A hankering for a burger is, for many of us, a pretty regular occurrence. And the city of San Francisco is home to many, many good and great ones. But a few have popped on our radar only recently, and we thought you should know.
SFist published a list of the city's 25 best burgers a while back, and with the exception of a couple of places that closed in the pandemic (RIP Maven and Popson's), most of those picks still stand. You certainly won't go wrong with WesBurger's gooey delights, the stellar burger at the Mission's ABV, or the still delicious, off-menu, modest-sized burger at Heirloom Cafe.
But in the last year or so, a few superb burgers have popped onto our radars that you should probably be aware of, when that next craving strikes.
The double smashburger called the Cheezy Buddy ($17) is a star of the daytime and kids menus at Automat in NoPa — which means it's available all times of day, because adults are permitted to order off the kids menu at night, and you shouldn't sleep on the crispy beef taco either! Two thin, delightfully crisp-edged smashburger patties come topped with garlicky cheddar cheese and pickles, and because this place is also a bakery, the milk bread bun is no joke. It's a must-try, and you may as well get some Frankie's Fries with "automac" sauce too.
1801 McAllister Street at Baker
The burger at the relocated and revamped Bar Agricole is no afterthought on consulting chef Nick Balla's menu. It is a deeply flavorful, juicy, craveworthy thing, modest in size and won't weigh you down, and even works as a cocktail snack. It comes topped with aioli, Neal's Yard cheddar, caramelized onions, and pickles, served on a house-made brioche bun, with a side of the restaurant's yummy smoked potatoes. It is, quite possibly, the best new burger to come along in SF in years, and that is saying a lot, but at $29 it is a pricy one to be sure.
1540 Mission Street
Hayes Valley's 10-month-old drinks/dinner/brunch spot Hazie's, located in the old Stacks space overlooking Patricia's Green, is a solid option for happy hour or for a stopover before heading to the opera, symphony, or ballet. And their house burger ($22) is a good one, topped with relish-flecked aioli, your choice of cheese (brie, cheddar, or provolone), housemade pickles, and caramelized onions. Pro tip: The burger's not on the Happy Hour menu, which goes from 4 to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and which includes $10 Martinis and discounted snacks. But you can get one of those discounted drinks or snacks and relax at the bar until 6, when the dinner menus come out.
501 Hayes Street at Octavia
The Castro's new tucked-away cocktail spot Lobby Bar, in the base of the new Hotel Castro, features some stellar signature drinks and some better-than-average bar food. The menu includes the only non-beef burger on this list — it's a Diestel Ranch turkey and spinach patty ($18) that's been spiced to taste almost like pastrami. It comes with fries and is topped with smoked mozzarella and harissa mayo, as well as lettuce, tomato, and onion, and it's full of satisfying, meaty flavor without all the fat.
4230 18th Street near Diamond
The Macondray burger is more cocktail-snack/slider-sized than the others on this list, but it comes with a modest price to match ($13.75). It's topped with American cheese, bacon, lettuce, and tomato, and it's perfect if you want to eat something with your drinks but you don't want to stuff your face. It's also deliciously juicy and served on a fresh brioche bun, and you can always get some Pier Fries (seasoned with malt vinegar powder) on the side.
2209 Polk Street at Vallejo
Related: The 25 Best Burgers In San Francisco