Holy crap, I’ve eaten a lot of burgers in the past several months. But it’s all for the splendid cause of finding Kigali’s best (and worst) burgers! Ah I lead a ridiculous life and have a very strange job. I can safely say that I don’t want to see a burger again anytime soon and will therefore not be consulting my own list, but I hope that if you’ve got a hankering for a burger, you’ll find something here to steer you in the right direction.
Many of these places offer a bunch of burger variations like doubles, or burgers with mushroom sauce and all the bells and whistles. I chose to just go for whatever the basic (or only) burger on offer is and unless I specify otherwise, the prices listed below are for a burger with fries.
Personally, the burger of my meaty dreams needs to have a flavourful, juicy patty, a soft bun, and the usual toppings along with both pickles and mustard and both of these glorious items seem to be a bit rare here in Kigali. Read on for all of the burger-y details and please let me know if the comments whether you agree on my highly scientific assessments or not. If you know of a burger I really must try, let me know! I’m sure I won’t eat another burger until sometime in 2018… but I’ll try it then and add it to the list!
And so without further ado, here is everything you never knew you wanted to know about burgers in Kigali…
Price: Rwf 4,000
As a place that focuses almost exclusively on burgers, 4 Blooms set expectations high. For the most part, I think they meet those expectations and they make a pretty good burger. Though the bun looks big and dense, it’s actually the perfect size and the perfect level of squishy-ness for a burger bun. Their bun and their 4 Blooms burger sauce are where they stand out, I think, but their burger patty is a pretty lack-luster and a let down. I think it works well with the bun size and I don’t have any complaints about the toppings (fresh tomato, onion, lettuce, and cheese with mustard on call) but the burger itself could be a bit larger, juicier, and more flavourful. Overall I think 4 Blooms do a nice little burger and, at Rwf 4,000 for a meal including yummy crinkle fries and a drink, you can’t really argue with the price.
Price: Rwf 6,600
I like The Bistro and there are plenty of dishes that I’d recommend you order from here (their Greek salad is one of my favourites) but their burger is, sadly, not one of these things. Just look at that photo. What a sad little burger that is. The patty is flavourless and tough, the bread, while better than most places, is still a bit too dense. The toppings are sparse, there are no sauces to speak of, and the price is offensive for what you actually get. The only redeeming thing is that they have pickles. Go to Urban, enjoy the view, the cocktails, the salads, and the steak, but do not order their burger lest ye be disappointed.
Price: Rwf 4,000
The German Butcher is a relatively new addition to Kigali and they have some pretty exciting German-y things on their menu. As for their burger, it has some good points and bad points. The bad stuff first. Their bun is an abomination. Yep, I said it. I have strong opinions about buns in general and this bun, my friends, is a jerk. I’m not sure if the thing was stale on top of being super dense to begin with, but it would have actually been impossible to bite down onto it in order to eat this burger in a normal burger-y way. A couple of other minuses are their lack of pickles and mustard, but that’s a pretty common in Rwanda. Fortunately mustard was only a request away and I was served a generous helping on the side.
As for the good, The German Butcher is a restaurant but also… wait for it… a butcher! In my opinion, this is the best place to come in Kigali to satisfy all of your meat-buying desires. So it’s no surprise then that their hamburger patty is excellent. It’s huge, covered in cheese that’s actually good, and the beef has just the right amount of crumble and moisture to it. It’s not like biting into a breadcrumb hockey puck like you’ll find in many places around town. They’ve got the patty part totally down and if the German Butcher could source their bun from the same place as Mr. Chips, Poivre Noir, or 4 Blooms and combine it with their amazing burger, we’d have a winner. Plus at only Rwf 4,000, it’s seriously good value.
Price: Rwf 10,000
Heaven Restaurant is well-known for their burger and fries, and for good reason. Heaven’s burger is probably the juiciest in town, oozing flavour and juices to the point that I had to put it down and go at it instead with my knife and fork. It’s a whole lot of beef patty to attack with one’s face, so tools are essential. The fries are pretty unique for Kigali, cut thinly in a fast food style that a lot of people really like and make a nice change for the fries that you see everywhere else.
While the burger and fries are both very tasty, the price is where Heaven loses out a bit. Most burgers in Kigali cost around Rwf 5,000 to 7,000 and, at Rwf 10,000, Heaven is substantially more expensive than the rest without offering an obvious reason. The burger is very good but so are plenty of the others and Heaven doesn’t even have a salad or coleslaw on the side. Again, it’s a very good burger but not the best choice is you’re on a budget.
Price: Rwf 8,000
I was bummed at first to find that La Terrace at Mille Collines changed their menu and their delicious little triplet slider burgers are no more. But they’ve redeemed themselves with a very impressive bacon cheeseburger offering. It’s one of the few places in town with a proper soft bun – with sesame seeds and all! The patty is flavourful and moist (ew… I hate that word) with a good amount of sear on the outside. Plus they give you ample mayo and ketchup on the side to sauce to your own liking. No pickles or mustard is a downside but the bacon, tomato, onion, and lettuce all make up for that. The cheese is kind of a weird mass of gouda and I’d probably go cheese-free next time, though. This is a messy but well-engineered and manageable burger!
Price: Rwf 3,500
Someone in Kigali has started making proper burger buns (sesame seeds and all!) and Mamba Club are using them and giving them an extra added little kick by toasting them lightly. The patty is tasty with a little hint of pepper that’s a nice touch. The fries are good and the homemade pili pili served here is legit. Despite being a popular weekend hangout spot, I’ve never heard anyone raving about the food at Mamba Club so I went in with pretty low expectations and, surprisingly, I was super impressed. The burger toppings were what I’ve come to expect for a standard Kigali burger – soggy lettuce, onions, and tomatoes – but the bun and delicious hamburger patty more than make up for that. This is a burger I’d happily eat again and at Rwf 3,500 it’s a bargain.
Hours: Daily, Noon to Midnight
Price: Rwf 4,000 (with drink)
Despite that crappy photo, Mr. Chips is one of my top two favourite places in Kigali to get a burger. Poivre Noir (listed below) gets the second top vote and I’d have to call it a tie. Mr. Chips is a different type of burger though. It’s more of a fast food style offering – but in a good way! The restaurant’s owner, Paul, has lots of experience working in the food industry and it shows. The bun is great, the patty is tasty, tomatoes, onions, and pickles are in their rightful places and, most importantly, he understands sauces. They’ve always got a bottle of mustard (did I mention I like mustard?) on hand and different types of specialty mayo mixes that you can add as you like.
Price: Rwf 5,000
Pili Pili really came through with a surprisingly delicious burger. I’m not sure why I was surprised… the food here is generally quite good so the burger should be good as well. I guess I just never really thought of it as a place to get a burger. But really… it’s one of the best in the city and at Rwf 5,000 it’s one of the best bargains as well. It’s got a super thick and juicy patty and the bun is nicely toasted with sesame seeds and just the right amount of fluffiness.It’s weird that they don’t really put anything on the burger, but they give you lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, and mayo on the side so some assembly is required to get it up to standard.
Price: Rwf 6,500
The best burger in Kigali, in my not-so-expert option, is at Poivre Noir. They should be good since, besides a couple of salads and bagel sandwiches, burgers are really their main focus at lunch. Plus, at Rwf 6,500 for the basic burger, they’re one of the more expensive offerings in Kigali which raises one’s expectations. Their beef patty is probably the best in the city and you can add toppings like glorious pickles or avocado for a pretty steep Rwf 500 per item. The toasted bun is that extra little touch that sets it above the rest and the option for blue cheese sauce sends this burger up to the next level. I mean, how can anyone else hope to compete when there’s blue cheese sauce in the mix? The answer is – they can’t. Seriously good burgers.
Prices were correct when this article was published but are bound to change over time.