If there's one thing about burgers that's always true, it's that, no matter how much cash you've got in your pocket, you're gonna want one. Which explains why Americans eat nearly 50 billion burgers a year. Aka three burgers a week, PER PERSON -- a stat that is both terrifying and inspiring all at the same time. Anyway, the point is: you crave burgers constantly, but you can't eat a $28 burger every day of the week (unless you can, in which case we should totally be best friends).
For the rest of you, we broke down the best burgers in San Francisco by price, so whether you just paid rent or just got paid, you'll know where to find a delicious burger that's in your price range.
They call it the "Mini", but sometimes a fat, juicy 1/4lb burger is all you need to hit the spot. With cheese, it’ll cost you a fiver and two quarters.
The Drive In Cheeseburger is 1/3lb Certified Angus, double American cheese, griddled onions, pickles, lettuce, tomato, and 1000 Island dressing. All on an Acme bun. Hard to believe you get all of that for just six bucks, but you do.
The 1/3lb classic cheeseburger comes with American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and secret sauce on a toasted egg bun. Like all of Gott’s burgers, it’s cooked medium well and served "a little pink inside". It can be all yours for just $7.99.
This fast food-style burger is made with Niman Ranch all-natural beef that’s ground fresh every day and griddled in all the previous burgers' grease (YES). The patties are a little thin, so order the Super Burger (two 8oz patties) and add cheese and bacon. Grand total? $8.75.
Yeah, it’s a hamburger shaped like a hot dog, but this burger is so much more than a gimmick. It's made with a house-ground blend of chuck, brisket, and sirloin, and the bun is buttered and toasted. Then it’s topped with everything you love on a burger, including a special house sauce. Price? A cool nine bones.
Is it a little presumptuous to name your burger “The Best Damn Cheeseburger”? Sure. Is it less so, though, if... you're right? Order a single (1/4lb grass-fed beef patty with Gruyere and their secret sauce), add bacon, hand them an Alexander Hamilton, and go stuff your face on the patio.
Potrero Hills and Hayes Valley
This Basic Burger is actually anything but. It’s juicy, has a nice, herby taste, and comes on a roll that’s squishy in the best way possible. Caramelized onions and aioli come on the side, but you know better than to leave them there. And it's kinda still affordable at exactly $11.
Hello, beef and bacon ground together to live harmoniously in one mouth-watering patty. Served with American cheese, house mayo, ketchup, onion, and pickles on the side, this guy costs an even $12. Tack on five for a beer, and you have everything you need in life for under 20 bucks.
Thirteen dollars for a great burger is a bargain in this town, which's somehow even MORE bargain-y at Belcampo Meat Co., where the beef is raised sustainably on their farm and slaughtered and butchered in their facilities. The cheeseburger comes with a dry-aged patty, thick slice of cheese, caramelized onions, butter lettuce, and house sauce on a sesame bun.
The Corner Store burger is seared in a cast iron skillet and then dressed with aged cheddar, pickled red onion, bread & butter pickle, garlic aioli, and last, but certainly not least: bacon jam. Bacon. Jam. Eat this deliciousness at lunchtime when it's $14 ‘cause you’ll pay a buck more at dinner.
If they could, San Franciscans would totally nominate the Nopa burger for Homecoming King. It's that popular, that good, is made with grass-fed beef, and comes on a house-made brioche bun. Still, somehow it's "only" fifteen smackaroos.
For seventeen bucks, a burger better be really freaking gourmet, and Lark Creek Steak's Mushroom Steakburger is just that. The beef is a blend of house-ground rib eye, New York steak, and filet mignon. Yup, filet mignon. In your burger, yo. It’s served with Swiss cheese and roasted button mushrooms and will set you back $17.75.
We love the Spruce burger for many reasons, one of which is that you can only get it in the bar, and another of which is they use an English muffin as a bun and it actually totally works. Also, it’s just a really good burger. And yeah, it’s 18 dollars, but that’s a bargain compared to the $38 steak.
The Zuni Burger was SF’s first "fancy" burger, but it hasn’t changed in 20 years and that’s a good thing. The hand-ground patty comes on grilled house-made focaccia (which is always controversial, but just go with it) that’s smeared with aioli. You can only get it at lunch and after 10pm, so plan wisely. Cost: 19 clams.
Is twenty dollars a lot for a burger? Not when it’s “Le Grande”. Seriously, this burger is the real deal and for 20 bucks you don’t just get a burger, you get a grass-fed burger with Brie, roasted onion. and smoked bacon on brioche. It’s smoky, it’s sweet, it’s salty... just order it already.
This $22 Michael Mina burger is a thing of beauty, but be warned: after you eat it once, you’ll want to eat it all of the time, and that could get pretty pricey pretty quickly. Only available during lunch or at the bar, the Bourbon Steak burger comes with Nicasio Valley Reserve cheese and caramelized onions. But it’s the hearty beef texture and flavor that makes it worth every penny. All 2,200 of them.
And just 'cause what's a list of burgers by price without the city's most expensive burger...
It’s a cheeseburger with black truffle. That should be all we need to say, but we’ll also let you know that it’s served open-faced on rye and is unlike any hamburger you’ve ever eaten. If you can, get someone else to pay the bill since this over-the-top mouth-pleaser is listed at 28 dollars.
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Daisy Barringer is Thrillist's SF Editor and she just really gets where the Hamburglar is coming from. Also Cookie Monster, but that's another bio for another story. Probably one about cookies and not hamburgers. Follow her on Twitter @daisy.
1. Pearl's Deluxe Burgers708 Post St, San Francisco
2. Garaje475 3rd St, San Francisco
3. Gott’s Roadside1 Ferry Building, Ste 6, San Francisco
4. Super Duper Burger721 Market St, San Francisco
5. Trick Dog3010 20th St, San Francisco
6. 4505 Burgers & BBQ705 Divisadero, San Francisco
7. Rickybobby400 Haight St, San Francisco
8. Belcampo Meat Co.1998 Polk St, San Francisco
9. The Corner Store5 Masonic Ave, San Francisco
10. Nopa560 Divisadero St, San Francisco
11. Marlowe500 Brannan St, San Francisco
12. Lark Creek Steak845 Market Street, San Francisco
13. Spruce3650 Sacramento St, San Francisco
14. Zuni Cafe1658 Market St, San Francisco
15. Wayfare Tavern558 Sacramento St, San Francisco
16. Bourbon Steak4900 Marie P. Debartolo Way, Santa Clara
17. Bix Restaurant56 Gold St, San Francisco
The Tenderloin locale of this chain serves up delicious burgers, stellar fries, and even better people-watching. Step into this classic burger chain for both traditional and creative beef sandwiches. Try the pesto, which is fixed with pesto sauce, mayo, and tomato, or the Phat Bobb (bacon, onion rings, BBQ sauce, jack and mayo).
SOMA's Garaje is one-third taqueria, one-third taco joint, and one-third sports bar. And it's cheap. For $3 you can get a street-style taco filled with quality meat and toppings; for $8 you can get the Zapatos burrito, stuffed with meat, cheese, refried beans, and avocado, then pressed like a panini. The most notable thing about Garaje though is the Double Drive-In cheeseburger, which comes with barbecued onions, dill pickles, chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and Thousand Island dressing on a toasted Acme bun.
Located at the Ferry Building, this eatery is the perfect spot for a water-side lunch. Park it at one of their long, wooden cafeteria-style tables and snack on bites like burgers, milkshakes, and choose from four types of fries: regular, super-garlicky, sweet potato dusted with chili powder, or the go-for-broke chili cheese fries.
There are multiple Super Duper Burger locations in San Francisco, and they've all got the same addicting thing going on: not-too-greasy burgers on excellent buns, well-seasoned fries, and tasty milkshakes at a reasonable price. The standard Super Duper Burger comes with two 4oz patties and “the works” if you want ‘em -- including a (must-order) secret sauce. If you’re not in the mood for a burger, try the chicken sandwich with chipotle aioli and be sure to add avocado!
Brought to you by The Bon Vivants, Trick Dog in The Mission's a marble- and steel-adorned cocktailery serving drinks from a Pantone-inspired menu with names from favorite song titles, along with bar bites like beer nuts, pickles, and cracklins.
An offshoot of the original 4505 Meats, this burger and 'cue shack is one for the Divis books. This butcher-owned and operated spot takes meat and barbecue seriously, with loaded platters of pulled pork, smoked ribs, and hot sausage, and quarter-pound grass-fed burgers. No matter if your main is in the form of a sandwich or platter, don't overlook the fixin's -- the fried mac & cheese with a hot dog inside is an insanely delicious creation.
You know it's a sweet place when it has two first names for its only name. And if you like cheap and hearty eats, soft lighting and crazy crap on the walls, you'll love Rickybobby.
Equal parts cafe and butcher shop, Belcampo Meat Co. sources organic meat from its own farm to prepare some of the finest burgers in the city. The hamburger patties are juicy and marbled with the right amount of flavorful fat. BMC's cheeseburger is a standout, sandwiched on a toasted brioche bun with a thick slice of Cheddar, caramelized onions, and house sauce. The restaurant is outfitted with old-school blue leather banquettes made from the company's own cow hides.
The Corner Store is set in a completely renovated space that was once a soda shop and then a speakeasy. Now, it's a 20-seat, outdoor-patio-featuring restaurant dominated by a mix of wood and white tile. The menu mixes things up with both small and large plates, which include lamb shoulder pasta, roasted duck breast, and brioche dinner rolls.
Nopa is a San Francisco institution that does everything really, really well. It's the best brunch in Western Addition and one of the best in the whole city. Its burger is perfect with pickled onions and French fries, especially when eaten at the bar. It's a one-stop-shop for a date, a birthday dinner, or dinner with your parents. Plus, the kitchen is open until 1 AM for a full dinner. Yeah, this place wins at everything.
This French-American bistro in SOMA has all the things that make a neighborhood restaurant so recommendable: excellent brunch; a fine wine selection featuring French, Italian, and Californian wines; an outdoor patio; and last but definitely not least: one of the best burgers in the city. Served with fries, the $16 Marlowe Burger is stacked with caramelized onions, cheddar, bacon, and horseradish aioli. It's so darn good that it's also served at sister restaurants Park Tavern and The Cavalier.
Lark Creek Steak, located in the Westfield San Francisco Centre, offers a view of the Emporium Dome, as well as top-notch steak and desserts.
Not only did Spruce and Chef Mark Sullivan receive a Michelin Star, but WIne & Spirits Director Andrew Green’s wine program received the Grand Award from Wine Spectator — their highest honor. From a charcuterie plate unlike any other and House Made Wild Nettle Spaghetti to Liberty farms Duck Breast and Beignets rolled in vanilla sugar, Spruce is the type of place you come in to and want to Instagram every single dish. And if you aren't in the mood to throw down on a Michelin-level meal, their burger (available in the bar only) happens to be one of SF's best.
A culinary talisman for over thirty years, Zuni Cafe on the ever-bustling Market Street continues to serve New American cuisine with French and Italian influences. With a menu that changes daily, the element of surprise is never lost -- all while using the freshest, most sustainable ingredients.
Wayfare Tavern, owned by Tyler Florence and helmed by Executive Chef/Michelin Star-earner Joey Elenterio, feels like a private club/gastropub with its extensive dark wood and leather finishes. It's known for its “ridiculously good fried chicken,” but be sure to taste other seasonal menu must-haves, such as the baked macaroni and cheese, the burger, and the deviled eggs. Pro tip: make a reservation to sit upstairs, where it's a bit quieter.
It may be hard to believe, but you can still find great steaks and an elegant atmosphere in, believe it or not, Levi’s Stadium. You’ll never guess you’re dining adjacent to the field with cozy velvet booths, dark wood walls, and seating for 124 guests. You’ll get signature table-side presentation of dishes like ahi tuna tartare and Maine lobster pot pie, plus a selection of sumptuous wood-grilled steaks and innovative local seafood thanks to their classic menu.
Step back in time and indulge yourself at this '30s-style supper club just minutes from the Embarcadero. Bix is all class, from the white-jacketed bartenders mixing delicious cocktails to the intimate lighting & high ceilings, to the piano player & live jazz. This iconic SF spot serves “modern American” cuisine which includes Dungeness crab rolls, bone marrow, fresh lobster spaghetti, and a black truffle cheeseburger. Co-owners Doug Biederbeck and Bruce Hill are behind other SF staples (Florio, MarketBar, Fog City, and Pizzeria, among others), and Chef Emmanuel Eng previously worked at Boulevard, Maverick, and Aqua.