Answers from Our Experts (2)
The all-american meal---the beloved hamburger. Truth be told, I don't eat them often and when I do, they'd better be good. San Francisco is a food lover's town so there's a good chance you'll find this perennial favorite on many menus.
Personally, I absolutely LOVE the burger at Marlowe. Maybe it's the size---not obscenely enormous. Maybe it's the soft freshly made bun that doesn't takeover the beef. Maybe it's the hint of charcoal flavor. The slice of bacon? The carmelized onion? My mouth is watering. Whatever it is, it's a favorite of many San Franciscans. Umami Burger on Union Street is also fantastic and specializes in, well, specializing. Here you'll find tender beer, ground hourly, with a quirky assembly of ingredients. The popular Truffle Burger is garnished with truffle cheese and truffle glaze. Or you can stick to the original. The "un-beef" burgers are also a hit, especially the bacon-wrapped scallop burger. NOPA has a great menu but it's the burger that I've bellied up the bar for. It stick pretty close to the classic recipes, but added pickled onions and amazing fresh bread will remind you that this is San Francisco, and we like to wratched things up a bit when it comes to our food.
Ah, the ubiquitous best burger question! It's quite possible that everyone in San Francisco has a different opinion on this subject, but when I'm craving a burger I head to one of the following places.
Although it's pricy, the burger at Jackson Sqaure's Bix is to die for. The black truffle cheese burger is served open face on rye bread with truffle fries. It's pretty decadent, so it's fun to share, especially if your sitting at the bar and enjoying the live piano player. I recommend washing it down with one of Bix's excellent martinis.
Another great spot for a white tablecloth burger is Spruce. The four-starred restaurant make the buns in house and pickle onion and zucchini for the topping. The ground beef, which is 20 percent fat, comes from Niman Ranch and pairs excellently with a bold red from the stellar wine list.
If you're craving a burger during the lunch hour, head to Boxing Room. The Hayes Valley restaurant makes a classic burger that's jazzed up with creole mustard aioli. It's served with thick, perfectly cooked steak fries.
The best spot for quick, affordable, and extremely delicious burgers is Roam. There's two locations: one in Cow Hollow and another on Fillmore Street. Roam lets diners build their own burger and offers a variety of styles, meats, and toppings. With pepper Jack, jalapeño relish, avocado, tomato, tortilla strips and herb ranch, the tejano burger is my personal favorite. Also noteworthy: Roam's gluten-free bun option.
Finally, for the vegetarians out there, the finest veggie burger can be found at Plant Cafe Organic. The patty is a mixture of lentils, mushrooms, cashews, bulgar wheat, and beets — which give it a vibrant pink color. It comes with roasted onions, tomato chutney, and aioli.