The 10 Tastiest Burgers in San Francisco

House-ground burger | Credit: One Market

There’s no denying a good burger ranks high on the list of crave-worthy foods, and San Francisco restaurants know that. Chefs are pulling out all the stops for the best burgers in town, getting inventive with renditions on the OG burger buns from corn fritters, to challah, and even English muffins, with juicy patties of beef to pair. The attention to detail is immaculate, with every element of the burger adding to its character — particularly a focus on high-quality, local meat. Find the likes of whiskey onions, seasonal sauces, and thrice-cooked fries — these burgers are taking it to the next level.

Spruce (Presidio Heights)

At one MICHELIN-star modern Californian restaurant Spruce, where three-course micro-seasonal meals are the norm, the Spruce burger on the lunch menu doesn’t fall far from the tree. A beef patty of brisket, short rib, and sirloin is seared and topped with pickled zucchini and red onion, tomato, and lettuce, all between an English muffin. A generous serving of thrice-cooked fries rounds it out. What gives Spruce’s burger an edge is the attention to detail, skillful cooking, and organic ingredients that all come together to place it on Eater’s list of the top burgers in SF. 

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor and heated outdoor dining are both available. 

Takeout: Spruce offers takeout and delivery on its website.

Zuni Cafe (Hayes Valley)

Zuni Cafe’s burger is so famous that both The New York Times and Martha Stewart have recipes of it, with the Times calling the burger “legendary.” The grass-fed beef is salted and ground in small batches with 18 percent fat, then the patty is flipped exactly three times over the grill. The rosemary focaccia bun is smeared with aioli and topped with pickled red onion rings and turmeric zucchini slices — every element is made in-house. Add one or all four of the additional toppings — cheddar cheese, bleu cheese, grilled onions, or portobello mushrooms —  to make it your own. But you really can’t go wrong with the original at this San Francisco staple.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor and sidewalk seating outdoors are offered.

Takeout: Zuni Cafe offers takeout, but does not deliver.

Nopa (NoPa)

Wood-grilled cheeseburger

Wood-grilled cheeseburger

Named after the neighborhood it’s in, legendary American restaurant Nopa specializes in wood-fired dishes and seasonal “urban rustic” food, including its signature burger. The wood-grilled cheeseburger is served with a ground Five Dot Ranch beef shoulder patty, pickled onions, and your choice of Gruyère, cheddar, or bleu cheese on a brioche bun that is buttered and charred. Optional, but encouraged, add-ons include house-cured bacon, and avocado. Hand-punched potato fries are served with a seasonal sauce. This burger is a fan-favorite you’ll constantly see floating around tables all night long.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor seating is available in its expansive two-story space.

Takeout: Nopa does not offer takeout or delivery at this time.

Violet’s (Richmond District)

At American gastropub Violet’s from the team behind Fiorella, owners Boris Nemchenok, Brandon Gillis, and chef Dante Cecchini are bringing the popular Tuesday night burger at Fiorella to Violet’s. The Tavern burger is constructed with Northern Californian Flannery beef that has been hailed by LA and SF chefs alike, thick-cut bacon, American cheese, chipotle aioli, lettuce, onion, and pickles, and accompanied by shoestring fries. A vegetarian option swaps out the patty for an Impossible Burger with all the same toppings.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor and heated covered outdoor dining are available.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery can be ordered on its website or via third-party apps.

The Vault Garden (Financial District)

This year-round sprawling outdoor dining restaurant from Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group — the team behind Trestle — serves up refined Cal-American cuisine with a sophistication that makes its burger all the more remarkable with its double patty stacked and oozing with Fiscalini cheddar and secret sauce, plus shredded lettuce to top it off. Fries are served with pickles on the side. The burger is available from brunch to dinner, and for prix fixe lunch paired with a heirloom tomato salad or tomato soup.

Dining at the restaurant: Heated and covered outdoor dining is available. 

Takeout: Takeout is available, but not delivery.

E&O Kitchen and Bar (Union Square)

Chef Sharon Nahm imbues her Asian roots into her cooking at E&O Kitchen and Bar with two exceptional burgers. The most well-known option is the famous fritter burger with Indonesian corn fritters as buns, filled with char siu bacon, white cheddar, kimchi, and sriracha aioli. There’s also an E&O cheeseburger that’s served on scallion buns with white cheddar, kimchi, and sriracha aioli.  Togarashi fries come with, or substitute in healthier root vegetable chips.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor and outdoor dining are available.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery can be ordered directly on its website or via third-party apps.

Dirty Habit (SoMa)

DH Burger

DH Burger

An intimate rooftop hideout on the fifth floor of the chic Hotel Zelos, Dirty Habit is a cocktail bar with an inventive menu to match. The burger here is spirit-inspired with the key ingredient of whiskey onions made by grilling yellow onions baked in butter, bourbon, and brown sugar. There’s also aged gouda atop a beef patty sandwiched between brioche buns. The rest of the menu sees chef Thomas Weibull draw from his own European and Asian heritage in salted egg potato chips with curry leaves, a sturgeon caviar bao bun, and venison yakitori with juniper and fermented blueberry tare. 

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor and heated outdoor seating are available. 

Takeout: Takeout is available, but not delivery.

Absinthe Brasserie and Bar (Hayes Valley)

This longtime Hayes Valley French bar and brasserie, from the team behind Bellota, is named after the herbal spirit of the same name and invokes a lively, charming atmosphere day to night. The romantic dining room sets the scene for the Niman Ranch cheeseburger with a beef patty, house pickles, dijonnaise, and Gruyère and provolone cheeses, served with shoestring fries. It’s available for brunch, lunch, and dinner; wash it down with a house cocktail or beer. 

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor and heated outdoor seating are available. 

Takeout: Absinthe offers takeout, but not delivery.

One Market (Embarcadero)

Along the city’s eastern shoreline sits One Market, a farm-to-table restaurant specializing in grilled seafood, New York steaks, spit-roasted prime rib, 12-hour smoked beef brisket, and of course, the house-ground Allen Brothers chuck and brisket burger that’s only served at lunch Tuesdays through Friday. It’s worth finding the time to go for the patty that comes with pimento cheese, bread and butter pickles, lettuce, and tomato between a challah bun. As a bonus, on Saturdays One Market’s farmer’s market shop Mark ‘n Mike’s serves up a Rolling Oaks ranch beef cheeseburger with American cheese, griddled onions, lettuce, tomato, and Russian dressing on a challah bun, with the option to add pastrami.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor and outdoor patio dining are available.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery are both offered on a third-party app.

Osso Steakhouse (Nob Hill)

The sleek steakhouse in Nob Hill’s Gramercy Towers has been known for its dry-aged steaks and Art Deco design for more than 20 years. Here, the “Osso Good” burger uses Kobe beef for its patty, with familiar toppings of lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar cheese, and ketchup. The burger and its 21-day aged Angus steaks have taken Osso to Thrillist’s list of best steakhouses in San Francisco.

Dining at the restaurant: Only indoor dining is available.

Takeout: Osso offers takeout, but not delivery.

Tried them all? Check out other options here.