen Crinkle cut fries.
                                                                                                                                                Cheap flavorless produce.

                                                                                                                                                Why go there when in Oakland?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: shanghaikid

                                                                                                                                                  Okay, Thanks...now I probably won't check it out.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: ML8000

                                                                                                                                                  I occasionally get takeout from Anh’s to satisfy a very specific craving for an unreconstructed, old school, non-chain fast food burger with no apologies. I wouldn't go out of the way if it weren't right down the hill from home.

                                                                                                                                                  The fries are to be avoided.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Pius Avocado III

                                                                                                                                                    Are all Crinkle cut fries made from reconstituted potatoes?
                                                                                                                                                    like pringles chips.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Mission

                                                                                                                                                      not sure crinkle cut fries come from reconstituted potatoes. they do come frozen though. (check out the fries at costco next time).

                                                                                                                                                3. Cause the suggestions get buried when they are way down on the list, and because I feel so strongly about the burger (and other food) at 900 Grayson in Berkeley (at the corner of 7th St., a few blocks north of Ashby) I'm sending this again:
                                                                                                                                                  Fabulous thick, juicy niman ranch beef burger done to perfection the way you ask, with thick sliced apple-wood smoked bacon, cheese, crispy fried onions and a great bun that doesn't get soggy and fall apart at 900 Grayson (at 7th St.) in Berkeley. Comes with julienned garlic fries. Yumm-m-m

                                                                                                                                                  1. I feel like Grazzy burgers is already going a bit downhill. This is the second or third time the fries have been subpar - soggy and/or overcooked - and today almost burnt (take-out today, once eat-in - both regular and sweet potato.) i will say they make excellent onion rings though - held their crunch perfectly even though we didn't eat them until almost 15 minutes after they'd been cooked. The marsala burger, which was my new favorite, was mostly flavorless, except for a very distinct burnt flavor on the mushrooms. the buns were way too crispy. and my burger was overcooked. it's a shame - we love the Taproom next door.

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                      Went over the weekend and thought it seemed about the same. If anything, there was better coordination this time between the Tap Room and the burger place. Thought the sweet potatoe fries and potato chips were good, but loved the salmon burger (I know not really a burger for the purposes of this topic).

                                                                                                                                                    2. most burgers ordered medium rare, came with fries

                                                                                                                                                      rustic tavern (lafayette)
                                                                                                                                                      -tavern burger(14)meat red, some juice: pretty good
                                                                                                                                                      fries similiar to in & outs.

                                                                                                                                                      tribune tavern(oakland)
                                                                                                                                                      -burger(13)came med, no juice :bad
                                                                                                                                                      fries not fresh, sat around awhile before coming to my table

                                                                                                                                                      park burger (oakland)
                                                                                                                                                      -burger(7) dry, tasteless
                                                                                                                                                      onion rings burnt

                                                                                                                                                      looney's (s.l)
                                                                                                                                                      -burger(9.5)juicy, tasty

                                                                                                                                                      grazzy's burger (9.5) meat med, tender, ok
                                                                                                                                                      -fries extra $, samples tasty

                                                                                                                                                      bureau 510(7.5) nostalgia burger, tender not juicy, so so

                                                                                                                                                      1. Not expecting it to be "Grade A", but has anyone tried Cecil's Famous Burger in Hayward? I drove past it yesterday.

                                                                                                                                                        Here's a photo of the menu:

                                                                                                                                                        I love that the burger poundage starts at 1/6 pound, there's been so much over-supersizing.

                                                                                                                                                        Cecil's Famous Burgers
                                                                                                                                                        547 W Tennyson Rd
                                                                                                                                                        Hayward, CA 94544

                                                                                                                                                        (510) 782-2655

                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                                                                                                                          almost all burger places that use a 1/6# patty (cecil, five guys, habit). i've found the meat when cooked medium to be dry and tasteless.

                                                                                                                                                          the toppings, buns, etc.were all good to great but the patty
                                                                                                                                                          i would consider almost a fail.-taste wise.

                                                                                                                                                          i got a 1/3# burger which turned out to be 2 patties. ...

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: shanghaikid

                                                                                                                                                            You made me look more carefully at the half-pounder that A Burger A Day reviewed, and yep, it appears to be three patties.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Melanie Wong

                                                                                                                                                            I work near Cecil's and I love it. It is the Platonic form of the classic coffee shop burger. I get the half-pound bacon double cheeseburger. Two patties, cooked all the way through but still very juicy, crisp bacon, lettuce, tomato (I skip that), onions, pickles and Thousand Island. Good stuff.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: essvee

                                                                                                                                                              Thanks, essvee. Most of the places in this thread are a bit different from what I consider a "joint". But Cecil's seems to fit the part. Reviews elsewhere talk about juicy patties too. I'll try it next time I'm in the neighborhood.

                                                                                                                                                          3. We got burgers yesterday from American Oak in Alameda, with good success. We got them to go, so I wasn't sure if the fries were exactly how they should be ... they were very soggy, but tasty ... for me, it was like the Steak-n-Shake fries of my youth. The burger was cooked perfectly medium rare, very juicy, with good cheddar and pickled onions.

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dive

                                                                                                                                                              I hadn't realized they'd reopened. Previous reports on their burgers had been promising.

                                                                                                                                                            2. For an old school burger, Oscar's on San Pablo in Albany is awesome. In and Out in Pinole is unbeatable for a small chain. Love that bun. Agree with Victory burger by actual, and I'd also throw in the burger at Bureau 510. Strangely sous vided (as in, Why sous vide a burger besides keeping it consistently cooked during fast services...) but great toppings too, like a salisbury steak gravy and mushrooms onthe burger! good beers at happy hour too

                                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rabbitblue

                                                                                                                                                                ack - Oscars! really? it's been years. maybe i should try it again...

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rabbitblue

                                                                                                                                                                  do you mean Al's on San Pablo Ave ( next to the Goodwill Store ) or the Oscar's on Shattuck ? Or maybe there is an Oscar's burgers in Albany that I don't know of ?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gordon wing

                                                                                                                                                                    There is a place called Oscar's on San Pablo a couple of blocks south of Al's.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ernie in berkeley

                                                                                                                                                                      I was mistaken. The place in that location on San Pablo is called Caspar's, not Oscars.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ernie in berkeley

                                                                                                                                                                        There is an Oscar's in Berkeley, I believe Shattuck and Hearst. It's not very good (tasteless burgers) but it has a parking lot and drive-up.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ernie in berkeley

                                                                                                                                                                          I'm relieved .... thought I knew that stretch fairly well. Drove it late last night looking for Oscars but nada. Caspar's is more known for its hot dogs ...... but sounds like the burger option is available also.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: rabbitblue

                                                                                                                                                                      In-N-Out's not a small chain. It has around 300 locations, with around 30 in the Bay Area, and over $600 million annual revenue.

                                                                                                                                                                    3. not quite a joint, but the decor is quasi-1920s with stools lining a counter. Hopscotch, San Pablo Ave. nr. 19th downtown near the bus terminal in Oakland. very good toasted bun, fresh meats (their version has a layer of tongue, taking it to another level), thick, juicy, perfectly cooked. tasted something like a touch of miso in the seasoning, either on the tongue or the aioli, for an extra savoury element. my 'burger consumption quota is about one per decade (have to be really confident in the meat source, for one thing) but it's going to increase if we return to Hopscotch.

                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                                        I *think* there is some tongue ground into the patty at Hopscotch, as well as the layer on top. I've only had it once, but that is a burger for the ages.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. I highly recommend 900 Grayson (at 7th st, Berkeley). Fabulous thick, juicy niman ranch beef burger with thick sliced apple-wood smoked bacon, cheese, crispy fried onions and a great bun that doesn't get soggy and fall apart, Comes with julienned garlic fries. Yumm-m-m

                                                                                                                                                                        1. I know it's part of a small chain, but Eureka! Burger in Berkeley does a pretty good burger, cooked to order, thick, juicy patty. Personally I really enjoyed the Jalapeno Fried Egg Burger. Remodeled space into a sports bar/ lounge, with occassional live music.

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nicedragonboy

                                                                                                                                                                            I also had a great burger there today (the Chron did a review). Perfect medium rare with a char-broiled crust, decent fries.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. I don't think I've mentioned this yet, but I'm a HUGE fan of Baron's Meats' (high end butcher shop in Alameda Marketplace) new burger counter, Baron's Eats. In 'n Out inspired, but nicer meat. Fresh ground beef (not sure which ranch) from the butcher shop across the way is smash griddled with lard, the phenomenal buns that Feel Good Bakery makes (richer than pan di mie, old school squishy type), also griddled with lard, cheese, chipotle mayo, pickles etc. Have yet to try the Bacon Burger- essentially 51% beef, 49% bacon ground together. An amazing hidden burger. Park St. GOT TO GO. also crazy good pullman loaf sandwiches.

                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rabbitblue

                                                                                                                                                                              How do you figure it's In-N-Out inspired?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                I know the owner, Dave Samiljan, and we had a talk about it, and he told me he was trying to make am In n Out inspired burger, " with out the scary meat"

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: rabbitblue

                                                                                                                                                                                That 50/50 burger at Baron's is outstanding — crazy-rich and dripping with grease, but really delicious. The smash griddling technique they use for all their burgers is more like Trueburger than In-n-Out, but I like the burgers better than Trueburger's.

                                                                                                                                                                              3. On the East Bay, when I consider the quality of the burger and the price, my favorite is TrueBurger on Grand Avenue in Oakland. Not a fancy place and not an extensive menu, but they specialize in burgers and the base burger is just over $5. The owners are former sous chefs at Bay Wolf Restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Huntingdog

                                                                                                                                                                                    I used to love Trueburger, but I feel like they've dropped off a little. Still good, but I once considered it among the best in the Bay.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I'll throw in a brand-new suggestion. Mockingbird, Uptown area, 1745 San Pablo Ave, Oakland, CA 94612.

                                                                                                                                                                                    We've eaten the burgers at Cafe Rouge, Tribune Tavern, Chop Bar, Park Burger, Nizza La Bella, Cafe Royal, Sidebar, Townhouse, Bistro 1491, Hopscotch and La Calaca Loca. We like our burgers presalted on buns that don't fall apart and aren't overly bready.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Of the list above: we liked Tribune Tavern's burger but the fries and the service were so awful, we haven't returned. La Calaca's burger is very good, comes on a telera bun with pickled jalapenos, and is our default choice. Our gold standard is Vault 164/San Mateo, tied with French Garden/Sebastopol.

                                                                                                                                                                                    We went last week to Mockingbird (Thurs 6/5) and were very pleased by the old-fashioned burger sliders. Two on a plate, larger than the usual sliders. Nice crust and a perfect medium rare although not super thick. Very tasty beef, not too lean. The bun is an old-fashioned burger bun, soft but compresses and doesn't fall apart when wet. Cheddar is the only cheese and comes standard, along with a slice of raw red onion, tomato and lettuce. Good fries, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                    My DH called this the best burger he'd had in Oakland/Berkeley so far (we've been on this side of the Bay since 1989). It's a real throwback style to the 1950's, but much better quality.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't know if this is a standard on the menu, or if Chef-owner Melissa Axelrod intends to cycle it off.

                                                                                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jaiko

                                                                                                                                                                                      That Mockingbird burger sounds right up my street. I'll have to check if it's available before our next trip.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Small sample size, but when we went back to Hopscotch in April the three beef eaters at the table were disappointed with the Hopscotch one. It was so good last year but just didn't stand out this time. Maybe an off day?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                                                                                        hmmm... I don't remember being disappointed... ? I went back a week or two later, and had it again, actually! I still really hold that burger in high esteem.

                                                                                                                                                                                        let's definitely do Mockingbird next time you're here.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                          My bad, I must have misrecalled but thought that all three of us felt it wasn't as good as previously. I definitely did, and left 2/3 on my plate.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                            My recollection was that the burger at Hopscotch was a flop. The first one came out so rare it was still moo-ing. its replacement was meh. Off day? new chef? dunno. Haven't had much desire to go back and try again.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: escargot3

                                                                                                                                                                                              i'm totally not remembering that... but cocktails were involved (for me at least)!

                                                                                                                                                                                              I did go back and have it again, and we liked everything we ordered. not ready to give up on it yet! but, there are so many fish in the sea... we have a lot of options!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: escargot3

                                                                                                                                                                                                The first time we all went to Hopscotch together (Nov 2013) the burger was very good. In April, for me at least, not so much. I don't remember ever sending a burger back in your company, escargot3, except at Tribune Tavern, and that was for being overdone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                                                                                                  ah yes. my bad. thanks for the correction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: escargot3

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Same chef-owner at Hopscotch, Kyle Itami.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: jaiko

                                                                                                                                                                                              Almost forgot: we've also tried 900 Grayson's version. Good burger, but hordes of people hanging over one's shoulder, eager to grab your seat, was a little off-putting, LOL. The food was good quality, but wasn't memorable enough for us to return to.

                                                                                                                                                                                            3. New arrival today: Fivetenburger's opened up their brick-and-mortar place, Handlebar, at the old Temple Bar site on University in Berkeley.


                                                                                                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ernie in berkeley

                                                                                                                                                                                                Ate here for lunch and was impressed. Ordered the burger and tots, and they offered a complimentary drink (St. Germain, white wine? and something), which was quite good. Also brought out some spicy radishes that were very good (and surprisingly a good level of spice for a random app). I could have eaten these all day. The burger arrived medium rare as ordered, and was very tasty. I added aged cheddar and bacon, and the cheddar was a nice thick slice, so you could actually taste the depth of the cheese with the burger. I was a bit surprised that there weren't many juices dripping from the burger (maybe it's a somewhat lean grind), but the beefy flavor stood out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mdpilam

                                                                                                                                                                                                  You had lunch there? What time of day? Last Thursday they told me they had no current plans for lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ernie in berkeley

                                                                                                                                                                                                    They're doing brunch all day on Mondays (in addition to Saturday and Sunday).


                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ernie in berkeley

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I unfortunately found that out when I walked a mile+ to get there for lunch again the other day and they were closed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: mdpilam

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just FYI, Handlebar's details:
                                                                                                                                                                                                      984 University Ave., between 9th and 10th streets, in West Berkeley.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      license includes full bar

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Also, just so folks don't wonder why the Handlebar burger doesn't taste like the food truck FiveTen does, in the EBExpress interview that abstractpoet linked to, (Robles) states "...while there is a burger on the menu (for $14, with a side of tater tots), Robles said it's completely different from the one he serves via his trucks — different bun, different grind, different meat supplier."

                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: ernie in berkeley

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The burger at Handlebar is excellent. High quality ingredients, meat cooked to order, lots of options for customization, and all in a location with easy access to I-80. Full bar too.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      The patty is hefty and grilled, the bun is substantial and well toasted. Home made 'tots' are also well constructed and a tasty alternative to fries.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Price is higher than some others but considering provenance of ingredients and the general state of beef prices at present, not unreasonable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: flavorenhancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have to agree and put this as my favorite Bay Area burger thus far. Haven't had Hopscotch and still waiting for Kronneburger to open in Oakland...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    4. Marrow's burger is truly tasty, and my favorite EBay burger right now. Even at 2.5 oz patty for the special (with beef fat fries and Mexican Coke for < $10) the flavor was so pronounced that I didn't miss more meat. They use pastured beef and a tender potato bun. Burgers come in larger sizes and with other stuff too. My sis had the patty melt of chopped beef and it was hard to decide which we liked better, both outstanding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      My second favorite is the Box and Bells burger served on a soft pretzel bun brushed w aged beef fat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rubadubgdub

                                                                                                                                                                                                        FYI for those perusing the thread: Marrow is now closed, permanently. The owner/chef looked for another space but couldn't find one. He's going to be working for a Napa catering company for the time being.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. True Burger by Lake Merrit. Juicy and all the pickles you can eat :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Also, my husband really likes the burger at The Grand Tavern. I think that one's just so-so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. The Lafayette outpost of Roam Artisan Burger is consistent and excellent. Gluten Free buns available too. They have beef, turkey, buffalo, veg and usually elk patties. I've tried them all and prefer the beef. Recommend the jalapeno relish and carmelized onions as condiment choices and the bottled chipotle sauce is very good.