Food & Drink

Where to Find the Best Burgers in San Francisco

You could probably use some comfort food.

Super Duper Burgers
Super Duper Burgers | Courtesy of @cyneats
Super Duper Burgers | Courtesy of @cyneats

In these strange times, we all need a little comfort, and, as far as we’re concerned, there’s nothing more comforting than a quality burger. Luckily, SF brings it when it comes to juicy beef patties tucked between buns, so there’s plenty of comfort to be procured and consumed. Whether you’re in the mood for a fancy gourmet burger with fancy cheese and fancy bread or just want to grub down on a classic smashburger with American cheese and maybe a special sauce, this list has you covered. And yes, they’re all available for takeout and delivery.

4505 burger
4505 Burgers & BBQ | Courtesy of Ed Anderson

4505 Burgers & BBQ

Western Addition
If you’re gonna call a burger “The Best Damn Grass Fed Cheeseburger,” it’d better actually be the best damn grass fed cheeseburger, which 4505’s truly is thanks in large part to the perfectly grilled grass-fed patty, effortlessly meltable Gruyère, secret sauce, and a buttery, grilled sesame and scallion bun. We don’t want to tell you what to do, but you can make it a double for four more bucks, and it would be a shame to pass up on an opportunity like that, don’t you think?
Order online for in-store pickup or for delivery from Caviar, DoorDash, Uber Eats, Postmates, or Grubhub

causwells burger
Causwells | Courtesy of Cait Kerton

Causwells

Marina
Even if you’re one of those San Franciscans who looks down their nose at the Marina, a trip to Causwells for the Americana burger is well worth putting those feelings aside for a minute. The smash-style burger is a sophisticated take on Double Double, but with way better ingredients and way more deliciousness. The double patties are mixed with dry-aged fat and covered in American cheese and topped with lettuce, onion, lacto-fermented pickles, and a secret sauce that’s a combination of house-made Worcestershire, house-made Thousand Island dressing, and other proprietary stuff, all on a Petit Pain bun. You can add accoutrements like avocado, bacon, and a fried egg, but you really don’t need any of it; this burger is perfection just the way it comes.
Call 415-447-6081 for takeout, or order for delivery from Caviar, Postmates, Uber Eats, or DoorDash

Gott’s Roadside
Gott’s Roadside | Courtesy of Aubrie Pick

Gott’s Roadside

Embarcadero 
Gott's Roadside in the Ferry Building does a juicy double cheeseburger exactly the way a juicy double cheeseburger should be done -- nothing too flashy, just 1/3-pound Niman Ranch Angus beef patties cooked medium well with American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and secret sauce, all on a toasted egg bun. Gott’s also has a bunch of other tasty burgers with extravagant toppings, like the California burger that comes with a fried egg, Cowgirl Creamery’s Wagon Wheel cheese, Zoe’s bacon, arugula, balsamic onions, and mayo, and the kimchi burger with a fried egg, kimchi, American cheese, Zoe's bacon, and spicy gochujang mayo, but the classic double is the one we go back to time and time again. (Not eating meat? Gott’s also has veggie burger and Impossible Burger patties.)
Order online for takeout and delivery

Balboa Cafe
Courtesy of Balboa Cafe

Balboa Cafe

Cow Hollow
The burger at this Cow Hollow institution is a little controversial for some in that it comes on a baguette, but it's precisely that ingenious move that makes this one of the best burgers in SF. It comes with butter lettuce, butter pickles, and onions, and we suggest adding Cheddar. Right now you can get it via delivery or pick-up, or if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t love a burger that’s been forced to travel more than a minute or two away from the place where it was created, you can get a Burger Kit for Two, which has everything you need to recreate this SF classic at home. Add on a pitcher of margaritas or a bottle of Pliny the Elder because you can.
Call 415-921-3944 to place your pick-up order or get it delivered from DoorDash or Postmates

nopa burger
Nopa | Grant Condon/Thrillist

Nopa

Western Addition
When you have a hankering for a late night burger, there’s nowhere better to appease it than at Nopa. Unfortunately, the beloved restaurant is only open for limited hours right now, but we’re not complaining since the burger made with Five Dot Ranch chuck that’s ground daily and then grilled over a wood fire and served with melted Cheddar, lettuce, and pickled red onions on a house-made brioche bun tastes just as good between the hours of 4pm and 8pm as it does at midnight, especially since we’re all starting our cocktail and beer drinking earlier than ever before. 
Order online for takeout service or delivery

marlowe burger
Marlowe | Courtesy of Eric Wolfinger

Marlowe

SoMa
In normal times, you’ll find the signature Marlowe burger on the menu of most of its sister restaurants, including Park Tavern, The Cavalier, and The Greenwich, but these aren’t normal times, which means if you want to get your Marlowe burger fix, you’ll have to do a little of the heavy lifting yourself. Right now, you can stop by the SoMa restaurant to pick up a Quarantine Burger Kit that includes all of the ingredients you need, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to recreate it, including the caramelized onions, Cheddar, and bacon. Hoping to learn how to make the horseradish aioli that is what sets this burger apart from others? Unfortunately (or fortunately), that comes ready-to-slather, and so remains a secret.
Order online for pickup

Sam’s Pizza & Hamburgers

North Beach
Here’s everything you need to know about the double cheeseburger at Sam’s: It’s gotten a ton of hype over the years (Anthony Bourdain called it one of the three best burgers in the world). Regardless of whether you think it's overhyped, it’s a legit burger even when you haven’t been drinking and it’s super affordable (for SF, anyway). There’s nothing gourmet about it; it’s just a classic burger topped with American cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce, tomato, and onions on a sesame bun that consistently hits the spot.
Call 415-391-1539 for take out or order for delivery on GrubHub, Uber Eats, or DoorDash

popsons
Popsons | Grant Condon/Thrillist

Popsons

Mission
The Americana burger at Causwells gained such a cult following, it only made sense for it to get its own restaurant... only Popsons (now in a new pop-up location in the Mission) has even more options (single, double, cheese, no cheese, and veggie) and they’re not quite as pricey, so basically dreams do come true. All of the versions are delicious, but if you have to pick only one, pick the cheeseburger (American cheese, onion, lettuce, pickle, special sauce on a bun from Petit Pains) and make it a double. The best part is it's only nine bucks, so you can totally afford to add fries and a shake.
Order online for pickup and delivery

wesburger 'n' more
WesBurger ‘N’ More | Courtesy of Wes Rowe

WesBurger ‘N’ More

Mission 
Once upon a time, a photographer named Wes Rowe decided that he was going to stop making his popular burgers just for friends and start offering them to all of San Francisco at a monthly pop-up. Not long after, he won first place at the SF Burger Brawl, which led to a weekly pop-up. Fast forward to now, and he has his own spot in the Mission where people can feast on his burgers seven days a week. All of the burgers (“’n’ more”) at WesBurger are worthy of debate, but the champion is the original smash burger with mustard, pickles, ketchup, onion, and American cheese. The smash burger patties are only three ounces, so needless to say, you’ll want to make it a double.
Order online for pickup and delivery

Spruce

Presidio Heights
Once upon a time, paying $22 for a burger seemed totally insane, but then along came the Spruce Burger, which is made with a blend of brisket, sirloin, and short rib that’s ground in-house every day, and topped with pickled red onion, pickled zucchini, tomato, and a caper remoulade, and suddenly $22 felt totally reasonable. The thing that really sets this burger apart from all of the others on this list is the bun: a buttered English muffin that’s made in-house and provides just the right bread to burger ratio. Oh, and the fries (which come with) are fried in duck fat and are oh so very damn good.
Takeout orders can be placed in-person or by calling 415-931-5100, and delivery is available via DoorDash

The Saratoga
Courtesy of The Saratoga

The Saratoga

Tenderloin
The $16 Saratoga Burger might not be for every palate, but if you enjoy a pungent yet tangy cheese with your ground beef, then you’ll not only love it, but find yourself craving it if you go too long between fixes. The two patties are covered in Taleggio, slaw, and pickles, and sit on an onion bun. This translates to every single bite being juicy, salty, rich, cool, and crunchy all at once. And though this has nothing to do with burgers, we wouldn’t be able to live with ourselves if we didn’t suggest you finish your meal with an apple hand pie with cream cheese frosting.
Order for pickup or delivery on Caviar

maven burger
Maven | Courtesy of Alex Martinez

Maven

Lower Haight
Maven’s burger is spiced with Angostura bitters, which sounds weird -- and maybe is weird -- but doesn’t matter because it’s the “secret” that makes this burger so legit. It’s also topped with Muenster cheese, bourbon aiöli, and house pickles, and is even better when paired with one of Maven’s to-go cocktails, specifically the Smokin’ Barrels (bonded rye, benedictine, vermouths, scotch).
Order for pickup by calling 415-829-7982

Violet’s
Violet’s | Courtesy of Grace Sager

Violet’s 

Outer Richmond
There’s nothing better than grabbing a seat at the bar at this cozy spot from the folks behind Fiorella and ordering a burger and an old fashioned, and while you’ll have to wait to do the sitting at the bar part, right now you can get the Tavern Burger, a decadent combination of Flannery beef, Hobbs bacon, cheddar, chipotle aiöli, lettuce, onions, and pickles for takeout and delivery. 
For takeout orders, call 415-682-4861 or order online. Delivery is available via Caviar, DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats

Super Duper Burgers
Super Duper Burgers | Courtesy of @cyneats

Super Duper Burgers

Castro, Marina, SoMa, Financial District
People in California love to sing the praises if In-N-Out, but if we’re opting for a fast food burger, we much prefer Super Duper’s slightly fancier version made with organic, locally sourced, humanely raised ingredients, including vegetarian-fed beef with an 80 to 20 protein to fat blend. It’s just a lot better, specifically the Super Burger made with two very juicy four ounce patties and topped with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and a secret sauce. Add Cheddar cheese because a burger is always better when it’s a cheeseburger.
Order online for pickup or for delivery via Caviar

Shake Shack
Courtesy of Shake Shack

Shake Shack

Cow Hollow
Okay, so yes, we’re alway going to loyal to a local chain like Super Duper, but the magnificence that is a ShackBurger topped with lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce, and a side of crispy crinkle cut fries is not lost on us, even if it originated in NYC.
Order online for pickup

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Daisy Barringer is a freelance writer who has made it her life mission to eat all of San Francisco's best burgers. Have a new one she should try? Let her know on Twitter @daisy.