In recent years, the gourmet burger wave has arrived in Japan. Previously, I introduced a couple of amazing hamburger restaurants in Tokyo – but of course: there are much, much more! This time, I would like to introduce two restaurants in the hip Omotesando-Aoyama area. Let’s grab something to eat!
Instagrammable AND tasty: UMAMI BURGER’s true gourmet burgers
The Omotesando and Aoyama area in Tokyo is famous for it’s artistic and fashionable vice. This is where Japan’s young creators gather. In a back alley, 5 minutes away from the B2 exit of Omotesando station you’ll find a church-style wedding venue and right next to it: “UMAMI BURGER”.
The name “UMAMI” derives from the Japanese expression “umami ingredient“. It’s one of the five basic tastes. So the name is of Japanese origin, but actually, the restaurant is from the US. It has been one year since “UMAMI BURGER” came to Japan. At that time, hundreds of people queued in front of the store. Now, one year later at lunchtime on a weekend, the queue was bearable. We had to wait for only about 20 minutes in line to get a proper table seat. Nice!
The menu consists of gourmet burgers with “umami” ingredients such as truffle and garlic oil. For some burgers, you can even choose how you like your meat. There are a lot of sides and also some salads (including vegetarian options).
In this restaurant, there are no “sets”, meaning that you have to order drinks and sides separately. Since the portions of the side dishes are quite large, you should bring a friend to share the food.
And then, our burgers came!
Amazing!! You can actually “taste” the professional approach regarding the ingredients. Each ingredient is prepared to extract the maximum “umami taste”. Also, the all in all balance of taste is great. For us, the biggest surprise was the side dish. We got “SMOTHERED FRIES”, fries with braised short rib, house gravy, and chives…OMG! Maybe its because I’m from Germany and I love potatoes, but this dish had an indescribable nostalgic taste to it and I loved it!
As a dessert, we ordered a “Fancy Milkshake” (and a normal shake). The fancy shake consists of rainbow-colored cotton candy and a candy topping. It’s true “Harajuku style” and very instagrammable for sure. Since this shake is enormous in size, I recommend to share it with a friend.
UMAMI BURGER Aoyama shop
3-15-5 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Business hours: 11: 00 ~ 22: 00
Japanese style burgers and green smoothies at “the 3rd Burger”
There is another hamburger restaurant in the immediate vicinity of “UMAMI BURGER”. That’s “the 3rd Burger”. They have burgers using typical Japanese ingredients, such as Wasabi, pumpkin, komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach), etc. In that respect it is very similar to “UMAMI BURGER”, but the price of the burgers is only about a third of the more expensive “UMAMI BURGER”.
When ordering food at “the 3rd Burger” you should order a set. There is a 600 yen set you can order in addition to your hamburger. It consists of French fries and a smoothie. For a proper smoothie, that’s a very good price! Also, if you choose their green smoothie, you might feel a little less guilty about eating at a fast food restaurant in the first place. 😉
The side dish options (other than fries) aren’t very exciting. But! They have spicy “Wasabi Tartar chips” which are great! In addition, for dessert, they do have “dessert burgers” with adzuki bean paste, custard, chestnut and so on as a topping. Interested?
the 3rd Burger Aoyama Kotto Street Store
5-11-2 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Business hours: 9: 00 ~ 22: 30
Both burger shops I visited this time can be characterized by their use of “Japanese ingredients”. The balance of the taste was really good in both cases. “UMAMI BURGER” can be described as a real “restaurant” where you sit down and enjoy your meal with family and friends. “the 3rd Burger” is closer to casual “fast food chains” where you can get your food without lining up in crazy queues. Since both stores are very close to each other, why don’t you do a little “burger hopping” by eating lunch at one store and dinner at the other store?