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The ongoing quest for the finest hamburgers in the land.

What kind of wacko bovine-apologist (excepting my Hindu friends, naturally) doesn't have a cow over a good burger? Not me. The existence of these juicy mounds of meaty and bready deliciousness is a big part of what gets me out of bed in the morning, secure in the fact that life is worthwhile. I love burgers so much that I've decided to seek out where to find the best of the best, then put 'em in the order that I like them and report the findings to you.

There are 2 categories of hamburgers in my system, based on the kind of restaurant where they're served. I have separate ratings for them, 'cuz it's only fair. They are:

  1. The Fast-Food Burger. You order these, pay for them, and then eat 'em.

  2. The Posh Burger. You get to eat these before you pay for them. That is so cool! However, when you finally do pay, these tend to be pricier than the fast-food type.

Please don't think that this list is the be-all and end all of ALL hamburgers! I've only started rating these burgers, so the ones on the lists are the only ones being compared. But write me anyway with your favorite burgers, so I can try 'em. YUM!

• Fast-Food Burgers •
As of: October 10, 2007
(so far)

Rosamunde Sausage Grill: 545 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 415.437.6851

This place serves burgers only on Tuesdays, but what a burger! Technically a fast-food burger, it bends the rules slightly by having you pay not upon ordering, but when you pick it up. A juicy, well spiced patty on a perfect onion-roll bun, grilled up with sauteed onions and all the fixin's. Outstanding! Eat it in the bar next door since the few seats in the little restaurant are jam-packed on Tuesdays. Gutenberg has more to say.


IN-N-OUT BURGER: 798 Redwood Highway, Mill Valley, CA. (tons of other locations)

The Classic Double-Double is still way up there. Going to IN-N-OUT is also a little bit like joining a secret society, as we explain in our review.


Burger Joint: 118 W. 57th Street, NY, NY  212.245.5000

Great burger in the coolest location ever. Fun ambience. Check out its review in our New York "Metro-Menu" section.


Hamburgers: 737 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 415.332.8471288

Always a line out the door for good reason. Tourists by the busload make a pilgrimage to this place. The charcoal-grill-go-'round in the window imparts a wonderful smoky flavor to the meat of this legendary burger which is topped with a signature "lappi cheese from Finland." Dine alfresco (great views) but watch out for the fry-stealing gulls.


Fish.: 350 Harbor Dr., Sausalito, CA 415.331.FISH

Probably the most expensive fast-food burger on the list, but you do pay before you eat it, so fair is fair. Prather Ranch beef and good fixin's conspire to make a tasty sandwich that you can eat at a picnic table. Too bad about the bun. Chubby did a review and Gutenberg tested the burger.


Sliders: 1202 Sutter St., San Francisco, CA 415.885.3288

Good meat charcoal-broiled on a rotating grill plus a build-it-yourself topping and condiment bar, equals a reason to visit the Tenderloin for lunch.


Pearl’s Phat Burger: 8 East Blithedale Ave., Mill Valley, CA - 415.381.6010

Rates a visit if you're in the area. A good burger and lots of variations.


Phyllis’ Giant Burgers: 2202 4th Street, San Rafael, CA - 415.456.0866 (one other location)

This place is okay, but used to be better.


Parkside Snackbar: 43 Arenal Avenue, Stinson Beach, CA - 415.868.1272

Unremarkable burger and fries, but there isn't much in the way of alternatives at this beach location.



• Posh Burgers •
As of: March 18, 2008
(so far)

Slow Club: 2501 Mariposa St., San Francisco, CA - 415.241.9390

It took a pretty serious contender to knock Yankee Pier out of first place, but the Slow Club's burger delivers a knockout punch. It's really that good. Great meat, fresh accompaniments, and a well considered balance of flavors make a pilgrimage-worthy treat. Read all about it in Chubby's Slow Club Review in Yummy Chow.


Two: 22 Hawthorne St., San Francisco, CA - 415.777.9779

This is one smoky good burger. Appropriately, it's our number two choice! It has a delish house-made bun and all the appropriate additions. Just fabulous quality ingredients all around and cooked with love. Hard to beat. See what Gutenberg had to say about it in his blog. Another burger good enough to better the excellent Yankee Pier entry.


Yankee Pier: 286 Magnolia Ave, Larkspur, CA - 415.924.7676

It's Bradley Ogden's fish joint, but the burgers are the thing to order. Read our review then go get a burger as fast as you can.


Maritime East: 2826 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA - 510.848.9299

Man, is that a good burger. Bacon, cheese and onion rings accompany this smoky, well seasoned meat slab on an Acme bun. Heaven in a place decorated to look like an octopus's garden. Check out Gutenberg's report.


Serpentine: 2495 3rd St., San Francisco, CA - 415.252.2000

A Prather patty with rocket and a pickled red onion. Flavorful and juicy without greasy overtones. From the fellow that once brought you the burger at the Slow Club, so it has a fine pedigree. Gutenberg dug it along with the nice room.


Chez Maman: 1453 18th St., San Francisco, CA - 415.824.7166

High-brow bun for a fine, bistro-style burger. Excellent flavor, superb aioli, and served in a great city atmosphere. Chubby reviewed the place and said more about this fine burger.


Café Rouge 1782 Fourth St., Berkeley, CA - 510.525.1440

This is technically "bar food" at this lovely Berkeley bistro, but you can order it at your table even though it's not on the menu. Great meat, maybe a little too "good" (lean), but a fab burger nontheless.


Pine Cone Diner: 60 4th St, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

The place is neat as a pin and the food is delightful. Have a mocha shake with your burger. Check out what Chubby has to say about it in his review.


Lazlo Bar: 2526 Mission St., San Francisco, CA. 415.401.0810

These winners are only available on weekends. Great patty, good atmosphere. Order the bacon cheeseburger, slightly candied bacon makes it porkalicious. Here's what Gutenberg thought of it.


Buckeye Roadhouse: 15 Shoreline Hwy., Mill Valley, CA 415.331.2600

Not made in their legendary smoker, but still thick and delicious. Good bun and tasty fries accompany. Take a closer in our review of the Buckeye.


Joe's Cable Car: 4320 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 415.334.6699

Joe, we understand, grinds his own chuck daily for these delightful burgers. These come in small (4oz) medium (6oz) and really big (8oz) sizes with a variety of toppings. A kitchy setting accompanies the tasty food which includes some of the biggest onion rings ever. Gutenberg did a blog about this place.


Finnegan's Marin : 877 Grant Ave. , Novato, CA 415.899.1516

This Pub in Novato serves remarkably good grub. The burger has good meat, is cooked right and has a great balance of condiments. The fries, especially the sweet potato type, are dynamite. Choose the pepper Jack cheese rather than the Buffalo Mozzarella though. Gutenberg blogged about it.


Bubba's Diner: 566 San Anselmo Ave. San Anselmo, CA - 415.459.6862

It's called "Bernadette's" and incredibly, it's a turkey burger. But it's a winner, with none of the typical turkey burger woes. Bubba's beef burgers are pretty good too, check out our review of this San Anselmo classic diner.


Zuni: 1658 Market St., San Francisco, CA, 415.552.2522

This burger is pretty legendary, but its latest incarnation doesn't live up to the feats of its ancestors. The tasty but slightly overworked meat has a too-fine grind. Still worth a bite, but not worth top marks. Don't miss the other fantastic chow at this San Francisco landmark, as described in our review of Zuni.


Dottie's True Blue Café: 522 Jones St., San Francisco, CA, 415.885.2767

This half-pound Angus burger is charbroiled and slapped on a house made foccacia roll. A tasty burger from a location that specializes in no-nonsense comfort food and lots of it. Check out Chubby's review of this Tenderloin food joint that always has a line out front.


Hidden City Café: 109 Park Place, Richmond, CA, 510.232.9738

Fresh, crunchy red onions, tomato and mesclun completed this cheddar enhanced sandwich. The sesame seed bun to meat ratio was slightly high, but other than that, it was a fine burger. All the other chow is yummy too at this charming little Richmond gem. Read more about it in Gutenberg's blog.


Balboa Café: 3199 Fillmore St., San Francisco, CA 415.921-3944

This smoky, plump patty from the PlumpJack family of eateries sits on a baguette that supplies the proper ratio of bread to meat. Juicy and tasty, but the condiments are weak and tomatoes are missing, which is a darn shame. The bleu cheese didn't overpower the meat, which is a positive. See what Gutenberg had to say about it on Daily Feed.


Absinthe Brasserie and Bar: 765a 398 Hayes St., San Francisco, CA 415.551.1590

Great patty and fabulous atmosphere, but the too-dense bun is a mark off. Oddly, there was a total no-show in the fries department. Other food was tastier, see how Gutenberg blogged about this place.


Iron Springs Pub and Brewery: 765a Center Blvd., Fairfax, CA 415.485.1005

This baby is from a very fun, newly re-opened micro-brewery in the charming hippie enclave of Fairfax. Quite tasty and great with a flight of special, house-brewed beer. Chubby wrote a review of the place. Check it out.


Magnolia Pub: 1398 Haight St. San Francisco, CA - 415.864.PINT

This is a very cool place with some serious pub appeal, and the burger is good but not great. Very nice smoky meat but it's taken down a notch by underseasoning and the unfortunate choice of pickled onions. Check out what Gutenberg said about the place in his blog.


Bungalow 44: 44 E Blithedale Ave. Mill Valley, CA - 415.381.2500

They say that it's "stacked", but seemed more "flat" to me. On the restaurant's first day of business, not all the kinks have been ironed out yet. Check out our review.


Flippers: 482 Hayes St. San Francisco, CA - 415.552.8880

Not a hint of dolphin in this perfectly serviceable but unremarkable burger. Good meat and a slightly not-up-to-the-task bun with lots of fresh, crisp lettuce and onion. Tons of variations if you're into that kind of thing. Here's what Gutenberg said about it.


Barney's Gourmet Hamurgers: 1020 Court St. San Rafael, CA - 415.454.4594

This small chain doesn't exactly make 'em with love, but you've gotta love that they're flame-broiled. They should re-examine the spices that they use (some salt and pepper might be nice, even.) The bun got soggy, which is a real crime, burger-wise. These are okay, but should have more zing.


Broken Drum: 1132 4th St., San Rafael, CA - 415.456.4677

Perfectly passable burger at this San Rafael micro-brewery. The bleu cheese burger was tasty and the cheese didn't overpower the meat.


The Vault Restaurant and Café: 3250 Adeline, Berkeley, CA - 510.595.9600

Order the burger with an egg on top.


Marin Joe's : 1585 Casa Buena Drive, Corte Madera, CA - 415.924-1500

Contrary to what loyal Joe-ites say, this semi-famous burger just doesn't deliver. How can you make a charcoal-broiled patty so flavor-free? I'm baffled. Not actually BAD, just blah. Check out Gutenberg's blog about this item.


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