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Places Around Maastricht: Reitz Friture

Type of Place: Friets Takeaway & Restaurant
Location: Markt Square

The unassuming outside of an old friets shack.

Fries. Chips. Friets. Patat. No matter what you call them, potatoes cut into sticks and fried up are popular the world over. The Netherlands, and certainly Maastricht close to the Belgian border were they apparently have an extra special love for friets, is no exception. With 101 years of business under their belts, Reitz always seem like a popular place to get a snack. It is with that in mind, as well as our desire for a cheap lunch alternative, that Dan & I ducked inside to try out a cone-full of their particular fare.

I think that friets are one of those foods that is half about the experience of eating them; like a starchy version of shellfish. These friets are served in a paper cone wrapped around warm fries with a tiny ‘friet fork’ to help you get at your messy meal.

Reitz also serves their friets with a wide variety of flavors from the boring, American-style “with salt” to the classic Dutch mayonnaise dollop to even odder choices like zuurvlees (literally ‘sour meat’; its Limburgish). Dan tried the pindakaas (peanut butter sauce) variation and I opted for zuurvlees and mayo. The fries were fresh and hot and the flavorings tasty. A small size would have been enough for the two of us, but if you have a big appetite they also offer a large. We did find that we should have eaten faster as the toppings soak into the friets quickly and the bottom half of each cone turned into a soggy mess. Fortunately I was full by then, so it wasn’t a big deal.

Reitz also has a restaurant in the back, but we have not visited it yet. And if you chose to eat your fries at McDonalds next door, shame on you.

Places Around Maastricht: Kaishu Japans Restaurant


All-You-Can-Eat Sushi!

Type of Place: sushi restaurant
Location: Jodenstraat 26, 6211 ER Maastricht

Sushi is one of those foods that people either love or hate. Personally, I adore it; especially when I find excellent tuna sashimi. That’s why Dan & I were so pleased when we first discovered Kaishu, a sushi and teppen-yaki restaurant. Every time we’ve been there the sushi and hot dishes have been very good. Excellent tuna. And a widely varied menu means there is a little something for everyone; even those of you who would rather eat your fish cooked.

Places Around Maastricht: Gadjah Mas

gadjah mas storefrontType of Place: Indonesian Restaurant
Location: Rechtstraat 47; 6221 EK Maastricht

Indonesian food is to the Netherlands, what Chinese food (and Mexican food) is to the United States. It is the most popular ethnic cuisine, with many restaurants ranging from small mom-and-pop take-away to high-end sit-down restaurant. There is even an Indonesian take-away/grocers across from Gadjah Mas. The flavors are varied, but tend to be spicy and contain coconut milk. Peanut sauce also plays a big role in Indonesian cuisine (in the Netherlands anyway) in sate dishes such as chicken sate.

Gahjah Mas is an attractive, richly-appointed restaurant with an excellent menu. One of the most common ways to eat Indonesian food is to order a rijsttafel (rice table); a sampler like set of small plates with different types of meat, vegetables, and sauces. Gahjah Mas offers 4 different variations at varying price points including a vegetarian one, however you will need to have at least two people to order one. We’ve had rijstaffel before, so Dan and I explored other parts of the menu. Gahjah also has several individual dishes including a variety of stewed meat and sates. Dan ordered the kip (chicken) sate and enjoyed it a lot. I had a lontong compleet: a bowl of “cubed” rice with chicken, lamb, and pork and three different sauces topped with a hard boiled egg. It was also delicious and lots of food.

Gahjah Mas also has a take-away option and a good wine menu. The prices are average for Indonesian food in my limited experience, with regular plates running between 15-25 euros and the rijsttafels starting at about 20 euros. Visit their website for a full menu.

Places around Maastricht: Grand Cafe d'Artagnan

grand cafe d'artagnanType of Place: Restaurant
Location: Graanmarkt 3 6211 HG Maastricht

Named for the famed musketeer D’Artagnan, who actually was stationed and died in Maastricht, the Grand Cafe is a Dutch style restaurant near the Onze Lieve Vrouw plein. The De Hoge foot bridge over the river Maas is also quite nearby.

The building that the restaurant occupies was originally built in the 17th century along the grain market and it’s white facade was typical for that period. Inside, the restaurant has a attractive, dark wood appearance and features a large mural of what I presumed to be musketeers enjoying their meal. Weather permitting the restaurant’s location would make the terrace good for people watching.

The Grand Cafe serves a fairly typical mix of Dutch and French cuisine and features a complete wine list. When Dan and I ate there we found the food to be decent, but for the most part not particularly exciting. I had a salmon quiche which was tasty, but chunky with thick pieces of salmon. On the other hand, they do have excellent bitterballen with real bits of meat discernible inside and their house beer, Hertog Jan, is one of my preferred pilsners. The cost of the beer and appetizers is fairly average for Maastricht, which is to say a little pricey for my cheapskate wallet.

The Grand Cafe is open for lunch and dinner and has limited English-language menus available for those who do not wish to struggle with the Dutch menu. A special dinner menu is available for 27,75 and includes an appetizer, main course, and dessert.
Grand Cafe D'Artagnan

Places Around Maastricht: Gelateria Luna Rossa

luna rossa gelatoType of Place: gelato take away
Location: Hoogbrugstraat 45, 6221 CP and Graanmarkt 4, 6211 HG Maastricht
No Website

They say that people in New England eat more ice cream during the winter months than they do during the summer. I don’t know if that is true for Dutch people, but it is now December and my favorite gelato shop is still open for business. Gelato is a type of Italian ice cream similar to American ice cream but softer and denser in flavor. It is usually served as a single flavor, but sometimes you can find gelato with fruit, nuts, or chocolate added. The scoops are smaller but because it is a denser dessert I usually find a single small scoop to be more than enough.

Gelateria Luna Rossa is one of the local gelato shops in Maastricht and it deserves any praise you may care to give it. During the summer it can be impossible just to get inside to order a cone or bowl; partially from the crowds and partly because people don’t queue very well. They have a huge selection of flavors including all kinds of fruit, vanilla, chocolates, and coffee flavors. In addition, they also serve gelato flavored like some classic Dutch desserts such as stroopwafels and speculaas cookies. Dan is very fond of the citrus flavors and I have been working my way through the different varieties of mocha and chocolate.

Recently, Luna opened up a second location near the Onze Lieve Vrouw basilica in a historical military building behind the cathedral. This location is fun to visit because of the strange dichotomy struck between the ancient stone walls and hot pink neon lights of the modern shop. The original store is near the Centre Ceramique on the new side of the river. Time will tell if both stores remain active. I imagine both will be serving tasty treats for a long time to come.

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