There are a lot of silly holidays out there. Did you know that February 11th is National Don’t Cry Over Spilt Milk Day, or that April 20th is Lima Bean Respect Day? Me neither. And while most of these national observances can pass unacknowledged, if there’s one food-related holiday worth celebrating, it’s National Cheeseburger Day (September 18th).
San Diego is a big burger town, with tons of beef and bun options, including beloved icons like Hodad’s, and newcomers like Slater’s 50/50, which won the Best New Restaurant title among readers in the 2012 Best Restaurants issue (among others). If you’re looking to branch out a bit, here are four solid options from places you might not associate with having killer burgers:
Bali Hai (top left): Make National Cheeseburger Day a half-day at work and kick back on the patio at Bali Hai. The burger has all of the classic trimmings, plus a smear of black pepper truffle mayo, which punches up the flavor factor. If you’re unsure just how much truffle you can handle, ask for the mayo on the side and sample a dab before you smear. Burgers are served with ginger brown butter fries or a simple green salad. While you’re there, try one of the many tiki drinks, then stroll Shelter Island until the buzz wears off (which could take awhile, hence the half-day suggestion!)
2230 Shelter Island Drive. Burger: $13 (lunch only)
Davanti Enoteca (top right): The curd is the word at this Italian restaurant with locations in Little Italy and Carmel Valley. Davanti Enoteca tops their burger with a patty of griddled cheese curds, plus a bevvy of toppings, including arugula, bacon jam, roasted tomatoes, and garlic aioli. There’s a lot going on, but all of the elements work together to form one of the most flavorful burger options in the city. A tangle of shoestring fries come on the side. During happy hour, grab one with a side of fries for $6.
1655 India St, Little Italy & 12955 El Camino Real, Carmel Valley. Burger: $12
Sessions Public (bottom left): Sessions Public is known for their taps, but the burgers are stellar. The half-pound angus patty is topped with nippy Winchester gouda, confit tomatoes, sweet pickled onions, peppery arugula, and garlic aioli. Delicious duck fat fries come on the side. With all of those savory ingredients, the perfect compliment (besides a pint), is an order of beignets (and a breath mint).
4204 Voltaire St., Point Loma. Burger: $13
BO-beau (bottom right): The burger at BO-beau has a distinctly French flair. The patty is spiced up with garlic, cayenne, and shallots, and topped with thin slices of pork belly and a generous smear of green peppercorn aioli. A huge mound of fries come on the side with quite possibly the tastiest condiment ever: romesco aioli. If you plan on attempting to clear your plate, make sure you also clear your schedule… for a nap.
4996 West Point Loma Blvd., Ocean Beach. Burger: $14 (dinner only)