I set off from the Kyoto hostel for my walk to Philosopher’s Path and Ginkakuji (aka. Jishoji, aka, Silver Pavillion, aka. the prettiest garden you’ll ever see). As usual, I was walking according to Google Map’s directions, and felt a pang of hunger around noon. I chanced upon 58 Diner, a restaurant with an outdoor sign that had English on it!!!
Some English at the bottom.
I saw two young ladies eating by the window seat, and suddenly, I had complete trust in this place, so I went in.
At the beginning of my trip, I used to love walking into restaurants that had no English anywhere, for that “extra authentic” Japanese experience, but I stopped doing that halfway through my journey. I avoided places with no English or pictures on their menu. The reason will be explained, in another blog post that highlights the few negative experiences I had in Japan as a foreigner. Overall, I had a wonderful time in Japan and the people are generally nice, but every country is bound to have its assholes, right?
Anyway, back to this blog post! I got a nice seat by the wall, and was soon provided a handwritten English menu.
They have illustrated instructions on how to eat their juicy burgers! So cute! There is cutlery in that wooden box with the red “58 Diner” branded tablecloth.
A lot of restaurants have baskets for your bags and jackets.
A well-decorated space with vintage odds and ends, an old jukebox, old Coca-Cola posters, etc. They went for that American, greasy spoon, old diner feel. Gotta love the camping water cooler. A blanket is provided in case your legs get cold.
I ordered the BOTD (burger of the day) meal, “kidney beans and orive” burger, as it said on the menu. I wondered what an “orive” was, but quickly inferred that they had meant “olive”! What an adorable little mistake!
Kidney bean and orive burger with fries and salad with pink dressing! Check out the cute pirate flag.
When it came out, my eyes widened in delight. It was so colorful and not like any other burger I’d ever seen. I told the waitress (she looked like she was part-owner or something like that), “It’s so pretty!!!”.
However, she didn’t understand, and instead, thought I was asking for extra cutlery. So she kindly got me a knife and an extra fork from the wooden box on my table. I really wanted her to understand my compliment, so even though I knew literally 6 words in Japanese, I tried to think of a way to express myself. Thankfully, I had learned the word “kirei” (beautiful, pretty) just the day before. So I said, “No, no, um….kirei!”. At that point, she smiled widely and said, “Oh, thank you!”.
I followed their illustrated instruction and got a wax paper pocket, for mess-free eating. I am always blown away by the attention to detail. They even stamped these paper pockets with their logo.
Put the burger in the pocket like so, and all the juices will be caught by the pocket.
The burger was exquisite! Even better than the burgers in Toronto. The patty was very fresh and coarsely ground, so you could actually chew some meat. The buns were extra delicious, and I read later that they bake the buns in house. They came toasted, so they were crispy and warm. I really like the rings of grilled onion at the bottom. It added sweetness and texture, and didn’t leave me with onion breath.
I wish I could have their burger everyday….
It was one of the best burgers of my life.