Cheeseburger & French Fries (credit: Thinkstock)

The Bay Area loves its burgers, from a trendy Mango Jerk Chicken Burger to the simply divine Sherry Glazed Portobello & Shimeji Mushroom Burger served on Brioche. The Best Burger? Sample these five popular Bay Area burger spots and decide for yourself.

Rave Burger
144 E. 3rd Ave.
San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 342-6689

Gourmet burgers are on the Peninsula at Rave Burger. Niman Ranch Black Angus beef, out of Marin County, is the foundation of Rave’s delicious burgers. All Rave burger patties are handmade and its fries are freshly cut, and nothing is precooked. Order your fire grilled burger with a slew of burger options, some the usual suspects and some unique, like the Greek Burger ($10.80), the 2 a.m Breakfast Burger ($11.80), or something called the Mega Burger ($13.50). If you’re more the slider type, Rave has those, too. Same great beef, and you order these babies either solo, pair, three of a kind, or by the dozen at smaller prices. Visit the website for the full range of options and prices.

Pied Piper Bar & Grill
The Palace Hotel
2 New Montgomery St.
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 512-1111

The Pied Piper Bar & Grill takes a cool and classy seat in the lap of luxury at San Francisco’s famed Palace Hotel. The place is just right for comfortable, relaxed dining and the food is classic California fare. The Piped Piper Burger ($20), offered at lunch and dinner is yours with or without cheese, applewood smoked bacon, and French fries. Live it up with a happy ending dessert, such as a pastry shop-inspired cookie selection ($10) or a delish sounding coconut & raspberry mousse ($12).

1944 Union St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 922-9022

Perry’s original Cow Hollow location is still going strong after more than 45 years. Now with additional locations in the City and at SFO, the Perry’s menu lives on with some new menu tweaks yet always seems to satisfy the Perry’s style and its loyal followers. “The Perry’s Burger” ($11.95, w/cheese, bacon or avocado, add $1.50 each) brings a tear of nostalgic warmth to the eyes of many longtime San Francisco residents and visitors alike. That’s just how it is dining at Perry’s. Fans say the restaurant “hasn’t changed,” and one reviewer even claims they might just have the best cheeseburger on the planet. The Embarcadero location offers half-price burgers every Monday night, beginning at 4 p.m. Check the website for all Perry’s locations.

Vault 164 Restaurant And Bar
164 S. B St.
San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 348-8164

Located in the heart of downtown San Mateo, Vault serves one of the region’s most flavorful burgers, a Vermont white cheddar burger with caramelized onions served on grilled brioche, available in 5 oz. or 10 oz.,  ($10 / $14), plus a mushroom & gruyere burger with sherry glazed portobello & shimeji mushrooms ($11 / $15). Add-on a fried egg ($1.50) or applewood smoked bacon ($2), bring the whole thing up a notch or two.

500 Brannan St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 777-1413

Marlowe is a neighborhood bistro with a focus on American meat-centric favorites, with a few tasty twists. The Marlowe Burger, adorned with caramelized onions, cheddar, bacon, horseradish aioli and fries ($16), has emerged as one of the restaurant’s big draws along with signature dishes such as crispy brussels sprout chips ($9), a delicious take on meal starters so good they stand on their own. The Marlowe Burger, a brunch, lunch and dinner favorite, has recently returned to its birthplace at 330 Townsend St., now known as Marlowe Burger, where it is the ideal carryout meal.

Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in San Francisco. She writes on adult education, art, culture and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. Her work can be found at