Belgian Fries – Vancouver, BC


Belgian Fries
1885 Commercial Drive
Vancouver, BC
(604) 253-4220‎

I have already proclaimed my love of French Fries in the past, so it should come as no surprise that I’m willing to try any and every place that serves french fries in the hopes of finding a great fry. Unfortunately, most places fail to follow the art of the great fry. So when i hear of a place that serves “great fries”, AND the best poutine in BC, i get excited. Very excited.

Now, for our non-Canadian readers, allow me to explain what poutine is. It’s a traditional Quebec dish that combines french fries with fresh cheese curd and gravy. At one point, it was rated the unhealthiest food for you in the world, which should tell you a few things. This is not diet food. And if taste is inversely proportional to health, poutine should taste darn good. And it does. Crisp fries with soft interior, covered in a light gravy with fresh cheese curds that should “squeak”. Any place, like Belgian Fries, that even suggests they serve the best poutine, is worth trying.

Located on a busy retail strip on Commercial Drive, Belgian Fries definitely stands out. Large awning, ample seating on a corner, it’s hard to miss.

The interior, recently renovated, is also hard to miss. Bright, spacious, Belgian Fries has a comfortable feel – like an upscale cafeteria.

For a classic poutine, there are three essential ingredients. Great fries, fresh cheese curds, and a nicely balanced gravy.

Let’s review the criteria for great Belgian Fries:

  1. freshly cut, irregularly shaped
  2. cooked (fried) twice
  3. fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside
  4. a distinct potato taste
  5. at least 10 mm thick

The fries at Belgian fries almost make the cut. They are freshly cut, fried twice, at least 10mm thick, and have a distinct potato taste. On the day i am there, the problem is that the most critical parameter is lacking – #3.

The fries are soft and soggy – even before the addition of gravy and cheese. They are soft on the outside, soft on the inside. Undercooked, with a bland, oily texture. These fries were not prepared with care and attention. They were, in fact, highly disappointing.

The gravy itself was a nice consistency – not too runny, not too thick, but lacked any depth of flavour. It tasted watery. The cheese curds were fine – not the freshest i’ve had before, but were acceptable for the plate themselves.

A regular serving of fries come with a choice of dips. Aioli is the standard, but other creative choices are available. These dips are good. I just wish the fries were as well.

Sadly, Belgian Fries was a very big let down. I went in with high expectations – from the praises of reviewers, online critics, chowhounders, and the Belgian Fry website itself, this should have been a home run. A guy who loves fries, and a shop that serves great ones. Unfortunately, what you get at Belgian Fries are tepid, pale, soft facsimiles of what great fries really are. Luckily, they are licensed. You can drown your sorrows like i did on a few pints instead.

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21 thoughts on “Belgian Fries – Vancouver, BC

  1. without a doubt, this was one of the biggest let-downs in the world of fries. I think that the better fry place is on davie (i think it’s also belgian fries?) near granville.

    but honestly, trying to get good poutine outside a 100km radius of montreal (or quebec is probably better) seems impossible.

    • T – i believe the one on Davie is also a Belgian Fries. I wonder if they are affiliated?

      As for good poutine outside of 100km of Quebec, i believe it’s very possible. It’s not rocket science after all… and i have had good poutine in other places in the country.

  2. You know what, from the picture, the fries do look sad. Interestingly, when I went, the fries were actually decent. However, in my poutine itself, it wasn’t so much. Wonder if it was not a good day? But I do think there is much better poutine to be had elsewhere.

    • Sherman – Im not sure if it was just a bad day. I watched the “work flow” of the order, and they did everything in the right order. They even took their time and didnt overcrowd the fryers (dropping the heat too much). Im just disappointed that a place that serves Belgian Fries cannot tell what a well done fry is.These fries never shoul’ve been sent out. Is it just a general lack of quality control? Lack of caring? It’s hard to tell these days. But these are simple fixes, if anyone cares enough to do them. I think that’s the most frustrating part.

      • Belgian Fries used to be pretty good…that was about two ownership changes ago now (maybe 10 years ago??). They used to serve and sell squeeze bottles of imported Belgian mayos (frites saus) and flavoured ketchups to go with your fries. Back then, I preferred Belgian style over Quebec style (ie poutine.)

        Bonus points to the current incarnation for being a licensed establishment.

  3. Have you tried Zako’s Deli on Broadway? They serve a pretty mean poutine. Fresh cut, thick, crispy outside, fluffy inside fries and a dark, full bodied, veggie gravy. Don’t know how fresh the curds are, but pretty tasty.

    • I’ve never tried Zako’s Deli – but i most definitely will. The Veggie gravy isnt thrilling me to be honest, but i’ll try it next month and report back. Thanks for the recommendations!

      As for curds, im not a militant fresh cheese curd guy. As long as the gravy and fries were hot enough to get them melted and gooey, im happy.

      • Zako must be using St Hubert gravy powder – very common at poutine joints in Quebec. It contains no meat products so is classified as vegetarian. Brado on Commercial Dr also uses this stuff and is known amongst poutine aficionados as having decent, “authentic” poutine.

        A new place called La Belle Patate is probably the tee mentioned above. They serve 26 different kinds of poutine. The reviews are mixed, but skewing positive.

        I’m not a big poutine fan really, but I do like good fries.

        • Im not a huge fan of St. Hubert powder… it has an off putting residue in my mouth. Definitely a much bigger fan of chicken or turkey drippings…

          And i was wrong on it being Belgian Fries – i was confused with the one on Denman. Denman, Davie, close right? :)

          La Belle Patate sounds awesome though. Will definitely try that. Have you tried their fries?

    • Hehe – and i still don’t like their fries either :) Though after experimenting over the holidays with different configurations of meat, patties, to bun, i have to say, the double double is the perfect ratio of meat, cheese, to lettuce, tomato, and bun. The pickles are key too (from Animal Style).

  4. Hey, my girlfriend just reminded me, the best poutine ever is from Crave on Main street. Hardly authentic, but stupid delicious. Parmesan truffle fries, short rib jus, and that jus is no jus, it’s frickin’ short rib meat piled on top. I haven’t had it since we went vegan, but they use to to serve it with fois gras mayo too. I defy anyone to come up with a more decadent poutine or a more delicious one.

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