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8 Best Burgers in San Diego

Photo credit: maria_savenko

The 8 Best Burgers in San Diego

January 2, 2019

When it comes to cuisine, San Diego may be best known for its fish tacos and California burritos, but these days burgers are fighting for a piece of the glory too. With its mix of upscale restaurants and no-frills local joints, San Diego has a number of burgers that will knock your flip-flops off.

Here are 8 of the city’s best burgers (in no particular order), including some of our personal favorites.

1. Bare Lil Lamb Burger @ Queenstown Public House

New Zealand has about seven sheep to every one person, so it isn’t surprising that these wooly creatures have found their way into Kiwi cuisine. Little Italy’s Queenstown Public House serves New Zealand-inspired cuisine, including favorites such as the Bare Lil Lamb Burger, served with grass-fed lamb, blue cheese, fried egg, beets, and mint jelly, all sweetly nestled within a focaccia bun.

2. Half-Pound Cheeseburger @ Rocky’s Crown Pub

This no-frills bar and grill in Crown Point is home to a San Diego classic: the half-pound cheeseburger. The burger, which also comes in a 1/3-pound variety, is basic (topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion) but still divine. Get thee down there and try what many have called the best burger in San Diego.

Best Burgers in San Diego
Photo Credit: Rocky’s Crown Pub

3. The McDank Burger @ Home & Away

Located one block down the road from Knockaround HQ, this Old Town sports bar is one of our go-to lunch spots. One of their most popular options (and an all-time Knockaround favorite) is the McDank Burger; a 1/3-pound juicy patty topped with pickles, cheddar, onions, mustard, and ketchup on a Brioche Bun. And while you’re at it, don’t deprive yourself of this fine establishment’s tater tots!

4. Drugstore Hamburger @ The Grill at Torrey Pines

Jeff Jackson, the Executive Chef at The Lodge at Torrey Pines, is classically trained and credited with bringing the farm-to-table movement to San Diego. With the Drugstore Hamburger, Jackson sought to recreate the simple burger once found at the lunch counters of yesteryear. The burger consists of Niman Ranch chuck, house-made mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and a deliciously steamed bun.

5. Bacon Cheeseburger @ Hodad’s

A San Diego staple, Hodad’s has been slinging burgers since 1969. Hodad’s offers mini, single, and double burgers, bacon burgers, and several special offerings, but it’s hard to go wrong with the bacon cheeseburger. Weighing almost a pound, this hefty beauty is loaded with everything—mayo, mustard, ketchup, onions, pickles, tomato, and lettuce. We recommend ordering your onions grilled. And be sure to keep that wrapper on to make it easier to eat.

San Diego Best Burgers
Photo Credit: Hodad’s

6. The Balboa Burger @ The Balboa Bar & Grill

Bankers Hill’s popular Balboa Bar and Grill has six burgers to choose from, but we recommend the Balboa Burger, a good old-fashioned 1/3-pound cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, onion, American cheese, and a zesty house aioli. Better yet, the Balboa Burger is only $5 at Happy Hour, which is every day from 4 to 6pm. All burgers at Balboa Bar and Grill are made with all-natural beef patties served on freshly-baked bolillo rolls.

7. Custom Burgers @ Slater’s 50/50

Slater’s 50/50, with locations in Liberty Station and San Marcos, serves over a dozen delicious burgers, but one of the draws here is the ability to design your own. You can pick the meat, bun, cheese, sauce, and toppings—and there are a ton of awesome options. The patties are half ground beef and half ground bacon—hence the name—but there are other meat options too, including turkey, grilled chicken, bison, and non-meat choices like the Impossible burger.

The 8 Best Burgers in San Diego
Photo Credit: Slaters 50/50

8. Davanti Burger @ Davanti Enoteca

Featuring “rustic Italian” fare, Little Italy’s Davanti Enoteca has a few tricks up their sleeve, one of them being their namesake burger, the Davanti Burger. This customer favorite is stacked high with a beef patty, bacon jam, roasted tomatoes, cheese curds, arugula, and roasted garlic aioli—and served with parmesan fries. Normally a $16 burger, the price drops to $11 at happy hour, which is every day from 3 to 6pm.

Happy burger-eating, San Diego! 

Written by Whitney Currier for Knockaround

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