Most Americans can agree that a burger is one of the most delicious foods on earth. Whether it is beef, turkey or veggie, home-cooked, at restaurants or fast food drive-thrus, burgers have become a staple in American cuisine. Cities like New York, San Francisco, and Chicago have gained notoriety for their impressive local and national burger joints, but there are plenty of great ones to be found in San Diego as well.
While you can find a decent burger almost anywhere, it can be tricky to figure out which burger is really worth your bite. While many cities around the world qualify for having the best burgers, San Diego isn’t one that immediately comes to mind. However, it’s not worth settling for that unsatisfying fast food burger! We’ve compared San Diego A-List and Discover San Diego’s best burger ratings to create our version of the best local burger places in San Diego.
This restaurant was not only recognized on both lists as the best burger joint in the area, it was also recognized as one of the top burger joints across the country by CNN. Hodad’s was started by Byron and Virginia Hardin in 1969, and now under the management of son Mike Hardin, has been feeding hungry mouths ever since. Some of their tastiest burgers are the simple Cheeseburger with mayo, mustard and ketchup all in one, as well as The Guido, topped with pastrami, swiss cheese, and caramelized onions. Famous faces like Guy Fieri, Sam Zahn and others have mentioned how delicious Hodad’s burgers really are.
As San Diego’s oldest tavern, The Waterfront never stops delivering great burgers to its customers. Established in 1933 on the actual waterfront by Chaffee Grant and Clair Blakley, the restaurant became an immediate success. Their signature burgers, their quarter pound Waterfront burger topped with grilled onions and lettuce; the Whammy with bacon BBQ sauce, avocado, and grilled onions; and the Texas Bacon burger, have all been acknowledged for their great taste and cheap price.
This burger place came about when two European restaurateurs got the idea to combine traditional American burgers with a unique European ambiance. With meat options ranging from traditional beef and buffalo, to more adventurous options including the antelope burger with smoked chili sauce; and the burger made with alligator meat and poached red wine pears, mushrooms, bacon and jelly, along with a stocked wine bar and a huge selection of draft beers, it’s no wonder this burger joint has received enormous praise for doing it all.
The Station Tavern is not only known for its great food, but also for its great atmosphere.The restaurant has a huge back yard seating area with picnic tables, where they frequently hold events. With many organic menu options like The Yardbird, made with organic chicken with pepper jack cheese marinated with herbs and BBQ sauce, and the Hobo made with fried tofu in tomato sauce, with onions, garlic, peppers and spices, this restaurant truly is a change of pace from typical burger joints.
Many eaters view Boomerangs as San Diego’s hidden gem. They pride themselves on using entirely preservative-free beef, with an entire page of their menu devoted to customers creating their own perfect burger. The options include all different types of meats like turkey, steak, or bratwurst, as well as a huge assortment of fresh vegetables and cheeses. A unique restaurant for the area, Boomerangs dining experience is sure to satisfy anyone.
Neighborhood brings a new experience to eating at burger joints. Inspired by London gastropubs and Japanese izakayas, this restaurant specializes in simple food. With some burger choices like the Spicy Cajun Rubbed burger with pickled cucumber salad and jalapeno mayo; the 777 with spinach, plum tomatoes and béarnaise sauce; or the Neighborhood with carmelized onions, blue gruyere cheese and peppered greens, the options for a burger lover are endless and delicious.
Burger Lounge is known for their desire to make the culture of eating burgers an art. They sell entirely grass-fed beef, as well as make their sides completely by hand. This environmentally conscious restaurant strives to feed their customers the best food with the best ingredients. Established in 2007, this restaurant start-up has provided a new take on eating burgers.
Renaissance English dining meets New England burgers at one of San Diego’s newest American taverns. JFAT not only delivers juicy, home-cooked American burgers, but their dining atmosphere is really one to remember. With great burger options like the Spicy California made with either beef or chicken topped with cheese, avocado, jalapeños and herb aioli as well as the Blues Burger with blue cheese, bacon and red onions, JFAT allows diners to truly enjoy eating burgers for a great price.
Slater’s 50/50 was recently founded on the desire to mix appetizing burgers with great beer. With many beers on tap, chef Brad Lyons has made the restaurant known for their now famous 50/50 burger, with 50% bacon and 50% beef. Additionally, this restaurant allows eaters to design their own burger with a huge assortment of toppings while enjoying refreshing beer.
Nicky Rottens gives diners the opportunity to enjoy burgers made with a twist. With burgers like the Bacavo burger with bacon and signature Rottens sauce, the Dirty Sanchez burger with chili, guacamole and salsa, and the Maui Wowi burger with grilled pineapple and teriyaki glaze, these unique takes on a traditional burger leave eaters extremely satisfied.