Food & Drink

The best burger in 13 San Diego neighborhoods

Sara Norris Published On 10/29/2014 Published On 10/29/2014
Sara Norris

Because you can't eat burritos ALL the time (or CAN you?), San Diego also has burgers. Seriously though, sometimes there's just no substitute for the perfect harmony of juicy beef, a pillowy bun, melty cheese, and whatever other deliciousness that particular joint likes to add to the mix. When the craving hits, you're sure to get lucky at these 13 burger joints, each of them reigning supreme in their respective neighborhoods:

Whisknladle

La Jolla

Whisknladle (address and info)
What you’re getting: WNL Burger
At just shy of $20, the WNL Burger certainly isn’t the cheapest burger you’ll ever order; but, it is undoubtedly worth every penny. Made for breakfast lovers, the operation starts with a perfectly toasted bun that is stacked with a juicy beef patty, strips of bacon, artisan Gruyère & cheddar, caramelized onions, lettuce, and house remoulade, all topped off with a fried egg.

Sara Norris

Point Loma 

Slater’s 50/50 (address and info)
What you’re getting: The Burger of the Month, whatever it is
Slater’s switches it up every month with a featured specialty burger. It’s always an over the top, heart attack inducing, must-try creation that's only around for a few precious weeks. If you’re looking to order off the regular menu, get yourself a "B'B'B' Bacon". Made with Slater’s signature 50/50 patty (half ground bacon, half ground beef), it's further porkified with bacon-American cheese, bacon, bacon-island dressing, and a bacon-pretzel bun, with a sunny side-up egg on top.

Sara Norris

Pacific Beach

Rocky’s (address and info)
What you’re getting: 1/3lb burger
Rocky’s is as traditional as it gets. They only take cash, and their hamburgers are classic. When a burger is this good, you don’t need to get all fancy with tons of crazy toppings and extras. All you need is a well-made beef patty, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and onion. At Rocky’s, they do what they want; so instead of going IN the burger, their pickles are placed ON TOP of the bun.
 

Hillcrest

Hash House A Go Go (address and info)
What you’re getting: Apple-smoked bacon & mashed potato burger
You'd better not eat all week before ordering this monstrosity... or at least bring along a friend who can help you out. Hash House’s burgers are famously huge and made from double beef patties with all kinds of good stuff in between them, like apple-smoked bacon, mashed potatoes, lettuce, tomato, and red onion.

Raglan

Ocean Beach

Raglan Public House (address and info)
What you’re getting: Bare Lil Lamb
There are lots of choices at Raglan, but the "Bare Lil Lamb" is something for the more adventurous burger lover. Made with a New Zealand all-natural lamb patty instead of beef, it comes with bleu cheese crumbles, mint dressing, lettuce, tomato, red onion house chutney, aoli, and beetroots, all on a toasted focaccia bun. You can order yours with or without an egg. So yeah, it'll have an egg on top.

Sara Norris

Clairemont

BABS (address and info
What you’re getting: The Texas Burger
Hidden away between noodle shops and dim sum on Convoy, you'll find not only the best burger in Clairemont, but also one of the best burgers in town. Everything they serve at BABS is Juicy Lucy-style: stuffed full of gooey, melted cheese. Accurately named for a state where everything is bigger, it’s served dripping in BBQ sauce, stuffed with cheese, and topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion & thick-cut onion rings.
 

Encinitas

Encinitas Ale House (address and info)
What you’re getting: Grass-fed Kobe Wagyu burger
Encinitas Ales house advertises their burgers as "locally world famous", and the Kobe Wagyu burger is made with nothing but the best. The patty is 10oz of 100% grass-fed Kobe beef from New Zealand, layered with melted Gruyère, Gorgonzola, crispy onion straws, tomato, and baby greens, on one of their house-made buns.

Sara Norris

North Park

Twist Sandwiches & More (address and info)
What you’re getting: The Twist
Don’t blink as you’re driving by Twist, or else you’ll probably miss it. Wedged between a liquor store and a taco shop is one of the best burgers in North Park. If you’re looking for your standard burger, it’s on the menu and aptly named "The Boring", but if you're looking for a burger that will blow your mind, order "The Twist". Full of flavor, "The Twist" comes with a 7oz beef patty, goat cheese, prosciutto, arugula, caramelized onions, balsamic syrup, and "Twist sauce".
 

South Park

Station Tavern (address and info)
What you’re getting: A hamburger, duh.
Order yourself a hamburger or cheeseburger, and you’ll get a simple 1/3lb angus patty with salt, pepper, lettuce, onion, tomato, and pickles. Then venture a little further down the menu to check out your customizable options. Dress that burger up any way you like with extra beef patties, bacon, a sausage patty, more cheese, avocado, sauerkraut, a fried egg, jalapeños, caramelized onions, or pepperoncinis.

Sara Norris

Bankers Hill

Doods Foods (address and info)
What you’re getting: The Flying Cheeseburger
Take a peek inside Tin Can Ale house where you’ll find the dudes behind the counter at Doods Foods making burgers so big that they’re almost daring you to try and take one down all by yourself. The Flying Cheeseburger has double all the good stuff; double meat, double cheese, double bacon. There’s also some lettuce, tomato, and buttermilk sauce buried somewhere in there.
 

Downtown

Hodad’s (address and info)
What you’re getting: That depends. How hungry are you?
Hodad’s is a local fave so be prepared for a line out the door if you get there during peak meal times, but it is well worth the wait. Their burgers are available in mini, single, and double so come hungry and order accordingly. No matter what size you opt for pile it up with extras like cheese, bacon, MORE beef, and pastrami. Don’t forget to save room for one of their shakes.

Sara Norris

Golden Hill

Counterpoint (address and info)
What you’re getting: Cheeseburger
Not everyone wants all the extra stuff that restaurants pile on their burgers, and you can’t get a cheeseburger that is more simple and straightforward than the one at Counterpoint. It comes with a half-pound patty, American cheese, spicy aioli, pickles, and fries on the side.
 

Little Italy

Waterfront Bar and Grill (address and info)
What you’re getting: Texas Burger (with bacon)
In a neighborhood famous for their Italian food, Waterfront is holding it down for the American fare. Their half-pound burger comes topped with grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and whatever cheese your heart desires (if your heart hasn't given up already). Definitely add bacon, because obviously.

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Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Whisknladle 1044 Wall St, La Jolla, CA 92037 (La Jolla)

Built around the need for a restaurant using farm-fresh ingredients and cooking from scratch, Whisknladle delivers delicious apps and entrees alongside a creative cocktail list.

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2. Slater's 50/50 2750 Dewey Rd, San Diego, CA 92106 (Point Loma)

Slater's 50/50 is a burger restaurant with a serious mission: providing San Diegans with burgers made from 50% ground beef... and 50% ground bacon. This unique burger patty is truly an explosive experience for you taste buds, and one that you likely haven't come across before. Slater's is also known from its selection of local and regional craft beers-- the ultimate burger accessory.

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3. Rocky's Crown Pub 3786 Ingraham St, San Diego, CA 92109

Rocky's Crown Pub is a bar and pub that specializes in making a killer cheeseburger that's served in either a 1/3 or 1/2lb patty.

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4. Hash House A Go Go 3628 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103 (Hillcrest)

SD's gargantuanly proportioned "Twisted Farm Food(ery)" has got awesome breakfast fare in Hillcrest.

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5. Raglan Public House 1851 Bacon St, Ocean Beach, CA 92107 (Ocean Beach)

A product of the Bare Back Grill's Kiwi crew, Raglan Public House is all mellowed out with retractable front windows, picnic table patio seating, and surf-themed lighting fixtures -- all meant to evoke the laid-back vibe of the New Zealand surf town from which it takes its name. The Kiwi-inspired menu includes a New Zealand-style lamb burger dressed with mint and beetroot lettuce, and steak fries with homemade tartar sauce.

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6. BABS 4646 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111 (Kearny Mesa)

BABS, or Bao's Awesome Burgers & Sandwiches, sits among a bunch of Korean BBQ and noodle shops on Convoy, but inside are some of the best burgers in the city (and inside those burgers is a bunch of cheddar cheese!). Try the Texas Burger, covered in BBQ sauce and stacked high with bacon, LTO, and onion rings.

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7. Encinitas Ale House 1044 S Coast Hwy, Encinitas, CA 92024 (Encinitas)

Burgers and ale are the speciality at Encinitas Ale House. That's not to diminish the sweet potato fries, which are equally amazing in their own right. Stop by this tiny spot for a satisfying bite and an amazing beer selection.

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8. Twist Sandwiches & More 2041 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104 (North Park)

Twist has delicious fries, savory sandwiches, and huge wings -- but you're obviously there for the burgers. The namesake burger is topped with goat cheese, prosciutto, arugula, Twist sauce, balsamic syrup, and onions caramelized in Coke.

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9. Station Tavern 2204 Fern St, San Diego, CA 92104 (South Park)

A South Park staple, Station Tavern helps foster friendships between carnivores and herbivores. The all-meat burgers here are just as good as the solid vegetarian options, including the house veggie burger (a chickpea patty topped with the regular burger accoutrements, with cucumbers and smoked paprika sauce to boot) and the spicy black bean burger (lime-cilantro aioli, anyone?). Combined with the cozy patio (heat lamps for cooler evenings, strings of light criss-crossing overhead, communal picnic tables and a train-themed play area for the little ones), it’s a veritable crowd pleaser for local dining options. Besides, we’re pretty sure anyone can get behind the addictive sweet potato fries and craft beer offerings at this joint.

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10. Doods Foods 1863 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

While delivering White Russians is still outlawed in Cali, the Doods are now delivering Bankers Hill a weekly rotating menu ranging from the Dood Burger with special “Doods sauce” to a fried egg/ cheese/ french fry-loaded roll called The Short Bus, which apparently “dates back 70 years” to a time when riding it meant... you enjoy delicious sandwiches!

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11. Hodad's 945 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101 (Ocean Beach)

A legendary burger dive, Hodad's has been serving face-sized burgers and even larger milkshakes to San Diego locals since 1969. You can choose to order your burger in mini, single, and double sizes, and be sure to pile it up with extras like cheese, bacon, and pastrami. The beachy interior is decked out with surfboard tables, memorabilia, and license plates. You'll likely have to wait in line, but for one of the top burger joints in the country, it'll be time well spent.

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12. Counterpoint 830 25th St, Golden Hill, CA 92102 (Golden Hill)

Priding themselves on making food and drinks "for people", Counterpoint serves up fresh offerings like pork belly carnitas, steak frites, and andouille & shrimp pasta.

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13. The Waterfront Bar and Grill 2044 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101 (Little Italy)

The Waterfront Bar and Grill, San Diego's oldest tavern, has got a sick happy hour -- plus, you can drink all day and scarf down awesome bar food like their THREE different varieties of grilled cheese!

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