Burger restaurants are a dime a dozen in a foodie paradise city like Tokyo, but we gotta be honest — not too many of them are actually worth your time and yen. Sudden cravings for familiar fast food from home can, of course, easily be satisfied at import chains like Carl’s Jr. or Shake Shack, but, if you’d like more of a sit-down meal style of a delicious authentic burger, look no further than the following five diners. Here you can enjoy a taste of home all coming in under ¥2,000 for a filling meal, which will have you leave the restaurant not regretting a single yen you’ve spent there.
1. Retro-Californian: Burger Mania
Burger Mania has been consistently ranked as one of Tokyo’s best burger places hands down simply because of the consistency and quality of its burgers. What makes this franchise so special though, is the uniqueness of each location. Their original location in Shirokane started back in 2009, and has a retro cafe and burger joint look, while their shop in Hiroo takes a Californian twist on that image, and their Ebisu location stays true to their origins.
Made with 100 percent Japanese beef patties, you might not expect them burgers to have the “foreign” taste that you’re looking for, but, trust me, — they really do! The store’s menus differ slightly from shop to shop, and even include a vegetarian burger with grilled vegetables, but one must-try for those missing the flavors of home is the Rosemary Lemon Burger (¥1,340). Rosemary is such an under-used spice in Japan, and once you taste it, you’ll realize that you missed it too.
Stores: Shirokane Takanawa (6-5-7 Shirokane, Minato-ku), Hiroo (5-15-25 Minami Azabu, Minato-ku), or Ebisu (4-9-5 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku)
Burger Price: From ¥1,030
2. Aussie-inspired fare: Brozer’s Hamburger
Brozer’s Hamburger first opened in Ningyocho in 2000 hoping to recreate the taste and atmosphere of the American style burger joints the owner experienced in Australia. While that might sound confusing to some, once you’ve been here, you’ll definitely understand what it means. It’s a fun, colorful restaurant that really feels inviting, and will make you want to go back again for sure.
They have 35 variations on their burgers, plus a generous list of toppings you can add to your burger to further customize it. If you don’t mind making a mess and want to fully experience their flavors, get the Brozer’s Lot Burger (¥1,650), which combines their four different sauces, a fried egg, bacon and cheese with their basic burger toppings. To borrow the words of a friend and a frequent diner there, “very messy, but so worth the laundry”!
Stores: Shintomicho/Tsukiji (2-2-11 Shintomi, Chuo-ku) or Ningyocho (2-28-5 Nihonbashi Ningyocho, Chuo-ku)
Burger Price: from ¥1,150
3. The old-fashioned American diner: Fire House
Opened in 1996, Fire House is home to some of the tallest burgers you’ll see in Tokyo. Even the buns themselves tower over those at other shops. Their menu is full of greasy spoon favorites, like loaded hot dogs, sandwiches, and of course burgers, all of which make it hard to choose what to have no matter how many times you visit.
Fire House’s menu features single and double hamburgers, cheeseburgers, a mozzarella mushroom burger, and they even have an apple burger. The patties made here are very thick, and the toppings are generous — it’s like being in an old-fashioned diner in the USA again. Each burger comes with thick-cut wedge fries and a kosher style dill pickle slice that completes the meal perfectly.
Stores: Hongo Sanchome station (4-5-10 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku)
Burger Price: From ¥1,100
4. Your ultimate New York map: Martiniburger
Martiniburger opened in 2011, and is owned and operated by New Yorker Eliot Bergman. While many of the shops above are famed for importing or collaborating to create their signature dishes, Martiniburger is known for making almost everything in house — sauces and sides included. They promise burgers that are both simple and delicious and you’ll find exactly that.
Each burger is named after a region in New York and features flavors of that area. They even have a Buffalo Burger topped with spicy buffalo wing sauce and blue cheese dressing, which has visitors positively drooling over. To add to that — their cheesecake is pretty phenomenal, too.
Stores: Kagurazaka station (31 Nakazatocho, Shinjuku-ku)
Burger Price: From ¥1,100
5. Vegan delights: Ain Soph Ripple
Ain Soph Ripple is an all vegetarian and vegan restaurant in Kabukicho which opened in 2015. While new on the scene, Ripple is part of the Ain Soph group, which has locations in Ginza and Kyoto, and serves nothing but wholesome, vegan-friendly fare. This location is quite small though, so if you are traveling with a group of five or more friends, you might want to call ahead and reserve some space.
They have four vegan burgers to choose from: a veggie patty burger, cheeseburger (vegan cheese of course!), crispy soy chicken burger, and my personal recommendation, the falafel burger, which comes with hummus on top. These burgers were all as filling as any of the meat burgers, and in my case, I had realized how much I missed falafels until I saw it on the menu!
Store: Shinjuku or Seibu-Shinjuku stations (2-46-8 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku)
Burger price: From ¥1,100
Bonus: Japanese Nostalgia At DomDom Burger
I also have a regional Japanese favorite to share: DomDom Burger. I’ve lived in Kanagawa for most of my life in Japan, and this chain store is brimming with nostalgia. DomDom Burger was the first burger chain to open in Japan back in 1970, and only has 31 locations across the country today, three of which are in Tokyo. Most DomDom Burger shops are part of food courts in malls, supermarkets, or home centers outside the city too. It’s a truly rural experience and one that not many think to enjoy.
The decor reminded me of fast food places when I was a kid – but the burgers and fries are all made to order, and come topped with freshly cut veggies. They also have seasonal menu items too, like the spicy habanero burger and sweet potato pies — and a limited edition camembert burger (¥980) that replaces the buns with large chunks of cheese. It might not have the visual appeal of a more formal or fancy burger restaurant, but the taste and experience of a trip here is well worth it. Your Japanese friends just might remember visiting there as a kid too.
Got any other burger recommendations? Let us know in the comments!
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