2012 was my third year of reviewing burgers for A Hamburger Today on Serious Eats, and along with reaching a major milestone (100 reviews!) I also discovered some seriously tasty contenders for San Diego’s best burger. Here, in order of deliciousness, are my top 5 burger picks in San Diego for 2012:
1: Nine-Ten blew me away with their grass-fed burger draped with a bubbling blanket of cheddar. The burger is dressed with a creamy dijon aioli and comes with premium vegetable roughage, including some of the most perfect slices of tomatoes I’ve ever seen. You can upgrade to truffle fries for an extra $2, but when the baseline spuds are this delicious, there’s no need. The burger is part of the lunch menu, and is available Monday to Saturday. The best deal is during happy hour (Monday to Friday, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.), when the burger is half price ($6, plus $2 for cheese). This wasn’t just my favorite burger in San Diego for 2012, it was my favorite burger in San Diego, ever. Need more convincing? Read the full review on AHT.
2. The brunch burger at The Red Door sounds overwhelming, but even though there’s so much going on, it all works. The half pound patty is topped with a fried egg, hollandaise sauce, bacon, aged white cheddar, and the standard veggies. It looks like a big and sloppy burger, but the construction and execution are so precise that sticking out your pinkie while taking down this glorious beast wouldn’t seem crazy (ok, maybe a little). Grab one on Sunday from 10 am. to 2:30 p.m. Full AHT review here.
3. Earlier this year, the U-T reported that after a food blogger praised the burger at Carnitas’ Snack Shack, the pint-sized eatery tripled their ground beef output from 40 lbs a week to 120 lbs. I can’t say for certain, but I’m 99% sure that blogger is me, and the response was due to my review of the bacon jam, white cheddar, and aioli topped burger on A Hamburger Today. This burger was definitely a bright spot of 2012, and I’m glad I could point plenty of burger lovers in its direction.
4. Davanti Enoteca has a solid food-focused happy hour, with margherita pizzas for $6. It’s a decent pie, but I’d stick with the burger (also $6). The grilled patty is finished with a gourmet smorgasbord of toppings, including arugula, bacon jam, roasted tomato, aioli, and cheese curds that are griddled until golden brown. You’ve got to try this one. Full AHT review here.
5. Bali Hai earns the final spot in my top 5 for the year because not only was the burger delicious, but the restaurant on Shelter Island offers a few additional features: an impressive skyline view and knock-you-on-your-ass tiki drinks. Even one of the “medium” drinks was so wicked strong that I would have smiled all the way through a root canal. Read more in my review on AHT.
In the next few days, I’ll also be posting about my top five burgers outside of San Diego, including a few options in Las Vegas and Toronto. In the meantime, consider this your to-eat list for 2013.
Top 5 Burgers of 2011
Top 5 Burgers of 2010