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A&G Diner

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Not many hamburger restaurants can claim to draw in the owners of other burger shops, but A&G Diner manages to pull off this feat. Since Seita Yoshizawa opened his place six years ago as Goro’s Diner, he has played host to a number of likeminded restaurateurs. The name changed last December to A&G Diner, but you can still count on the same excellent dishes, carefully chosen and creatively made to satisfy the most keen of burger cravings. Chefs and diners alike can choose from an astounding 16 kinds of burgers, with patties grilled to perfection. Popular selections include the Rio de Burger (¥1,250), topped with the finest Calabresa sausages and a tasty Brazilian sauce to give you a taste of Brazil. The Special Burger (¥1,600) is not for the faint of heart. It can only be described as a monster, including thick-cut bacon, Gouda and Cheddar cheese, avocado slices and a sunny-side up egg, seasoned with original teriyaki barbeque sauce. For a complete midday meal, a break from the office or a pleasure stop, take advantage of a great lunch deal. A&G Diner offers a special lunch set, with a plain hamburger, fries, salad and a drink—all for a mere ¥1,000.

☛ Okamoto Bldg 1F, 3-41-2 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3403-9033. Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-10pm, Sun & hols 11:30am-6pm, closed Tue. Nearest stn: Gaienmae.


Numerous Japanese TV shows and magazines have already discovered that Arms is one of the best hamburger shops in Tokyo—now with three convenient locations. Chef Takuji Iwata uses his ten-plus years of experience to cook up some mean hand-grilled burgers, all of which come with a side of thick, wedge-shaped fries. Arms’ famous cheeseburger includes plentiful amounts of melted cheese atop a crunchy-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the-inside patty with crisp lettuce and homemade sauce. With 15 types of burgers and 11 sandwiches, Arms offers up something for everyone, including vegetarians. Arms’ original location right next to Yoyogi Park entices both locals and regulars who come from the suburbs to enjoy a juicy one in its warm, country house-like interior. The latest menu addition—a seasonal burger that will change every two months—allows even longtime customers to venture into new territory. If you’re hankering for a bunfull in the Shinjuku area, head to Arms Picnic in Lumine. Arms Picnic offers a mini-size single burger, side dish and special burger plates, with desserts too. If you want to take the picnic concept to the full and have yours elsewhere, Arms’ takeout- and delivery-only location on the other side of Yoyogi Park lets fans enjoy their burgers and sandwiches alfresco or at home. Party platters of all your favorites are also available; call the takeout and delivery location for details.

☛ Park Side Shop: 5-64-7 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3466-5970. Open Tue-Sun 11am-11pm, closed Mon (except hols). Nearest stn: Yoyogi Koen.

☛ Arms Picnic: 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.

☛ For an archived Metropolis interview with Takuji Iwata see

AS Classics Diner

Stopping by AS Classics Diner, tucked away in the suburbs near Komazawa Olympic Park, is like hopping on a shuttle back in time to ’60s-era America. Besides the retro interior, the menu boasts 19 varieties of burgers, including such popular items as the Loco burger (topped with avocado, fried egg and secret sauce); the Baked Apple burger (garnished with an apple cooked in cinnamon and Calvados cider); the Hot Mexican burger (with salsa and avocado); and the ASC Special “Hot Rod” burger (smothered in cheese, fried egg, avocado, home-cured bacon and chili). And of course, all the burgers come with a pile of delicious fries. What really sets this diner apart, though, is the focus on freshness. The patties are made with Australian beef and topped with the freshest vegetables, and the housemade buns use all-natural yeast. If you’re not in the mood for a burger, AS Classics Diner also offers burritos (takeout/delivery only), baby back ribs, salads and great coffee drinks, plus 15 kinds of sandwiches like smoked turkey and cheese (¥1,155), roast beef (¥1,050) and avocado (¥997), on your choice of bread. The outdoor seating area is popular with dog owners, and a delivery service is available 10am-6pm.

☛ 1F Orion Komazawa Bldg, 5-9-22 Yagumo, Meguro-ku. Tel: 03-5701-5033. Open Wed-Mon 9am-11pm, closed Tue. Nearest stn: Komazawa Daigaku or Toritsu Daigaku.


Owner-chef Takeshi Sato had never given the humble hamburger a second thought before he began his apprenticeship at Tokyo’s famed Firehouse. But he’s certainly a fast learner: just a few years later, he’s creating gourmet masterpieces at Akasaka’s Authentic. From simple cheeseburgers to the monstrous Authentic burger—a mad combination of three beef patties layered with chili, egg, cheese and bacon—Sato personally crafts each sandwich into that perfect balance of crispy toasted bun and juicy, 100 percent beefy goodness. Not to be missed are the bacon cheeseburger, with three thick strips of bacon that are double-fried to an exquisite crunchiness, and the original broccoli cheeseburger, featuring a patty piled high with sautéed broccoli florets and drizzled with Monterey Jack cheese. Five fresh and healthful deli-style sandwiches are available for those looking for something a little different. While the queue is often out the door during lunch on weekdays, Authentic really shines at night—with a perky ska soundtrack and playful university-like atmosphere, it’s a funky and relaxing spot to grab a burger and a beer on the way home.

☛ 2-18-19 Akasaka, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3505-8584. Open Mon-Fri 11am-10:30pm (LO 10pm), Sat-Sun & hols 11:30am-8:30pm (LO 8pm). Closed during New Year and Fuji Rock Festival. Nearest stn: Akasaka.

Bubby’s Yokohama

The first Bubby’s opened in Tribeca, Manhattan in 1990 as a pie shop and, over ten years later, in Brooklyn, once it had moved beyond just pies to being a phenomenon of home-cooked American cuisine. Bubby’s has since become the favorite of massive names in the celebrity world. Now founder Ron Silver has added another string to his bow and is setting out to conquer Yokohama with his newest branch. The values of Bubby’s are traditional recipes, fresh meat and produce, and healthy portions of tasty comfort food. It is all about Grandma’s home cooking. Though at first it was believed that the “delicate” Japanese people would not be able to eat American food, it has become clear to Bubby’s that their culinary philosophy fits perfectly with Japanese tastes. Bubby’s Yokohama also offers a home away from home for international customers who are missing those flavors from their childhood. Try the classic Bubby’s Burger (¥950), stacked with leafy lettuce, thick sliced tomato and onion and accompanied by homemade fries. And if you can manage it afterwards, there is a range of Bubby’s famous pies to choose for dessert, including the Mile High Apple Pie (¥600). Bubby’s is situated under JR Sakuragicho station.

☛ 1-1-1 Sakuragicho, Naka-ku, Yokohama. Tel: 045-263-8139. Open daily 8am-10pm (café), 11am-11pm (diner). Nearest stn: Sakuragicho.

Burger 5

Located in the heart of Ginza, Burger 5 is a place where customers can relax in a space suited to free thinking and creativity. The motto here is “Simple is the Best”—patties are made with 100 percent beef seasoned only with rock salt and black pepper, making for a satisfying, authentic-tasting burger experience. Burger 5 is perfect no matter how small or large your appetite for red meat may be, and diners are free to choose the quantity of beef used in their patty. Big eaters will want to order the Manhattan (¥1,800), which features a whopping three beef patties (totaling over 450 grams), also available topped with three slices of cheese (¥2,250) if you’re not planning on running a marathon anytime soon. Other popular burgers include the Avocado Classic (¥1,200) and the originally-flavored Big Apple Classic (with baked apple and cinnamon, ¥1,250). All sandwiches are perfectly accompanied by French fries and homemade pickles. When it comes to dessert, there’s one word on everyone’s lips: cheesecake. Burger 5 offers three different homemade varieties: New York, Caramel and Chocolate Cheesecake. Amid all these inspiring ingredients it’s no wonder that local artists tend to frequent the spot. Aspiring photographers are even encouraged to display their work on the walls, to accompany diners’ gourmet burger tasting with some visual stimulation.

☛ B1 Ginza 5, 5-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku. Tel: 03-5568-3110. Open Mon-Sat 11am-10:45pm, Sun & hols 11am-9:30pm. Nearest stn: Ginza, exit C1.

Burger Mania

High-end burgers are to be savored at Burger Mania Shirokane, which launched in 2008 opposite Kitasato Hospital to service the sandwich requirements of the area’s well-turned-out inhabitants. Burger Mania was selected as one of the best restaurants of 2009 and 2010 on Tabelog—a reputation that inevitably led to the opening of a second branch in Hiroo in 2011. The interior of the restaurants will make you feel as if you just ducked into a café in the Lower East Side of New York City. Just substitute the Big Apple with a big burger. All menus are written in English and the enthusiastic and easygoing staff possess fine bilingual skills. There is a specials menu at both Hiroo and Shirokane including a monthly burger that you’ll come back for time and time again. Some burgers are branch-specific, such as Shirokane’s Quattro Cheese Burger (¥1,250) with, you guessed it, four types of cheese, and Hiroo’s mean BBQ Cheese Burger (¥1,200). However, there are mainstays at both branches, such as the Platinum Burger (¥1,500), made of 100 percent wagyu beef, or the Mango Burger (Shirokane branch only; ¥1,100) for that tropical island feeling. All burgers come with French fries and salad, and toppings can be piled on to suit your taste. Sandwiches are also available with tasty fillings such as corned beef and BLT.

☛ Shirokane: 6-5-7 Shirokane, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3442-2200. Open daily 11:30am-11pm. Nearest stn: Shirokane-Takanawa (10 min).

☛ Hiroo: 2F Hiroo Rokkokan, 5-15-25 Minami-Azabu, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5422-7899. Open daily 11:30am-11pm. Nearest stn: Hiroo, between exits 1 and 3, next to Citibank.

☛ Email:

Cafe Hohokam

Opened in June 2010 and named after one of the major native tribes of the American Southwest, Cafe Hohokam is a Harajuku eatery with a tented second-floor terrace—which means you can enjoy the beer-garden vibe whatever the weather. The cafe sports a nostalgic theme inspired by desert and tribal themes, complete with cacti, vintage ’70s furniture and a blues soundtrack. The food menu, devised by the chefs at nearby restaurant The Great Burger, is of a Californian bent, featuring 25 types of burgers starting from ¥950. The signature Cafe Hohokam burger (¥1,450 with fries) is filled with chili and jalapeno peppers and served with a light brown bun that’s intended to recall the desert sand. There are ten other sandwiches, each served with fries; six varieties of hot dogs with onion rings; and a selection of homemade pizzas. Lighter fare includes the popular Hohokam Salad (¥1,200), with ham, shrimp, avocado, tomatoes, bacon, tuna, chicken and more, drizzled with blue cheese dressing—perfect for sharing. Diners can wash down their food with one of 30 world beers. And with seating for 50 people and a total capacity of 70, Hohokam is a fantastic venue for a summertime party—call for details about their all-you-can-drink plans starting from ¥3,500 per person.

☛ 3-22-14 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5775-5708. Open daily 11:30am-11pm. Nearest stn: Harajuku or Meiji-Jingumae.

Frijoles Burritos & Tacos

Since 2009 Tokyo has thankfully been blessed with real gourmet burritos and tacos. Frijoles believes there is a difference between fast food and food that is just served fast. Their burritos and tacos might be served fast, but they are made from real, fresh ingredients and their healthiness defies categorization as your typical “fast food.” The original Azabu-Juban venue has been joined this year by a new branch in Roppongi, where Frijoles is happy to cater to a wide range of Japanese and international diners. The friendly, bilingual staff are always keen to make you feel at home. Frijoles is all about fine food in a casual environment. The recipes are prepared using proper gas stoves and pots and pans—no industrial kitchens here. Marinated chicken and steaks, as well as seasoned, braised pork carnitas, along with pinto, black beans and more make up the substance of the tasty Mexican dishes. Far from simply reheating fillings and slapping them into a burrito, everything is made from scratch for your order—because it tastes better that way. For a Burrito, Fajita Burrito, Burrito Bowl, Three Tacos or Salad, the price ranges from ¥850-¥1,000 depending on your choice of filling. There is a vegetarian option available so no one need feel left out. Their take-out and delivery service is a popular option for company lunches, and could fit a picnic occasion too.

☛ Roppongi Branch: 1F Piramide Bldg, 6-6-9 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-6447-1433. Open daily 11am-10pm, closed every second Sun. Nearest stn: Roppongi.

☛ Azabu-Juban Branch: 2-3-5 Azabu-Juban, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-6459-4095. Open daily 11am-10pm, closed every second Mon. Nearest stn: Azabu-Juban. Email:


Glorious Chain Café was the first café launched by global lifestyle brand Diesel, in the prime location of Meiji Street in Shibuya, right in the entrance of the Diesel store. The menu was concocted by the Diesel Creative Team, who tasted local specialties during their fashion trips around the world. The specialties are hearty meals and comfort food, such as Classic Eggs Benedict served with a thick hollandaise sauce, and their Amazing Cookie & Ice Cream Sandwich. Several wines are sourced directly from the Diesel Farm in Italy, while cocktails and excellent espresso are available too. Olive oils from Diesel Farm and other original goods can be purchased. But perhaps the masterpiece of Glorious Chain is their BLT Hamburger, which has been refined to perfection. Diesel has turned the creation of a fine burger into an art form. The hand-kneaded spiced patty is left overnight to allow the meat to attain full juiciness. The baps are selected especially for their ability to soak up the maximum amount of meaty gravy. Smoky bacon and prime cheddar cheese are chosen to match the patty’s flavor, along with freshly-sliced vegetables to give it that homemade taste. The burger is served with skinny fries, salad and relish. Come by on Happy Hour weekdays between 5pm and 8pm for ¥300 beers, wines and cocktails to accompany your burger fest.

☛ Cocoti 1F, 1-23-16 Shibuya. Tel: 03-3409-5670. Open daily 11:30am-11pm. Nearest stn: Shibuya, exit 13.

Grill Burger Club Sasa

Grill Burger Club Sasa, located just meters from Daikanyama station, grounds the local hipster crowd by serving up real, down-to-earth hamburgers, sandwiches and hot dogs tailor-made to satisfy. Take a seat in this classic, airy restaurant and try one of their ten wagyu burgers, developed after the owner spent a month traveling across the US to research the essential elements of a good sandwich. Most burgers come in three sizes (80g, 100g and 125g) and all are nestled between whole-wheat buns with fresh veggies, grilled onions and relish. Popular choices include the bacon cheeseburger (¥1,250) and avocado burger (¥1,200), but if you have a chance, be sure to try the grilled mushroom burger (¥1,350)—topped with Gouda cheese and three types of mushrooms sautéed in garlic, this is always a popular selection, but quantities are limited so only a few lucky customers can enjoy it each day. Meanwhile, the four variations on the classic American club sandwich are a must for fans of the original. At night, Sasa turns from café to bar, while still grilling up the same delicious burgers, and courses are also available starting at ¥4,500. Sasa has space for strollers, too—so don’t be afraid to bring the kids!

☛ 2-21-15 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3770-1951. Open daily 11am-11pm (LO 10pm), closed every third Tue. Nearest stn: Daikanyama.


Harakara is a rising hit among foreigners hankering for fine burgers in Tokyo, as well as being mighty popular with the locals. Also offering quality sandwiches, it is named after the owner, who honed his trade in Mos Burger, McDonald’s and Kua‘Aina before opening his own restaurant two years ago. With this range of patty experience who could be better equipped to transform your Tokyo hamburger sensibilities? The concept of Harakara is to show that burgers don’t have to be junk food, but can in fact be a healthy option. The burgers are made with fresh vegetables, and seasoned purely with sun-extracted mineral salt and black pepper to enhance the flavor. If you want proof of its salubrious credentials, it just goes to show that 70% of the clientele are young and middle-aged women. In fact, Harakara cites his burgers as being “female stomach-friendly.” Classic favorites are the Avocado Burger (¥1,050) and the Cheddar Cheese Burger (¥950), while sandwiches such as Avocado & Ham (¥950) and Clubhouse (¥700) are also offered if you fancy something lighter. The restaurant itself has a lively atmosphere and is usually filled with bubbly conversation. And if you need any further incentive to try Harakara’s burgers, you can ask for a free drink when you show this issue of Metropolis.

☛ 2-16-8 Sangenjaya, Setagaya-ku. Tel: 03-6323-1760. Open Mon & Thu 11:30am-4:30pm, Tue, Wed & Fri 11:30am-4:30pm & 6:30-10:30pm, Sat-Sun 11:30am-8:30pm. Nearest stn: Sangenjaya.


Martiniburger is not your typical burger joint. Its sleek, modern interior, subtle lighting, great blues and jazz, and authentic New York cuisine will make you feel as if you’ve been transported to one of New York’s hippest dining spots. The restaurant was opened last fall by native New Yorker Eliot Bergman. During the day, try the restaurant’s signature dish, the Martiniburger (¥1,000, with side dish), a juicy, 200g flame-grilled all-beef burger on a toasted English muffin, enhanced with your choice of upscale sauces, such as Béarnaise or blue cheese. Add your favorite toppings: bacon, guacamole, fried onions and more. Choose from a range of side dishes including mac n’ cheese, oven-roasted potatoes—and even creamed spinach. The restaurant’s New York Burger Collection (¥1,200) offers six special burgers that reflect the varying tastes of the city’s cultural heritage, including the Fifth Avenue, with Gouda, Cheddar cheese and aioli mustard, and the West Side, with crispy bacon, onions and barbecue sauce. At night, Martiniburger offers a full menu of other fine choices, too: homemade meatloaf with rich mushroom gravy, hearty chili, lasagna, Cuban sandwiches and daily grilled specials such as lamb chops or skirt steak (¥1,800). Perfect with a nice extra-dry vodka Martini (¥700) from the Vodka Bar or a tall glass of draft Brooklyn Lager (¥800). Top your meal off with a brownie or a slice of cheesecake for a real NYC finish.

☛ Nakazatocho 31, Shinjuku-ku. Tel: 03-6280-8920. Email: Open Tue-Sat 11:30am-2pm (LO) & 6-9:30pm (LO), Sun 11:30am-2pm, closed Mon. Nearest stn: Kagurazaka or Edogawabashi.

Munch’s Burger Shack

Munch’s Burger Shack began life as a traveling burger shop in 2006, with the cheery owner keen on filling up bellies over a wide area with satisfying burgers. Munch’s moved on to doing lunch at the Neo Stall Village in the Tokyo International Forum, catering for soccer events on weekends and other such activities—before finally opening their long-awaited store on January 31 this year. Munch’s unique approach is to use high-quality US steak beef. They blend well-selected lean meat with Japanese kuroge wagyu fat to make their daily patties. Customers generally love sinking their teeth into such a well-put-together steak-like burger. Seasoning is simply salt and pepper, and the burger is prepared with custom-ordered original buns and fresh, sliced vegetables. The Standard Burger weighs in at a very reasonable ¥880, with the Bacon Cheese Burger, with handmade smoky bacon, priced at ¥1,200. These are just two out of the ten plus varieties available. Burgers are served with fries—that you can soup up to extra-large for free. For a lighter option you could opt for the Caesar Salad with homemade bacon and avocado dressing (¥980). Takeaway is available, and if you’re in a hurry but want to stop by just call ahead to order your burger in advance. Then simply rock up and get stuck in.

☛ 1F Proceed Mita, 2-30-9 Shiba, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-6435-3166. Email: Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm & 6-9:30pm, Sat-Sun & hols 11:30am-9pm. Nearest stn: Tamachi, west exit, or Mita.

Roti Roppongi

Completing its milestone tenth year in its original location in the Piramide Building—just down the street from Roppongi Hills—Roti certainly offers many good reasons to stop by. Not only does it boast an outstanding selection of burgers, but a whole host of other comforts, such as twelve New World wines by the glass, seven American craft beers on tap, a smoke-free bar and dining area, free Wi-Fi, weekend brunch, English-speaking staff, a family-friendly attitude, a large comfortable outside terrace, 25% off for happy hour, and the list could go on. But let’s get back to the delectably thick and juicy burgers, voted the best in Aoyama/Roppongi by the popular Friday evening Fuji TV show VVV6 Tokyo V-chelin in 2010. With a tempting range of delicious toppings, Roti provides over ten varieties including the classic juicy grilled Australian beef burger. Other options include the BBQ Chicken Melt with Jack Cheese & bacon, the Turkey Burger with real ranch dressing and cranberry relish, as well as the popular Vegetarian Burger made with brown rice and grains—and topped with roasted eggplant dip and tahini sauce. If you’re feeling extravagant you could sample the Spicy Cajun Swordfish Burger (pictured), made from blackened swordfish on a brioche bun with homemade tartare sauce and fresh, grilled pineapple. Don’t forget you can now enjoy a Roti burger delivered right to your door, through a premium delivery service (

☛ 6-6-9 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5785-3671. Open Mon-Thu 11:30am-5pm & 6-11pm, Fri 11:30am-5pm & 6pm-4am, Sat 11:30am-5pm (brunch) & 6pm-4am (dinner), Sun & hols 11:30am-5pm (brunch) & 6-11pm. Nearest stn: Roppongi.

Suji’s Restaurant & Bar

Suji’s has just celebrated its fourth anniversary in Tokyo—not bad after humble beginnings six years back at a basement shop in Itaewon, South Korea. Since then, seven more restaurants and delis in Korea and Japan have been launched. And underpinning them all is the philosophy of simplicity—authentic food, genuine relationships and comfortable surroundings—which you can try for yourself just a short walk away from Azabu-Juban station. Suji’s aims to offer a place to call your own, filled with home’s simple pleasures. Operating restaurants, deli shops and branded retail products, Suji’s is now manufacturing authentic deli meats such as pastrami and smoked turkey, with products available in Costco Korea. The plan is to bring these tasty deli meats to Japanese stores before long. You would be hard pushed to find a burger like Suji’s Handmade Turkey Burger (¥1,500 with coleslaw & fries) anywhere in Asia. Each of these lovely specimens are freshly ground on the premises and seasoned to perfection. You can choose BBQ or Teriyaki sauce plus other toppings from the custom burger menu. If you can’t decide whether to go for turkey or beef, why not make a move for Suji’s new sliders (¥500 each with fries, minimum two sliders)—mini-burgers of beef and turkey which could solve your indecision and help you get the best of both worlds.

☛ 1F Azabudai Hinoki Bldg, 3-1-5 Azabudai, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3505-4490. Email: Open Mon-Fri 11am-11pm, Sat 8am-11pm, Sun 8am-10pm, hols 10am-10pm.

THE Beat Diner

While the maze of narrow alleys under the tracks around Yurakucho station may be known as a haven for izakaya-seeking salarymen, newly opened The Beat Diner is starting to change all that. The restaurant offers up some mean burgers in a funky, red-brick hideaway reminiscent of a New York or Chicago eatery. These sandwiches give new meaning to the term “smash a burger”—some stand over 16cm tall, packing in layers of 100 percent Aussie beef patties, fresh veggies and cheeses between two chewy, subtly sweet buns. Try an old favorite like the bacon cheeseburger (¥1,150), or get down to business with the 14cm-tall B.E.A.T. burger (¥1,400), topped with bacon, eggs, avocado and tomato. If scarfing that down doesn’t sound like enough of a challenge, the 16cm-tall Beat Devil burger (¥1,800) comes with double patties topped with ham, habanero peppers and an ultra-spicy sauce. Come in for a burger at lunchtime, but with cocktails and beers starting at ¥380, you’ll definitely want to stop by for some after-work drinks on the cheap, at a place you can be sure won’t pull any surprises when you look inside your wallet the next day. All-you-can-drink courses are also available for groups, and the whole restaurant can be rented out for parties and events.

☛ 2-1-13 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku. Tel: 03-3580-7510. Open Mon-Thu & Sat 11am-11pm, Fri 11am-2am, Sun 11am-10pm. Nearest stn: Hibiya, exit A4 or Yurakucho.