Being surrounded by so many cheap Chinese restaurants that serve delicious and varied dishes is one of the many perks for an expat living in China. However, sometimes when a touch of homesickness is felt or a craving for Western food suddenly sets in, a good ole hamburger can do just the trick.
1) Helen’s Café 海伦咖啡View In Map
Popular with expats and Chinese clientele alike, Helen’s has become one of the places to go when looking for cheap drinks, friendly staff and a lively atmosphere. With benches covered with cushions, dim lights and every inch of the walls decorated with customers’ doodles, it is easy to see why so many people feel relaxed and at home in Helen’s. With so many cheap drink deals and every Friday and Saturday night being filled with pre-clubbers, it is easy to forget that Helen’s actually serves pretty good food, too.
The menu offers a variety of reasonably priced Western mainstays (salad, pizza, pasta), ranging from 20 RMB to 40 RMB. You can certainly satisfy your craving for a good hamburger here. Each is served on a toasted bun with a touch of greens and naturally accompanied with a side of French fries. The only difficult decision you may have is choosing whether or not to add a melted cheese slice or keeping things simple with Helen’s “special” sauce. You can always bring along a friend to share both options.
Add: 116 Heyan Dao, Heping District, Tianjin (Close to Qixiangtai Lu and the Wu Jia Yao Number 2 Bridge), Tianjin
Tel: 022 2334 0071
Opening hours: 10:00 - 03:00
2) Alibaba’s 阿里巴巴View In Map
Having been the mainstay for Tianjin expats for the past ten years, Alibaba’s continues to entice old and new faces with its relaxed atmosphere, variety of board games and magazines, table football and large menu. Although recently Helen’s Café may have overtaken Alibaba’s in terms of party atmosphere, Alibaba’s remains popular for a more chilled-out drinking and dining experience. With the music kept at a comfortable level and with tables scattered around the restaurant giving a feeling of space, it’s the preferred choice for many looking for a relaxed Sunday afternoon.
Serving both Chinese and Western dishes—with prices starting at as little as 8 RMB for side orders—the menu has been recently updated with a whole new range of gourmet Western dishes. Although it may be easy to become lost in so many options, the cheese-y beef burgers remain a popular choice. At 18 RMB for a beef burger or 22 RMB for a cheeseburger served on a toasted bun with fresh salad and French fries on the side, Alibaba’s continued popularity is understandable.
Add: Inside Weihuali Community, alley across from the Bengon’s, Tong’an Dao, Heping District, Tianjin
Phone: 022 2351 3976
Opening Hours: 11:00-24:00
3) Buddy’s Café View In Map
Although not as popular as Helen’s or Alibaba’s, Buddy’s Café has a number of regulars drawn by the darts, table-football, karaoke and a pool table. There’s plenty to keep you entertained and seats to keep you relaxed. It’s an easy joint for chatting with friends. With cheap beer (Qingdao for 12 RMB) and a variety of cheap Western dishes, Buddy’s Café is definitely worth a visit. The hamburgers are delicious, offering a real American delight to those in need of comfort. At only 18 RMB, these burgers are a snip!
Add: Fu Bang Bin Yue Hotel, intersection of Hong Qi Nan Road and Yu Liang Road, Nankai District, Tianjin
Tel: 022 5839 7299
Opening hours: 10:30- 02:00
4) Hank’s Sports Bar and Grill汉克斯运动西餐吧 View In Map
Tucked away in a quiet corner of the Shang Gu commercial complex, the sometimes hard to find Hank’s has established itself as one of the most popular watering holes in Tianjin. Decorated with sports paraphernalia and providing coverage of many of the biggest sporting events, Hank’s is well liked by fans looking for an easy fit to catch up on their pastimes. Combining the best of Chinese hospitality and American home-style cooking, Hank (the American owner) and Jeanie (his Chinese wife) serve a range of steaks, pizzas, salads and, of course, hamburgers. Although not as cheap as Alibaba’s and Buddy’s, you’re definitely getting what you pay for: delicious eats.
Add: Joy Business Center, Building B, Number 56, Shang Gu Commercial District, Tianta Dao, Nankai District, Tianjin.
Phone: 022 2341 7997
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