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Best Burger

San Diego

In San Diego county, you can find burger renditions that run the gamut from grass-fed beauties to bacon-topped behemoths. According to our surveyors, the region's top ten burgers also span a range of styles: from longtime local favorites to well-executed standbys from national chains. Read on for the meaty, juicy results of the 2014 Zagat Burger Survey.

Ratings are out of 30. Key to ratings

Hamburgers are rated in three categories — flavor, ingredients and value — on a 30-point scale.

26–30Extraordinary to perfection
21–25Very good to excellent
16–20Good to very good
11–15Fair to good
0–10Poor to fair

Ratings have been rounded to the nearest whole number, but the top burger rankings are calculated using the non-rounded scores.

  • Overall
  • Flavor
  • Value
  • Ingred.
  • Ingredients
  • Carnitas' Snack Shack

    SnackShack Burger

    • 26
    • 25
    • 25
    • 27
    #1

    You'd never expect a renowned pork purveyor to dish out a burger ($9.25) that's "by far the best in San Diego." An expertly grilled patty squeezes onto a bun with aged white cheddar, aïoli, tomato, lettuce and bacon jam. It's “under recognized because of the great pork selections on the menu,” explains one voter. Read more about Carnitas' Snack Shack on Zagat.

    carnitassnackshack.com

  • In-N-Out

    Double-Double

    • 23
    • 22
    • 26
    • 22
    #2

    It doesn’t get more iconic than In-N-Out’s classic Double-Double ($3.45). Two grilled patties with American cheese and special sauce puts this all-around favorite near the top. “[It’s the] best budget go-to burger," adds one voter. "Double-Double animal style with animal fries and a vanilla-strawberry shake hits the spot every time!” Read more about In-N-Out on Zagat.

    www.in-n-out.com

    Photo by Darlene Horn

  • Rocky's Crown Pub

    1/3 lb. Cheeseburger

    • 23
    • 23
    • 24
    • 21
    #3

    A dark bar seems an unlikely place to find one of our best burgers. But according to one voter, the cheeseburger ($6) is “worth a special trip.” Rocky’s solid offering is a grilled third-pound beef patty with American cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato and pickles. Where they excel is the well-seasoned, juicy meat. Cash only. Read more about Rocky's Crown Pub on Zagat.

    www.rockyburgers.com

    Photo by Darlene Horn

  • The Habit Burger Grill

    Mushroom Swiss Char

    • 21
    • 22
    • 21
    • 20
    #4

    This Santa Barbara chain serves up consistently tasty grilled burgers at several San Diego locations. The Mushroom Swiss Char ($4.50) features the restaurant’s signature charred patty, served with sautéed mushrooms and melted Swiss cheese. A smear of mayo, pickle, tomato and lettuce round it out on a fluffy toasted bun. Read more about The Habit Burger Grill on Zagat.

    www.habitburger.com

    Photo by Darlene Horn

  • Hodad's

    Bacon Cheeseburger

    • 21
    • 21
    • 21
    • 20
    #5

    An Ocean Beach institution since in 1969, Hodad’s serves a Bacon Cheeseburger ($8) that's a true crowd-pleaser. Along with an expertly grilled patty, every bite is loaded with bacon and cheese, for an intense meat experience. One voter particularly loves “the bacon cooked into the crust of the burger.” Read more about Hodad's on Zagat.

    hodadies.com

  • Waterfront Bar & Grill

    Waterfront Burger

    • 20
    • 21
    • 20
    • 19
    #6

    This venerable Little Italy bar continues to draw crowds for its Waterfront burger ($6.95). A third-pound patty is grilled to your preference and servd with lettuce, pickles, housemade sauce, tomato and grilled onions. Cheese options like cheddar, Gouda, pepper jack, American and blue help it stand out from the pack. One voter comments it’s “a quality burger all around.” Read more about Waterfront Bar & Grill on Zagat.

    www.waterfrontbarandgrill.com

    Photo by Darlene Horn

  • Slater's 50/50

    The 50/50

    • 20
    • 22
    • 17
    • 21
    #7

    This Orange County franchise wows customers with its variety but the original 50/50 burger ($10.95) grabs the spotlight. This imposing creation starts with a half ground bacon and half beef patty. Then pepper jack cheese, chipotle mayo, avocado, a sunny-side-up egg and a brioche bun make for one hefty burger. One voter adds: “Bacon and beef...what more needs to be said?” Read more about Slater's 50/50 on Zagat.

    slaters5050.com

  • Burger Lounge

    The Lounge Burger

    • 20
    • 21
    • 16
    • 22
    #8

    This local chain is beloved for its grass-fed Lounge Burger ($7.95). “Burger Lounge has the best-tasting burgers in town," says one voter. "All-organic ingredients with grass-fed beef — it doesn't get better than that.” Indeed, the combination of quality ingredients served with white cheddar or American cheese and housemade Thousand Island dressing makes for a popular choice when the craving hits. Read more about Burger Lounge on Zagat.

    www.burgerlounge.com

  • Five Guys

    Bacon Burger

    • 17
    • 18
    • 17
    • 18
    #9

    When this DC chain expanded into SoCal, its reputation preceded it, especially with regards to the classic Bacon Burger ($7.29). It pairs crisp bacon with a grilled patty on a sesame seed bun. The unlimited additional toppings are up to you. Follow this voter’s advice: “The burger alone is pretty stellar, but with lettuce, tomato, mayo, BBQ sauce, jalapeños and mushrooms, it's spectacular.” Read more about Five Guys on Zagat.

    www.fiveguys.com

    Photo by Darlene Horn

  • Crazee Burger

    Texas

    • 16
    • 16
    • 17
    • 15
    #10

    This North Park joint serves camel and rattlesnake burgers. But it’s no surprise that the pure-bred Texas burger ($7.49) makes our list. A third- or two-third-pound grass-fed beef patty comes with thick slabs of crisp bacon, cheddar cheese and the restaurant’s secret barbecue sauce with hints of smoke. Read more about Crazee Burger on Zagat.

    crazeeburger.com

    Photo by Darlene Horn

Ratings are out of 30. Key to ratings

Hamburgers are rated in three categories — flavor, ingredients and value — on a 30-point scale.

26–30Extraordinary to perfection
21–25Very good to excellent
16–20Good to very good
11–15Fair to good
0–10Poor to fair

Ratings have been rounded to the nearest whole number, but the top burger rankings are calculated using the non-rounded scores.

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