Food & Drink

The 13 best French fries in SF, and where to score them

Joe Starkey Published On 04/01/2014 Published On 04/01/2014
Joe Starkey

You know how In-N-Out Burger has the best burgers, but McDonald's has the best fries? Well, SF's burger/fries dynamic works kinda the same way; just because you've had the best burgers in SF (or even the best under-the-radar burgers in SF), doesn't mean you've had the best fries in SF. So, where do you go for the 7x7's best potato sticks? Try one of these 13 spots.

Joe Starkey

3 Potato 4 (click here for address and info)
Tenderloin
This fries-only spot (wait... what?) in the TL air-cooks their fries, ensuring they're light, fluffy, and... healthy (shocked cat emoji). Plus, they've got 12 different sauces to choose from like Curry Ketchup, Wasabi Ginger Mayo, and Big Bang.

Gott's Roadside

Gott's (click here for address and info)
The Embarcadero
Sure, you may have to brave a line out the door at the Ferry Building, but it's pretty worth it when the end result is any of the four types of fries offered at this diner transplant from St. Helena: regular, super-garlicky, sweet potato dusted with chili powder, or the go-for-broke chili cheese fries.

Frjtz

Frjtz (click here for address and info)
The Mission
Not only do they serve Belgian fries (crisp on the outside, soft and steamy on the inside), but they serve 'em with over 25 different sauce options that go from the obvious (bacon mayo, duh) to the more intriguing (strawberry mustard??).

Instagram/Erik Gomez

Bun Mee (click here for address and info)
Lower Pac Heights
We have a weakness for these Idaho potato fries, partially because we're maybe slightly allergic (?), but also because they're tossed with sautéed red onions, garlic, and jalapeños, and topped with salt 'n pepper.

Park Tavern

Park Tavern (click here for address and info)
North Beach
Sure, they may cost as much as a meal, but it's worth it when you get perfectly cooked fries topped with shaved black truffle and -- in place of ketchup -- a soft boiled egg with a bit of caviar to use as your dipping sauce.

Joe Starkey

SliderBar (click here for address and info)
Castro
Though their burgers are miniaturized, their family-sized fries certainly aren't. And though you can get the truffle fries, the regulars are just as delicious, because you can pair them with three of 12 sauces (our recs: Parmesan-peppercorn-ranch, honey mustard, and Sriracha mayo).

Joe Starkey

Mikkeller Bar (click here for address and info)
Tenderloin
These Belgian frites are perfectly double-fried for perfect crispness on the outside, and a warm, soft center on the inside. Plus, they're served with malt vinegar mayo. Mmmmm.

Namu Gaji

Namu Gaji (click here for address and info)
The Mission
These used-to-be-off-menu-but're-now-on-the-lunch-menu-because-they're-so-amazing hand-cut organic potato fries are covered in kimchee relish, gochujang, Kewpie mayo, teriyaki, green onion, and bulgogi beef.

Kevin Alexander

Nopa (click here for address and info)
Alamo Square
Fried in fat to give them an unbeatable crispness, the fries are worth ordering if only for the dipping sauce that comes with them (the options actually rotate pretty frequently, but are always worth it).

Bluestem Brasserie

Bluestem Brasserie (click here for address and info)
SOMA
The Kennebec truffle fries are everything you love about truffle fries, minus the too-overwhelming flavor. Oh, and the fact that they come alongside an amazing burger doesn't hurt...

Split Bread

Split Bread (click here for address and info)
SOMA
Come for the sandwiches, stay for the fries they serve with a bacon dipping sauce. Bacon. Dipping. Sauce.

Joe Starkey

Jamber (click here for address and info)
SOMA
The Quebecois are basically fries on gravy steroids, and by "basically" we mean they're exactly that: house-cut French-es with cheese curds and everyone's favorite meat juice sauce.

Curry Up Now

Curry Up Now (click here for address and info)
The Mission
Proving that they're the best at doing what you wouldn't expect from an Indian restaurant, Curry Up Now does "Sexy Fries": criss-cut sweet potatoes they dress with cheese and onions, and you dress with everything from pork belly, to beef, to paneer. Sexy, indeed.

Joe Starkey is Thrillist's San Francisco Editor and gained 10 pounds in the making of this article. Follow his recovery on Twitter.

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1. Frjtz 590 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

Frjtz dishes out some of the best fries in SF, with more than 22 dipping sauces to go with them, not to mention a menu loaded with great salads, burgers, Belgian beer, and crepes.

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2. 3 Potato 4 1051 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (The Tenderloin)

3 Potato 4 is serving up non-fried, delicious, perfectly-greasy French fries in a multitude of variations.

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3. Bun Mee 2015 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115 (Fillmore)

From a Vietnamese expat who fled the war and grew up in the Big Easy comes Bun Mee, an alleyway-shaped 20-seat restaurant set up in an old gelato shop. The kitchen dishes out bahn mi-inspired creations like grilled lemongrass pork and belly bun sandwiches, served alongside epically proportioned drinks and equally memorable starters like shrimp and pork rolls and sweet potato fries.

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4. Park Tavern 1652 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133 (North Beach)

If you're looking for a restaurant in North Beach packed with San Franciscans of all neighborhoods, head to Park Tavern. This upscale spot is homey and bustling, and the food is part Southern comfort, part English pub. Every table gets the famed lamb-and-beef Marlowe burger and a starter of smoky deviled eggs, but those in the know will get an extra order of eggs to put on their burger. Park Tavern is also a bonafide brunch hotspot with the best Bloody Marys and a menu filled with griddled goods (pancakes and more pancakes) and savory eggs. And that burger.

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5. SliderBar 2295 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114 (The Castro)

Slider options count the D-Lux (Kobe beef w/ Swiss, pickled onions, little gem, chipotle ketchup, truffle aioli), the 3 Alarm (w/ habanero pepper jam, sliced serranos, pickled jalapenos), and the Hot Chick (ground chicken w/ a serrano/garlic/lime/tomatillo patty, and crushed tortilla chips on a multi-grain bun) -- all of which can come with regular, garlic, truffle, or sweet potato fries in a solo-sized "regular" or a catcher-from-Sandlot-sized "family".

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6. Mikkeller Bar 34 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94102 (The Tenderloin)

MB is a Danish spot with 42 beers on tap (including four Mikkellers, unique to this location) and two cask-conditioned ales, served at three different temperatures, depending on the style of beer. Yeah, they take this stuff seriously... so seriously, in fact, that all of the beers on tap are managed by a system dubbed the Flux Capacitor, which controls the exact mix of nitrogen and carbon dioxide used for each tap (no lightning required). There’s also a “secret” downstairs cellar dedicated exclusively to sours. It gets better: Mikkeller Bar isn’t just about the beer. No, there’s also an awesome food menu that involves lots and lots of delicious meat.

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7. Namu Gaji 499 Dolores St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

This New Korean American restaurant is a family affair, owned by three brothers who utilize ingredients harvested from their own farm. Korean-inflected spins on favorites, like a pickled daikon-topped double cheeseburger and Korean tacos (nori replaces a tortilla shell, and is filled with marinated and grilled bulgogi beef, kimchi salsa, and spicy aĂŻoli, are well-worth your time during the week, but the real star is the KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) brunch dish.

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8. Nopa 560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117 (Alamo Square)

Nopa is a San Francisco institution that does everything really, really well. It's the best brunch in Western Addition and one of the best in the whole city. Its burger is perfect with pickled onions and French fries, especially when eaten at the bar. It's a one-stop-shop for a date, a birthday dinner, or dinner with your parents. Plus, the kitchen is open until 1 AM for a full dinner. Yeah, this place wins at everything.

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9. Bluestem Brasserie 1 Yerba Buena Ln, San Francisco, CA 94103 (Soma)

Downtown's Bluestem Brasserie has a sleek vibe that's reminiscent of LA, which is exactly why it's so unique in the city by the bay. Floor-to-ceiling windows, big leather chairs, private booths, and a second-floor balcony create an upscale, power meal vibe that matches the menu of solid American food. Bluestem has the best brunch in the neighborhood, probably because it serves a special brunch-only burger that's topped with hash browns, breakfast sausage, bacon, house-made American cheese, and a fried egg. Hello, heaven.

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10. Split Bread 145 4th St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (Financial District)

With two locations east of Civic Center, Split Bread has enough sandwich options to keep you full for many weeks to come. Split Bread also has huge salads, burgers, and gluten-free options all using local, seasonal ingredients. The pulled chicken and Cubano sandwiches are favorites here, as is the smell of roasting chicken wafting throughout the restaurant.

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11. Curry Up Now 659 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

From the same pun-loving folks behind the truck (and two Peninsula brick 'n mortars), Curry Up Now is an approachable Indian street foodery on Valencia doing spins on American staples (burgers, burritos & french fries) and Indian classics like the above deconstructed pork belly samosa.

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12. Jamber Wine Pub 858 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (Soma)

Jamber isn't a typical wine bar, it's a wine pub. All of the wines are from California, and they're all on tap. There are also over 10 beers on tap, also from California. To top it off, the SOMA spot has a really, really good food menu with things like mac & cheese pizza, poutine, and bacon-wrapped meatloaf. Oh, and one more thing: Jamber opens at 11:30am during the week and has outlets for your computer, so it's kind of the perfect place to wine and work.

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13. Gott’s Roadside 1 Ferry Building, Ste 6, San Francisco, CA 94105 (Embarcadero)

Located at the Ferry Building, this eatery is the perfect spot for a water-side lunch. Park it at one of their long, wooden cafeteria-style tables and snack on bites like burgers, milkshakes, and choose from four types of fries: regular, super-garlicky, sweet potato dusted with chili powder, or the go-for-broke chili cheese fries.

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