The San Diego’s Best Burger Will Do Just Fine…Best Burger?

Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Rocky's Burger PBWhere is San Diego’s Best Burger? A couple of years ago I invited a handful of guys from the Carmel Valley San Diego community to join me in a Burger Quest. Having relocated to the Carmel Valley from the culinary-rich Bay Area, it was time for me to compile a list of good eateries in our new home town. There are a handful of food items my family loves which deserve a quest for supremacy. Ya gotta know where to go when a craving for a good Carnitas Burrito hits.

We started off with a few ground rules for the Burger Hunt. No fast food restaurants. We all felt that In-N-Out had that locked up. Also, no major chains. Once a food enters the realm of chains it loses it’s uniqueness in order to be palatable in other regions. I won’t cover all the places we pulled our chairs up to but I will say that the one place that keeps drawing me back is Rocky’s Crown Pub in PB (Pacific Beach). The reason is simple. The burgers there are memorable enough that when I try to make the best burger I can at home, my instincts compel me to aim towards a Rocky’s burger.

My wife Candy and I popped in a couple of years ago after reading about Rocky’s online. I’ve consistently been back with buddies, with out-of-town friends, with my food-snob in-laws and it has never disappoints. Candy and I went this afternoon to make sure it was still great (in the name of research, of course). The lunch special, served between 11am & 2pm is the way to go. For $10 you get a juicy 1/3 lb cheeseburger (lettuce, tomato & pickle), some of the best fries around and the beverage of your choice; soda or a pint of beer (I recommend the Crown Point Ale). Each table has all the condiments you need with a generous stack of napkins, and the kicker; a bottomless container of lively torpedo peppers; a must-have, if you enjoy spice. These are not exotic burgers with unique, imported elements. They are just definitive of the burger we all love. Tender, cooked just right, on a super fresh bun.

Since it’s a pub, it is a 21 & older crowd only, so you’ll have to wait for next month’s entry for a recommendation of where to take the kids. There is only seating for about 50 or so in this cozy, neighborhood-style pub so be prepared to wait in line to get a seat if you are going for lunch. The service is fast and friendly and it’s not unusual to end up in an interesting conversation with someone. Today, we chatted with a guy who just moved here from Alaska. Cash only, just so you are aware. If you want a neighborhood feel for lunch and a fun place to enjoy a burger that makes America proud, this is a great choice.

Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Clay StokesClay Stokes is a typical California transplant, having hailed from Nebraska, Texas, Colorado, and the SF Bay area before relocating to the community of Carmel Valley San Diego with his wife and 4 kids in 2007. Living here fits Clay and wife Candy like a glove. The ocean, the weather, the golf, sports and people are great. Clay also has a little Guy Fieri (host of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives) in him. Constantly on the hunt for “The Best Of” in terms of food, he and Candy often cruise for new “good eats” on their day off. Being co-Pastor of Wave Church and caring for the people here in Carmel Valley San Diego community gives Clay plenty of opportunities to glean opinions and invite others along on his quest.


Carmel Valley San Diego Community | RIDE Cyclery Encinitas

4 Responses to The San Diego’s Best Burger Will Do Just Fine…Best Burger?

  1. Clay, a friend of mine suggested Chef Paul McCabe’s burger at Kitchen 1540 as a solid contender. Please keep us posted if you do end up making a trip down there. Thanks for the great article!

    • I will have to try that one. I see on their menu that they serve a Niman Ranch burger which could be very good. I have had the Niman Ranch burger at George’s and liked it. Plus, L’Auberge in Del Mar is always a treat,especially since the remodel last year.

  2. MIHO food Gastrotruck’s burger is awesome and they can usually be found at Del Mar Heights @ 12700 High Bluff Dr. on Wednesdays! Please let us know if you ever check them out. Thanks!

  3. Thanks for the head’s-up on MIHO. I checked on their site at and you have to like the freshness of their ingredients. Food trucks are really becoming great places to eat. I will let you know when I get a chance to check them out.

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