Now here are two question that we get asked a lot.
Why are Belgian fries so good?
Because they are so crunchy and creamy and satisfying!
Belgian fries are the perfect comfort food.
Fries are not just popular as a side dish but also as a quick takeaway portion of street food here in Belgium. Or even as a full dinner with toppings, sauces and other deep fried snacks!
So where can you eat the best Belgian fries in Belgium?
For some time a couple of traditional fries shacks (we call them frituur) would battle for the title of serving the best Belgian fries.
All over Belgium.
And that all changed when Frites Atelier opened its first gourmet frituur in 2017 here in Antwerp.
It is Dutch 3 star Michelin chef and successful entrepreneur Sergio Herman who put his shoulders under this gourmet fries adventure.
Creating the perfect fries.
And he did his homework. For one and a half years he and his team experimented with different types of potatoes, growing them in different kinds of soil. Frying the potatoes at different temperatures, in several types of oils and fats.
In search of the best Belgian fries.
And then in 2016 the first Frites Atelier opened in The Hague, The Netherlands. It immediately received rave reviews. So soon other locations were added in The Netherlands, and even in Belgium.
Let’s be honest.
We were a little sceptic the moment we heard about this. A Dutch guy reinventing and fine tuning Belgium’s most popular street food?
Well there is only one way to find out if it is any good.
Let’s try it out!
One fine sunny afternoon we stroll around the old Antwerp city centre.
Towards a neighbourhood called De Wilde Zee, a cluster of 5 streets that are packed with small shops.
That is where Frites Atelier opened its first Belgian shop.
And it doesn’t take long to find it. The crowd of people in front of it says enough.
This is obviously post corona.
The place is very small. There are a couple of tables inside, and a handful of tables outside. If you are very lucky, you can sit down to enjoy your fries.
The queue to order Belgian fries is long.
Which gives us time enough to read the menu with toppings, sauces and extra bites.
Should we go for topped fries?
Fries with the classic braised beef sauce for instance.
Or grated cheese and truffle?
Pulled pork and piccalilli?
Apart from the braised beef sauce, topped fries are not a traditional way to eat Belgian fries here in Belgium. But it surely sounds amazing enough to try out.
Or should we just get a classic portion of Belgian fries with a sauce?
Mayo, béarnaise, ketchup, curry, andalouse.
Plenty of choice.
If you think that just some fries won’t be enough, you can also order an extra snack on the side.
What about a classic brown shrimp croquette, a beef croquette or a cheese croquette?
We decide to go for topped fries with bacon and béarnaise (€7,50).
And a classic brown shrimp croquette (€4,50) on the side.
Even though the queue looks long, we don’t have to wait that long for our order.
And we are even able to find an unoccupied table outside.
The fries are golden brown and skin on, which we like.
They not only look great, these fries are crunchy on the outside and perfectly creamy on the inside.
We have to admit that these Belgian fries are amazing.
Frites Atelier uses the Agria potato variety for its perfect fries. And yes, you have to admit that all those months of extensive homework have clearly paid off.
These are some beautiful and tasty fries.
But are they the best Belgian fries we have had?
To be honest, we have to say yes.
The béarnaise sauce is great as well, flavorful and rich.
We love a good béarnaise.
The topping is a creative addition. Bits of bacon in a sticky glaze, spicy ketchup, shaved cabbage, pickled mustard seeds and marinated red onion.
Fresh, zippy and unique.
So what about the brown shrimp croquette?
These classic croquettes are also a challenge, and another quality check to know if a restaurant takes itself seriously.
The shrimp croquettes are golden, just the color you are looking for.
There is visibly panko in that crunchy crust as well.
The filling is well seasoned, creamy and contains the right amount of brown shrimp.
Another excellent bite, served with tartare sauce and a wedge of lime.
We like the fact that the shrimp croquette also comes with the traditional deep fried parsley as well, something you don’t see that often anymore.
Would we go back to Frites Atelier?
And since it is quite close from where we live, we have gone back many times already . For a delicious comfort food lunch, or just a naughty little afternoon snack while walking past.
Belgian fries at Frites Atelier are not cheap though. Expect to pay €3,5 for a portion of Belgian fries without sauces. And €5 to €8 for fries with 2 sauces or a topping.
But it is worth your money.
The selection of toppings, sauces and snacks can change depending on the season and location you are visiting.
Frites Atelier often has interesting (lunch) combos such as a portion of fries with 2 sauces, a croquette of your choice and a soft drink for €12.
Check their locations on the Frites Atelier website.
Since the corona crisis started, Frites Atelier is only open for takeout on the spot and also offers delivery.
Korte Gasthuisstraat 32
What makes Belgian fries different?
The secret behind Belgian fries is that they are fried twice.
June wrote a blog post about Belgian fries, read all about it here!
How about you?
We love Belgian fries!
Have you been to a Frites Atelier before?
What did you think?
Let us know in the comments below.
We’d love to hear from you!