For the first edition of our Best Fries in Brussels Ranking, we tried numerous friteries in the city – starting with the usual suspects such as Maison Antoine and Frit Flagey, but also lesser known ones, like the Friterie du Miroir. We knew that we hadn’t done them all and we also got a lot of recommendations in response of our ranking.
So, here’s to a new season of frites-tasting, building up to a revised ranking – starting with Chez Palma on Place Saint-Josse.
There had been a celebrated friterie on Place Saint-Josse dating back to the 1930s, which unfortunately closed down in 2009. After a year without a friterie on the Place, a new one opened in early 2011: Chez Palma.
It seems right that there should be a friterie here; Place Saint-Josse is one of those places in Brussels that seem made for it. There are no big stores here, the metro (station Madou) is not far, but not directly on the Place, while a couple of bus lines (29, 59, 63) make sure that many, many people pass through here every day. In short: It’s a place with a local touch to it, and not too many tourists or Eurocrats seem to frequent it.
Chez Palma fits right in: It’s a simple … container? … that houses the friterie. No neon signs, no fancy menu – very down-to-earth. The service was good, friendly, if not overly quick (Antoine-type queues would probably take days here, instead of hours).
The fries were a surprise – in a very positive way. We had expected them to be good – but not that good. They were hand-cut on site and fried to perfection: just crunchy enough on the outside, just soft enough on the inside (except for a few that, being too thin, came out too crispy). Overall: Very, very, very enjoyable!
There is one thing, though, that is missing at Chez Palma: A place to properly enjoy your fries. The friterie itself didn’t offer any tables, chairs or even a bar/counter like some others do. There was no park bench in site and no cafés that seem to team up with Chez Palma.
We made the most of it and sat on the steps of the church on the other side of the street. If you take your fries “to go” and are a fast walker (or happen to catch a bus), they will probably stay warm until you reach Square Marie-Louise or even Place Ambiorix, which are not too far away.
Friterie Chez Palma, Place Saint-Josse, Brussels // No Website