Gallery: Erin Jackson's Top 10 Burgers in San Diego

Bacon Cheeseburger at Hodad's
Bacon Cheeseburger at Hodad's

If a big, sloppy burger stacked high with veggies, cheese, and a bacon "patty" served in a surf shack atmosphere with punk rock on the sound system is what you're craving, you're in the right place. Two words of advice: get your onions grilled (or nix them) and do not, under any circumstances, remove the burger "diaper". The bacon cheeseburgers are available in three sizes: mini ($5.75); single ($6.50); and double ($9.75, pictured). I think the mini has the best bread to meat ratio and you can save room for fries, onion rings, or a shake—all of which are excellent.

Read the full AHT review »

5010 Newport Avenue, San Diego, 92107 (at Bacon Street; seriously!); map) and downtown, at 945 Broadway (map); 619-224-4623; hodadies.com

[Photograph: Erin Jackson]

Cheeseburger with Traditional Garnish at Prepkitchen
Cheeseburger with Traditional Garnish at Prepkitchen

Want a straight-forward burger made from a carefully calibrated blend of Black Angus chuck and shoulder (ground on site), smeared with house-made dijonnaise, topped with house-made pickles, and served on a house-made bun? Are you saying yes so I'll stop saying "house-made" so damn much? That's ok, as long as you add Prepkitchen's burger to your to-eat list. I like it with traditional garnish ($13) but you can also get it "WNL style", with bacon, caramelized onion, remoulade, Gruyère, and an egg, sunny side up.

Read the full AHT review »

1660 India Street, San Diego CA 92101 (map); 619-398-8383; prepkitchen.com, additional locations in Del Mar and La Jolla

[Photograph: Erin Jackson]

Davanti Burger at Davanti Enoteca
Davanti Burger at Davanti Enoteca

There are a lot of elements at play on Davanti Enoteca's burger ($12) but everything is perfectly balanced, from the confit tomatoes and peppery arugula, to the bacon jam, aioli, and griddled cheese curds—something I'm shocked hasn't been copied by elsewhere.

Read the full AHT review »

1655 India Street, San Diego, CA 92101 (map); 619-237-9606; davantisandiego.com

[Photograph: Erin Jackson]

Drugstore Burger at The Grill at Torrey Pines
Drugstore Burger at The Grill at Torrey Pines

The Grill's Drugstore-style burger is the ultimate old-school burger, prepared with obvious care. Mayo is made in house, the bun is steamed so it's soft and warm, and the extra-fatty beef patty is cooked precisely to order. One tip: since The Grill is located within the Torrey Pines Golf Course, you might not want to show up in purple high tops and jeans like I did (*facepalm*).

Read the full AHT review »

11480 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla CA 92037 (map); 858-453-4420; lodgetorreypines.com

[Photograph: Erin Jackson]

NINE-TEN Burger at NINE-TEN
NINE-TEN Burger at NINE-TEN

NINE-TEN's burger will set you back $14 at full price (including cheese) but it's so worth it when you consider the effort that goes into it, from house-made buns, aioli, and pickles, to with some seriously top-notch veggies and expert grillmanship. During happy hour, (3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday to Friday) you can get one at the bar for half-price. Be sure to ask for a bowl of complimentary house-made potato chips (available by request).

Read the full AHT review »

910 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 920374 (map); 858-964-5400; nine-ten.com

[Photograph: Erin Jackson]

Bruschetta Burger at Nicky Rottens
Bruschetta Burger at Nicky Rottens

Don't write off this burger and beer bar in the Gaslamp Quarter as a tourist trap. It's one place I keep going back to... for the exact same burger. The Bruschetta Burger ($11.95), features a beef patty topped with mixed greens, parmesan cheese, and diced tomatoes sealed between two slices of provolone and finished with pesto aioli. The burger has gone up a few bucks since I first reviewed it, but considering it's large enough to share (and comes with a heap of fries) it's still a pretty great value. I'd spend the extra $2 to upgrade to sweet potato fries, served with maple syrup.

Read the full AHT review »

560 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA (map); 619-702-8068‎; second location in Coronado at 100 Orange Avenue (map)nickyrottens.com

[Photograph: Erin Jackson]

Shack Burger at Carnitas' Snack Shack
Shack Burger at Carnitas' Snack Shack

The Shack Burger ($9) features a crusty, charred beef patty smeared with bacon jam and aioli and draped with melted white cheddar. It's decadent and full-flavor, but even if you make happy snorting sounds while eating it, you still won't be the biggest pig at the restaurant (that honor goes to the giant porker perched on the roof).

Read the full AHT review »

2632 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92104 (map); 619-294-7675; carnitassnackshack.com

Burger Royale with Cheese at BO-beau
Burger Royale with Cheese at BO-beau

BO-beau's Burger Royale with Cheese is a great pick when you want a burger upscale enough to mark an occasion, or are just hungering for something new. The beef is perked up with cayenne, fresh garlic, and shallots, griddled on a flattop, and topped with Gruyère, green peppercorn aioli, and thin slices of braised pork belly. On the side, you get a mountain of shoestring fries and the pièce de résistance—insanely delicious romeso aioli.

Read the full AHT review »

4996 West Point Loma Blvd, San Diego CA 92107 (map); 619-224-2884 and cohnrestaurants.com

[Photograph: Erin Jackson]

Brunch Burger at The Red Door
Brunch Burger at The Red Door

A burger topped with bacon, Hollandaise sauce, and a fried egg (along with all of the standard accoutrements) might not be something you eat often, but when it's this delicious, you owe it to yourself to splurge once in awhile. What was so amazing about the Red Door's brunch burger ($14) is despite being stacked so tall, it stays intact until the last bite.

Read the full AHT review »

741 W Washington Street, San Diego, CA (map); 619-295-6000; thereddoorsd.com

[Photograph: Erin Jackson]

Veggie Burger at Southpaw Social Club
Veggie Burger at Southpaw Social Club

The black bean burger at Southpaw Social Club isn't in my top 10 list by accident, this honor is 100 percent earned. It's spicy, slathered with guac and aioli, and not remotely good for you—only delicious.

Read the full AHT review »

815 J Street, San Diego CA 92101 (map); 619-269-2255; southpawsocialclub.com

[Photograph: Erin Jackson]

259200-erin-jackson-best-san-diego-burgers.jpg
259200-erin-jackson-best-san-diego-burgers.jpg