When planning your visit to Antwerp, you may be surprised to learn that Antwerp is the city of fries. Or frietjes in Flemish. Frituur also refers to a deep-fried food served with fries. As someone who is Irish and therefore an automatic potato connoisseur, I thought I would be an expert on all things fries.
Turns out I was wrong. I would willy-nilly order fries from random Frituurs around the city and wasn’t too impressed with my findings. Sharing and comparing where the best fries in the city is often a talking point between our friends. We’re usually on the same page for where to get the best fries and so over the course of a few beers, we compiled an ultimate list to discover the best frites in Antwerp.
Note: Please note that throughout this post fries will be referred to as friets/frites/french fries.
The Best Frites in Antwerp
1) Frituur t’Stad: This is one of those places where you can’t go wrong. They offer some great dishes such as croquettes, beef stew, fries or just some crispy fried deliciousness on their menu. Located near the Cathedral Our Lady of Antwerp, this makes a great place to grab a cone of fries and wander around the historic old town of Antwerp. This is my absolute go-to when ordering fries and they’ve never let me down.
2) Frites Atelier: Some Belgians will scoff at this addition to the list and remark that it’s not a traditional frituur. But to an outsider and a person who can appreciate a deep-fried potato, this is a truly worthy addition. Frites Atelier is a recent chain by famed chef, Sergio Herman, who has created luxury fries with decadent toppings. Whilst you can get croquettes, the menu is solely frites. Be prepared to wait in line during busy periods and forget about getting a seat. You’ll find Frites Atelier mentioned several times as the best fries in Antwerp.
The menu is seasonal and changes every couple of months and so you never know what toppings you can potentially get. Prepare to drool when reading some of these descriptions.
Parmesan & Basil – This Mediterranean and vegetarian flavour combination needs no introduction. These golden yellow fries sprinkled with fine powder of fresh tomatoes, fresh basil mayonnaise and à la minute grated Parmesan cheese with basil-cress.
Creamy Cheese & Kimchi – Our delicious new autumn special combines the full flavour of spicy kimchi with creamy melted cheese, pickled vegetables and finely chopped Jalapeño pepper.
3) Frituur De Smulpaep: Located near the University district of Antwerp, Smulpaep is a staple in the uni students’ circle. When I first moved to Antwerp and I was looking for suggestions, Smulpaep was constantly suggested. It took me 2 years before I eventually made the plunge and ordered them. Big mistake. I should have listened to the suggestions and it would have spared many months of really crappy fries. Smulpaep is delicious and their fries are super but it is their snacks that are fresh, that makes it really worthwhile.
4) Frituur Chips: I’m sure it can be quite hard for vegans if they have a craving for fried yumminess, especially in a culture that prides itself on the invention of the ‘French Fry’. Chips offer not only fries for vegans, but also vegan snacks. Frites are typically fried in animal fat, Chips cooks theirs in vegetable oil. They also served vegan dipping sauces too. A must for frites! Frituur Chips are always busy, so be prepared to wait. FYI: There is a different chain of frituurs called CHIPZ.
5) Frituur No.1: This was a controversial admission into the list of frituurs. I was told by several people not to include it on the list, as it was far too touristy. Others claimed their fries weren’t that good. But I disagree. I think Frituur No.1 is absolutely touristy, considering it is located in the centre of the old historic town, but that’s part of its charm. There are always crowds of people outside it and sure it’s super touristy, but if this ends up being the only place you get fries from then so be it.
The ‘French Fry’ was first invented in Belgium and not France as a lot of people tend to think. American soldiers who were stationed in the French-speaking part of Belgium, Walloon, during World War 1 liked the frites so much that they nicknamed them ‘French Fries’. I do have to admit, Belgian Fries isn’t as catchy. And thus, the tastiest meal accompaniment and snack took over the world.
If you ever happen to find yourself in the beautiful city of Bruges, make sure you pop into the Frietmuseum. The worlds first and only museum dedicated to frites! Whilst I’ve yet to go to the Frietmuseum, it sure does sound right up my street! What’s not to love? The entry fee of €7 for adults and it’s open every day!
Belgian frites are a national culinary treasure. They’re crispy on the outside, hot and fluffy inside, and they come in all shapes and sizes. If you haven’t had them before, it’s time to get acquainted with this delicious dish! Have any of these 5 places been your favourite? Share what makes them so great in the comments below. What’s your favourite way to eat Belgian fries?