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San Francisco’s Best Burgers…Ranked!

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Disclaimer: This is not an exhaustive list. If I had eaten every burger in the Bay Area, I wouldn’t be this gorgeous pile of womanhood lying in bed typing. I’d be dead because what could have compelled me to eat that much cow meat?

Here are some notable San Francisco burgers on a very exact rating scale:

10 means I’d gladly murder my brother (if I had one) to eat it once a month and 1 means it’s basically the hamburger-shaped cardboard they serve in middle school cafeterias.

Courtesy of Lifehacker

Courtesy of Lifehacker

Sam’s
618 Broadway, North Beach
Rating: 7

A classic is a class and Sam’s is a classic. While not at all fancy, the burgers also manage somehow to not be too greasy. There’s a lot to be said about a place that anachronistic too. What decade am I in? Who cares?

Super Duper
Multiple Locations
Rating: 4

I honestly don’t know why this place is so popular. These burgers might as well be from Wendy’s: fine but nothing special. The patties could be more flavorful but to be fair: the pickles are pretty good.

Roam
Multiple Locations
Rating: 8.5

Roam’s burgers are very juicy, very dense and have exactly the right ratio of meat to bun to toppings. Even their veggie burgers (which I’m pretty sure are seasonally mixed) are somehow just as tasty. Plus, toasted marshmallow milkshake toppers.

Roam Union Street courtesy of Union Street Shop

Roam Union Street courtesy of Union Street Shop

Mission Bowling Club
3176 17th St, Mission
Rating: 7

It’s a good burger. Is it a good price? No. I understand pricey ingredients play a factor but there are better burgers to be had with a tighter budget. Honestly, the bun is the best part of this particular burger.

Burger Bar
251 Geary St, Union Square
Rating: 3

Why do celebrity chefs insist on making mediocre-to-shabby restaurants “for the rest of us”? If TGI Friday’s only had burgers, some salads and ungodly large milkshakes on their menu, this is what you’d get. I can’t help feeling like every burger has bodily fluids up in there.

Pearl’s Deluxe
708 Post St, TenderNob
Rating: 6

Pearl’s burgers taste a lot like if your friend’s dad who grills every summer decided to prove what a good grillmaster he is but only by shopping at a Piggly Wiggly. They’re basic but not shabby.

Pearl's Deluxe courtesy of YAHGLOBAL

Pearl’s Deluxe courtesy of YAHGLOBAL

Umami Burger
Multiple Locations
Rating: 5

These burgers are very hit or miss, sometimes the flavors are great and other times it’s meh. But also, they’re pretty small and pricey so it’s not worth trying to get one if other options are available.

In-N-Out
333 Jefferson St, Fisherman’s Wharf
Rating: 6

Animal style does not make these burgers better. Y’all are just being ridiculous by putting that shit on them. It does, however, improve the fries and I do still grab a combo meal whenever I can.

Nopa
560 Divisadero St
Rating: 7

Fight me: this burger is not that great. It’s fine. It is not, however, spectacular nor worthy of all the attention people in this city give it. It’s a good bun, it’s good meat. It’s lacking a certain element of balance in textures and flavors that keeps it from being a spectacular burger.

Nopa courtesy of Taster

Nopa courtesy of Taster

Barney’s
4138 24th St, Noe Valley
Rating: 5

I honestly can’t remember what a Barney’s burger tastes like so I’m left to assume it was just fine. Obviously not memorable for any reason. Possibly a little dry?

Smashburger
2300 16th St
Rating: 4

Grease. Bomb. Central.

Red’s Java House
Pier 30, Embarcadero
Rating: 8

Honestly, does it even matter what the burgers taste like (they’re good, solidly satisfying) when the entire city would go into mourning if Red’s ever closed?

Red's Java House courtesy of Serious Eats

Red’s Java House courtesy of Serious Eats

BurgerMeister
Multiple Locations
Rating: 6

Only one step up on the memorability scale from Barney’s. It’s a solid burger, not too greasy (most of the time) but there’s a level of crispness or freshness about the ingredients that’s missing.

4505 Burgers & BBQ
705 Divisadero St
Rating: 7

Unsurprisingly, if you’re into a real meaty burger, this one’s for you. As a personal preference, I’d rather have a less messy pile of meat. The bun is also a little too delicate for the kind of burger they’re producing.

Straw
203 Octavia Blvd
Rating: 2

Do you have a death wish? Are you someone who enjoys the thought of things more than the reality? Are you a little boy trapped in a man’s body? Great, go get this dumb donut burger then.

Tanguito
2850 Jones St
Rating: 9

I can honestly say these are the best burgers I’ve ever had. They know exactly which ingredients should be fancified and which ones should be solid standards. It is juicy, not greasy, with exactly the right ratio of toppings. It shouldn’t be a surprise because Argentina is a meat wonderland but this, right here, is the burger you should seek out immediately.

 

Tanguito courtesy of KQED

Tanguito courtesy of KQED

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Candace Cui - Actual Unicorn

Candace Cui - Actual Unicorn

At age 2, I was getting run over by a bike in an alley in China. At age 8, I was avoiding man-o-wars on Tybee Island. At age 14, I was overdrinking sweet tea while running through the woods barefoot. At age 20, I was learning Art History and how to drop it low. At age 25, I was making fun of drum circles at Dolores. At every age, I am charming the fuck out of you. Just wait, it'll happen.

  • http://docpop.org/ DocPop

    Good list. I love Mission Burgers too, but the one burger they have is too pricey for my taste. I highly recommend trying their Loco Moco for brunch sometime. It’s that great patty at a lower price.

    Also going to recommend trying WesBurger on Mission St and Counter Offer in Benders Bar.

  • Rick Vega

    And yet you missed Original Joe’s Cheese Burger on Skinny Garlic Bread.

  • Angelo Bresci

    Causwell’s is #1. Marlowe might be #2, although you could make a solid case for a few of these. None of them tops Causwell’s, though.

  • http://docpop.org/ DocPop

    Counter Offer (the restaurant in Bender’s) is my favorite in SF too.

  • Gloria Fortier

    you forgot The Tempest – dude unforgivable! edit edit edit this article for me please! and thanks. Kuksteum! G