Top 10 menu items to try at the Hard Rock Café

BERLIN, GERMANY - OCTOBER 24: Rebecca Immanuel during the Pinktober celebrity server charity event at Hard Rock Cafe on October 24, 2022 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Tristar Media/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - OCTOBER 24: Rebecca Immanuel during the Pinktober celebrity server charity event at Hard Rock Cafe on October 24, 2022 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Tristar Media/Getty Images) /

Sometimes there’s nothing better than looking back at rock memorabilia. Really takes you back. Well, there’s nowhere better to do that than at the Hard Rock Café. Add some epic food to the mix and you’re likely to have quite the trip down memory lane.

The restaurant was launched in London a whopping 52 years ago by Isaac Burton Tigrett and Peter Morton. Now if anyone remembers the British invasion of rock music, the fact that such a place dedicated to rock memorabilia had its start in London makes a heck of a lot of sense.

According to Wikipedia, today there are 165 restaurant locations all over the globe, 11 casinos and 24 hotels. But enough with the history trip…. Let’s get down to what us foodies really consider to be the nitty-gritty…the, be-all end-all: The food.

Just how is the food at the Hard Rock Café, and what are some of the best items?

Today we’ll be looking at the top 10 menu items you need to try next time you’re at the Hard Rock Café

10. Bruschetta

As a cook of Italian cuisine, you sure learn how to use tomatoes to their fullest potential. I mean most of you know what chefs can do with a tomato sauce for topping spaghetti and pizza and don’t even get me started on the wonder that is the sun dried tomato, but bruschetta is a wonder all its own and quite simple.

For an Italian chef, it’s cooking basics 101. Diced tomato, garlic, a wee bit of onion, fresh basil, olive oil and voila, you’re in heaven. Don’t forget about the crispy piece of toast you’re topping with the diced concoction of course. The two are the perfect pair.

At the Hard Rock Café, they do this starter justice and it’s definitely worth your time. They have their own twist on the recipe but they stick to the classic Italian staples like Romano and parmesan cheese, and balsamic vinegar, which isn’t many chefs’ first choice for the acid ingredient in bruschetta (some use lemon juice), but it works.

9. One Night In Bangkok Spicy Shrimp

These are definitely worth your hard-earned money and they offer a taste of the world, so to speak, that you’re not likely to get everywhere you go, quite obviously.

The shrimp are deliciously crispy and they are then sautéed in a spicy cream sauce that is just divine. The works are topped on some equally delicious coleslaw.

8. BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

They have a great selection of sandwiches but when it comes to BBQ pork, their pulled pork sandwich hits all the marks you’re looking for. That sweet BBQ sauce that’s also a little tangy.

The pork is succulent and tender and it’s not too soggy so you’re bread gets that gross wet taste and feel that heavily sauced sandwiches tend to get.

7. Steak Salad

If you’re going to go for a salad, why not go for a steak salad? Usually you have your chicken variety but steak is a great salad topper and this one at the Hard Rock Café wins out as they’re best salad and one of the better steak salads around.

6. Famous Fajitas

Fajitas are fun. If you’re the type of person that doesn’t really want to assemble your food when it arrives or are fearful of burning yourself on the vessels that your food arrives on, then maybe these aren’t for you, but if you’re adventurous and don’t suffer from Carpal tunnel syndrome, go for it, have at it and let it rip…

5. Twisted Mac, Chicken and Cheese

It’s always a good day for Mac & Cheese. Add some good chicken to the mix (or even hot dogs), and it’s a party on your plate, really.

Perhaps that’s exactly what the creators of this dish had in mind when they added it to their menu; perhaps not. Regardless, it’s a winner and worth a try.

4. Moving Mountains Burger

These days, every restaurant should have a vegan menu option (or quite a few), and this one here is a good burger to try, even if you aren’t vegan. I love trying vegan dishes, and really most are delicious.

They actually have an Impossible Burger as well, also vegan of course, but this one here really moves mountains in the taste department. (See what I did there? Thank you…I’m here all week, you’re a beautiful audience…)

3. New York Cheesecake

I was in Toronto a few years back and needed a caffeine fix and bad, as I often do quite a few times a day. I was on the street, walking after a long day of sight-seeing, and in the distance, I saw a Hard Rock Café location. By that time of day, it looked like a stream might seem to someone stranded in the Sahara desert. But it was no mirage and as I came in off the street I made a beeline for the bar.

I asked for a cup of coffee. The girl behind the counter told me there wasn’t any. I actually sat down at the bar even though there wasn’t any coffee. I mean I had just been told. All these years later, I figure the strength went out of my legs at the shock, really. And for those of you with a caffeine dependency you know full well I’m not being dramatic.

I stared at her for the longest time, and finally I said, “But…you’re the Hard Rock Café,” really accentuating that last word—café.

“Sorry,” she said, shrugging her shoulders. No explanation; just sorry. I left, feeling disoriented and wondered if she was only pulling my leg, but a look around the place showed me that no one had a cup of coffee in front of them. Now talk about “Bizarro World,” but I have witnesses. This happened, and it took me a long time to forgive the good people over at the Hard Rock Café.

Well, eventually I did and their New York Cheesecake helped me find that space in my heart to forgive them, as well as the number one item on this list. But I have never again ordered coffee from the Hard Rock Café. It’s about the principle of the thing, you feel me?

2. Original Legendary Burger

Their original really is a good burger—not their best—but a good burger. Worthy of the number two spot on this list, and really it’s all about the steak burger within and the Tillamook cheddar and apple wood bacon. Those three things go together marvelously. Oh yeah, and there’s a giant crispy onion ring in there too for good measure.

1. Surf & Turf Burger

But it is the Surf & Turf burger that takes the proverbial cake, dear readers. To me the surf and turf dish in its classic form is one of the greatest meals around, and to put it all in one burger is just genius.

Essentially they take the classic steak burger and they top the works off with the aforementioned One Night In Bangkok Shrimp. Perfection.

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How about you, dear readers? What are some of your favorite menu items over at the good old Hard Rock Café? And please don’t say the coffee.