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De Vrije Burger

De Vrije Burger
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Cost
R60 avg main meal
Ambience
Groups, Kids, Quick meals
Food
Burgers
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
No BYO

Critic's review

Anelde Greeff

Food
If only more award-winning chefs opened fast-food joints… So thank you Bertus Basson for bringing this wondrous burger heaven into our lives. The 200g free-range beef number is the stuff dreams are made of. The bun is big and fluffy and golden brown, the patty a substantial juicy delight and the toppings (lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and double cheese) just enough to make every bite perfection. If you want more, you can add bacon, smoked chilli sauce or melrose and biltong. But the original itself is massive and more than sufficient.

This is important to keep in mind when ordering sides. Share them, you probably won’t have space with the generous portions. Choose from handcut potato chips (au natural or with BBQ spice, cheese or peri-peri), spiced onion fritters and crispy spicy onion. Or, if you’re kidding yourself, have an uitpakslaai – a rif on the traditional Afrikaans salad with creamy dressing and layers of tomato, onion, peas, lettuce and olives.

Best part? You get a free soft-serve ice cream with every burger bought. And it’s delicious.

Drinks
There’s a tiny selection of affordable wines by the bottle or 250ml caraffe. Think Waterkloof Peacock Chenin Blanc and the Hartenberg Alchemy Malbec blend. Otherwise have one of the two beers, water or soft drinks.

Service
Friendly counter service. Just make sure you claim your free roomys before they empty the machine.

Ambience
Although the bright, modern space is aimed at the takeaway crowd, there are high tables and chairs for those wanting to have wine and linger. The table on the sidewalk is perfect for student watching.

Best for...
Quick meals and quality food on-the-run.

(2018)

Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

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  • Hetta van Deventer Terblanche

    Food
    De Vrije Burger takeaway in the heart of central Stellenbosch is the latest venture of Eat Out Top 10 chef Bertus Basson, in partnership with his wife Mareli. This creative and hardworking duo is behind popular eateries such as Overture, Spek en Bone and Bertus Basson at Spice Route.

    The difference here is that De Vrije Burger’s menu features only one thing: a seriously good 200g free-range beef burger with all the trimmings – lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and double cheese – at R75. Diners can choose a patty done medium or medium-rare. Additional toppings can be ordered to build the burger, such as Melrose cheese and biltong, smoked chilli sauce or bacon. Hand-cut chips in three flavours are optional extras (R30–R42.40): barbecue, cheese or peri peri. The latter, made with fresh chillies and sweet-and-sour spices, should come with a warning for being highy addictive.

    Bertus’s menus often feature a thread of authentic South African flavour. In this instance the salad option, uitpakslaai (unpacked salad) will bring back memories of gatherings with friends and family (especially in Afrikaans communities) of the 80s and 90s. It indicates a salad that is not tossed, but can either be composed of layers or, more commonly, ingredients packed in neat rows with different salad ingredients on a large, flat, often foil-covered tray. De Vrije Burger’s uitpakslaai (R35) is simple but highly recommended, with a creamy dressing at the bottom and layers of crisp lettuce, peas, tomato, olives and onions.

    Drinks
    Water, soft drinks, and a small but adequate wine list featuring wine by the bottle (R120–R135) or carafe (R40–50), and two craft beer brands (R35) can be enjoyed on the premises.

    Service
    Food is served takeaway style, with a friendly and welcoming reception. Owners Bertus and Mareli might pop in.

    Ambience
    Minimalist, with a palette of white and blue. Four small rectangular wooden tables and chairs spill out onto busy Plein Street, where patrons can enjoy a drink or finish their burgers straight from the grill.

    And…
    You are entitled to a free draairoomys (soft-serve ice cream) with each burger. Otherwise buy one for R5, topped with 100s and 1000s sprinkles.

    (December 2017)

    Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

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User reviews

  • I compare all burgers to this and nothing compares!!! All options are to die for
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  • Do not let this small hole-in the-wall takeaway spot fool you. They know how to make burgers. In fact, they make the best burgers in Cape Town. At least in my books, and if you know how many burgers I’ve eaten, then you’ll know you can take my word for it. With just enough choices to make your decision easy and an open kitchen to make your mouth water, De Vrije Burger has a winning idea: Great quality burgers with a beef patty that puts all other patties to shame, available for takeaway, or a quick sit down. The chips were alright. They’re going for a classic slap chip, which I love, but theirs was a little too crispy for my personal liking. The service was a little cold at first, but the lady at the till warmed up and by the time we went to collect our free ice creams, which is a very novel and unique thing for them to do, she was smiling broadly. The prices might sound a little steep, but it's not. Really, it's not. The quality and delicious food you're getting is worth way more. I can highly recommend De Vrije Burger. I’m salivating just thinking about going back to try more of their truly droolicious burgers.
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  • Having read some rave reviews, and some not that great, we decided to give this concept a try, rather than a sit down restaurant. Unfortunately in my opinion we would have done better with a Steers burger at half the price. First impression was that the place was grubby, burger patty was over cooked and the chips seemed to be reheated rather than freshly done. Portion size was generous though, so we were able to leave quite a bit for one of the local homeless guys. Would I go there again? Definitely not.
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  • A burger is a burger is a burger......? Bertus Basson proves that a top chef can take a burger to the next level. Best burger I ever had. Great value for money - if you ever visit Stellenbosch and don't pop in at De Vrije Burger, you are missing out.
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  • The hype surrounding the opening of De Vrije Burger had my mouth watering for a great burger! Unfortunately I left disappointed. The patties were underseasoned and over-cooked (my husband’s was charred and tasted burnt). The buns were good (but mine was burnt as well) and the burger toppings were generous. The chips were were so-so. Perhaps we visited on an off day. However, if you are a burger-only venture, your burgers need to be great - all the time.
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  • I must recommend De Vrije Burger. We shared a burger over the weekend without adding any extras just to try it out. It was delicious!! The burger and the chips!! We each had a glass of wine, sitting on Plein Street (on the already mentioned uncomfortable high chairs) and watched the world go by.... and then I had a draairoomys. Go NOW!
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  • Definitely rates as my best burger of 2017! But diners need to know that this is a casual take-away/'food truck without wheels' vibe, done very stylishly. There are a few high tables inside and on the pavement, maybe seating 10/15 people or so on bar stools (which I found quite uncomfortable) but you receive your burger and fries in a brown paper bag as a 'take-away', although a tray with glassware is provided for wine. This is not a sit-down restaurant for a long lunch, but if it's a good burger you're after - you will not be disappointed!
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Takeaways

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