An abundance of fried potatoes is one of the things that makes this country great. (Although we could have done without that "freedom fries" thing.) As the home of the some of the country's best middlebrow food, San Francisco boasts a range of interesting starch options beyond the limp fast food offerings. Here are our favorites.

The Fries at Nopa
Like all of their celebrated California cuisine, Nopa takes a simple item and makes it exquisite. Fried in fat to a crisp, chip-like exterior, they're just the right thickness to be starchy without being mealy. You can add a dusting of sea salt yourself from the amuse-bouche and, as with everything else here, the dipping sauce changes regularly. —Andrew Dalton
560 Divisadero (at Hayes)


Chimichurri Fries at 4505 Meats
An inspired take on the S.F. staple garlic fries, 4505 Meats tops their version with chili oil and a Chimichurri aioli that leaves you with a spicy kick and a punch of cool garlic. Perfect for sharing on market days at the Ferry Plaza or, in the near future, on the patio at their forthcoming Divisadero location. — Andrew Dalton
Thursdays and Saturdays at the Ferry Building Farmer's Market
Sundays at the Divisadero Farmer's Market
Coming soon: 705 Divisadero (at Grove)

(Photo credit: Jeffrey Chiang)

The PT Fries at Park Tavern
With this $14 side item, Chef Jennifer Puccio reflects the homey, but extravagant clientele at her Washington Square gathering place. The fries bear some resemblance to the ones Michael Bauer celebrated at Marlowe, but here the bowl of fries comes on a piece of slate and topped with shaved black truffle. Skip the quotidian condiments like ketchup or mayo and dip them straight into the accompanying soft-cooked egg, which comes cracked open with a dollop of caviar. Best enjoyed with a cocktail at the bar while you watch San Francisco's political powerhouses rub elbows over roast chicken. —Andrew Dalton
1652 Stockton Street (at Filbert)

Wise Sons' pastrami fries. (Photo: Yelper Eugene M.)

The Pastrami Cheese Fries at Wise Sons
Like a Reuben without the rye, this less-than-Kosher creation from the celebrated Jewish deli makes a poutine out of homemade pastrami, melty Swiss bechamel cheese and caramelized onions all atop a pile of house-cut fries. Pickles and Russian dressing are all the condiments you'll need. —Andrew Dalton
3150 24th Street (at Shotwell)

(Photo: Katherine Lynch)

The Duck Fat Fries at Bourbon Steak
The fries that come with the phenomenal burger at Michael Mina's Union Square steakhouse are great in large part because they're fried in duck fat. A few restaurants around town know this trick, and it of course makes everything richer and better. But the fries are also cut thin and can be ordered on their own in the bar with a nice, stiff Manhattan. But yeah, that burger is pretty amazing, and kinda worth the $22 they're charging for it. - Jay Barmann
Westin St. Francis, 335 Powell Street. 415.397.3003

S&P Fries at Mikkeller Bar
By rights Frjtz or La Trappe should be able to claim the best Belgian frites in town, but they can't. Because they're here. This new emporium of beer geekery with Danish roots has a really solid food menu that especially brunch- and lunch-friendly, and the double-fried, crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside, delectably potatoe-y frites they serve are just about the perfect beer pairing you'll ever know. And they come with the perfect dipping sauce: malt vinegar mayo. - Jay Barmann
34 Mason Street

Photo: Jay Barmann

Furikake Fries at Fog City
The revamped Fog City Diner has got some killer fries on the menu that were an immediate hit from the time this place opened last fall — and we already raved about them on SFist. They're perfectly cooked and come topped with furikake, the Japanese condiment mixture that includes sesame, seaweed, and bonito flakes. - Jay Barmann
1300 Battery Street at the Embarcadero.

(Photo: Yelper Matt Y.)

The Fries at Starbelly
One of my go-to spots for a burger and fries is Starbelly, but the fries alone are something almost everyone orders to share anyway. They're hand-cut from Kennebec potatoes, thin and crisp, never soggy, and they were named "some of the best Bay Area french fries" by Michael Bauer. Bonus: They come with a trio of great dipping sauces: Old Bay mayo, basil aioli, and house-made ketchup - Jay Barmann
3583 16th Street at Market/Noe

(Photo: Wally Gobetz)

Gilroy Garlic Fries
If you're at AT&T Park, the overwhelming smell of garlic and fried potato will eventually be too much for you to handle. Don't bother even trying to resist. —Andrew Dalton
AT&T Park

Welcome to Source's Nacho Fries. Photo: Crystal W/Yelp

The Nacho Fries at Source
Herbivores end up eating a lot of french fries (they can be a handy default at places with limited options, plus, yum), but that doesn't stop diners at Source from passing up the other almost-all-vegan options on their menu for the Source Fries, which come with three salt options and six delicious sauce choices. The hardcore crowd goes for their Nacho Fries, which are covered with black beans, cheddar or living nacho cheese, avocado, olives, and pico de gallo. It's the kind of food to be eaten in front of (or shared with) someone who already loves you, as a lot can end up on your face, shirt, etc. Totally worth the mess. — Eve Batey
11 Division Street, right at King

Beachside's House Cut Fries wait for you at the end of the N. Photo: Eve Batey

The House Cut Fries at Beachside Coffee Bar and Kitchen
There's nothing crazy about these fries: they're freshly cut potatoes, cut medium thick, fried, and salted. Heinz catsup and Sriracha are provided as condiments, you can ask for mayo if you're feeling Junior Year Abroad about things. The real differentiator is the setting: you're two blocks from the beach, and it's gorgeous. Sit outside, get a beer, split a bowl of these with a pal, and watch Outer Sunset life unfold. Anyone who tells you that it gets better than this is selling something. — Eve Batey
4300 Judah Street, between 48th Avenue and La Playa

Sweet potato and thin cut fries with gravy. (Photo: Fancypants X. / Yelp)

Shoestring Fries at Jasper's Corner Tap
What better way to watch the action outside on O'Farrell than by sitting down with a few beers and a batch of fries. The shoestring fries (sweet potato or russet) come to you plain or dressed up with either salt/pepper, truffle, parmesan-reggiano, or herbed. You can't go wrong with these perfect fellas. —Brock Keeling
401 Taylor (at O'Farrell)

Animal Style fries at In-N-Out (photo: supercake)

Animal Fries at In-N-Out
There are two types of people in this world: In-N-Out fans and liars. See, In-N-Out has gone through a backlash over the last few years. Why? Because people like to buck trends in a clumsy effort sound smart, to go against the flow, to disrupt. But I'm here to tell you that, inarguably, In-N-Out has and always will rank in the Top 5. I'm also here to tell you that they also boast some of the best fries in town. Very potato-y and sliced and fried on the spot, we recommend getting them Animal Style. The off-menu item comes doused in extra sauce, chopped grilled onions, and cheese. Bonus: You'll smell them on your fingers the next day. —Brock Keeling
333 Jefferson (at Jones)

Honorable Mentions:
Namu Gaji (the Gamja Fries, available generally only at lunch)
Wayfare Tavern

(Photo credit: Randy F..)