While we love a 14-course tasting menu as much as the next gastronomy-appreciating travel website, we understand that sometimes all you need in life is a satisfying burger.
After all, a well-made hamburger — with a juicy patty, a lightly toasted bun, tangy secret sauce, melted cheese and all the fixings — is a beacon of happiness, an all-American symbol of everything that is good in the world.
When you crave a delicious burger, you won’t be disappointed by the following San Francisco restaurants’ hearty renditions.
Roam Artisan Burgers
This Bay Area-based chain, with locations in Lafayette, San Mateo, Oakland and San Francisco, is a fast-casual joint that offers a choose-your-own-burger adventure.
Build your ultimate bite by selecting the patty base (beef, turkey, bison, veggie or wild boar), bun (traditional sesame, whole grain, gluten-free or lettuce wrap), sauce (yellow mustard, herb mayo, jalapeño relish and more) and artisan toppings (such as butter lettuce, aged white cheddar and watercress).
If you’re too hungry to get creative, don’t worry — Roam’s team has invented plenty of combinations. The French and Fries, for example, has truffle Parmesan fries layered onto the burger along with Gruyère, whole grain mustard, caramelized onions and watercress. The Tejano kicks things up a notch with pepper jack cheese, jalapeño relish, crispy white corn tortilla chips and herb ranch.
This trendy spot is an upscale American tavern from Big Night, a local restaurant group lead by restaurateurs Anna Weinberg, James Nicholas and chef-partner Jennifer Puccio. Its Marlowe Burger is a mixture of beef and lamb — the ratio is 80-20 — so it’s more complex than your typical ground chuck patty.
It’s topped with caramelized onions, melted cheddar cheese and bacon. To cut all that richness, Puccio slathers the buns with horseradish aioli.
The burger, which comes with crispy thin-cut fries, is so scrumptious that it’s also on the menu at Marlowe’s sister restaurants, The Cavalier and Park Tavern.
At this contemporary Four-Star establishment, enjoy the all-beef sandwich at the bar and during lunch. This burger is a bite to remember thanks to Spruce’s housemade English muffin bun and caper remoulade, but the daily-ground patty (a blend of short rib, brisket and sirloin) doesn’t hurt, either.
The freshly made burger comes with pickled zucchini and red onion, but you can take it to a whole new level by adding foie gras and gooey taleggio cheese.
With two four-ounce, all-beef patties that are smashed and cooked on a griddle, Causwells’ Americana Burger brings to mind a fast food treat of your childhood dreams.
Each patty is piled high with American cheese, iceberg lettuce, pickles, onion and a secret sauce our sources say is a mixture of housemade ingredients like Thousand Island dressing and Worcestershire. Served with a side of crispy onions, this burger is a taste of nostalgia.
Farm at Carneros
Located inside a contemporary-chic farmhouse at Napa’s Four-Star Carneros Resort and Spa, the aptly named Farm at Carneros crafts a tasty burger worthy of its stunning surroundings, which are on view through the restaurant’s massive windows.
Served at the Four-Star eatery’s more casual bar and scenic outdoor pavilion, this classic beefy bite comes on a potato bun, smeared with aioli and jack or cheddar cheese.
If you want to upgrade your hamburger, swap in blue cheese and order the accompanying truffle fries.
This quaint Richmond District neighborhood gem is known for classic Italian eats like pizza and pasta. Helming the kitchen is chef Dante Cecchini, who worked at Marlowe under the aforementioned Puccio.
After turning out so many Marlowe burgers, Cecchini was eager to build his own. Using Fiorella’s wood-fired oven to roast the ground beef patty to perfection, he tops his signature creation with oozing American cheese, sour pickles, butter lettuce and sweet grilled onions before serving it with crispy crinkle cut fries.
If you have your heart set on ordering this succulent sandwich, keep in mind that it’s only available at the restaurant on Tuesday nights and Fridays at lunch.
Finn Town Tavern
This beloved gastropub in the historic Castro district is known for its elevated comfort food favorites, and what’s more comforting than a juicy burger?
Finn Town’s custom-blended beef patties are seasoned with salt and porcini powder, the latter of which adds a nice depth of flavor to the meat. The double-stack burger is topped simply with American cheese, lettuce, pickles and an extra special sauce — a three-egg Thousand Island.
This addictive dressing is made with soft-boiled, hard-boiled and fried eggs, Dijon mustard, onions, cornichons and ketchup, for a pleasantly tangy finish.