9 delicious San Francisco burgers for $10 or less

By Maryse Chevriere

Gott's Roadside (photo credit: Aubrie Pick)

It’s true, San Francisco is not a city that often gets associated with the words like “cheap,” “inexpensive,” or “value.” And while you will likely never get to use such terms when referring to your rent here, you can at least take comfort in knowing that they can be applied when it comes to the search for a great burger. From gourmet bar burgers to no-frills classics, here are nine favorites around the Bay Area for $10 or less.

The pimento cheese burger at ABV
This beloved central Mission spot has the kind of next-level bar bites you would rhapsodize over whether or not you were three cocktails deep. And while there are plenty of standouts on the menu (we’re looking at you kimchee fritter and fried cauliflower) there’s no question that the pimento cheese burger ($10) is the Marsha of the bunch. There’s simply no competing with the kind of satisfaction that comes from digging into a perfectly cooked little burger slathered with melty-savory-spicy pimento cheese, topped with tangy red onion and pickles, and served on a house-made sweet potato bun.

The Trick Dog at Trick Dog
For their latest trick, this acclaimed Mission bar is getting political, offering an oh-so-timely roster of election-themed cocktails and small plates. Starring among these tongue-in-cheek riffs on classic American eats (Freedom Fries; Murica’s Nachos) is the Trick Dog, a cleverly conceived mash-up of two patriotic favorites: the hot dog and the hamburger. The eponymous sandwich ($10) features a house-ground blend of chuck and brisket shaped to look like a hot dog and served in a dog bun, topped with Cheddar cheese, house sauce, lettuce, onion, and pickles. Deception has never tasted so good.

Crazy Dave’s Double Drive-In Burger at Garaje
This SOMA spot might be the only taqueria in the city where the must-get item isn’t, well, a taco. Here, the move is definitely Crazy Dave’s Double Drive-In Burger ($8), a bang-for-your-buck beast featuring two one-third pound beef patties, American cheese, griddled onions, pickles, lettuce, tomato, and Thousand Island sauce on an Acme bun.

The green chile cheeseburger at Gott’s Roadside
Stressful though it may be to wade through the sea of meandering tourists at the Ferry Building, if you’re in the neighborhood and in need of a good burger, Gott’s’ got it. The SF outpost of this North Cali mini-chain consistently delivers on classic Americana roadside stand goodness—you can’t go wrong with the basic hamburger or cheeseburger ($6.99 and $7.99, respectively)—but their creative variations are where it’s really at. If you can take the heat, the green chile cheeseburger ($9.99) satisfies with a medley of fiery accoutrements: grilled Anaheim chile, Jack cheese, salsa verde, and charred jalapeño mayo.

The Hood Burger at Broken Record
At the risk of sounding like a you-know-what, here is yet another bar with a killer cheap burger. Ever since setting up shop in this under-the-radar Excelsior watering hole, Hood Grub’s menu has been crushing it with the regulars, thanks in no small part to their Niman Ranch sausage and beef burger ($10). To, well, top if off, it comes complete with all the crave-worthy toppings like bacon, fried egg, pickle, and onion, so you don’t have to shell out extra bucks for any necessary add-ons.

The True Deluxe at Trueburger
This Oakland joint knows the age-old truism that the only way to improve upon a legitimately delicious vegetarian burger—in this case starring a crispy Portobello mushroom stuffed with smoked mozzarella cheese—is to serve it as a condiment for your regular cheeseburger. Behold: the True Deluxe ($9.50).

The double cheeseburger at Sam’s Pizza
It may be shaky logic to trust the opinion of a drunk guy telling you that a hole-in-the-wall in North Beach serves one of the top three burgers in the world. But then again, when that drunk guy is Anthony Bourdain, you take note. Sam’s is late-night eats institution, and the double cheeseburger ($9) here is the kind of primally satisfying, no-frills grease bomb that gives you the fuzzy confidence to know that your hangover is going to be just the slightest bit more bearable in the morning.

The Phat Bob Burger at Pearl’s Deluxe Burgers
There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who eat their chips and fries with their sandwich, and those who eat them on their sandwich. If you’re in the latter camp, hurry up and get thee to this Tenderloin specialist of specialty burgers and order the Phat Bob. The quarter pounder will only run you $7.99, and comes topped with Jack cheese, bacon, BBQ sauce, mayo, and that crucial textural element: onion rings.

The “Best Damn Grass-Fed Cheeseburger” at 4505 Burgers & BBQ
Sure, barbecue may be more their main gig, but if the verbiage on the menu is any kind of (not-so-subtle) indication, the people at 4505 take the burger business pretty seriously too. Listed as the “Best Damn Grass-Fed Cheeseburger,” this $9.75 order gets you a juicy quarter-pound patty dressed with lettuce, onion, Gruyère, and secret sauce on a griddled sesame and scallion bun. Try saying that in under three seconds.

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