Check out where to get the best burgers in Tokyo!

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Check out where to get the best burgers in Tokyo!

by: . | .
Metropolis Magazine | .
published: April 10, 2016

OUT OF BURGATORY

Even a child can guess the word “hamburger” came about because the original patties were made from solid blocks of ham. There’s no other possibility whatsoever, so let the debate end there. However, historio-burgerologists remain divided on the origin of the hamburger recipe.

Our favorite theory involves Mongolian horsemen. Unable to stop and cook while on the move across the vast plains of Asia, they packed slabs of horseflesh into bags under their saddles. The movement of the horse and their own thrusting buttocks minced and cooked the meat into large proto-burgers.

Eastward expansion brought the Mongolian patty to the Russians in the form of steak tartare, and thence to Hamburg. Finally, in the immigration melting pot of New York, the Hamburg Steak appeared on restaurant menus.

But the dish remained in bunless “Burgatory” until several carnival entrepreneurs  (e.g. Fletcher Davis, the Menches brothers and Charles Nagreen) shoved the patty into a sandwich. When the McDonald brothers got involved, the hamburger’s global fate was sealed.

Decades later, Tokyo chefs have applied their own culinary standards to the tried and tested meal. Tokyoite diners are therefore uniquely placed to scoff the burger in its highest evolutionary incarnation. This is the Metropolis Burger Special!—David Labi

ARMS

The Secret…
Light, fluffy patties served with minced toppings for a full tasting experience. And a bun made with natural yeast.

The Picks…
Avocado Mushroom Cheese Burger (¥1,350); Popeye Burger (¥1,150).

The Style…
Faithful to the US even down to imported
paint, Arms’ woody décor is opened out to the park during summer months.

The Deal…
Nab yourself a set drink for ¥200 11am-4pm on weekdays. Brunch is available Sat-Sun & hols
8-10:45am.

The Skinny…
Grab to go from takeout branch Arms Picnic in Shinjuku Lumine.

  • 5-64-7 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku. Email: arms@utopia.ocn.ne.jp. Tel: 03-3466-5970. Open Tue-Fri 11am-11pm, closed Mon (except hols), Sat-Sun & hols 8am-11pm. Nearest stn: Harajuku.
  • B2 Lumine, 1-1-5 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku. Tel: 03-6302-0039. Open daily 10am-10pm (when
  • Lumine is open). Nearest stn: Shinjuku
  • Takeout & Delivery: 1-9-21 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3466-5974. Open daily 11am-10pm. Nearest stn: Yoyogi Koen.

http://www.arms-burger.com

AS CLASSICS DINER

The Secret…
No processed ingredients or additives used, and that goes for the buns, bacon, sausages, potatoes, sauces—and, naturally, the charcoal-grilled patties.

The Picks…
Bacon smoked with hickory and cherry blossom; brandy-stewed and charcoal baked apple, and fall-off-the-bone pork rib. Try the Bacon Cheese Burger at both branches (¥1,404).

The Style…
US diner from the ’50 or ’60s in both décor and music—with the Komazawa branch close to the gorgeous Olympic Park, and the downtown venue tucked away in stylish Roppongi Hills.

The Deal…
Lunch set menus with a drink, plus a monthly-changing dinner menu after 6pm.

The Skinny…
American-sized portions, and 100% pure beef hamburgers minced by hand with a knife to preserve the steak-like texture.

  • Roppongi: B1F Roppongi Hills Metro Hut, 6-4-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Open daily 11am-10pm. Tel: 03-6721-1581
  • 1F Orion Komazawa Bldg, 5-9-22 Yagumo, Meguro-ku. Open Wed-Mon 9am-11pm, closed Tue. Tel: 03-5701-5033. Nearest stn: Komazawa Daigaku.

http://www.asclassics.co.jp

BAKURO COMMON

The Secret…
Every good burger has one thing in common—all its components are handmade, with love and style.

The Picks…
Cypriot halloumi cheese. Need we say more?

The Style…
Ultra-cool Brooklyn chic with the demanding stomach of a New York foody.

The Deal…
At lunch, get a “Med” salad and a drink with your burger for just ¥980.

The Skinny…
Wines fitting the Mediterranean concept are joined by artisan, innovative and iconoclastic bottles that will make you think (as well as drink).

  • 1F, 3-12-7 Higashinihonbashi, Chuo-ku. Tel: 03-6661-1657. Open daily noon-11pm. Nearest stn: Higashinihonbashi or Bakuroyokoyama. Email: bakuro@easygoing.co.jp.

http://www.facebook.com/bakurocommon

BROOKLYN PANCAKE HOUSE

The Secret…
A healthy-sized patty (130g) of pure Japanese beef, cooked on an open-fire grill to bring out the natural flavor.

The Picks…
Premium Brooklyn Hamburger with French fries (¥1,100)—or add Gorgonzola cheese and go Italiano.

The Style…
Transport yourself to a secret, solitary house in Brooklyn.

The Deal…
The weekday lunch set (11:30am-4pm) comes with a drink and salad.

The Skinny…
US-style buttermilk pancakes; New York strip steak (350g).

  • 1F, 6-14-12 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3409-2018. Open daily 11:30am-8pm. Nearest stn: Meiji-Jingumae.

http://www.brooklyn-pancake-house.com

BURGER MANIA

The Secret…
A balanced combo of the finest ingredients: natural-yeast buns, 100% beef patties, and market-fresh veg. And the owner’s long experience in the burger trade, of course.

The Picks…
The famous Cherry Burger (Hiroo & Ebisu), pairing dark, sweet cherries with cream cheese and the rough texture of the patty—is only to be had at Burger Mania. Also try the pancakes (from ¥700), and homemade meatballs.

The Style…
The owner skipped out to New York City with his designer for inspiration—and produced this slice of the Apple in Tokyo Town.

The Deal…
Stop in for lunch (11am-4pm) and get a drink for ¥200 and a free upsize of your fries. Weekdays (3-6pm) offer a drink and pancake for ¥1,000.

The Skinny…
The Ebisu branch just opened in March 2014 to add to the popular Shirokane and Hiroo venues. Ebisu’s specialty is craft beer on tap (from ¥500) and great Joe from Onbus Coffee.

  • 1F, 4-9-5 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku. Open daily 11am-midnight. Tel: 03-6277-4221. Email: burgermania2008@gmail.com. Nearest stn: Ebisu. Shirokane and Hiroo details:

http://www.burger-mania.com

CAFÉ HOHOKAM

The Secret…
It’s all about the bun—the highest quality possible, made with natural yeast.

The Picks…
The Apple and Gorgonzola Burger boasts two perfectly matched ingredients, while the signature Hohokam Burger spices up your life with jalapeños, cheddar cheese and plenty of chili sauce.

The Style…
Raise Arizona with a retro ambiance themed on the US desert.

The Deal…
Weekday lunch specials kick in from 11:30am-4pm.

The Skinny…
Chill among the cacti on an outdoor terrace—with a cover to keep the rain off your parade.

  • 2F, 3-22-14 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Open daily 11:30am-11pm (LO-10:30pm). Tel: 03-5775-5708. Nearest stn: Meiji-Jingumae.

http://www.cafe-hohokam.com

CHILES MEXICAN GRILL

The Secret…
A tasty burrito should be packed with warm beans and rice, fresh vegetables and authentic Mexican salsa.

The Picks…
Pibil Burrito (¥980)—fried pork in orange sauce with Achiote Mayan roux; Taco Salad (from ¥880); shio koji grilled steak.

The Style…
Enter the casa of a true mexicano—with the real stuff in the kitchen, too.

The Deal…
The weekday lunch set includes a drink and salad or chips (11:30am-3:30pm). Stop in Tue-Fri 4-8pm for ¥400 drinks and the enchilada plate (¥980).

The Skinny…
Shakes made from soy milk, plus a variety of sweets including ice cream as soft as silk.

The MET…
Metropolis readers get 10% off on any main menu item between 3:30-6pm any day.

  • 1-8-24 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Open daily 9am-9pm. Tel: 03-6434-9693. Nearest stn: Meiji-Jingumae.

http://meturl.com/chilesmex

CLUB SASA

The Secret…
100% wagyu and 100% hand-mixed patties, whole wheat buns made with natural yeast—and slow-cooked, homemade onion sauce.

The Picks…
Burgers with homemade chili or Italian Mozzarella. Or get in quick for the grilled mushroom burger (¥1,390; regular size)—limited number made daily.

The Style…
Stepping off a Parisian backstreet, you find yourself surrounded by warm wood and the classic continental aroma of tasty burgers.

The Deal…
Get a free soft drink with any burger, hot dog or sandwich during weekday lunchtime (11am-4pm). On weekends get a drink set with your burger for an extra ¥300.

The Skinny…
Beers from around the world—or try the succulent smoked salmon and avocado sandwich (¥1,250)—guaranteed to satisfy!

  • 1F, Daikanyama-Pocketpark Bldg, 2-21-15 Ebisunishi, Shibuya-ku. Open daily 11am-10pm, closed every 3rd Tue. Tel: 03-3770-1951.
  • B1, Nakameguro GT Plaza Bldg, 2-1-1 Kami-Meguro, Meguro-ku. Tel: 03-3711-4449. Open Mon-Fri 10am-10pm, Sat-Sun & hols 10am-8pm.

http://www.hijiriya.co.jp

FRIJOLES BURRITOS & TACOS

The Secret…
Every single ingredient made from scratch every day in the restaurant. All fresh, no additives.

The Picks…
The red-arbol salsa is super spicy; the Grande size is super big. Premium ingredients like marinated chicken and steaks, carnitas, black beans, and more.

The Style…
US fast-food style—but with restaurant-grade quality.

The Deal…
Burritos from ¥980-1,210.

The Skinny…
Order to deliver or for in-store pickup via the website www.frijoles.jp.

  • Azabu-Juban: 2-3-5 Azabu-Juban, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-6459-4095. Open daily 11am-10pm (until 3pm every 2nd Mon).
  • Roppongi: 6-6-9 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-6447-1433. Open daily 11am-10pm (until 3pm every 2nd Sun).
  • Akasaka: 2-11-13 Akasaka, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-6459-1763. Open daily 11am-10pm (until 3pm every 3rd Sun).
  • Otemachi: 1-5-1 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku. Tel: 03 6256 0388. Open Mon-Sat 11am-10pm, closed Sun & hols.

http://www.frijoles.jp

INTERSECT BY LEXUS

The Secret…
Who says you shouldn’t play with your food? Create your own hotdog by choosing your favorite bread, sausage and toppings.

The Picks…
Spicy ratatouille and Genovese sauce (¥1,300).

The Style…
The complex is created by a famed interior designer and themed after the comfortable lounge of a well-read intellectual. The music is selected by storied Tokyo lounge DJ Towa Tei.

The Deal…
Three deli-style teishoku—lunch sets with fish, meat or vegetable mains, including a small salad, a daily deli side and multi-grain rice or bread.

The Skinny…
A high-quality total lifestyle experience is in the cards… You heard it here first.

  • • 4-21-26 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku. 1F café/garage open 9am-11pm; 2F lounge & shop 11am-11pm. Closed irregularly. Tel: 03-6447-1540. Email: info-intersect@lexus-int.com. Nearest stn: Omotesando.

http://www.intersect-by-lexus.com/tokyo

OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE

The Secret…
Patties that are 100% pure beef—and mighty generous, too. Just enough lettuce and tomato, and a large bun to keep in all the goodness.

The Picks…
Outback’s own Bloomin’ Onion—an onion cut flower-style, battered, and deep fried. And, by extension, the Bloomin’ Burger (¥1,430) with crunchy bloomin’ onion chips and chili bloomin’ sauce.

The Style…
You’ll feel like you’ve just stepped out of the Bush (or a Sydney high street). Recline in a booth and soak up the Aussie flavors.

The Skinny…
Each juicy steak is hand-selected, aged, inspected and trimmed to perfection. Chefs expertly season it and then sear the critter to seal in its bold flavors.

  • 2F, 6-1-3 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Open daily lunch & dinner. Tel: 03-5413-4870. Nearest stn: Roppongi. Other locations in Tokyo: Ikebukuro, Shibuya, Shinagawa, Takanawa & Shinagawa Konan. For more details:

http://www.outbacksteakhouse.co.jp/en

RED TAIL

The Secret…
For burger think roll, and those are hand baked daily and cooked to bring the best out of each ingredient.

The Picks…
Could you find a mussels-in-white-wine burger anywhere else?

The Style…
A NYC-esque sandwich venue bringing lobster sandwiches and such to Tokyo since last November.

The Deal…
Set A: add ¥300 for French fries and a drink; Set B: add ¥350 for salad, French fries and a drink.

The Deal…
The daily happy hour (3-7pm) offers up one-coin drinks and snacks.

The Skinny…
Create your own salad with any burger or sandwich ingredients.

The MET…
Metropolis readers get a half lobster roll for ¥1,280 or the full 30cm for ¥1,780.

  • 5-4-12 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo. Open Mon-Sat 10am-10pm, closed Sun & hols. Tel: 03-6277-7098. Nearest stn: Akasaka.

Email: redtail7098@gmail.co.jp.
http://red-tail.jp

SAN FRANCISCO PEAKS

The Secret…
100% wagyu beef patties cooked over an open flame.

The Picks…
Gourmet pineapples. And for the non-burgerites, hot dogs and pancakes.

The Style…
An industrial café in the City by the Bay.

The Deal…
Stop in weekdays 11:30am-4pm for a tidy lunch set.

The Skinny…
Choose your weapon for your hot dog (the sausage, that is)—and your choice of draft beer.

  • 3-28-7 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Open daily 11:30am-11pm (LO 10:30pm). Tel: 03-5775-5707.

http://www.sf-peaks.com

SUJI'S RESTAURANT & BAR

The Secret…
Don’t let bad bread turn your beautiful burger into a soggy salad. Suji’s got the buns, baby.

The Picks…
Cherry-wood smoked bacon imported all the way from the US—where they do it best.

The Style…
The original NY style has evolved over seven years. Think softer, with wood and leather, and changing hangs from guest artists.

The Deal…
Ebikatsu Burger with honey-mustard (¥1,400 → ¥1,200); Wagyu Burger with steak sauce (¥1,600 → ¥1,400); Tokyo Burger with hamburger sauce (¥1,400 → ¥1,200).

The Skinny…
Suji’s is on constant happy-hour mode… A selection of one-coin drinks is available—all the time.

The MET…
Metropolis readers get 10% off!

  • 1F, Azabudai Hinoki Bldg, 3-1-5 Azabudai, Minato-ku. Open Mon-Fri lunch 11am-6pm, dinner 6-11pm (LO 9:50pm), Sat-Sun brunch 9am-4pm, Sun dinner 6-10pm (LO 8:50pm), hols brunch 10am-4pm, dinner 6-10pm (LO 8:50pm). Tel: 03-3505-4490.

http://www.facebook.com/sujistokyo
http://www.sujis.net

SUN 2 DINER

The Secret…
Patties made from minced and hand-chopped meat, grilled on charcoal, and seasoned only with salt and pepper and original mayo spread onto fresh-baked natural-yeast buns—and sided by homemade chips.

The Picks…
The California Burger (¥1,380 plus tax). Look out for homemade chili beans stewed for half a day; house-smoked cheese, and bacon cured and smoked in-house.

The Style…
Santiago sensations are brought to life by a woody, warm décor with handmade features.

The Deal…
Lunch is available weekdays from 11am-3:30pm (LO 3pm).

The Skinny…
Three kinds of craft beer are now available to help you soak up the scene.

The MET…
Metropolis readers get one free burger topping!

  • 1F, Ogawa Bldg, 2-43-11 Kami-Meguro, Meguro-ku. Open Mon-Fri 11am-3:30pm, 5pm-11pm (LO 30 min before close), Sat-Sun & hols 11am-11pm, closed Wed. Tel: 03-5724-3330. Email: info@sun2diner.com. Nearest stn: Nakameguro.

http://sun2diner.com

TEDDY'S BIGGER BURGERS

The Secret…
100% USA beef with no thickeners used, and 15 kinds of seasonings carefully selected and sprinkled as the patties are grilled.

The Picks…
Get peanut butter on your burger for something wild, or stick with the standard Kailua Burger—available in a host of sizes (burger only: 5oz ¥1,310, 7oz ¥1,610, 9oz ¥1,910; combo: 5oz ¥1,630, 7oz ¥1,830, 9oz ¥2,030).

The Style…
Pop-art décor calls to mind the colorful days of Americana as much as the shop’s home in tropical Hawaii.

The Deal…
Grab yourself a discount at lunchtime—¥150 off the 3oz combo, or ¥200 off the 5oz combo.

The Skinny…
Teddy’s burger was selected as best in Hawaii six years in a row from 2004. Since the Japan shop opened in 2009, the burger has won a place in the stomach of many an international customer.

  • 2F, Miyazaki Bldg, 6-28-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Open daily 9am-9pm. Tel: 03-5774-2288. Email: tbb@malulani.tv. Nearest stn: Meijijingumae or Harajuku.

http://www.teddysbiggerburgers.com

THE GREAT BURGER

The Secret…
Fluffy fresh-baked toasted buns made with natural yeast, a coarsely-ground juicy patty, daily market-fresh vegetables.

The Picks…
Gorgonzola meets baked apple; smoky hickory sauce. Or the classic Bacon Cheeseburger with French fries (¥1,350).

The Style…
Open-minded South California style.

The Deal…
The weekday lunch set (11:30am-4pm) comes with a drink and salad.

The Skinny…
US-style buttermilk pancakes; sandwiches.

  • 1F, 6-12-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3406-1215. Open daily 11:30am-11pm. Nearest stn: Meiji-Jingumae.

http://www.the-great-burger.com

THE SMILE

The Secret…
Harajuku’s The Great Burger brings their stupendous burgerology (see above) to a new venue in Shinjuku Lumine.

The Picks…
Each season has a host of off-menu treats—make sure you ask. Or just go for the Avocado Mozzarella Burger (¥1,300 w/o tax).

The Style…
Always wanted to dine inside an American girl’s bedroom (perhaps you had one?). Don’t miss out.

The Deal…
Stop by 11am-4pm weekdays for a lunch set including one free drink and a salad. The Smile joins in on promotions from Lumine Est too, so keep your eyes on the coupons.

The Skinny…
They might not be very skinny, but the pancakes and French toast go down pretty well, too.

  • 7F, Lumine Est Shinjuku, 3-38-1 Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku. Tel: 03-3353-5071. Open 11am-11pm (LO 10pm). Nearest stn: Shinjuku.

http://www.the-great-burger.com

VASHON COFFEE-BAR-BRILL

The Secret…
100% beef patties, cooked to the consumer’s delight, plus two kinds of original sauces. And why stop at beef? Cod and chicken make for a sweet burger bonanza too.

The Picks…
Vashon Burger ¥1,200; Alaskan Crispy Cod Burger (¥1,100); Buffalo Chicken Burger (¥1,000).

The Style…
Vashon is cobranded with “Seattle’s Best Coffee,” hence a fair bit of inspiration from the rainy city in the ambiance.

The Deal…
You’ll can stop by weekdays until 4pm for a late lunch or just enjoy a plain ol’ happy hour glassful from 4-7pm.

The Skinny…
Craft beer on tap and eight wines by the glass along with the spectacular menu might well alert you to the presence of Roti Roppongi’s chef Ian Tozer behind the scenes. It’s him!

The MET…
Metropolis readers get one topping for free!

  • Shiba-Koen: 2-3-27 Shiba-koen, Minato-ku. Nearest stn: Daimon. Open daily 11am-11pm. Tel: 03-6435-6633.
  • Nihombashi: 6-5 Nihonbashi Kabutocho. Nearest stn: Nihombashi. Open 11am-11pm, closed Sat-Sun & hols. Tel: 03-5614-0664.

http://www.vashon.jp

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