Tijuana may not be known as a burger destination, but on my latest trip across the border, I sampled a representative cross-section of Tijuana's burger options, including fast food, food truck, and fine dining versions.The good news: there are tasty burgers to be had in TJ, and they're cheap.
The bad news is that many places serve nearly identical burgers, all made from frozen patties, cooked on a charcoal grill. This means that the beef is deliciously smoky, but also cooked completely through. What differentiates one burger joint from another is the toppings, and all of them seem to be in a race to out-do the others. Chicken filets, ham, pineapple rings, and Teriyaki sauce are as common as lettuce, tomato, and onion.
Tijuana may be a bit behind the curve when it comes to grass-fed beef, "artisan" buns, and house-made ketchup, but they win when it comes to creativity and value. The burgers I tried ranged from $2 US for a simple fast food-style burger to about $14 for a Waygu burger in a schmantzy restaurant—a relative steal.
If you live in San Diego, or are visiting, it's worth the hassle of crossing the border (and the cab fare) to do a little bit of exploration when tasty eats come this cheap. Here are five burgers worth checking out in Tijuana:
(Note: I'd include a map of all the locations, but most of the addresses either do not show up on Google Map or they show up in the wrong places.)