French fries are a near ubiquitous item on SF restaurant menus in all but the most high-end, Michelin-starred establishments — and even newly Michelin starred AL's Place has their own unique and delicious version, and one-star Spruce serves a burger and excellent fries too. And while the classic American accompaniment to the hamburger took on wide popularity in the long, thin, McDonald's-esque shoestring version, the OG fried potato from which those "French" ones derive are most likely from 17th century Belgium, where fried fish and frites — double-fried at two different temperatures to create the most perfect texture contrast of creamy inside and crunchy outside — were a staple in the Meuse valley, in what was then part of the Spanish Netherlands. Many of the best fries you'll find in SF still use this method and make fries that are more Belgian than they are French — and while the French have long fried potato wedges and little potato coins and called them pommes Pont Neuf and pommes landaises, respectively, or just pommes frites, it was Thomas Jefferson who wrote of frying potatoes in general in 1802 as "the French way," even though it's probably the Belgian way, by way of France. Below, our picks for the finest examples around town, though there are many, many more.

4505 Burgers & BBQ
The "spicy fries" on the menu at 4505, which also make appearances at their Ferry Plaza farmers' market booth, are some of the best dressed and uniquely seasoned fries you'll find anywhere, topped with a one-two punch of herbal chimichurri dressing and spicy chili oil. They've been a hit for years at Outside Lands and the farmers' market and are now a staple at the Divisadero restaurant, where you can also order your fries plain — though that is not recommended. — Jay Barmann
705 Divisadero at Grove


Absinthe Brasserie & Bar
Back in 2014, SFist commenter Heather C called us out for failing to laud Absinthe's "super thin fries," calling them "amazing." Heather was likely hit with disappointment since then, as Absinthe has ditched their aiguillettes for a more substantial, traditional fry, now served with "smoky" ketchup and sweet-onion aïoli. And in my opinion, that was the right call — thin fries never seem that great to me, but their current offerings are crispy, salty, and just substantial enough to hold their own next to a burger (or by themselves). — Eve Batey
398 Hayes Street At Gough Street

AL's Place
The pickled French fries — yes you read that right — at AL's Place were enough of a revelation to Bon Appétit restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton that he named the place the Best New Restaurant in the country last summer (among more than a few other reasons). 7x7 named the fries their #1 thing to eat "before you die" in SF earlier this year, on a list of 100 things. And I can attest that the fries, fermented in 68-degree water with salt and cabbage leaves for 96 hours before being double-fried and served with smoked apple barbecue sauce, are one of the finest and most craveable SF creations of this decade. Chef Aaron London knows his way around a vegetable, and these potatoes are no exception. — Jay Barmann
1499 Valencia Street at 26th

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

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

Served with garlic aioli and house-made ketchups including curry ketchup, the fries — or, rather, frites — at Cow Hollow's Belga are plenty good on their own, though they do lend themselves particularly well to their traditional Belgian counterpart, mussels. That latter combination, moules frites, allows you to soak up the mussels' broth of butter and beer with the fries, as God intended. — Caleb Pershan
2000 Union Street between Webster and Buchanan Streets

Photo: Jay Barmann

Fog City
Not satisfied to offer up plain old fries at the revamped Fog City Diner, chef Bruce Hill (Picco, Zero Zero) decided when revamping the menu three years ago to dress them with the umami-rich Japanese condiment known as furikake, which includes toasted sesame seeds, seaweed, and bonito flakes. The result is some unique, hand-cut, French fried goodness with some Asian flair, served with garlic aioli, and they go well with just about anything else on the menu — including the excellent burger and the newer Nashville hot fried chicken. — Jay Barmann
1300 Battery at Embarcadero

Hog & Rocks fries both ways, photo by Elise T. via Yelp

Hog & Rocks
Hog & Rocks knows how to do bar bites, and their fries are no exception. They come either glazed with egg yolk, spiced, or both, which is best, but you can also go half-and-half. The potatoes are Kennebec, a Maine breed that chefs know to stay sturdy on the outside and soft on the inside when fried. —Caleb Pershan
3431 19th Street Between San Carlos and Mission Streets

Photo: Jamber/Facebook

Jamber Wine Pub
Sure, we could probably make a whole separate list of the best poutines in town, but SoMa's Jamber can boast some nicely fried, standard fries as well as some delicious, gravy-and-cheese-curd-laden poutine in true Quebecois style. Added bonus: You'll occasionally find them serving special poutine variations, like this brunch poutine topped with a fried egg and bacon bits. — Jay Barmann
858 Folsom Street near Fourth

Photo: Jasper's/Facebook

Jasper's Corner Tap + Kitchen
Speaking of poutine (sometimes called "disco fries"), the excellent version at Jasper's made it on SFist's list of the finest stoner foods in town, and it should have a place on this list as well. Recently installed chef Adam Steudle, who's brought a bit of Southern flair to the British-inspired menu, uses the traditional cheese curds along with braised short rib, a delicious red-wine gravy, and tops it with a sunny-side-up egg that stirs nicely into hand-cut fries. Needless to say, you will want these while drunk near Union Square. — Jay Barmann
401 Taylor Street at O'Farrell

Photo of La Trappe's Belgian Fries: Julia Z/Yelp

La Trappe Cafe
If you knew how many SF restaurants got their fries pre-cut, in a bag, you'd likely drop your ketchup. Not so at La Trappe, where their Belgian fries are fresh cut on site and twice cooked like they're supposed to be. They're substantial fries — not the little crispy things you might expect from a Euro-influenced place — that are set off well by the duo of dipping sauces with which they're served, and are excellently complimented by pretty much anything on La Trappe's extensive list of draft and bottled beers. — Eve Batey
800 Greenwich Street at Mason Street

Photo: Mikkeller Bar/Facebook

Mikkeller Bar
Speaking of La Trappe and their authentic Belgian frites, fans should really head to the Danish-born emporium of beer geekery which make another example of perfectly double-fried, crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside, delectably potato-y frites on their all-day menu. They come with the perfect dipping sauce, malt vinegar mayo, as well as ketchup, and of course they pair perfectly the bar's extensive, international beer selection, which keeps the place packed most nights of the week. — Jay Barmann
34 Mason Street near Market

Photo of Monsieur Benjamin's Pommes Frites: Diane M/Yelp

Monsieur Benjamin
What's the difference between pommes frites and French fries? "About 6 bucks," says one Chowhound wag (and they might not be wrong). Some will argue that it's just a language issue, that if you order "pommes frites" in France you'll end up with familiar-from-home french fries, while others say that pommes frites must always be twice-fried (as opposed to french fries' traditional single fry). I don't know the process behind Monsieur Benjamin's offering, as when contacted by phone they were reluctant to divulge it — but I do know that whatever you call 'em, MB's $7 offerings are pretty damn good. — Eve Batey
451 Gough Street between Grove and Ivy

Photo courtesy of Namu Gaji

Namu Gaji
Available, officially, only the brunch and happy hour menus at this Dolores Park-adjacent Korean-fusion spot, Namu Gaji's to-die-for Gamja Fries are a must have. They come, poutine-style, topped with bulgogi beef, kimchee relish, gochujang, Kewpie mayo, teriyaki, and green onion, and if you ask nicely, sometimes, at dinner, they'll serve them as an off-menu treat. — Jay Barmann
499 Dolores Street at 18th

Nopa's fries, photo by Eva O. via Yelp

If you thought the thick cut fries at Nopa were just a sidekick for their famous burger, you'll change your mind after eating one (best when dipped in housemade basil parmesan aioli) After that, you'll be ordering fries on their own at Nopa, and everything else will be a side. — Caleb Pershan
560 Divisadero Street at Hayes Street

(Photo credit: Jeffrey Chiang)

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)

Photo via Yelp.

The Cajun curly fries at PianoFight are more than just the perfect bar snack (though they are that, too). Spicy, salty, and crispy — the huge basket of fries is enough to share with a table, or, if you're feeling unhealthy, make a meal of (we've done this). Also, they go well with pretty much any beer and will only set you back $6. — Jack Morse
144 Taylor Street near Eddy Street

Photo via Yelp.

Fried in duck fat, the fries at Spruce appeal to those looking for the flavor of meat with a classic French-fry crunch. Though the place has a bit of an upscale vibe, many patrons make the trek especially for the burger and fries — even at $19 for the two. Oh, and as an added bonus, you can order them at the bar. — Jack Morse
3640 Sacramento Street between Spruce and Locust Street

Photo: Matt Y./Yelp

Still one of my go-to spots for a burger and fries is Starbelly in the Castro, but the fries alone are something almost everyone orders to share anyway, at brunch or dinner. They're hand-cut from Kennebec potatoes, thin and crisp, never soggy, and even fry critic Michael Bauer called them "some of the best Bay Area french fries." 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: Janice C./Yelp.

Wayfare Tavern
Served with the Tavern Burger, the fries at Wayfare Tavern hit all the right notes: crunchy, right amount of salt, and flavorful. They're delicious, but at $22 for the burger/fry pair they're not a drunken late night treat. No, these are for savoring. (Also don't miss the tater tot poutine with oxtail gravy.) — Jack Morse
558 Sacramento Street at Leidesdorff Street

Photo: Kevin N./Yelp

Wise Sons
The Mission's favorite Jewish delicatessen does a less-than-Kosher version of poutine, Reuben style, in their Pastrami Fries, which come topped with their excellent homemade pastrami, Swiss cheese bechamel, Russian dressing, scallions, pickles, and caramelized onions. They're a hangover helper to say the least, and basically like a gluten-free Reuben sandwich, heavy on the fries. — Jay Barmann
3150 24th Street (at Shotwell)

Photo of Absinthe's french fries: Hazel C./Yelp