On any website and in any paper or magazine, you’ll regularly find a post, column, article about the best Fritkot in Brussels. Frit or frieten are a traditional Belgian food. The Brussels tourist office publishes a yearly list of best fritkots, places where you can buy freshly fried fries. But the problem is, that each person has his or her personal idea of what is a good frit or friet.
I visited Maison Antoine a few weeks ago. It came first on the 2013 tourist office list and scored very high on others. The queues were impressive, as it is close to the EU buildings, local offices, and tourists – of course – also know where to find it.
When I finally had my paper cone full of hot frites, topped with the sauce of my choice, I fully understood why this fritkot is always shortlisted. The only drawback is the limited number of benches near the kot. However, it seems a few pubs lining the small square, Place Jourdan, allow you to sit down with your cone as long as you order a drink to go with it. An other alternative is to walk to Parc Léopold, which is practically next to Place Jourdan, and find a bench there.
The other fritkot which always makes it into the top 5 is Frit Flagey at Place Flagey. Like Antoine, it has been in business for years. Unlike Antoine, it still looks like an ordinary Belgian fritkot.
As you will have gathered from my description above, a regular fritkot caters either to people who take their order home, eat it on the go, or plonk down on a bench in the great unsheltered outdoors to tuck into their meal. There are plenty benches on Place Flagey. Moreover, when I queued for my cone and sauce, the queue was hardly as long as either queue at Maison Antoine. However, I found the fries or frites or frieten a bit on the hard side. This is not how I prefer them. So that was a disappointment.
Of the other shops which regularly score high in lists, I only visited the fritkot near the church of Notre Dame de la Chapelle, on the edge of the Sablon and Marollen area. That was over two months ago. I only remember I was happy to sit with my cone on a bench near the fountain, with a view of kot and church. There was no queue and I’m sure the frites were better than the portion I had at Frit Flagey. But if they were as good or better than Maison Antoine?
There are plenty decent Belgian frites to be had in Brussels. The closer to its tourist area, the more you pay of course. Do not expect Frit Flagey or Maison Antoine to be cheap either. A helping costs between 2 to 3 Euro. Usually you can choose between a “small” portion and a large one. Bear in mind that small comes close to XL at a fast food chain.
You can eat your fries without any extra’s. If you prefer them served without salt, do mention this when you order. Both Antoine’s and Flagey have between 10 and 20 sauces to choose from. A generous helping the sauce of your choice will cost between 0.50 to 0.80 Eurocents extra.
You can top up your meal with meat, chicken, fish, or vegetarian snacks. Expect snacks to be listed on the boards in French and Flemish and prices between about 1 to 3 Euros. The same goes for (soft) drinks. A few frites shops even offer plates, but this is not “traditional”.
Personally, a small portion with one of the sauces suffices for me. A paper cone with or without an extra sheet of paper wrapped around it is not only the traditional way of serving. It also keeps your frites warm for longer, than when these are served in plastic containers. You should receive a small plastic or wooden fork and a napkin with your portion.
– Frit Flagey, bus 71 from Brussels Central Station. stop Place Flagey
– Maison Antoine, metro lines 1 and 5 from Brussels Central Station; stop Schumann and a short walk to Place Jourdan. Or take a bus from Brussels Central Station to Luxemburgh Station and a short walk past the EU buildings then through the Parc Leopold to Place Jourdan.
– Fritkot at Place de la Chapelle, close to the youth hostel and Tour Anneesse: a short walk from Brussels Central Station through the Sablon or Marollen area to the church square.