When people ask us for Amsterdam dining suggestions, I try to avoid recommending places that offer the kind of ubiquitous food you could eat anywhere in the world. Why eat Pan-Asian (sushi) when you could head for a very Dutch Indonesian rijstafel. Why consider an Argentinian steakhouse when you could eat a sublime Dutch steak. Italian? Well if you must, then at least go to Toscanini, the place Yotam Ottolenghi cites as one of his favourite restaurants in the world (he lived in Amsterdam as a student).
So I typically haven’t recommended places to get a burger and frankly haven’t spent a great deal of time at Amsterdam’s burger joints of which there are a number.
But….well kids. And lunch. And we needed to find something quickly for our fussy two and we were right by The Butcher Social Club, and when we asked, they said the magic words “yes, we have a kids menu!”
So we sat down. And had a really great meal.
I should add at this point that we really lucked out because our boys don’t even like burgers but joy of joys the menu included schnitzel, popcorn chicken, hot dogs AND some seriously amazing sounding milkshakes. All of which meant we avoided a hangry meltdown and instead ended up enjoying the sunshine, the huge terrace on the North side of the river Ij, the view and, in the words of The Butcher, some “Bloody Delicious Burgers”
So, whether you’re a grown up, a big kid or a little one, what do you need to know?
There are four branches of The Butcher in Amsterdam each one quite unique.
There’s the original branch in the Albert Cuyp Market with its famous Speakeasy at the back. Eat your burger at the small counter in the main space or grab yourself a reservation and password in advance before pressing the buzzer which opens the secret door and enter the inner sanctum for food and legendary cocktails.
Then there’s small outpost by Amsterdam’s 9 Little Streets, offering another open kitchen and terrace this time in the well-trodden centre of the city.
Next there’s a counter – dishing up burgery delights in the marvellous Foodhallen
And finally The Butcher Social Club – the most ambitious of the four. Based on the North side of the River Ij this is a 24 hour destination offering in their words “great food, new music, edgy creativity, metropolitan lifestyle, and urban design.” Based in the A’DAM tower and the Sir Adam hotel it has an expansive terrace and huge interior that includes football tables, Ping-Pong tables, pool tables and pinball machines.
So what of the menu? The burgers are good. Actually really good. And there’s quite a choice. As well as the usual offerings why not go for the Babaganoush, The Daddy, The Truffle Burger, The Silence of the Lamb or The Ugly.
And if that doesn’t fill you there are some amazing extras – Spicy Beef Salad, Crispy Chicken Wings or Chips with Poached Egg and Truffle Sauce. There are smoothies (Peanut Butter with almond butter, banana and blueberry) and milkshakes and boozy milkshakes too.
After our late lunch indulgence, and with happy and well-fed kids, I discovered that The Butcher is actually part of Amsterdam’s Entourage Group – purveyors of some of the most noteworthy food brands in the city. Momo, Izakaya, The Duchess, Mr Porter and more, and I realised that of course it was no wonder that this operation is so slick.
With branches now open in Berlin and Ibiza and new outposts opening soon in Dubai and Milan these guys are doing something right and if you really do want a burger in Amsterdam, you could do a lot worse than make a beeline for one of their buzzing branches.