The French fries or chips are probably the most famous single food items in Amsterdam, and they are likely the easiest to find as well. Famously served and eaten by the locals smothered in a rich mayonnaise, the Vlaamse Frites (Flemish fries) as they are known here, are served nearly everywhere. Of course McDonalds and Burger King serve their notoriously mediocre versions in their few city outlets, but the larger more meal-size ones are served at just about every restaurant in the city.
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The locals definitely love them, so this isn’t one of those things that solely exists for the tourists. The fact that the locals are so fond of them is made even more interesting when you learn that there are exactly two places in the city center that are considered the best, and those places will always have a long line out front even when places just 30 meters away are empty.
One thing the two places have in common is they have no seating at all, and are just counters facing the street, with the fries being the only main course on offer. The main thing that makes them different is that one is almost impossible to miss for most tourists, and the other is almost impossible to find for those same tourists. The first one you’ll pass no matter what, and the second one isn’t terribly easy to find even with a map.
Most locals seem to prefer the hidden one, though the other one is the top choice of many locals as well, and aside from these two shops it’s hard to find any real competition when you are looking for the BEST traditional fries in Amsterdam
This is the smaller and harder to find of the two. The signs say that they’ve been operating since 1887, and in this location since 1958. Whatever they are doing, they are doing it right. They are only open from 11am to 6pm (from noon to 5:30 on Sundays), and you’ll find a queue of locals pretty much every moment they are operating. The selection of sauces is not too extravagant, but they are all excellent, including the mayonnaise, curry, sate (peanut), and even ketchup. They sell two sizes, one for €2.25 and the larger one (called a medium) for €2.75.
See the map below for its location. It’s close to the busy Kalverstraat shopping street, but down a small street and then down an alley. It’s only one block away from the recommended Dampkring Coffeeshop, so this is an excellent place to have the munchies during the day.
This one is right on the main street if you head directly away from Centraal Station, so every visitor is bound to pass it at least once. Just as with the other stand, there is always a line out front, even when nearby places are empty. But unlike Vleminckz above, this one is open all day and well into the evening, so it’s probably easier to work into your schedule. Their list of sauces is larger, including cheese and red pepper sauces. They have three sizes that range from €2.25 to €3.50, and they also sell shakes and ice cream.
The sign out front says the place was “Voted #1 Holland’s Fries”, and as dubious as claims like that often are, this one might be correct.
Will you notice the quality difference?
To be perfectly honest, I found the differences between these places and other places I like, including the excellent Maoz Vegatarian chain, to be subtle at best. I’d say that if someone arranged a fair taste test between many of the top chip shops in Amsterdam, these two might come out on top, but not by as much as you might think. At least both these places charge similar prices to all the other shops in town, so it’s probably worth standing 5 or 10 minutes in line to try “the best.”
Map of the best French fries shops
Note, the northern one is the Manneken Pis, and the one in the lower left corner is the Vleminckx Sausmeesters Vlaamse Friteshaus.
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