Bruges is friendliest, but Antwerp has the best fries


According to the Big 7 Travel website, Bruges is Belgium’s friendliest city, while Sergio Herman’s Frites Atelier serves up the best fries in all of Europe

The friet factor

The good readers of Big 7 Travel have struck again. In one week, Antwerp and Bruges have made the top three of two of the travel site’s famous listicles.

The site that previously told us that Antwerp was home to Belgium’s best pizza and Europe’s best cocktail bar has now announced that Bruges is the world’s third-friendliest city. In explaining why, all the tried and true clichés pour forth.

“One of the friendliest cities in the world is Bruges, a fairy-tale place in Belgium,” the site begins. Then: “The charming atmosphere is hard to match, with a village feel and locals who go the extra mile to welcome tourists. From walking guides to the waiter who serves your hot chocolate and waffles, the people here make Bruges stand out.”

While it’s hard to argue that Bruges is anything but friendly, the next list to emerge this week is sure to raise eyebrows among Flanders’ residents. The best fries in the country, it says, can be found at Frites Atelier in Antwerp (or one of the other five locations, presumably).


In fact, Frites Atelier – a relatively new chain of frietkots owned by Dutch celebrity chef Sergio Herman – are not only the best fries in Belgium, they’re the best in Europe. “The winner could never come from any other country bar Belgium given their huge passion for all things frites and the quality of their offering,” reads the website, in a statement that at least we can all agree is unequivocally true.

“They take things to a whole new level at Frites Atelier,” continues the site. “With multiple shops across Belgium and the Netherlands, you simply have to add their chips to your foodie bucket list. Absolutely world-class and undoubtedly the best fries in Europe.”

We here at Flanders Today agree that the fries at Frites are quite good, and we appreciate the fancy sauces infused with truffle and tarragon. However, let’s be honest: It’s not a frietkot. It is a place with a posh sense of style that appeals to tourists, who Big 7 largely relies upon for the “best of” everything.

Wouldn’t it have been nice if this group’s favourite European fries had been truly Belgian?

And, though there are three locations in Belgium, the first three Frites Atelier outlets started by the Dutch chef were all located in the Netherlands. So while Europe’s best fries “could never come from any other country” than Belgium, they kind of did.

Wouldn’t it have been nice if Big 7’s favourite European fries had been truly Belgian? And one-of-a-kind?

To create their regular “best of” lists, the website’s team of writers compiles a line-up of their own favourite places (pizza, hotels, cities, etc) from every EU country. They then let their international readers and panel of food experts vote. They couple the results with online reviews both professional and user-generated.

They did a bit better in choosing the three other Belgian frietkots for its top 50 list, all in Brussels: Local favourite Maison Antoine on Jourdanplein came in at number 39, while Frit Flagey made number 27. Coming in at number eight is Fritland on Henri Mausstraat, a location near Grote Markt that also makes it popular with tourists.