When you’re hungry, sometimes the perfect thing to satisfy the palate is a big, juicy burger, piled high with all the best toppings.
Of course, you could cruise through a McDonald’s or Burger King, but why do that when you could grab a gourmet, made-to-order burger, just the way you like it, from one of these local cafés and restaurants?
Here are five great places to grab a burger—four in Los Altos and one in nearby Palo Alto—that locals praise for serving up the best.
448 S. San Antonio Road, Los Altos
Any place with “burger” in the name must have good burgers, right? Well, Burger Town is a burger connoisseur’s favorite around the mid-peninsula and south bay. Specifically, Burger Town is known for serving old-fashioned burgers—not the fancied-up, gourmet kind. This is the place we see crews from the Packard building construction heading. On Burger Town's Yelp page, Liz T. says, “Been here about a dozen times in the last six months. If you want an old-fashioned, unpretentious, cheap, greasy burger with real fat juices, this is the popular place to come.” Veronica B. says, “My meal here consisted of THE most hugest and most flavorful turkey burger ever! Other turkey patties I've had are pretty bland, but Burger Town's are juicy, well seasoned, and grilled to perfection.” There’s no fuss about the décor at Burger Town, either—just functional tables and chairs and a counter to order at. Locals also praise the reasonable prices; down-home, friendly staff; and how quickly food is ready after ordering.
233 3rd St., Los Altos
Los Altos Grill has taken many forms over the years, including the Los Altos Bar & Grill and Bandera’s, but one thing remains the same—customers’ praise of the burgers. There are three to choose from: your basic cheeseburger, made from “fresh, ground chuck” with cheddar cheese on a house-made egg bun; the veggie burger, made from the chef’s own original recipe; and the Ahi tuna burger, pan-seared and also served on a house-made egg bun. The Ahi tuna burger has consistently been one of the restaurant’s top-selling items for years, staff says. “The burger is pretty amazing,” says Nick R. of Los Altos on Yelp. Michelle W. of San Jose says, “Probably the best Ahi burger I’ve ever had. Great flavor.” On a side note, Los Altos Grill is famous for its “no corkage fee” policy for customers who bring their own wine, as well.
205 State St., Los Altos
Though Rick’s may be most famous for its breakfast menu, many say its burgers are equally delicious. Customers consistently praise the varied selection and freshness of the ingredients, as well as how attentively the waiters and cooks adhere to your preferences, such as with burgers' doneness. Yelper Jim W. of Palo Alto says, “I tend more towards the simple burgers where I can actually taste the beef. The patty at Rick's is excellent, with the mushrooms adding to, rather than taking away from, the texture and taste. The burgers here definitely do not disappoint.” Jay T. of Mountain View calls Rick’s, overall, “definitely a neighborhood gem in Los Altos for families.”
101 Plaza North, Los Altos
This casual, American restaurant with a comfortable patio is known for its Maltby Burger, made from a half-pound of either premium burger meat or turkey. Several toppings are offered, including bacon, avocado, sautéed mushrooms or onions, and uncommon choices like grilled jalapenos or gorgonzola cheese. Several types of sliced cheese are offered as well, like Swiss, cheddar and Monterey jack. Russell Q. of Sunnyvale wrote of his last Maltby burger on Yelp, “Nicely done, with a bun that wasn’t too greasy—it’s funny how most premium burgers with good meat have a greasy bun!” Della Q. of San Mateo wrote, “The bun is excellent, and so are the fries.”
369 California Ave., Palo Alto
The words “burger” and “the Counter” definitely go hand-in-hand in the Bay Area. The Counter, with several locations, is undoubtedly one of the most popular places to get a quick but gourmet burger. As you are seated, you are given mini clipboards with a variety of meat, bun, doneness and topping choices that you simply check off with a pencil. Add on drink and side dish choices, and you’re ready to go. Yelper Karishma K. says, “my burger is always incredibly satisfying, and lasts me through two meals. I’ve literally gone here once a week for the past three months.” Jonathan L. says, “How can you not like a burger that you designed yourself? The burgers here are delicious!”