Maison Antoine

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by billmoy on April 20, 2004

This fast food kiosk is in the middle of a square surrounded by streets, parking spaces, construction projects, and is not far from the European Parliament community. How the heck did this place become such a big local hit? It has some of the best frites in the city. Not French fries, but Belgian fries. One of my colleagues, who is a native of Belgium tells me that there used to be squares with plenty of carts or stalls selling hot fries in paper cones, but that nowadays most of these places are indoor joints slinging fries into little plastic trays. I suppose this spot is so popular because it is one of the dying breed of these old-fashioned stands.

For a somewhat nondescript plaza, it has a certain urbane romantic charm to it. There are a few park benches where you can enjoy your food, there is a fountain with a sculpture, and the brownish polygonal kiosk itself has a certain benign appearance. I sat on a bench during a surprisingly sunny afternoon in Brussels (reason to celebrate right there) and soaked in the distinctively European ambience here. Buses and cars roll by; ladies with baby strollers roll by. Even garbage collectors roll by. . . but they actually stop by for a bite to eat!

There is a menu posted with a decent variety of fast food. The star here is the fries, served in a big heap inside a paper cone. The fries come in large and small cones and cost less than two euro, but even the small order is a very generous portion. Belgian fries are known to be crisp, usually because they are deep fried twice. No mushy fries here, although my order seemingly was fried several more times for extra bite. Surprisingly the fries are not overly greasy. There is a wide selection of funky sauces that you can add on, including the always popular (in Belgium anyway) mayonnaise. They are not free, but cost 50 cents a pack.

The menu lists sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, kebabs, cheese sticks and other items you can order. My lunch was a "shaorma burger", which turned out to be like a veggie burger with a flat falafel-like patty and a tangy sauce on a bun. It was not bad with the fries though.

The lunch crowd is brisk, so be prepared for a line at times. The kiosk has a bit of shallow counter space if you want to stand up and wolf down your order, but the benches are more relaxing. Maison Antoine is open every day and has late hours if you are still hungry past midnight.

Maison Antoine
1 Place Jourdan
Brussels, Belgium

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