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20 Top-Notch Burgers in the East Bay

Where to go when you’re craving a juicy beef patty or two

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You don’t have to travel very far to find a great burger in the East Bay — though “great,” of course, is in the eye of the beholder. From the strip malls of San Lorenzo to new spots in trendy Oakland and Berkeley neighborhoods, you can find all kinds — classic diner burgers that’ll fill you up for around $5, fast-food smash burgers that eschew maximal juiciness to offer the greatest amount of crunch, and dry-aged beauties from pedigreed chefs. There’s even a game-changing veggie burger or two. All of them have their charms.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Phila Burger Station

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1100 23rd St
Richmond, CA 94804
(510) 234-1445

This little diner-style burger joint in Richmond’s 23rd Street corridor specializes in two things: solid, simply dressed burgers and (also quite excellent) cheesesteaks, all dished out with some of the friendliest service in the East Bay.

2. 310 Eatery

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747 San Pablo Ave
Albany, CA 94706
(510) 697-3878
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How you feel about 310 Eatery depends in part on how you feel about monstrously tall extreme burgers — one outrageously decadent ingredient stacked on top of another, and then another. The popular Albany brunch and burger spot specializes in “Los Angeles–style” street food, with a dash of Asian dishes in the mix as well. Even if you aren’t into burgers that come overloaded with dozens of toppings (we see you 405 Traffic Jam, with your bacon-short rib patty, portobello mushroom, crispy onions, and pastrami), the more “standard” burgers are also excellent — especially the 310, which comes smothered in bacon jam.

3. Boss

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1187 Solano Ave
Albany, CA 94706
(510) 526-2677
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One of the East Bay’s better fast food–style burger shops, Boss keeps things simple, with menu options mostly limited to whether you’d like a single or a double burger — all griddled to a juicy medium by default — and whether or not you’d like cheese.

4. Sideshow Kitchen

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942 Stanford Ave
Oakland, CA 94608
(510) 808-7519
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As its name indicates, the “Good Burger” is quite good — a classic with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar, aioli, and burger sauce — a little like the well-charred burger you might get off someone’s backyard grill. But the Mexi Cali burger might be even better, subbing in avocado, pepper jack cheese, and elote crema to create a spicy, drippy delight. Eat it with a local beer and a side of crinkle-cut fries.

5. TrueBurger

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4101 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94611
(510) 883-8808
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Simple, juicy patties — made in the crisp-edged “smash burger” style — are the draw at this fast-food style Oakland mini-chain, which has already become a local institution since its first location (on Grand Avenue) opened in 2010. The milkshakes are excellent, and so are the ballpark-style garlic fries.

6. Clove And Hoof

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4001 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94611
(510) 547-1446
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This restaurant is also a butcher shop, meaning that every meaty morsel that comes out of the kitchen was processed in house, often from whole animals. If you’re looking for a slightly fancier, cheffy burger that’s still deeply satisfying, the C&H Burger is tough to beat: It’s two four-ounce patties with caramelized onion jam, pimento cheese, romaine lettuce, bread and butter pickles, and pickle mayo on a sesame seed brioche bun. Add beef tallow fries, and it’s game on.

7. Perle Wine Bar

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2058 Mountain Blvd
Oakland, CA 94611
(510) 808-7767
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At his Montclair wine bar, chef Rob Lam serves an umami-packed mashup of a burger. Dubbed the French Onion Dip Angus Burger, it stars a thick charred patty, gruyere, jammy onions, and a toasted milk bun. It’s a great burger on its own, but then you dip it — French dip style — in a side of French onion soup for even more flavor.

8. Malibu’s Burgers

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3905 Piedmont Ave
Oakland, CA 94611

The former food truck is known for serving some of the most decadent-looking veggie burgers you can find in the East Bay — no timid little sprout-topped bean patties here. Instead, Malibu’s offers original plant-based creations like the Ghost Town Burger (two Impossible patties, American “cheese,” onion rings, faux bacon, and BBQ sauce), or the Timeless (which includes banana peppers and BBQ “pork” ribs). They haven’t yet set up shop in their new Piedmont Avenue storefront (the old Ba-Bite space), but check Instagram for their latest pop-ups.

9. Telegraph

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2318 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 444-8353
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This popular beer garden is an Oakland institution by this point, known for its lively outdoor patio, its boozy slushies, and, not for nothing, its nicely charred burgers and sausage sandwiches. Those looking for a particularly decadent burger experience can opt for the “5150,” which has a patty that’s half beef, half ground-up bacon. Even vegetarians have multiple — well, two — burger options: an Impossible burger and one featuring a chipotle black bean patty.

10. Masabaga

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2022 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94612

This Uptown newcomer is best known for its tuna belly burgers, Masa Sasaki’s one-of-a-kind creation. But Sasaki — one of the Bay Area’s top sushi chefs — has long been a fan of good old-fashioned American burgers, and the one on Masabaga’s menu is a doozy: six ounces of uncommonly juicy American wagyu beef, coarse-ground so that it’s pleasantly chewy; lettuce; tomato; daikon; and wasabi mayo on a soft Acme bun. Get it with an order of curry-dusted shoestring fries on the side.

Wagyu burger (left), tuna belly burger, and saba sando at Masabaga Masabaga

11. Sidebar

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542 Grand Ave
Oakland, CA 94610
(510) 452-9500
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The hamburger is always a staple at this Lake Merritt cocktail destination. It succeeds in its simplicity: a beefy Niman Ranch patty (cooked to your desired level of doneness), lettuce, and pickles on a soft bun slathered with chipotle-spiked Thousand Island dressing. Well-seasoned and well-executed, it comes with a side of fries and needs nothing else.

12. Park Burger

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4218 Park Blvd
Oakland, CA 94602
(510) 479-1402
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Park Burger is serving a variety of beef burgers topped with everything from bacon, Cheddar, and fried shallots to chili and cheese. The lamb burger is also an excellent choice, covered with tzatziki sauce and arugula. Vegetarians can get in on the action here too, with black bean patties, Impossible patties, or a fried portobello in place of meat.

13. The Kon-Tiki

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3906, 347 14th St
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 823-2332
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This tiki-inspired bar’s burger is the perfect accompaniment to a bucket of rum or two (and the cocktails are also available for takeout). The burger features two Cream Co. beef patties with pineapple-Maui onion jam, American cheese, Kewpie mayo, and pickles on sesame seed bun. Don’t forget to add crispy Spam, and some loaded tater tots on the side. In addition to takeout, there’s a limited amount of outdoor patio seating in front.

14. Chop Bar

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247 4th St
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 834-2467
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Even as this Jack London restaurant’s menu has evolved over the years, its classic burger has largely stayed the same. In its current incarnation, a Cream Co. beef patty comes topped with bacon, tomato, avocado, and aioli. If you’re feeling really sassy, there are options to add Fiscalini cheddar, Pt. Reyes blue cheese, or cowboy onions.

15. Belcampo Meat Co. (Oakland)

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55 Webster St
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 281-0998
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One of the sustainable meat company’s restaurant outposts, Belcampo’s Oakland menu is, not surprisingly, all about the meat — which means, in part, that there are no fewer than three different burgers on the menu: a lamb burger and two different burgers made with dry-aged beef. The half-pound Belcampo burger features cheddar, house sauce, caramelized onions, and butter lettuce, but purists might like the smaller, fast-food style burger even better — now available in a six-pack or 12-pack for those feeding families with especially large appetites.

16. Smish Smash at Neptune's

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630 Central Ave
Alameda, CA 94501

One of the East Bay’s most exciting new pop-ups, Smish Smash is one Los Angeles transplant’s take on the “smash burger” trend — the style of burger in which balls of raw beef are flattened on the griddle with the goal of creating the maximum amount of well-charred, crispy bits. The Bay Area has plenty of smash burger specialists, but perhaps none smashing their patties quite as thin and crispy as Smish Smash — nor with topping combinations as novel as, say, a burger topped with uni and shiso leaves, or another flavored like McDonald’s elusive McRib. Every burger comes on a toasted Martin’s potato roll. Pre-order a burger online to ensure success, otherwise it’s walk in only, Thursday to Sunday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. (8 p.m. on Sundays), with a likelihood of selling out.

17. Scolari's Good Eats

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1303 Park St
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 521-2400
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It frankly sounds obnoxious. How could a burger with bacon, blue cheese, and blueberry sauce be anything short of a disaster? Somehow, though, Scolari’s most notorious — but ever popular — menu item somehow just works in the execution of those flavor combinations. For cautious palates, a very solid standard cheeseburger is also available.

18. HegenBurger

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280 Hegenberger Rd
Oakland, CA 94621
(510) 569-9115

One of a very small number of solid dining options located in close proximity to the Oakland airport, this family-run spot is known for its very hefty and juicy burgers — the double is a real whopper of a meal — and its garlic fries. Not in the mood for a burger? The teriyaki plates are a crowd favorite as well.

19. Val's Burgers

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2115 Kelly St
Hayward, CA 94541
(510) 889-8257
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This Hayward institution serves the Platonic ideal of an old-school diner burger — just beautifully charred meat on a bun, served without fuss or adornment, apart from maybe some relish or grilled onions. Get it with a malt on the side. Don’t forget to bring cash.

20. Classic Burger

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15927 Hesperian Blvd
San Lorenzo, CA 94580
(510) 278-3333

As its name suggests, this family-owned strip mall burger joint in San Lorenzo, tucked between a dental office and a tax-preparation operation, sticks to the classics: just simple, well-executed, inexpensive burgers. The loftiest item on the item is probably also the most popular: the signature Classic Burger, which comes topped with pastrami and cheese.

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1. Phila Burger Station

1100 23rd St, Richmond, CA 94804

This little diner-style burger joint in Richmond’s 23rd Street corridor specializes in two things: solid, simply dressed burgers and (also quite excellent) cheesesteaks, all dished out with some of the friendliest service in the East Bay.

1100 23rd St
Richmond, CA 94804

2. 310 Eatery

747 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706

How you feel about 310 Eatery depends in part on how you feel about monstrously tall extreme burgers — one outrageously decadent ingredient stacked on top of another, and then another. The popular Albany brunch and burger spot specializes in “Los Angeles–style” street food, with a dash of Asian dishes in the mix as well. Even if you aren’t into burgers that come overloaded with dozens of toppings (we see you 405 Traffic Jam, with your bacon-short rib patty, portobello mushroom, crispy onions, and pastrami), the more “standard” burgers are also excellent — especially the 310, which comes smothered in bacon jam.

747 San Pablo Ave
Albany, CA 94706

3. Boss

1187 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

One of the East Bay’s better fast food–style burger shops, Boss keeps things simple, with menu options mostly limited to whether you’d like a single or a double burger — all griddled to a juicy medium by default — and whether or not you’d like cheese.

1187 Solano Ave
Albany, CA 94706

4. Sideshow Kitchen

942 Stanford Ave, Oakland, CA 94608

As its name indicates, the “Good Burger” is quite good — a classic with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar, aioli, and burger sauce — a little like the well-charred burger you might get off someone’s backyard grill. But the Mexi Cali burger might be even better, subbing in avocado, pepper jack cheese, and elote crema to create a spicy, drippy delight. Eat it with a local beer and a side of crinkle-cut fries.

942 Stanford Ave
Oakland, CA 94608

5. TrueBurger

4101 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

Simple, juicy patties — made in the crisp-edged “smash burger” style — are the draw at this fast-food style Oakland mini-chain, which has already become a local institution since its first location (on Grand Avenue) opened in 2010. The milkshakes are excellent, and so are the ballpark-style garlic fries.

4101 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94611

6. Clove And Hoof

4001 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

This restaurant is also a butcher shop, meaning that every meaty morsel that comes out of the kitchen was processed in house, often from whole animals. If you’re looking for a slightly fancier, cheffy burger that’s still deeply satisfying, the C&H Burger is tough to beat: It’s two four-ounce patties with caramelized onion jam, pimento cheese, romaine lettuce, bread and butter pickles, and pickle mayo on a sesame seed brioche bun. Add beef tallow fries, and it’s game on.

4001 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94611

7. Perle Wine Bar

2058 Mountain Blvd, Oakland, CA 94611

At his Montclair wine bar, chef Rob Lam serves an umami-packed mashup of a burger. Dubbed the French Onion Dip Angus Burger, it stars a thick charred patty, gruyere, jammy onions, and a toasted milk bun. It’s a great burger on its own, but then you dip it — French dip style — in a side of French onion soup for even more flavor.

2058 Mountain Blvd
Oakland, CA 94611

8. Malibu’s Burgers

3905 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

The former food truck is known for serving some of the most decadent-looking veggie burgers you can find in the East Bay — no timid little sprout-topped bean patties here. Instead, Malibu’s offers original plant-based creations like the Ghost Town Burger (two Impossible patties, American “cheese,” onion rings, faux bacon, and BBQ sauce), or the Timeless (which includes banana peppers and BBQ “pork” ribs). They haven’t yet set up shop in their new Piedmont Avenue storefront (the old Ba-Bite space), but check Instagram for their latest pop-ups.

3905 Piedmont Ave
Oakland, CA 94611

9. Telegraph

2318 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

This popular beer garden is an Oakland institution by this point, known for its lively outdoor patio, its boozy slushies, and, not for nothing, its nicely charred burgers and sausage sandwiches. Those looking for a particularly decadent burger experience can opt for the “5150,” which has a patty that’s half beef, half ground-up bacon. Even vegetarians have multiple — well, two — burger options: an Impossible burger and one featuring a chipotle black bean patty.

2318 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94612

10. Masabaga

2022 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612
Wagyu burger (left), tuna belly burger, and saba sando at Masabaga Masabaga

This Uptown newcomer is best known for its tuna belly burgers, Masa Sasaki’s one-of-a-kind creation. But Sasaki — one of the Bay Area’s top sushi chefs — has long been a fan of good old-fashioned American burgers, and the one on Masabaga’s menu is a doozy: six ounces of uncommonly juicy American wagyu beef, coarse-ground so that it’s pleasantly chewy; lettuce; tomato; daikon; and wasabi mayo on a soft Acme bun. Get it with an order of curry-dusted shoestring fries on the side.

2022 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94612

11. Sidebar

542 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

The hamburger is always a staple at this Lake Merritt cocktail destination. It succeeds in its simplicity: a beefy Niman Ranch patty (cooked to your desired level of doneness), lettuce, and pickles on a soft bun slathered with chipotle-spiked Thousand Island dressing. Well-seasoned and well-executed, it comes with a side of fries and needs nothing else.

542 Grand Ave
Oakland, CA 94610

12. Park Burger

4218 Park Blvd, Oakland, CA 94602

Park Burger is serving a variety of beef burgers topped with everything from bacon, Cheddar, and fried shallots to chili and cheese. The lamb burger is also an excellent choice, covered with tzatziki sauce and arugula. Vegetarians can get in on the action here too, with black bean patties, Impossible patties, or a fried portobello in place of meat.

4218 Park Blvd
Oakland, CA 94602

13. The Kon-Tiki

3906, 347 14th St, Oakland, CA 94612

This tiki-inspired bar’s burger is the perfect accompaniment to a bucket of rum or two (and the cocktails are also available for takeout). The burger features two Cream Co. beef patties with pineapple-Maui onion jam, American cheese, Kewpie mayo, and pickles on sesame seed bun. Don’t forget to add crispy Spam, and some loaded tater tots on the side. In addition to takeout, there’s a limited amount of outdoor patio seating in front.

3906, 347 14th St
Oakland, CA 94612

14. Chop Bar

247 4th St, Oakland, CA 94607

Even as this Jack London restaurant’s menu has evolved over the years, its classic burger has largely stayed the same. In its current incarnation, a Cream Co. beef patty comes topped with bacon, tomato, avocado, and aioli. If you’re feeling really sassy, there are options to add Fiscalini cheddar, Pt. Reyes blue cheese, or cowboy onions.

247 4th St
Oakland, CA 94607

15. Belcampo Meat Co. (Oakland)

55 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94607

One of the sustainable meat company’s restaurant outposts, Belcampo’s Oakland menu is, not surprisingly, all about the meat — which means, in part, that there are no fewer than three different burgers on the menu: a lamb burger and two different burgers made with dry-aged beef. The half-pound Belcampo burger features cheddar, house sauce, caramelized onions, and butter lettuce, but purists might like the smaller, fast-food style burger even better — now available in a six-pack or 12-pack for those feeding families with especially large appetites.

55 Webster St
Oakland, CA 94607

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16. Smish Smash at Neptune's

630 Central Ave, Alameda, CA 94501

One of the East Bay’s most exciting new pop-ups, Smish Smash is one Los Angeles transplant’s take on the “smash burger” trend — the style of burger in which balls of raw beef are flattened on the griddle with the goal of creating the maximum amount of well-charred, crispy bits. The Bay Area has plenty of smash burger specialists, but perhaps none smashing their patties quite as thin and crispy as Smish Smash — nor with topping combinations as novel as, say, a burger topped with uni and shiso leaves, or another flavored like McDonald’s elusive McRib. Every burger comes on a toasted Martin’s potato roll. Pre-order a burger online to ensure success, otherwise it’s walk in only, Thursday to Sunday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. (8 p.m. on Sundays), with a likelihood of selling out.

630 Central Ave
Alameda, CA 94501

17. Scolari's Good Eats

1303 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

It frankly sounds obnoxious. How could a burger with bacon, blue cheese, and blueberry sauce be anything short of a disaster? Somehow, though, Scolari’s most notorious — but ever popular — menu item somehow just works in the execution of those flavor combinations. For cautious palates, a very solid standard cheeseburger is also available.

1303 Park St
Alameda, CA 94501

18. HegenBurger

280 Hegenberger Rd, Oakland, CA 94621

One of a very small number of solid dining options located in close proximity to the Oakland airport, this family-run spot is known for its very hefty and juicy burgers — the double is a real whopper of a meal — and its garlic fries. Not in the mood for a burger? The teriyaki plates are a crowd favorite as well.

280 Hegenberger Rd
Oakland, CA 94621

19. Val's Burgers

2115 Kelly St, Hayward, CA 94541

This Hayward institution serves the Platonic ideal of an old-school diner burger — just beautifully charred meat on a bun, served without fuss or adornment, apart from maybe some relish or grilled onions. Get it with a malt on the side. Don’t forget to bring cash.

2115 Kelly St
Hayward, CA 94541

20. Classic Burger

15927 Hesperian Blvd, San Lorenzo, CA 94580

As its name suggests, this family-owned strip mall burger joint in San Lorenzo, tucked between a dental office and a tax-preparation operation, sticks to the classics: just simple, well-executed, inexpensive burgers. The loftiest item on the item is probably also the most popular: the signature Classic Burger, which comes topped with pastrami and cheese.

15927 Hesperian Blvd
San Lorenzo, CA 94580

Related Maps