The 5 Best Steakhouse Burgers in San Francisco

Patties from people who really love beef

February 21, 2020 9:58 am
Epic Steak
Epic Steak

Say “best burger in S.F.” and the first thing that comes to mind are either the quirky-luxe offerings from places like Nopa and Marlowe or low-cost spots like Gott’s or Super Deluxe.

But what about burgers from chefs who actually worship at the altar of beef? I.e., the ones they serve at the city’s best steakhouses?

Generally speaking, you’ll find these during lunch hour or at the bar. (We imagine the margin on a $20 burger is somewhat less than a $145 “Wagyu Tasting Flight,” but we’re just spit-balling here.) 

Below, a ranking of our favorites, from a couple Wagyu options to the one that uses a four-cheese medley to truly kick things into overdrive.

The Wagyu Burger at ALX

Steakhouse: ALX, a lower-key (though still pretty high-key) spin-off of nearby Alexander’s — keep this in mind for a suitably luxe pregame when the Giants come back to Oracle Park. 

More about that burger: An American Wagyu burger white cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, brandied mushroom duxelles, Little Gem lettuce and house mayo. 

If not: Uh, speaking of, the Wagyu Flight is designed to showcase premium meats from several artisan-minded ranches across the U.S.

The Niku Burger

Steakhouse: Wagyu-loving Niku in the Design District, on their Bar Testing Menu

More about that burger: The bar testing menu offers the option of the 6-ounce Niku Burger, with Imperial-brand dry-aged beef, brioche bun, aged white cheddar, crispy onions, and Niku barbecue sauce. 

If not: The other choice on the bar tasting menu is a 10-ounce Imperial flat-iron steak. For more options, look to the full dinner menu — offering options like a Mt. Lassen trout or more beef (including the Imperial filet mignon). 

The Bacon-Cheddar Steakhouse Burger at Epic

Steakhouse: Epic, which comes with killer views of the Bay on the side, serves it at brunch and lunch

More about that burger: A house beef blend (involving Thompson River Ranch-brand wagyu) for the patty, plus fries. 

If not: Nearby seafood spot Waterbar is Epic’s sister restaurant, so you can be unusually confident of the sourcing here: How about the Epic Shellfish Platter (crab, lobster, shrimp, oysters and ceviche)?

The Sundance Cheeseburger

Steakhouse: Sundance, a Palo Alto steakhouse nearly as old as “Silicon Valley” itself (c. 1974). Lunch only.

More about that burger: It’s all about that cheese: a mix of Havarti, Danish blue, cheddar, and pepper Jack. 

If not: A classic steakhouse lunch of lobster bisque and 12-ounces of slow-roasted prime rib. 

The John’s Burger

Steakhouse: John’s — at 112 years old, it’s one of the oldest dining establishments within city limits, and famous for its past celebrity guests (including Truman Capote, Ronald Reagan, Hillary Clinton, etc.) and for its appearance as a location in The Maltese Falcon. The burger, like most on this list, is lunch only.

More about that burger: A house blend involving Thompson River Ranch-brand wagyu beef for the patty, plus fries. 

If not: So you’re probably not there for greens — but if you are, the premier salad experience is the Jack LaLanne’s Favorite Salad, with crab, shrimp, avocado, mushrooms, and more, in a blue cheese vinaigrette. 


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