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  • Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine

Best Burger in the Napa Valley

Storytime, ladies and gentleman. I once worked for a well-known local chef who believes burgers are an extravagance only to be enjoyed once every six months. He may be a master in the kitchen and a savvy restaurateur, but he is wrong. Burgers are the backbone of America, happiness, and at least two of my previous relationships.

Napa Valley is rich in delicious burgers made with local produce, the highest quality beef, and sumptuous cheese. Geography, price point, public feedback, and my own hard-headed burger opinions were carefully considered in compiling this list of Top 10 Burgers in Napa Valley. It was not an easy task to winnow an abundance of worthy burgers to a pack of ten. Hopefully, you’ll find some of your favorites listed below and a few new burgers to try too.

Best Burgers Under $15

Andie’s Café, $8.89 - $11.29

What began as a restaurant with a singular mission, create the finest burger the world has ever tasted, is now a bustling burger joint in an unassuming locale. The postage-stamp-sized café nestled on the same lot as Classic Car Wash offers the best possible incentive to take your car to get detailed, the Monterey Burger. Enjoy Jack cheese, bacon, and avocado stacked high on a perfectly griddled patty while you wait.

Gott’s Roadside, $7.99 - $13.99

This tourist destination and local favorite has a burger for everyone, even vegetarians. If you’ve lived in Napa long enough, you’ve probably tried every burger on the menu, at least I have. The arrival of the Kimchi Burger dethroned my long-standing top pick, the Green Chile Cheeseburger. Both burgers ooze melted cheese while bringing the heat with spicy mayo and either kimchi or chiles.

Napa Palisades Saloon, $13.95

There’s magic in the combination of stout braised onions, white cheddar cheese, and a thick swipe of The Sauce that take this classic pub burger from one of the many to a top contender for the best burger in Napa Valley. Even the bun takes a turn on the flattop, creating a char that gives the burger even greater depth of flavor. Pro tip: toss the entire tin of Grandma Brown’s pickles between the patty and the bun. These pickles are not to be missed.

Norman Rose Tavern, $14.95

Another downtown Napa favorite, Norman Rose Tavern, grills a burger that has its fans coming back time and again. Mound blue cheese on top of the premium beef patty sourced from locally owned Five Dot Ranch, add a slice of crisp lettuce, round it out with thick slices of red onions, and settle in for a satisfying bounty of meat and cheese. “While there are many good burgers in the Valley, Norman Rose has a consistently exceptional burger,” promises Mary Beth Herman.

Red Rock Café, starting at $8.95

It’s hard not to fall for the charm of Red Rock Café with red-checked table cloths, adorable salt and pepper sets, and Americana tchotchkes creating a homey vibe. The burgers are exactly what you’d hope to eat at a neighborhood barbecue joint. Will Kwiatkowski loves the “classic taste” of their ground beef patty topped with traditional fixings, like thickly sliced tomatoes, red onions, shredded lettuce, and a hefty pile of pickles. There are plenty of add-ons to choose from to create what Kwiatkowski calls “Napa’s ideal burger.” Mine isn’t complete without jalapeños and guacamole.

Best Burgers $15 and up

The Charter Oak, $20

It seems a daring and dastardly deed to state definitively that one burger is truly the best burger of them all, but I’m going to do it. There isn’t a better burger in Napa Valley than the cheeseburger at The Charter Oak. It’s a simple diner burger, two thin patties, cheese, and diced onions, sourced, prepared, and assembled with a precision that elevates The Charter Oak burger to an otherworldly experience. Sean Quinn agrees, “Chef Kostow knows what a burger needs, high-quality classic ingredients and perfect execution. That’s all it takes to be the best.”

Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, $19.50

Though it may seem obvious to describe a burger as “meaty,” the hefty grass-fed patty is the star of this burger show. Every ingredient is a knockout, with cheddar from Sonoma’s Vella Cheese Company, spicy arugula, and a cloudy dream of a potato bun. “Lose the worries of your week in every juicy, pasture-raised bite. Elevate your Tuesday, add the avocado and pair the burger with a glass of Cabernet Franc,” prescribes Molly Williams, a local who fits the Farmstead burger into her busy schedule at least monthly.

Goose & Gander, $19

If a burger smoked cigars, hunted ducks, and built canoes with its bare hands – it would be this burger. Everything from the toasted bun to the thick patty to the meaty planks of bacon to the molten gruyere is savory, smoky and salty. Black pepper permeates each bite. This is a burger that leaves you with juices running down your hands and an urge to throw back bourbon to wash it all down.

Kitchen Door, $16.95

On a menu boasting creative dishes inspired by eclectic cuisines spanning the globe, why bother ordering a burger? Because this burger is the unsung hero of a restaurant that knocks it out of the park on every dish they offer. A weighty half-pound Niman Ranch beef patty, blanketed with a thick layer of swiss cheese, sweet wine-stewed onions, and secret sauce meld together to create an extraordinary burger.

RH Yountville Restaurant, $24

Not a single detail is overlooked in preparing this exceptional burger. Two patties so thin they have to be served medium are glued together with melted sharp American cheese – like a meat and cheese layer cake. Dijonnaise, razor-thin house-made pickles, and lightly pickled diced onions complete the package wrapped in a sweet brioche bun soft enough to melt into the burger, strong enough to keep every piece neatly stacked while you dine. Add the thick cut pork belly for another $6 to feast on a $30 burger worth every penny.

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