Close-up of fries being cooked in a deep fryer.
Pickled fries at Al's Place in S.F.

Top Fries in the Bay Area

You'll find the best fries — potato, yuca, even the maligned sweet potato — on this list.

At the end of humanity’s reign over this planet, when new lifeforms take over and weigh all of our accomplishments, our mastery over potato frying might be our saving grace from total annihilation. Fries, like people, come in all shapes, sizes and formations — a single fry in itself is satisfying enough.

But, of course, we’re going to complicate matters by trying to discern what’s a “good” or “best” fry: a monumental task in the Bay Area, where the multiversal potentials of the potato (and yuca, and sweet potatoes, and so on) proliferate. You’ll find iconic versions at upscale restaurants like San Francisco’s legendary Zuni Cafe, Oakland Peruvian standout Pucquio, and Palo Alto’s Zola; or in casually accessible avenues at various burger shops , curbside food stands and restaurants.

It’s long been a fact that The Chronicle’s Food + Wine section is opinionated about fries . So we joined our critical forces to parse the multitudes of hot, oil-bathed papas. We’ve done our best to display the many expressions of fries you can try in the Bay Area.


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1 / 20

A Sack of Potatoes Restaurant offers takeout Restaurant offers delivery Restaurant has outdoor dining

37100 Fremont Blvd. Suite 3C, Fremont

A snack shop with several ways to try fried taters.

A Sack of Potatoes is a Chinese restaurant chain that opened a location in Fremont in 2019. The snack shop is known for its fruit teas, desserts and comfort foods. With a name referencing tubers, the shop unsurprisingly has various options for eating them, like sweet potato, potato tornado and loaded curly fries. The best are the garlic onion waffle fries ($6): thick, brown potato slices with small windows in between the ridges. Located in a shopping plaza on Fremont Boulevard, A Sack of Potatoes fits right in with shops full of youthful energy like Bun Appetit and Pav Bhaji Hut. Currently a Sack of Potatoes offers only takeout, but there’s a parklet nearby that’s open to everyone in the plaza.

Credit cards accepted Tea

510-896-8070 Order online

2 / 20

Al's Place Restaurant has outdoor dining

1499 Valencia St., San Francisco

At this thrilling, vegetable-centric restaurant, meat is used as a seasoning (if at all).

Fermentation is what distinguishes the fries ($8) at Al’s Place, a funky little restaurant in the Mission District. They look like normal fries, albeit on the paler side, but reveal the unmistakable flavor of salt-and-vinegar chips at first bite. It seems like magic but is the result of more than a week of labor for each batch: Yukon Gold potatoes are cut and quadruple-washed, then wrapped in cabbage leaves and fermented for at least a week in a brine with sauerkraut. They’re tested each day to make sure the microbes are doing their best work. You can enjoy these quietly mind-blowing fries and the rest of the seasonal menu in the minimalist dining room or outdoor parklet.

Credit cards accepted Beer and wine


3 / 20

Classic 101 Burgers Restaurant offers takeout Restaurant offers delivery Restaurant has outdoor dining

575 Ralston Ave., Belmont

Thick, golden-hued potato wedges are the secret weapon at this neighborhood restaurant.

Potato wedges exist in a volatile state of nostalgia: If you grew up eating them, you will probably love them forever. But if you didn’t, you probably think they’re over-hyped chunky fries. The ones from Belmont’s Classic 101 Burgers hit those nostalgic notes but go beyond. The wedges ($2.29), fried until golden-orange in hue, taste of familiar spices like garlic, onion and paprika. On the menu, you’ll see them as “spicy fries,” which is a misnomer and the only obstacle keeping you from these wonderful potatoes. 101 Classic Burgers has the vibe of a neighborhood burger joint, where locals pop in for a quick hot dog or burger. The often unspoken appeal for potato wedges like these is they can also be good cold. As the wedges cool, they lose their crunch, but the excess seasoning gives them a satisfying afterlife.

Credit cards accepted Soft drinks


4 / 20

Duende Restaurant offers takeout Restaurant offers delivery

468 19th St., Oakland

Smoky, spiced patatas bravas from a Spanish tapas restaurant.

If there’s one thing to know about eating Spanish food, it’s that there’s going to be a lot of paprika. That’s the case at Oakland’s Duende, a tapas restaurant by chef Paul Canales that debuted in 2013. Smoked paprika has a star role in the patatas bravas ($9). Fried potato cubes are enveloped in a velvety, spicy aioli that tastes of smoke and dry spice. Pro tip: Order the lamb burger and sub out the potato chips for patatas. Embrace the paprika in the spacious restaurant while admiring the high ceilings and chaotic but charming art on the walls.

Credit cards accepted Full bar


5 / 20

Gott's Roadside Restaurant offers takeout Restaurant offers delivery Restaurant has outdoor dining

933 Main St., St. Helena

A local fast-food chain focused on classics like burgers, shakes and BLTs.

Straddling the line between California cuisine and fast food, Gott’s Roadside always delights with its high-quality takes on the things you crave on long road trips. Where else can you get a hot dog with a glass of rosé? Founded by two brothers in St. Helena in 1999, it’s since expanded to restaurants throughout the Bay Area, including in San Francisco, Greenbrae, Walnut Creek and Palo Alto. Essential for every meal here is an order of the garlic fries ($4.49), tossed to order with melted garlic butter and chopped parsley. Gott’s doesn’t skimp on the garlic, but stinky breath is a small price to pay for something so delicious.

Credit cards accepted Beer and wine

707-963-3486 Order online

6 / 20

Indigo Burger Restaurant offers takeout Restaurant offers delivery Restaurant has outdoor dining

5743 Stevenson Blvd., Newark

Indulgent vegan loaded fries that hold their own against dairy-laden contemporaries.

Newark’s Indigo Burger is one of the only vegan burger shops in the East Bay serving patties from both Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. One of the restaurant’s trademarks is that all of the fries ($3.50) are sprinkled with flecks of rosemary. The pleasant herbiness adds an extra dimension to the cheesy loaded fries ($6.50): potatoes topped with nacho “cheese” (made of spiced, pureed chickpeas), crumbled Impossible meat, grilled onions and jalapeños. These nacho fries are messy, hearty and have a piquant bite. It’s a comfort food that’s just as indulgent as any you’d get at a non-vegan spot. Find a table outside or take it to-go.

Credit cards accepted Soft drinks

510-239-7982 Order online

7 / 20

Kowbird Restaurant offers takeout Restaurant has outdoor dining

1733 Peralta St., Oakland

Craggy fried chicken with herby fries in a contemporary Southern-style diner.

Matt Horn’s second Oakland restaurant, Kowbird, pays homage to the South with a diner specializing in fried chicken. The sandwiches are the draw, but the fries ($3) are also excellent. The spuds are fried in peanut oil and sport a thin, snappy coating. If you don’t want a sandwich but still want chicken, the Bird Fries ($15) come with chopped tenders, a tangy ketchup-heavy sauce and grilled onions. They’re a little filthy (in a good way) with oily, caramelized onions and crunchy shards of dredged chicken. To wash it all down, go for the Arnold Palmer made with lemonade and Southern-style sweet tea. Find a spot inside at the U-shape counter or grab a bench out front.

Credit cards accepted Beer and wine


8 / 20

Lados Restaurant offers takeout Restaurant offers delivery Restaurant has outdoor dining

115 Plaza Dr., Sunnyvale

A humble Sunnyvale restaurant with a focus on Pakistani halal street food.

A low-key restaurant surrounded by a quiet residential neighborhood, Lados nevertheless draws a loyal following who come out for its halal fried chicken “burgers,” curries and excellent masala-seasoned fries. The dining room is living room-cozy, peppered with cute framed prints and purple neon signage; for your convenience, there’s even a prayer room by the entrance for conducting salah. For a different vibe, the dive bar-like outdoor seating area is set up with picnic tables with a nice view of the parking lot. Either scene is perfect for enjoying a little snack like the very golden-brown fries, which come in varying amounts of loadedness. You might as well go for the maximum level ($5.49) with the Crazy Curry Fries, drizzled with tikka masala sauce, tamarind, a tangy mayonnaise-based sauce and shredded cheese.

Credit cards accepted Soft drinks

650-290-1234 Order online

9 / 20

Lana’s Restaurant offers takeout Restaurant offers delivery Restaurant has outdoor dining

517 8th St., Oakland

An inspired take on fast-food icons with various fry options.

Old Oakland smashburger stronghold Lana’s understands the powerful bond between fries and burgers. Instead of one fry option, the restaurant offers three: thin-cut ($4.5), curly ($5) and tater tots ($5). The classic is shoestring fries, like you’d get at McDonald’s, except without the gamble of bitter, over-extended fryer oil. If you’re looking for a heavy hand of seasoning, go for the curly fries, a collection of starchy coils and nostalgia. The smashburgers and fries both have an affinity for snappy textures and complement each other nicely. Enjoy your food inside the restaurant or get it delivered – the quality holds up.

Credit cards accepted Soft drinks


10 / 20

Lovely's Restaurant offers takeout Restaurant has outdoor dining

2344 Webster St., Oakland

Fast-food staples made with a lot of love.

A lot of great food comes out of Lovely’s, a counter-service diner located in the wide-open courtyard at Two Pitchers Brewing Co. in Oakland. From his humble days as a pop-up burgermeister, owner Mikey Yoon has devoted himself to doing burgers and fries ($4.75) the slow, arduous way, with a level of finesse that reminds you of why they’re so iconic. Incredibly, he does all this while keeping prices reasonable. At this simple stall, the freshly cut fries go through a laborious process of overnight soaking and oil blanching before they’re even tossed into the fryer to ensure a soft, airy interior and a taut, crunchy exterior. They’re served piping hot with the skins still on, and you can even get them draped with a velvety house chili and cheese.

Credit cards accepted Beer and wine

11 / 20


3295 Castro Valley Blvd., Suite. 203, Castro Valley

Oniony, cheesy loaded potatoes in an upscale setting.

Oculto is found upstairs in the Castro Valley Marketplace, a food hall and shopping center. The restaurant, which comes from the team behind the popular Mexican and Venezuelan pop-up Hermanos Verdes, displays fun, energetic dishes like an orange mole with carrots and cheesy papas bravas ($14). The latter is less Spanish in style and more like loaded potatoes: fried fingerling potatoes gussied up with chopped poblano peppers, sticky Oaxacan cheese and white blots of onion aioli. The experience of eating them hits those indulgent notes of potatoes-with-stuff-on-top but with elegant finesse. The restaurant gets busy so reservations are encouraged.

Credit cards accepted Full bar


12 / 20

Papas con Pollo el Buen Gusto Restaurant offers takeout

3400 International Blvd., Oakland

High-quality fried chicken and potatoes right on the street.

If you’ve been hungry near Fruitvale BART late at night, your best bet for something fresh, hot and delicious is Guatemalan papas con pollo. Starting at 4 p.m. until 11 p.m. on the corner of 34th Avenue and International Boulevard, Papas con Pollo el Buen Gusto sets up a stainless steel cart with two fryers. An order of chicken ($8) comes with two pieces and fries. Since the potatoes are fried in the same oil as the chicken, the taters are slightly schmaltzy, giving them a pleasant savoriness. Each order comes with colorful zigzags of ketchup, mayo and tangy green Picamas salsa. If you prefer condiments on the fries only, let them know, otherwise they’ll put it on the chicken, too. It’s astounding the sort of quality that you can get late at night in Fruitvale. Cash and takeout only.

Cash only Soft drinks


13 / 20

Pucquio Restaurant offers takeout Restaurant has outdoor dining

5337 College Ave., Oakland

The platonic ideal of yuca frita can be found at this Peruvian restaurant.

An order of yuca frita ($8) at Oakland’s Pucquio only comes with four fries to an order. But don’t let that deter you: They are 100% worth it. The fries are stacked in a lattice formation, like a pound sign made of starch. The blocks of fried yuca have a crispy exoskeleton housing the pillowy interior. Since yuca has a higher density than your average tuber, these slices are boiled first then fried to avoid a dry, fibrous product. The order comes with an airy emulsion of huacatay (Peruvian black mint), rocoto peppers and extra-virgin olive oil. The yuca frita is on the menu as a side order, perfect to soak up the bright acid and heat of Peruvian cebiches. Enjoy them in the cozy restaurant, on the parklet or to-go.

Credit cards accepted Beer and wine


14 / 20

Stick & Steam Restaurant offers takeout Restaurant offers delivery Restaurant has outdoor dining

350 Adrian Rd., Millbrae

A youth-oriented cafe in Millbrae inspired by Hong Kong street food.

Stick and Steam is a casual sister restaurant to Koi Palace, the Peninsula’s dim sum powerhouse, so you’ll certainly find dumplings and the like here. But the focus of the neon-lit shop is the robust small bites like seared pork belly skewers, served with charcoal-infused steamed buns, and french fries ($6.75) coated in creamy and rich salted egg yolk. The slightly grainy egg yolk is hugely popular in Asian snacks and packs a suitable punch here.

Credit cards accepted Beer and wine


15 / 20

Tacos El Muchacho Alegre Restaurant offers takeout Restaurant offers delivery Restaurant has outdoor dining

751 Jackson St., Napa

A well-known taco truck in Napa is favored for its excellent carne asada.

Opened in 2015, the truck is the brainchild of the Pelayo Gómez family, who hail from the city of Autlán de Navarro in the Mexican state of Jalisco. Their wide-ranging menu includes bacon-wrapped hot dogs, handmade sopes and classic dishes from Jalisco. My pick for the tacos is the well-seasoned and charred carne asada ($2.50), which is flavorful enough to withstand the myriad accouterments on the popular Alegre fries ($10). The fries are perfectly crunchy, so the toppings of meat, melted cheese, salsa and other garnishes feel like bonuses. Plus, there’s some shredded iceberg lettuce in there so it’s basically a salad.

Credit cards accepted Soft drinks


16 / 20

Trueburger Restaurant offers takeout Restaurant offers delivery Restaurant has outdoor dining

146 Grand Ave., Oakland

The fast-food fries of your childhood dreams.

Trueburger is an Oakland burger joint with burgers on squishy egg buns and exemplary fries. These shoestring potatoes ($3.50) are a reminder of the magic of fast-food fries, like Burger King in its heyday: thin and incredibly savory. While ketchup is always a reliable condiment, the garlicky mayo packs extra flavor. If you want even more garlic, go for the garlic fries. Trueburger has two locations in Oakland but the original spot, near Lake Merritt, is smaller and cozier.

Credit cards accepted Soft drinks


17 / 20

Wildseed Restaurant offers takeout Restaurant offers delivery Restaurant has outdoor dining

2000 Union St., San Francisco

Cow Hollow's fitness crowd has gone wild over this very San Francisco take on vegan food.

For the vegan-curious, Cow Hollow's Wildseed is the perfect place to dip your toes in those waters. In the spirit of accessibility, Wildseed also offers two burgers: one made in-house with ground mushrooms and spinach, and one of the Impossible variety. Pair those with paper cones filled with the restaurant’s Belgian fries ($11), which are accompanied by a trio of herb aioli, chipotle aioli and curry ketchup. In the Belgian fashion, the fries are thick-cut and double-fried, though traditionally in a mix of ox and horse fats (not vegan). They’re a nod to Belga, the popular Belgian brasserie that used to be in the same space. Belga is long gone, but thankfully the fries remain. The restaurant recently opened a new outpost in Palo Alto.

Credit cards accepted Full bar

415-872-7350 Order online

18 / 20

Zareen's Restaurant offers takeout Restaurant offers delivery Restaurant has outdoor dining TOP

2039 Broadway, Redwood City

The curries, kebabs and rice dishes at this growing group of restaurants are popular with tech workers, students and families.

Since Zareen and Umair Khan opened their first location in Mountain View in 2014, Zareen's has been a popular spot for diners on the Peninsula seeking homestyle South Asian dishes and a steamy cup of chai. Here, the traditional coexists with the modern: Garlic naan is baked to order in a clay oven, and french fries are served with a crisp coating and a spicy dusting of masala. Desis missing their home food and newbies wanting to learn more will both find something to love here.

Credit cards accepted Soft drinks

650-747-6400 Order online

19 / 20

Zola Restaurant offers takeout Restaurant has outdoor dining

585 Bryant St., Palo Alto

The Frenchest fries can be found at this Palo Alto restaurant.

Palo Alto’s Zola is a restaurant and bar that’s been serving market-driven Parisian food since 2014. Unsurprisingly it’s also a place where you can get proper french fries, also known as pomme frites ($10). The French bistro’s fries are salty and crispy, with a plush center, and served with a mayo-dijon mustard sauce. You can order them with a New York steak or as a side if you don’t want to commit to all that meat. Book a reservation to dine inside or outside in the wood-slatted parklet. Otherwise try your luck with bar seating, which is first come, first served.

Credit cards accepted Full bar


20 / 20

Zuni Cafe Restaurant offers takeout Restaurant has outdoor dining TOP

1658 Market St., San Francisco

With a daily changing menu informed by seasonality and sustainability, Zuni Cafe captures the ethos of California cuisine.

Yes, Zuni Cafe's chicken with bread salad is phenomenal – one of those celebrity dishes that the restaurant will never be able to take off the menu. But the classic California cuisine restaurant’s burgers ($20) and shoestring fries ($9) garner just as much of a devoted fandom. You’ll see many tables with a golden haystack of julienned potatoes piled high and easy to eat by the palmful. These fries are in a class of their own.

Credit cards accepted Full bar




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