On The Trail Of The Best Burger In San Francisco


Where’s the Beef?

Fine dining is fabulous but sometimes you just want both your hands on a burger, elbows to the side and a condiment moustache on your face. I want a burger! San Francisco has some amazing restaurants and trust me I’ve been enjoying as many of them as I can fit into my schedule but today for lunch all I want is a good juicy burger. I want to get messy, I want to lick my fingers and I don’t care who’s watching. The question is where to go for the Best Burger in San Francisco? I’ve got ways a few ways I can find the answer. I could eat burgers every meal of every day for the rest of 30 Days In SF or I could check out the listing of Best Burgers by Neighborhood on the Travel San Francisco website. I’m tempted by the first option but since there are still many more restaurants I want to try I opt for checking out the Best Burgers list and choosing one of those. The verdict is in I’m off to SOMA and checking out Marlowe.Marlowe restaurant in Soma San Francisco

Choosing Marlowe wasn’t just a random choice I made. I received help from David Funk, a friend of mine who moved to San Fran a few years ago and is now an expert on all things San Fran, especially the food and drink scene. As we walked along the Pier away from the Ferry building towards SOMA/Yerba Buena (South Of Market Street) I read out the list of burger options to David and he gave me his informed opinion, Marlowe was the winner and moreover I was already in the neighbourhood of SOMA so it was just a matter of continuing my walk a little further.

Out for a walk with my fellow Canuck David along the Piers of San Fran

Marlowe is located at 500 Brannan St at the corner of 4th Street. It’s a bit of a construction zone and I almost missed finding it with all the road works in progress at that intersection but my burger nose didn’t fail me. From the outside I was expecting a bit of a neighbourhood pub, inside it is completely contemporary, modern with a touch of funky design. I was lucky I arrived when I did because they were shutting down for a private party shortly and I was the 2nd to last person they allowed in. Since I’m eating solo I took my place at the Marble topped bar and grabbed a menu looking for the burger to end all burgers.

Inside Marlowe San Francisco

The Marble Bar at Marlowe San Fran

As I peruse the menu and the Daily Fresh Sheet (kraft paper roll hung on the wall) I order an Anchor Steam California Lager, after all what goes better with a burger than a beer and David highly recommended I give Anchor Steam a try. Excellent!

Anchor Steam Lager and Marlowe menu

The Marlowe daily fresh sheet

Who am I kidding I don’t need the menu, I’m here for the Marlowe Burger, oh but wait. How about a side of Smokey Baked Cauliflower with provolone and smoked cheddar to go with it. Hey I walked over 6 miles today I deserve a little treat. Ok so the first bite, mmmm, the second bite, mmmmm. Yup this burger is absolutely deserving of being on the best burger list. I ordered it medium rare (gotta love America), with caramelized onions, bacon and dripping with melted cheddar. Absolutely fantastic and full of great flavour. What’s that beside the fries you are wondering? My new favourite Aioli, Horseradish. Forget Chipotle Mayo from now on all I want is Horseradish Aioli. Lest I forget about the cauliflower…. if you were to serve this to your kids they would love vegetables. OMG it is so good I packed what I couldn’t finish into a doggie bag to eat later, and I did!

Marlowe Burger and fries plus a lager and some smoked baked cauliflower

Smokey Baked Cauliflower with provolone and smoked cheddar at Marlowe SF

Now can I say that Marlowe’s offers the best burger in San Francisco? I can’t say definitively because this is the first burger I’ve tried in San Fran, but I can say that based on my extensive eating career this is one fine burger and if it was served to me in Vancouver it would make my top 10 list. I now have a goal for my next visit to San Francisco to check out some of the other restaurants on the Best Burger list and see how they compare to Marlowe. That could be a fun 30 Day Adventure all in itself. Want to join me?

The Marlowe Burger

30 Days In SF Over the course of 30 posts I’m exploring Where to Stay, Where to Eat and Drink and What to Do in San Francisco and the Bay area. I won’t get to everything awesome but I welcome your suggestions and if I don’t get to it on this visit there is always the next time!

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About Author

Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.

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