Suzhou hosts a large number of Western restaurants, with plenty of places serving hamburgers. The lion's share of burger joints, however, are pretty disappointing, perhaps because there are no places that specialise only in patty-based cuisine, or more likely because a real burger craving is best satisfied in Shanghai at places like NY Steak House or Bubba's. For those who don't have time for a train ride on their lunch break, here is a selection of the places to grab a burger in Suzhou.
1) Ollie'sView In Map
Opened by the same group that owns Southern Cross, Suzhou's first foreign restaurant, this branch is their restaurant installation in the upscale Ligong Di area. Their experience in making foreign food in China really comes through at Ollie's: the menu, while moderately priced, has a lot of good items and an extensive burger menu. Their burgers are large and well-cooked, with a little seasoning in the meat.
You'll find some clever creations playing with other items on the menu, from a chilli burger to the egg-topped all day breakfast burger. They also have the standard combinations you'd expect for around 80 RMB. Burger Tuesdays are really worth checking out: all burgers are 50 RMB with the purchase of a Carlsberg. You might even get to see Ollie himself.
Add: A9 1912 Xingzhou Jie, SIP, Suzhou
Tel: 0512 6265 5993
2) Blue MarlinView In Map
Again, it seems the best burgers come from the most experienced makers. Blue Marlin opened its first branch in Suzhou in 1999, and has been making good German, American and Singaporean food since then. Blue Marlin is pretty reasonable, with prices ranging from 60-80 RMB for a standard bacon and cheese. There are a couple of interesting adaptations, like a Hawaii burger with cocktail sauce and a Bavarian burger with a pork meatloaf patty.
A fun addition to Blue Marlin is their sliders (which are the only mini-burgers in town). While 69 RMB may seem like a lot to ask for four snack-style burgers, they're actually filling enough to make a meal. Sliders can also be chicken or salmon, but the classic beef burger might still be the best.
Next time you're looking for a nice place for dinner on Sunday, they have a buy 1 get 1 free deal from 17:00-20:00.
Add: 168 Xing Hai Street, SIP, Suzhou
Tel: 0512 6288 9676
3) T.G.I. Friday'sView In Map
It really says something about the state of a city's burger scene when the American chain Friday's tops the list, but the truth is they deliver a solid, satisfying cheeseburger at prices comparable to other places in town. You can always get Sherpa's to deliver it to your apartment if you don't like being over stimulated by 50's memorabilia or dealing with their famously spotty service.
Friday's keeps it simple with just a cheeseburger and double cheeseburger. They're of course more famous for their ribs, so check out the BBQ beef sandwich if you're looking for a little variety. It does have the one advantage that chains have over most other restaurants: fries do come with that.
Add: 1/f 820 Ganjiang Donglu, Suzhou
Tel: 0512 6191 3182
4) Anywhere in Singa PlazaView In Map
Singha Plaza (also called Xingdu Plaza) has the densest concentration of foreign places in town, including Simon's, Mr. Pizza, La Rose, Jack's Home and Ebony. Despite the fact that years of serving transient multicultural customers has made these restaurants tend towards near-identical mediocre menus, they're usually packed with burger-hungry foreigners enjoying the outdoor seating and low prices.
Basically every place is the same in terms of burgers: served with bacon, pickles and an off-white cheese for around 40 RMB. The best of these is probably La Rose, although many people have their personal preferences. Be careful, their burger comes with an egg sunny side up unless you ask them to cook it more thoroughly. Some places also offer chicken burgers.
Add: 8 Jinjihu Lu, Singa Plaza, Suzhou
5) Your closest fast food joint
As much as we enjoy sampling the cheese-covered delights of different venues' burger interpretations, the fact is sometimes a great way to satisfy a burger craving is good old fast food. Suzhou is blessed with a good number of classic fast food places, with McDonald's spread around town and Burger King opening more locations. Let's face it: these guys have the most experience in burger making of all.
Finally, keep in mind that both Auchan and Carrefour have pre-formed burger patties in their meat sections, as well as buns in their bakeries. It might be more work, but there is a definite pleasure in munching on a good burger within the comfort of one's own home.
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Keywords: best burgers Suzhou foreign restaurants Suzhou fast food Suzhou American hamburgers in Suzhou
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