From humble beginnings of ground scrap meat, the hamburger has evolved into a classic American staple as iconic as apple pie. Inject some Californian haute cuisine methodology into this icon and what you get is a carefully crafted combination of clean beautiful flavors. Here’s the top five for the SF Bay Area:
1 Roam’s Artisan Burgers
As a serve yourself establishment, the focus is all on the burgers, shake and fries. The hamburgers all come from grass-fed beef and they offer a healthy but delicious alternatives like free-range bison, free-range turkey and house-made organic veggie burgers. Choose from their pre-set combinations like Sunny Side or make your own with a plethora of high-quality additions and sauces. Don’t forget to order the truffled parm fries or the Fry-Fecta (three different kinds of fries) or a Staus Creamery shake (the salted caramel is addictive).
1785 Union St (between Gough St & Octavia St) 415-440-7626
As one of SF's premier lunch spots for ladies and business, Spruce has a burger worth greasing up your suit for. If you prefer your burger on white linens, this is the apropriate place to indulge. Available at the bar and dining room, it comes with fries made from Kennebec potatoes and cooked in rice bran oil, which results in a crispy outer and creamy center. The Niman Ranch ground chuck patty is topped with seasonal items.
3640 Sacremento Street (415)931-5100
3 Umami Burger
While it may be considered a chain, with 7 locations in California, this recent import from the SoCal area has hit a home run with its well crafted, umami-packed burgers. An inventive menu like the bacon-wrapped scallop burger or truffle burger makes this a destination worthy getting your hands dirty. Located in the heart of the Marina, this is a great place to start or finish your night.
Forever the home of San Francisco's "best burger" - it's had this title unofficially bestowed to it by locals for years in the SoMa district. It's available for lunch and dinner and it comes with a horseradish aioli that is just addictive. While reservations tend to be difficult to get last minute at high times, they always do take out here.
5 4505 Meats
It's a food stand that only available on 2 days a week at a farmer's market at the Ferry building, so for it to make a top 5 list, it's just that good. The bay breeze infused atmosphere and bustle of the super fresh produce is really what San Francisco is all about. Served in a paper tray, this burger changes every week to whatever chef Ryan Farr decides is the best butchery to use. From skirt steak to fresh artisan ground chuck, it's always a surprise and always delicious.
Saturday Farmer's Market 8AM-2PM and Thursday Farmer's Market 10AM-2PM ONLY at Ferry Building. (415)255-3094