Best Burger - 2003
Pier 23 Cafe
When you want the classic two-handed hamburger sans cranberry mayo, feta cheese, and other annoying addenda, Pier 23 is the place to go. Nothing could be finer than sitting at one of those big, round patio tables on a sun-drenched day, listening to Carmen McRae and Tony Bennett on the juke, watching the boats go by, and allowing the whole sweep of the bay to infect you with a beatific tranquility. A few scrawny palm trees add to the South Seas atmosphere, and the centrally located happy stretching Buddha is absolutely appropriate. It's almost gratuitous that the burgers are so good: thick, smoky, and juicy, just like what you'd make yourself on a good day. The onions are sweetly grilled, the tomatoes are perfectly ripe, the jack, cheddar, or blue cheese can be added at your discretion, and the skinny, skin-flecked fries are crunchy and unbeatable. Yum.