Eating out / Shimoda rest-area diner serves up a splendid burger

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Shimoda Burger with kinmedai

By Mamoru Hayashi / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterSHIMODA, Shizuoka —When I think about the specialties of Shimoda, a port city in Shizuoka Prefecture, the first thing that comes to mind is kinmedai splendid alfonsino. Shimoda boasts the country’s largest catches of the fish, with about 1,000 tons brought to the city’s fish market annually.

Visitors can enjoy simmered kinmedai and sashimi at local restaurants. However, one dish has recently emerged as a new mainstay — the Shimoda Burger that uses fried kinmedai.

The Shimoda Burger, priced at ¥1,000, is a popular menu item at Cafe&Hamburger Ra-maru on the first floor of the Kaikoku Shimoda Minato michi no eki roadside rest area in the city. About 100 are sold daily on weekdays, and a surprising total of about 400 a day during the Golden Week holiday period and the Bon holiday period. The burger has been featured on TV and in magazines.

I ordered the Shimoda Burger, which was about 15 centimeters tall and wide, and its fillings were bursting out of the bun.

I took a big bite of the surprisingly voluminous burger. The crispy deep-fried fish retained its original flavor, and was complemented by a salty-sweet teriyaki sauce.

There was no pungent fishy smell. The two kinds of cheese on the burger had a rich flavor, while the tomatoes and lettuce were fresh and crispy.

The restaurant opened at the rest area 11 years ago. According to Ra-maru’s Rina Watanabe, the restaurant operated as a cafe in the downtown area of the city in the past. When they got a chance to enter the facility, it was too attractive to pass up.

“So we’ve decided to try our luck with burgers featuring kinmedai, Shimoda’s specialty,” Watanabe said.

“We use large kinmedai and large buns, as well as fresh local vegetables directly delivered to us every day. The specially produced sauce has been improved numerous times,” she added. With their efforts bearing fruit, the hamburger has attracted customers and become a popular menu item.  

Through the restaurant’s windows, you can see the Shimoda fish market where kinmedai is delivered. I felt a sense of gratitude for the splendid red fish after enjoying such a delicious meal.

Cafe&Hamburger Ra-maru

Open: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. year-round

Address: 1-1 Sotogaoka, Shimoda, Shizuoka Prefecture

Phone: (0558) 27-2510  

English menu available

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