Umami Burger (credit: Patrick Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty Images)
Tired of the same ho-hum burgers? Then lucky you to be in San Francisco where creative burgers crowd out each other for attention. Read on for five of the best rated burger spots in San Francisco.
2184 Union St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
“A beer, a burger and truffle fries” is a catch phrase of Umami Burger, a California-born spot with locations around the state and growing. The biggie here is the Truffle Burger ($12), with house-made truffle cheese and truffle glaze that gets praise from the restaurant’s repeat customers. Umami burgers feature tags you won’t find at other burger joints, which give Umami burgers a creative edge. Other burger choices ($12-$15) include the Umami Burger of shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted tomato, parmesan crisp and Umami ketchup, a Port & Stilton Burger with blue cheese and port caramelized onions, and the Earth Burger with a mushroom and edamame patty, with soy aioli, cipollini onions, lettuce and slow-roasted tomato. If you’re feeling flush, try the newly introduced M.N.O (Money’s No Object) burger. At $65, it’s the new kid on the Umami burger truffle menu. You get the picture. Visit the website for more Umami burger facts.
1658 Market St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Zuni Cafe has been a definite San Francisco destination since its opening in 1979. It is known for its delicious food mostly out of the house brick oven that ushered in a trend of roasted and grilled dishes, and is especially noted for the roasted chicken for two, perfectly rubbed and seasoned. With separate menus for lunch, Sunday brunch, afternoon dishes, dinner, oyster and shellfish and dessert, Zuni Café is a unique yet casual chic dining spot. The Zuni Café hamburger is just as special: house-ground grass-fed beef on grilled rosemary focaccia with aioli and Zuni pickles ($15). The burger is available on the brunch, lunch and afternoon menus. Add to your burger some exquisite cheese, such as Bayley Hazen Blue ($2) or Beecher’s Flagship cheese ($1.75), or grilled onions ($1.25) and heirloom tomatoes ($2.5) for an additional taste kick.
1785 Union St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
Roam Artisan Burgers offers delicious burgers plus all of the trimmings you might expect, and at a level beyond today’s required noble practices. The restaurant strives to do it just right, and it definitely works. Burgers ($6.25-$8.25) are made with “mindful ingredients,” including 100-percent grass-fed beef, free-range turkey and all-natural bison – yes, bison burgers are here – plus house-made organic veggie burgers. For something entirely different, try the burger special made with Durham Ranch all natural elk (add $1.99). The creativity is in your hands as diners choose the meat/veggie patty plus the style (eight styles), various sauces, free toppings and add-ons ($1) such as cheese choices, cremini mushrooms, Applewood smoked bacon or truffle Parmesan fries. Visit the website to read all about it.
Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers
4138 24th St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
Located in warm and sunny Noe Valley and a few other Bay Area locations, Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers is just as the name says: gourmet. The burgers are made with quality Niman Ranch all-natural chuck ($7.25-$10.25). For burger alternatives with the gourmet touch, Barney’s offers vegetarian burgers and sandwiches and kosher hot dogs all dolled up with extras like sauteed veggies, jalapeno and onions or beef chili and beans. There is a lot more on the blackboard too, including gourmet burgers and dogs for the kids ($5). View the menu on the website for the complete picture.
86 Carl St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
Marin County Neiman Ranch beef, untainted by chemicals or fillers, is used for BurgerMeister’s sublime hamburgers, “A taste you can trust,” according to BurgerMeister, and proud to be a family owned/operated business. The restaurants also use Petaluma Poultry Rocky Chickens, Diestel Turkey Farms turkey, Odyssey Seafood, Tillamook cheeses and several other respected, quality name brands. The burger order plan is create your own: choose from one of 18 Meister favorites, such as the classic, mushroom Swiss, jalapeno or chili cheese burgers. Then select a burger patty, such as a chicken breast, turkey patty, bocca burger or portabello mushroom. Or you can build your own burger from the start: choose a patty, add toppings, bun type, cheese, sides and more. Have it your way is the order here. Brunch is served at the Daly City and Alameda locations only. View the website menu to get a head start on building your burger.
Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in San Francisco. She writes on adult education, art and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She is also a member of an independent filmmaking group. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.