By Peter Lin
Think Kobe, think steak, think unaffordable? Well my friend, think again. Not every budget will stretch to a decadent Kobe steak dinner (although when you do feel flush, go to Wakkoqu), but if you want a taste of the local beef without breaking the bank, there is another option: Wanto Burger.
A stone's throw away from Sannomiya station, it's a fun American-style diner, whose specialty burger is a thing of beauty.
Wanto is, there's no other way to put it, cool. Sure, it's playing up the retro diner look with its red pleather seats and glass Coca Cola bottles; but quirky twists, like the flowers in the mandatory cow-skull on the wall, give it a little something extra. Plus there are DJ decks tucked in a corner and the staff are both knowledgeable and approachable. Though they look more like they should be hanging out in a record store, these guys make a mean burger and some pretty good sides.
So what is this burger I keep harping on about? Well, the Wanto is a burger fiend's dream: from the base up we have delicious salty bacon, spiced boiled egg, a juicy 100% Kobe beef patty topped with slivers of Wagyu steak for a little extra protein and crunchy garlic chips to garnish, all wrapped up in a soft burger bap and well flavoured with mustard and steak sauce. You can even up the stakes (geddit?!) and swap your Wagyu for Kobe steak.
Burgers come with four or five potato wedges. It's not a lot, but they are perfect to pop inside your paper burger sheath (don't put the burger in yourself, the staff like to do it for you) to soak up escaped meat juices. If you have a larger appetite order a side of fries or, if on the specials board, the chilli fries.
Although not in the same realm as a full Kobe steak dinner, the Wanto is no cheap fast-food burger at ¥2270 a pop - ¥3780 for the steak upgrade. Although the restaurant does have normal burgers for normal prices, these are nothing to rave about. If you go to Wanto, invest in a Wanto, it's sinfully succulent.
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