TOP 10 BURGERS IN SAN FRANCISCO
By: Stephanie Garr, Gourmet Walks Staff Writer, Photos by Shane Fallon and Ahmet Aydogan
The burger, once a fast-food staple and BBQ necessity, has become something of an art form in San Francisco—as it should be. Because when everything comes together just right, biting into this beefy, fatty, juicy delight is like getting a small taste of the American dream. Yes, a perfectly prepared patty topped with thoughtful layers of veggies and cheese, squeezed in between a delicately toasted bun that’s been finely soaked in a strategically balanced sauce (that’s always secret) can be that transcendent of an experience. Don’t believe us? Try these top 10 burgers in San Francisco for proof.
(Note: This list is not ranked. All featured restaurants are listed in alphabetical order.)
- 4505 Burgers & BBQ: 705 Divisadero Street
NoPa’s 4505 prides itself on high-quality California beef and uses what they claim to be “one of the area’s last remaining historic wood-fired barbecue pits.” Their Best Damn Grass Fed Cheeseburger pulls together a tender 1/4-pounder with lettuce, onion,Gruyere, a mustard-y secret sauce, and a griddled sesame and scallion bun. We recommend adding an order of the spicy fries with chimichurri sauce and lemon parsley aioli.
- ABV: 3174 16th Street
Apparently mouthwatering burgers have a tendency to incite uncontrollable cussing, because next up is the “New F*ckin Burger” from the Mission District’s hip cocktail bar ABV. The bluntness of its name points to the seriousness of its creation. It starts with a 1/3-pound grass-fed beef patty topped with white cheddar, red onion, lettuce, pickles, and a tomato-tangy secret sauce, all sandwiched between a specially made Japanese sweet potato bun. It’s also paired with “spicy-ass” jalapeno chips for a lasting kick.
- Belcampo: 1998 Polk Street
Russian Hill’s most formidable butcher shop is one of the city’s best spots to procure organic, pastured, sustainably raised California meats and bone broths. Naturally, they use such valuable beef for their adjoining restaurant’s burger selection. The signature Belcampo Burger comes stuffed with white cheddar, caramelized onions, butter lettuce, and their house sauce. For a full splurge, try the 100-day dry-aged version; and for the carb-counters, they’ve got a Keto Burger just for you. If you’re curious, get a taste of Belcampo’s meat selection on our Russian Hill Food Tour!
- Bluestem Brasserie: 1 Yerba Buena Lane
This swanky spot located near bustling Union Square has an impressive wine and cocktail menu, but the best way to soak up your sip of choice is with Bluestem’s loaded Brasserie Burger. Their local, grass-fed beef comes with Jarlsberg cheese (a Norwegian specialty), crispy bacon, grilled red onion, shredded lettuce, and tangy “secret sauces,” alongside a heaping pile of fries.
- Causwells: 2346 Chestnut Street
This beloved Cow Hollow bistro has a massive loyal following for its Americana burger alone. This is an all-star classic created for the most discerning palates. Two juicy beef patties get covered in melted American cheese, lettuce, pickle, onion, and Causwells signature sauce. Pro Tip: For a reasonably cheaper version of Causwells’ burger, as well as a wider selection (including a Bacon Blue Cheeseburger and a Savory Burger with truffle cheese), try out Popsons on 998 Market Street.
- Double Decker: 465 Grove Street
This casual Hayes Valley joint offers up fast-food-style burgers with quality Niman Ranch meats. Here, you’ll find some of the better burger deals in town, from their simple but savory Original Hamburger to the Double Decker, topped with a decadent duo of Swiss and American cheese. Add some garlic or sweet potato fries to round out your All-American meal.
- Gott’s Roadside: 1 Ferry Building #6
If you join one of our Chocolate Tours, you’ll get a chance to discover the culinary paradise that is the Ferry Building, where this retro-style diner resides. Unlike your average roadside eatery, Gott’s sources all its ingredients locally, so you’re ensured freshness no matter your choice in burger—and you have quite a lot to choose from. The California Burger is a solid pick, with fried egg, Swiss cheese, Zoe’s bacon, arugula, balsamic onions, and mayo on a toasted egg bun. But if you’re feeling a little adventurous, we recommend the Kimchi Burger for a refreshing zing.
- Marlowe: 500 Brannan Street
This highly rated SoMa hotspot centers its contemporary cuisine around meat, and the Marlowe Burger has become something of an institution. The beef patty is balanced by a stack of caramelized onions, cheddar, bacon, and horseradish aioli. Fries are the side, but we suggest also getting an order of the Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts (you know, to get in those vegetables, of course!). Pro Tip: You can also get the Marlowe Burger at their sister restaurants, including The Cavalier on 360 Jessie Street and Park Tavern at 1652 Stockton Street (for $1 less!).
- Monsieur Benjamin: 451 Gough Street
Of course, burgers are not merely an American obsession. This Parisian-style bistro in Hayes Valley takes the classic hamburger to new heights. One of the pricier patties in town, this one is best served medium and blends well with its caramelized onion topping. It comes “fully dressed with frites,” meaning you can expect quite a heap of the perfectly crispy, salted side.
- Roam Artisan Burgers: 1923 Fillmore Street; 1785 Union Street
“From pasture to plate” is the winning motto behind this mini burger chain with locations in Lower Pac Heights and the Marina. Roam respects all dieting desires, with patty options that range from grass-fed beef to all-natural bison to house-made organic veggie. Get your pick on a traditional Pacific Coast Bakery bun, gluten-free bun, or in a carb-less lettuce wrap. You can either design your own burger or choose from one of their specialty styles, like the French and Fries, which stuffs in truffle parmesan fries, gruyere, avocado, caramelized onions, watercress, piquant sauce, and whole grain mustard.