Kua'aina - Burgers ****
Addresses & Phones -
Aoyama : Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Minami Aoyama 5-10-21. Tel. 03-3407-8001
Shibuya : Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Shibuya 1-10-4. Tel. 03-3409-3200
Kanda : Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kanda Surugadai 3-5. Tel. 03-3518-0050
Gotanda : Tokyo-to, Shinagawa-ku, Nishi Gotanda 1-26-7. Tel. 03-5437-3800
Kamakura : Kanagawa-ken, Kamakura-shi, Yuigahama 4-3-9. Tel. 0467-61-2400
Opening hours - From 11:00 to 21:00, closed on Sunday
Menu - In English and Japanese
Credit Cards - Yes
I have finally found a place where to eat high quality hamburgers. Burgers, it'is well known, are not high cuisine, but they do have a place in life. I believe in fast food, I swear I do. Sometimes MacDonald's is the ideal place to make a fuel stop: this doesn't qualify as a proper meal, but it does get rid of the pangs of hunger.
Kua'aina however is different, and is only a distant relative of the places where we usually cruise for burgers, mainly because it uses high quality ingredients, but also for some interesting choices available in its menu. I have concluded that, in spite of the speed with which food comes, this is actually not fast food, but real, excellent food: I cannot think of higher praise.
First of all, its golden french fries are excellent, crispy and not at all oily or, if you prefer a single adjective, just perfect. Second, you can have your sandwiches in one of three different kinds of bread, namely kaiser roll, multi-grain wheat or hearth rye. Third, of the five burgers, 14 sandwiches and three salads (blue cheese dressing, my favorite, is available), many are both refreshing and healthy, like the tuna and avocado sandwich, or the avocado, bacon and cheese sandwich.
You can have extra cheese, bacon, avocado, or pineapple for from 100 to 200 yen. What's more, you can choose among six kinds of cheese, including Italian provolone and swiss cheese.
The final bill will be around 1000 yen apiece, but the place is definitely worth at least that much.
The Kamakura branch, which is the one I visit when I am on the Shonan coast, is very close to the beach and, together with T-Side (an excellent Indian restaurant about which you can read here) the most interesting source of Gaijin food in the area.
Rocinante - Jamaican ****
Address - Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Utagawamachi 30-4 Shin Iwazaki Bldg
Opening hours - Open from 6 PM to 2 AM. Closed on 2nd and 3rd Sunday of every month.
Telephone - 03-3464-7806
Menu - In Japanese
Credit Cards - OK
On my way to Rocinante, I was wondering why a Jamaican restaurant should ever be named after Don Quixote's horse. I sort of understood that when I saw the place itself. On the door there's Pablo Picasso's famous portrait of Don Quixote, and Rocinante was his horse, but in any case the guys at Rocinante are not of the kind that lets facts get in their way. First, this is a place run by Japanese for Japanese. No trace of Jamaicans or even foreigners. Second, most of the menu isn't Jamaican at all, and it's written only in Japanese - no English; they even have gyoza. This said, they do have several dishes which, at least in name, are traditional Jamaican recipes. And, although I would not guarantee their authenticity, they are certainly good. They have also an a huge choices of rums from a dozen countries. Rocinante is not cheap: expect to spend at least 4000 yen apiece.