What Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo did for the popularity of pizzas, now Rembrandt and the Dutch artists are doing for burgers (although, as a crime-fighting unit, I think the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would be more effective than their new Dutch counterparts, what with Van Gogh accidentally slicing off his own ear each time they get into a battle). Introducing: Rembrandt Burger.
Situated in Friedrichshain, in the quiet streets just north of Frankfurter Tor, sits Friedrichshain’s best burger joint. Sparsely decorated and with a broken-down charm, Rembrandt Burger’s walls are adorned with reproductions of the Dutch master’s works, albeit with the addition of a burger or two. From the flags in the burger’s buns, to the Grolsch beer on the menu, there’s something definitely Holländisch about the place.
“The Dutch fry everything”, owner and Rotterdamer Maurice Palms told us. He opened Rembrandt Burger along with Denis Ben-Hamed in May 2013 mainly because he missed the way fries taste back home, “cut thicker than German pommes – 2mm thicker to be precise – and twice fried for crispiness. You can buy them on every street corner in the Netherlands.” Unsatisfied with döner kebabs, he decided to bring Dutch fries to Berlin.
A lot of Rembrandt Burger’s menu is about bringing the food of Maurice’s childhood to Berlin. There’s a section of the menu, Holländische Snacks, dedicated to this. Here you’ll find frikandels (described as the Dutch currywurst) and krokets. These are the exact ones from the exact shop he grew up eating – and he travels back to Rotterdam every two weeks to buy more. It’s not fancy food, but it’s a real taste of Holland.
We chose the Old Amsterdam burger, served with caramelised onions, cheddar and Old Amsterdam cheese, and the Smokey Dutchman, the same as the Old Amsterdam but with bacon and BBQ sauce, a portion of their famous fries and a portion of mixed normal and sweet potato fries.
The fries are the real deal. One bite and you’re instantly sat in a cafe in Amsterdam, sipping an Amstel, eyeing up the girls behind the glass doorways of the red light district. They’re crisp, crisp like the roll of notes in your pocket, still warm from the ATM machine. The ketchup is red, red like the curtains you pull back as you enter. The mayo is creamy, creamy like the… okay, enough metaphors.
The burgers come tall, loaded with salad, and won’t fit in your mouth without a good pressing-down beforehand. The un-seeded white rolls are deliciously soft and fresh and the Neuland beef patties are beefy, juicy and produce a satisfying amount of grease. But the star of both burgers is undoubtedly the Old Amsterdam cheese. Instead of just adding to the texture of the burger, as is the way with many milder-flavoured melting cheeses used in most burgers, the Old Amsterdam aged Gouda adds a massive amount of chewy texture and has a rich, robust flavour.
Being slightly away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Rembrandt Burger offers a friendlier and more attentive level of service than can usually be expected from restaurants on Berlin’s high streets. If you’re looking for a break from the Simon-Dach-Kiez, walk 10 minutes north and try something a little more authentic.
Rembrandt Burger recently celebrated their 1st birthday. For offering the best burger in Friedrichshain, we wish them many happy returns.
BLY’s top tips for eating at Rembrandt Burger
- The chef’s ethos is “Whatever you want, we’ll do it”. This means that if you want more meat, just ask. If you pay the extra €2.20 to double-up to 300g of meat, they will also double the fillings of your burger (creating a monster burger).
- The kid’s menu offers perfectly scaled-down versions of the adult menu for €4 so, in the words of the owner, kids get a burger that’s “Just like Daddy’s but smaller”.
- Whilst it is advisable to book a table for bigger parties (especially over the weekend), singles and couples can generally find somewhere to sit. They also offer a take away service.
- Look at the specials board. Rembrandt Burger creates a new burger almost every week.
Andy says: “Rembrandt Burger’s a great burger joint and is, in fact, my new local (because if F-hain needs something it’s a good burger place). The Old Amsterdam cheese alone is worth a visit.”
Phil says: “This Dutch burger comes with awesome cheese and the fries are seriously crispy. Love meat? Get a second patty… or even one double patty just the way you like it. Forget Burger King’s slogan – with Rembrandt Burger you truly are the boss!”
Berlin Loves You Rating: 8/10
This review is part of our series on Berlin’s best burger joints. Read our opinion on what makes a good burger.