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The Burger Heatmap: 15 Burgers to Eat Right Now

Where to achieve burger nirvana

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San Francisco is full of excellent burgers, some that are even essential at this point. But our town also boasts some excellent new additions to the patty scene, making them the hottest burgers around.

These 16 restaurants are all places that are doing it really right when it comes to making the best burger possible, from renditions that employ umami-heavy porcini powder to others that replace the water in a housemade bun with pickle juice for that extra touch of flavor.

Don't see your current favorite burger on this list? Let us know about it in the comments below. Note: These burgers aren’t ranked — jut ordered from North to South.

Eaten your way through all the hottest burgers? Check out some of the city's other hottest categories in dining:

Hottest Restaurants
Hottest Brunch
Hottest Cocktail Bars
Hottest Coffee Shops

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Comstock Saloon

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155 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 617-0071
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Comstock chef de cuisine Jason Raffin has concocted some of the city’s best burgers as a consulting chef (including the juicy one at Finn Town) and his creation at classic North Beach watering hole Comstock Saloon could be his best yet. It’s a six-ounce beef patty ground in house, served on a house made nori and togarashi seeded bun, and it’s loaded up with secret sauce, cheese, pickles, and malt vinegar chips for a bit of a crunch.

Comstock Saloon

2. Jones

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620 Jones St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 496-6858
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One of SF’s best known drag queens, Juanita MORE!, is now the chef at Jones, and a signature item on her menu is the MORE!burger. It’s a 1/2 pound of beef with chile relleño from her aunt Hope’s recipe — and it looks very serious.

3. The Saratoga

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1000 Larkin St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 282-2300
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The Saratoga is all about luxurious comfort food, as evidenced by the Saratoga burger. It's got two patties, Taleggio cheese, and slaw on an onion bun. The slaw is the perfect foil for a rich, salty burger. Follow up with the Toga Tots and you'll be set.

The Saratoga

4. Creator

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680 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(806) 680-3657
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$6 machine-made burgers: That’s the pitch at this perhaps game-changing food technology company/restaurant Creator. These burgers aren’t touched by human hands until you take a bite —instead, meat is ground and placed right on the griddle. Creator just opened to walk-ins after a ticket-only soft opening, so now it’s easy to swing by and give it a try.

Albert Law

5. Popsons

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998. Market St
San Francisco, CA 94102

If you're a fan of the critically-acclaimed Causwells patty, then you’ll love this quick service burger joint spinoff, which also comes in chili and bacon blue variations. Notably, there are French fries here, unlike the shoestring onions only option that currently comes on the side at Causwells. And if you want those French fries in your burger, then order the off-menu “Big Von” Burger ($9.45), a signature double cheeseburger topped with seasoned fries.

Ellen Fort

6. Violet's

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2301 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 682-4861
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Fiorella chef Dante Cecchini has migrated his once-weekly, napkin-required burger to the restaurant’s new sister cocktail bar and tavern Violet’s, where it can be found nightly. It’s definitely a must-order, with solid cheddar, bacon, spicy house sauce, pickles, and shredded lettuce.

7. Jardinière

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300 Grove St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 861-5555
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Jardinière chef/owner Traci Des Jardins is a consulting chef at Impossible Foods, and has developed recipes for the burger, settling on a version topped with avocado slices, mashed avocado, caramelized onions, tomato, gem lettuce, and vegan dijonnaise on a potato bun. Her connection to the company made Jardinière one of the first restaurants in the city to feature the meatless bleeding burger, and it's now a permanent addition to her menu in the bar and lounge daily after 7:30 p.m. for $16.

8. Theorita

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834 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 416-6980
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Che Fico’s downstairs diner sibling from pastry chef Angela Pinkerton and chef David Nayfeld sports a very juicy Marin Sun Farm ground beef burger with special sauce, cheddar, and plenty of onions and pickles on a potato bun. Fries, shakes, and pie for dessert round out the updated Americana experience.

9. Black Sands Brewery

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701 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 534-5194
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The burger at this neighborhood brewpub is pure, sweet Americana, with two smashed patties, special sauce, pickles, and lots of oozy American cheese on a squishy bun. The meat is especially juicy, but with a nice crunchy char from the smash.

10. ABV

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3174 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 400-4748
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Called the "New F**kin Burger with Spicy-Ass Chips," to differentiate it from the previous ABV burger it's now all but supplanted, chef Collin Hilton created a 1/3-pound, grass-feed beef patty with white cheddar cheese, raw red onion, shredded lettuce pickles, and a tangy special sauce, all on a Japanese sweet potato bun. Thinly-sliced, spicy jalapeño chips are served on the side, for a total of $14.

11. WesBurger 'n' More

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2240 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 745-9371
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Wes Burger, a labor of love from chef Wes Rowe, started as a beloved pop-up and has now settled into its permanent home in the Mission. The burger is all-brisket, coarsely ground, and cooked on cast iron for a crisp exterior; the toppings change nightly.

Wes Rowe

12. Curio

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775 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 551-7306
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Executive chef Mario Tolentino’s “Holy Grail” burger at the revamped Chapel restaurant Curio makes a great pre or post-show meal right inside the venue. It’s a 5 oz patty smothered in raclette cheese, crimini mushrooms, and tomato jam (which is sweet and tangy like a barbecue sauce) and topped with crispy fried onions.

13. True Laurel

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753 Alabama St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 341-0020
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Fine, it’s a patty melt, but don’t get pedantic, it’s a great piece of “old” (read: aged dairy cow) beef on a bun that happens to be bread (that’s hot off a griddle). However you define it, this item at Lazy Bear chef/owner David Barzelay’s Mission cocktail bar (as expertly prepared by chef de cuisine Geoff Davis) is a total treat.

14. Son’s Addition

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2990 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 500-2817
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Son's Addition chef Nick Cobarruvias has a burger that's as good as diners might expect from a former chef de cuisine at essential burger destination Marlowe. His approach is to dress a thick Marin Sun Farms patty on both sides: There's white cheddar and bacon-onion marmalade slathered top, and romaine lettuce, tomato confit, and charred scallion aioli below. The whole, just barely contained by a sesame bun, is greater than the sum of its parts, and well worth the $13 price tag.

via Son's Addition

15. Hi-Way Burger & Fry

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3853 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 641-6000
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This new, low-key counter on 24th Street is already a hit with locals for its juicy burgers at good prices ($8.95 for a double) plus shakes and flat top hot dogs. The beef is grass fed, the bun is toasted, and the results speak for themselves.

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1. Comstock Saloon

155 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
Comstock Saloon

Comstock chef de cuisine Jason Raffin has concocted some of the city’s best burgers as a consulting chef (including the juicy one at Finn Town) and his creation at classic North Beach watering hole Comstock Saloon could be his best yet. It’s a six-ounce beef patty ground in house, served on a house made nori and togarashi seeded bun, and it’s loaded up with secret sauce, cheese, pickles, and malt vinegar chips for a bit of a crunch.

155 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

2. Jones

620 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94102

One of SF’s best known drag queens, Juanita MORE!, is now the chef at Jones, and a signature item on her menu is the MORE!burger. It’s a 1/2 pound of beef with chile relleño from her aunt Hope’s recipe — and it looks very serious.

620 Jones St
San Francisco, CA 94102

3. The Saratoga

1000 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109
The Saratoga

The Saratoga is all about luxurious comfort food, as evidenced by the Saratoga burger. It's got two patties, Taleggio cheese, and slaw on an onion bun. The slaw is the perfect foil for a rich, salty burger. Follow up with the Toga Tots and you'll be set.

1000 Larkin St
San Francisco, CA 94109

4. Creator

680 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94107
Albert Law

$6 machine-made burgers: That’s the pitch at this perhaps game-changing food technology company/restaurant Creator. These burgers aren’t touched by human hands until you take a bite —instead, meat is ground and placed right on the griddle. Creator just opened to walk-ins after a ticket-only soft opening, so now it’s easy to swing by and give it a try.

680 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94107

5. Popsons

998. Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Ellen Fort

If you're a fan of the critically-acclaimed Causwells patty, then you’ll love this quick service burger joint spinoff, which also comes in chili and bacon blue variations. Notably, there are French fries here, unlike the shoestring onions only option that currently comes on the side at Causwells. And if you want those French fries in your burger, then order the off-menu “Big Von” Burger ($9.45), a signature double cheeseburger topped with seasoned fries.

998. Market St
San Francisco, CA 94102

6. Violet's

2301 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

Fiorella chef Dante Cecchini has migrated his once-weekly, napkin-required burger to the restaurant’s new sister cocktail bar and tavern Violet’s, where it can be found nightly. It’s definitely a must-order, with solid cheddar, bacon, spicy house sauce, pickles, and shredded lettuce.

2301 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94121

7. Jardinière

300 Grove St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Jardinière chef/owner Traci Des Jardins is a consulting chef at Impossible Foods, and has developed recipes for the burger, settling on a version topped with avocado slices, mashed avocado, caramelized onions, tomato, gem lettuce, and vegan dijonnaise on a potato bun. Her connection to the company made Jardinière one of the first restaurants in the city to feature the meatless bleeding burger, and it's now a permanent addition to her menu in the bar and lounge daily after 7:30 p.m. for $16.

300 Grove St
San Francisco, CA 94102

8. Theorita

834 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Che Fico’s downstairs diner sibling from pastry chef Angela Pinkerton and chef David Nayfeld sports a very juicy Marin Sun Farm ground beef burger with special sauce, cheddar, and plenty of onions and pickles on a potato bun. Fries, shakes, and pie for dessert round out the updated Americana experience.

834 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117

9. Black Sands Brewery

701 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

The burger at this neighborhood brewpub is pure, sweet Americana, with two smashed patties, special sauce, pickles, and lots of oozy American cheese on a squishy bun. The meat is especially juicy, but with a nice crunchy char from the smash.

701 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117

10. ABV

3174 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Called the "New F**kin Burger with Spicy-Ass Chips," to differentiate it from the previous ABV burger it's now all but supplanted, chef Collin Hilton created a 1/3-pound, grass-feed beef patty with white cheddar cheese, raw red onion, shredded lettuce pickles, and a tangy special sauce, all on a Japanese sweet potato bun. Thinly-sliced, spicy jalapeño chips are served on the side, for a total of $14.

3174 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

11. WesBurger 'n' More

2240 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Wes Rowe

Wes Burger, a labor of love from chef Wes Rowe, started as a beloved pop-up and has now settled into its permanent home in the Mission. The burger is all-brisket, coarsely ground, and cooked on cast iron for a crisp exterior; the toppings change nightly.

2240 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

12. Curio

775 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Executive chef Mario Tolentino’s “Holy Grail” burger at the revamped Chapel restaurant Curio makes a great pre or post-show meal right inside the venue. It’s a 5 oz patty smothered in raclette cheese, crimini mushrooms, and tomato jam (which is sweet and tangy like a barbecue sauce) and topped with crispy fried onions.

775 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

13. True Laurel

753 Alabama St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Fine, it’s a patty melt, but don’t get pedantic, it’s a great piece of “old” (read: aged dairy cow) beef on a bun that happens to be bread (that’s hot off a griddle). However you define it, this item at Lazy Bear chef/owner David Barzelay’s Mission cocktail bar (as expertly prepared by chef de cuisine Geoff Davis) is a total treat.

753 Alabama St
San Francisco, CA 94110

14. Son’s Addition

2990 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
via Son's Addition

Son's Addition chef Nick Cobarruvias has a burger that's as good as diners might expect from a former chef de cuisine at essential burger destination Marlowe. His approach is to dress a thick Marin Sun Farms patty on both sides: There's white cheddar and bacon-onion marmalade slathered top, and romaine lettuce, tomato confit, and charred scallion aioli below. The whole, just barely contained by a sesame bun, is greater than the sum of its parts, and well worth the $13 price tag.

2990 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

15. Hi-Way Burger & Fry

3853 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94114

This new, low-key counter on 24th Street is already a hit with locals for its juicy burgers at good prices ($8.95 for a double) plus shakes and flat top hot dogs. The beef is grass fed, the bun is toasted, and the results speak for themselves.

3853 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94114

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