Tokyo's Best Burger is at Harajuku [Closed]

California Dreaming meets Omotesando Chic

By Bonson Lam    - 4 min read

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Last updated: Oct 6, 2020

After a long hard day on the golf course or lugging those excruciatingly heavy Gucci and Louis Vuitton Bags stuffed with Shu Uemura products on Omotesando, drop by at J.S. Burger Cafe at Harajuku Bell Pier and relax with an Arnold Palmer, named after an American golfer who loved some liquid refreshment on a summer’s day. An intoxicating sweet mix of lemonade and fruity ice tea, it marries the light tart taste of lemons with the soothing feel of tea. Served ice cold on the rocks or heated up, I suggest that you slowly sip it with a savory dish like a Fried Green Tomato Burger or Salsa Fish Burger (900 yen), arguably the best burger in Tokyo, rather than gulp it down by itself. Or at least, wait until the ice melts the super sweet concoction to make it a bit more drinkable.

Japanese taste buds make an appearance with the Teriyaki Burger (1050 yen) and Melon Soda, and for those wanting the hard stuff, a selection of draft beer (580 yen) is available, the perfect accompaniment to wash down those crispy golden brown Onion Rings and pieces of Fried Chicken. They also serve lasagna, but if you are hankering for Northern Italian cuisine, head downstairs to Carmine Omotesando Stand. If you are game for hard core liquid, I dare you to stay and try the Tomato Lemonade from the seasonal menu. Only in Japan, I hear you say...

On the other hand, a selection of sweets like J.S. Sundae (480 yen) or Cheesecake (580 yen) is available for your indulgence, made more tempting if you upsize to the drink set (200 yen extra) featuring a selection of coffee, tea and cold drinks.

J.S. Burger is part of the healthy burger movement with quality ingredients and healthy greens made with love. Towering over Harajuku Bell Pier, the window benches give a bird’s eye view of the proceedings on the pedestrian friendly lane way below. It has been here since 2010 or so, long enough to witness several seasons of changing fashion trends on Omotesando, and also to know that when you are onto delicious homemade burgers with the freshest farmers’ market ingredients, the discerning diner will come back for more.When I drop in to J.S. Burger cafe I am not just having lunch or dinner, but am transported through rose colored windows to a Japanese interpreted dream of the U.S. West Coast, something like a scene from TV series “Beverly Hills 90120”, filled with surfboards and Elvis Presley jukeboxes. The aged patina of the weathered wood paneling evoke memories from a relaxed holiday beach house; with the large wooden tables and bookshelves completing the scene. Alternatively relax on a sofa and the finger food menu and burgers make it easy to eat with your perfectly manicured hands while chatting with your friends.

While the bright pastel lime and cherry red doors evoke an endless summer, this gem is yet to be discovered by the party central hosts from the Beverley Hills Beach Club. In the meantime, take a look at the long list of weekend and evening activities hosted by this cafe, from the “Greenroom Festival” to the “Candle Workshop”, and join in for a taste of Californian community meets Omotesando chic in the lower west side of Tokyo. Being part of the earth friendly boutique fashion house, they certainly know how to weave lifestyle in everything they do.

Relaxing here on a Monday afternoon are mainly small groups of 20 and 30 something's; friends quietly chatting or an office worker catching up on some emails, and while polite and discreet, they are unlikely to come around and whip out the guitar for some communal rendition of the Beach Boys or Donna Lewis, well at least not until Brendon Walsh or David Silver decides to drop in and make this their second home.

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Bonson Lam

Bonson Lam @bonson.lam

I knew my future was destined to be with Japan the moment I flew from Sydney to experience the atmospheric lane ways of Kyoto last century. From the skies above Sapporo to the old charm of Naha's alleyways, I have been enchanted by the beauty and variety on every island. I am humbled to have met many distinguished people in my role as Regional Partner, especially the national living treasures of Japan, such as the doll maker to the Imperial Family. From sushi cooking classes to Ninja training grounds I welcome your ideas on what you like from JapanTravel.com. Please visit us in Kyoto or Osaka and have some green tea or sake with us. 

Join the discussion

Andrew C. 3 years ago
looks good! mine was a different place in Harajuku but can't remember the name at the moment.
Bonson Lam Author 4 years ago
This is a place where you can have healthy and delicious food!! You should try the Fried Green Tomato or Salsa Fish Burger as well.
Relinda Puspita 4 years ago
the salads look very fresh.