San Diego's Top Burgers To Enjoy This National Burger Day

May 28, 2023

It's National Burger Day, so we are listing off our favorite burgers from all around America's Finest City. From San Diego's classic cheeseburgers to crazy creations, here are our top 14 burgers in the county.

Personally, we love the Double-Double Animal Style burger with chopped chilis from In-N-Out (a top value in California), the SmokeShack burger from Shake Shack and the Lounge Burger from Burger Lounge, but, for the sake of this list, we are leaving out chain restaurants (even though Burger Lounge is, technically, a local chain). Check out our favorites below and let us know if there are any must-try-burgers that we are missing by emailing [email protected].

Eat Crispy Burger The Original “OG” Crispy Double (Encinitas) - This one-year-old, family-run burger restaurant in Northern San Diego County is such a pleasure in every way. The service is so warm and welcoming and it's a beautiful thing to watch a close-nit family put out delicious food. Their burgers are perfectly smashed to crispy perfection. They also serve delicious fries, onion rings and shakes. The quaint eatery is right off the I-5, making it an easy pitstop if passing by. 

Swagyu Chop Shop El Swagador Burger (Pacific Beach, Imperial Beach & Poway) - Swagyu specializes in high-end beef, including Japanese wagyu, but most people come to this restaurant for its luxurious smash burgers. While the original is delicious, the El Swagador, with the addition of pork belly, smoked onions, and pickled serrano pepper, is next level. We may have encouraged the conceptualization of this burger, although Chef Steve scoffed at the idea of cherry peppers and went with the spicier serrano. 
The Friendly Dirty Flat Top Cheeseburger (North Park x2 & Pacific Beach) - Now with a few locations around San Diego (and another later this year), The Friendly offers an ever-changing array of surprisingly gourmet specials and tasty NYC-style pizza, but it's The Dirty Flat Top Cheeseburger that keeps people talking. Sure, it's not pretty, but it's f'n delicious! Two patties crisped to perfection on a greasy flat top are topped with yellow American cheese and buttery onions. The bun is toasted on the grill and swiped with garlicky mayo. This burger rings in at less than $10 and goes down way too easy. No mods - don't even think about asking.
Classic Burger Double Classic Burger (La Jolla) - This relative newcomer to the San Diego burger scene has quickly become one of favorite burgers in town. The no-nonsense menu only has a few items, but all of them are done exceedingly well. Our only wish was there was something pickled on this burger, but it's amazing nonetheless, especially for the price. 
RomBomb Burger OG RomBomb (Scripps Ranch, Pop-Up) - Chef Romin makes bomb burgers and he knows it! His OG RomBomb is a take on the famous Oklahoma fried onion burger with an 85/15 beef patty, paper thin California sweet onions, secret sauce, and melty American cheese on a buttered soft bun. While the OG is excellent, we can't wait to try all his creations. RomBomb is available via pre-order with Wednesday pickup and also hosts pop-ups around San Diego. Follow his social media accounts to know when and where. 
The Smoking Gun Wagyu Double Cheeseburger (Gaslamp Quarter) - A highlight of the happy hour menu clocking in at only $10, this beautiful burger admittedly pays homage to The Friendly burger (the Chef told us himself). It's our go-to stop to pregame before or after a Padres game solely because of this burger. If you cannot make it for happy hour, this specific burger is available as a secret menu item, just ask. And be sure to tell them SanDiegoVille sent ya! 
Hayes Burger Double Cheeseburger Add Chilis (Barrio Logan) - You can't help but compare Hayes Burger to In-N-Out, although maybe don't tell them that. This Barrio Logan hotspot doesn't try to reinvent the wheel. Rather, they make a simple, near perfect burger at a reasonable price. If you like spice like we do, be sure to add chilis to your order.
Queenstown Bare Lil Lamb (Little Italy, La Jolla) - Available at all of San Diego's Kiwi family of restaurants (Bare Back Grill, Queenstown Public House, Raglan Public House, Dunedin North Park), the Bare Lil Lamb has a New Zealand lamb patty topped with bleu cheese, beetroot, mint dressing, lettuce, tomato, onion, tomato chutney and garlic aioli. It's absolutely delicious and unique. We prefer it without the egg, which is offered as an addition at most locations.   
E.L.E. Burger Double Cheeseburger (Pop-Up) - This San Diego burger pop-up serves at Open Bar in PB most Saturdays from noon to 5pm, or until sold out. The E.L.E. BURGER combines two smash burger patties, American cheese, thin-sliced grilled onions, iceberg lettuce, pickles, and Love Spread on a Martin's Potato roll, all made with love, because at E.L.E. "everybody loves everybody!" We also love the adorable cheeseburger gummy candy they give you with each order. It's so cute!
The Balboa Bar & Grill Original Balboa Burger (Bankers Hill, Chula Vista) - The Balboa is an unassuming dive bar located on a quiet stretch of 5th Avenue in Bankers Hill with a second location in Chula Vista. This neighborhood spot makes some of the most delicious burgers in town, although some say it's changed a bit since new ownership took over. Their namesake burger is simple perfection, with a patty that is a perfect example of the Maillard reaction in effect and a torta bun that is nothing short of pillowy goodness. 
The Lodge at Torrey Pines Drug Store Burger (La Jolla) - This off-the-menu beast of a burger comes with a Niman Ranch all-beef patty, lettuce, tomato, onion and aioli on a sesame seed bun, but you can add a few toppings like bacon, avocado and egg (and you should). The first time we ate this burger we met former President Barrack Obama on the golf course. Maybe you'll have the same luck. Either way, it's delicious, especially when enjoyed with a view overlooking the links. Just so you know, this establishment and its associated properties have blocked SanDiegoVille on Instagram for publishing an article about owners' close relationship with convicted felon Elizabeth Holmes, so, this shows how truly objective we are.
Rocky's Crown Pub Half Pound Cheeseburger (Crown Point) - With a very limited menu, Rocky's has been a San Diego burger destination since 1977 (although it is now under new ownership). Long considered one of the city's best burgers, the place just does it right. Rocky's offers a most basic cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and mayonnaise. Simple is good. Rumor has it, a glob of frozen mayo stuffed in the patty is the secret recipe here. Don't bother asking for bacon or any modifications unless you want an irked bartender on your hands. Just get the burger and fries and wash it down with a brew. Oh, and be sure to bring cash as they do not accept credit cards!
Jeremy's On The Hill Juicy J Burger (Julian) - We know it's weird to see a restaurant in Julian listed here, but every time we visit this northeastern San Diego County mountain town, we dine at Jeremy's and get a burger. The Juicy J burger features a grass-fed beef patty, cheddar and blue cheese, chipotle aioli, sliced avocado and pork brisket. It's fantastic!
Hodad's Guido Burger (Ocean Beach & East Village) - Inspired by Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives' host Guy Fieri (who one time named Hodad's the best burger in the U.S.), this behemoth is topped with grilled pastrami, Swiss cheese, grilled onions, pickles, ketchup and spicy brown mustard. Get it at Hodad's OG location in OB or in downtown San Diego's East Village or Petco Park. 
We must disclose that there are several highly recommended San Diego burger spots we have yet to try, specifically Smash & Dash in College Area, Duke's Old Fashioned Onion Burgers in La Mesa, The Wise Ox in North Park & Carlsbad, Doggos Gus in East Village and the Copper Kings Burgers pop-up. 

Check out our Google Map below for locations of all our favorite burger spots for 2023.