The 10 Best Burgers in San Francisco and the Bay Area, Ranked

These days, you can have your burger made by a robot, but we prefer ours hand flipped at one of the Bay Area’s best casual burger joints. Whether you’re on a road trip or just not in the mood to grill, nothing beats a quick stop for some greasy goodness. Here, the ten best fast-food-style burgers in San Francisco and beyond.

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best burgers in san francisco the smokehouse
The Smokehouse / Facebook

10. The Smokehouse

Get your all-American fix at this walk-up spot, which has been flipping charbroiled burgers since 1951. It’s temporarily closed due to a fire, but if all goes as planned, the Smokehouse will reopen next month.

3115 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley; 510-845-3640

9. Burger Bar

Only in SF can you get a Black Angus burger topped with melted Brie, shaved asparagus, portobello mushroom and truffle mayo—courtesy of renowned French chef Hubert Keller.

251 Geary St.; 415-296-4272;

8. True Burger

Simple, juicy, delicious. This Oakland-born spot that serves up classic burgers, fries and shakes is something of a hidden gem…but not for long.

Multiple locations;

best burgers in san francisco 4505 burgers and bbq
4505 Burgers & BBQ

7. 4505 Burgers & Bbq

It might be famous for its smoky brisket and spare ribs, but 4505’s “Best Damn Grass-Fed Cheeseburger” really is, well, the best. The juicy, perfectly pink patty is topped with Gruyere and a secret sauce that makes it truly memorable. And now East Bay residents don’t even need to cross the bridge to get their fix—4505’s newest location is now open in Oakland. 

Multiple locations;

6. Umami Burger

One word: rich. That’s what Umami is all about. If you’re feeling indulgent, try the truffle burger (truffled aioli, truffle cheese, truffle glaze). Or opt for our personal favorite, the Manly, topped with cheddar, bacon lardons, onion strings and umami ketchup.

Multiple locations;

5. Super Duper Burgers

It’s fast food with a little flair. This local chain (from the superstar behind Beretta, Delarosa, A Mano, etc.) keeps the menu simple with basic burgers, shakes and fries—but elevates its classics using Niman Ranch beef, Straus milk and house-made pickles. The single, four-ounce “mini” burger means there’s always room for a shake.

Multiple locations;

best burgers in san francisco shake shack

4. Shake Shack

Palo Alto has one. Larkspur has one. And this fall, finally, SF will have its very own Shake Shack, where long lines and juicy patties that are just a little bit crispy are the name of the game. Save room for the signature crinkle-cut fries and a hand-spun black-and-white shake, and don’t even think about counting the calories.

Multiple locations;

3. In-n-out

For us, this beloved chain is all about the secret sauce (some delicious Thousand Island–esque concoction). Get it two ways with a classic cheeseburger and an order of animal-style fries (they’re topped with grilled onions and secret sauce). There’s no better way to get your fast-food fix.

Multiple locations;

2. Gott’s

Our favorite roadside-style spot churns out some of the best burgers in the Bay Area—juicy Niman Ranch patties grilled to perfection. You can’t go wrong with the classic, but we love the green chile cheeseburger with grilled Anaheim chilies, jack cheese, salsa verde and charred jalapeño mayo. FYI: This is also one of the best spots to order the meatily meatless Impossible Burger.

Multiple locations;

1. Roam Burgers

At Roam, it’s all about quality and customization, and you can definitely taste the difference. This local chain partners with the best ranchers and farmers to bring us grass-fed beef and lamb, free-range turkey and pasture-raised bison. Create your own or go wild and try the French N’ Fries: your choice of patty topped with truffle Parmesan fries, Gruyère, avocado and caramelized onions. In our opinion, Roam is pure burger bliss.

Multiple locations;

allison mccarthy

San Francisco Editor

Allison McCarthy is a writer and editor with 15 years of experience in the industry. She's currently the San Francisco editor at PureWow, where she covers the best of what's...