1 Love It

The 9 best French fries in Chicago

From fried eggs to foie gras, Chicago's best French fries come topped with a wide array of ingredients

Photo: Nicole Radja
Belgian fries at Frietkoten, French Market

Considering how great Chicago is at making hot dogs and burgers, it's no surprise that Chicago restaurants absolutely nail French fries, the ideal accompaniment to both. These nine versions, which range from garlic fries at a Latin American restaurant to decadent foie gras fries, are worth seeking out.

RECOMMENDED: Best burgers in Chicago

Crispy Fries with Mornay Sauce, Garlic Aioli & Fried Farm Egg at Au Cheval ($9.95)

The burger at Au Cheval has been lauded nationwide, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the other items on the menu. Under the “Eggs” section of the menu lies one of the best fry dishes in the city. The golden pile of rich and crispy potatoes comes drizzled with a creamy mornay sauce, which has a deep tang of real aged cheddar. Mix the sauce with the runny, barely cooked yolk of the fried egg perched on top to turn these into your dream breakfast dish, any time of the day. If the cheese sauce, twice-fried-in-lard taters and egg aren’t sumptuous enough, the fries also come with a side of creamy, garlicky aioli, making these fries unapologetically heavy and not for the faint of heart.

Read more
West Loop

Foie Fries at Big & Little’s ($16)

Not since the weekend duck fat fries at now-shuttered Hot Doug’s has Chicago seen the kind of excessive French fry madness that you can order at burger joint Big & Little’s. Here the fries are marvelous—they’re made with hand-cut potatoes, dunked in hot oil until they’re crispy golden brown, then heavily seasoned. When topped with large seared lobes of foie gras and the warm melty fat that goes along with it, these fries are next level. If there’s something more indulgent and delicious than French fries smothered in rich, creamy foie gras, we don’t know what it is.

Read more
River North

Loaded Fries at Edzo's Burger Shop ($5.50)

One taste of the indulgent loaded fries at Edzo’s in Evanston, and you’ll wonder why you were ever so silly to put ketchup on your fries in the first place. The bright golden-brown fries are smothered in toppings, from a sharp and creamy sauce made with real cheddar cheese to a huge dollop of smooth and tangy sour cream. Crumbles of salty, greasy bacon help cut through the creaminess. The tiny pop of green from the scallions sprinkled over the top seems almost like a last-minute apology for the luxury of the dish. As a whole, these fries are as much gluttony as you can possibly fit in a paper bowl.

Read more
Evanston

Belgian Fries at Frietkoten Belgian Fries & Beer ($5)

It’s hard to beat the Belgians at their fry game. Head to the back of the French Market and cozy up at one of the indoor patio tables any time of the year and enjoy these magnificent fries. Served in a traditional paper cone, they’re the best in the city. Hand-cut and cooked to order, they’re perfectly salted and crisp. With more than a dozen different flavors of dipping sauces, you can choose the perfect one for you—we’re partial to the spicy-sweet harissa aioli, which has a nice subtle smokiness and warming peppery heat, or the more classic truffle aioli, which has a luxuriously deep flavor.

Read more
West Loop

Pommes Frites with Garlic Aioli at Hopleaf ($5)

Andersonville mainstay Hopleaf has more than just a great selection of domestic and imported craft beer. While you might be wooed by a menu of freshly steamed mussels or plump sausages with grainy, spicy mustards, don’t miss the iconic frites. The thin, matchstick-style fries arrive at the table cozied in a paper cone and are simply served with garlic aioli. You can dunk them in mustard or the murky depths of your mussels, but they make a perfectly delightful bar snack on their own. The garlic aioli is so garlicky you'll still taste it the next day.

Read more
Uptown

Garlic Fries at La Sirena Clandestina ($6)

This Brazilian spot on Fulton Market has plenty of small plates to nosh on, and the housemade fries are among the best. The huge portion of fries is scattered with bits of garlic and herbs that combine for a wonderful aroma when they arrive at your table. The fries are on the thin side, and their super-crunchy crust yields to a surprisingly custardy interior. Served with a creamy aioli that’s a little bit spicy and a little bit citrusy, they’re almost impossible to stop snacking on and make the perfect companion to one of the bright and vibrant Latin-inspired drinks on the creative cocktail list.

Read more
West Loop

House-Cut Chips with Malt Aioli at Owen & Engine ($5)

This Logan Square British pub dishes out British classics like bubble and squeak, as well as a decidedly British take on French fries. The Owen & Engine fries are salt and malty vinegar British pub chips and are available as a side or with the fish and chips. These have more heft than a typical American fry and the zippy malt aioli will take care of all your salt and vinegar cravings. Add a few shakes of malt vinegar along with the aioli for a bracingly tangy and creamy combination.

Read more
Logan Square

Cheese Fries at Portillo’s ($2.60)

There’s something to be said about the classic fries from a fast-food burger joint, like the excellent ones from Chicago institution Portillo’s. If you grew up in or around the city, chances are these are the fries you remember eating as a kid. Crinkle-cut, they’re fried just until tender but not brown, and the oil used to fry them provides a slightly sweet flavor reminiscent of funnel cake. Inside they’re filled with fluffy, soft potato, perfect for sopping up whatever you want to dip them in. Get them with Portillo’s cheese sauce smothered on top—it isn’t real cheddar, but the creamy, warm processed cheddar cheese is exactly the kind of nostalgic flavor you want with this kind of fry.

Read more
River North

Fries with Spicy Aioli at Pub Royale ($5)

The British-Indian spot serves up excellent Indian food, from spot-on crispy samosas to boozy mango lassis. But that doesn’t mean you should overlook menu items that might sound rather humdrum on paper, like the superlative cone of crispy brown pub-style fries. You’ll find yourself scraping every last bit of the creamy, slightly spicy and smoky aioli from the bottom of the condiment cup. The fries themselves are more than just a vehicle for consuming said sauce, and the crunchy fried exterior—salted just so—gives way to a fluffy potato middle. Try to pace yourself—if you fill up on fries you won’t have room for chai dulce de leche doughnuts for dessert.

Read more
Wicker Park

Comments

5 comments
Kevin W
Kevin W

I was totally with this list until you put crinkle cut fries from Portillo's on the list.  Floppy, sweaty, undercooked, and drowned in fake cheese isn't my idea of "Best." 

Drew T
Drew T

Hoppin Hots (in former Great Lake pizza location in Andersonville) has Poutin Fries (with deep-fried cheese curds & beef gravy) $5 is simply amazing, but you should probably share it with 1-2 others and try an Ancho-Chocolate shake to go with it.

billy c
billy c

try Haywood Tavern's fries. mmmm they're so good.

billy j
billy j

You neglected to mention one of the first restaurants to gussy up its fries: For nearly 30 years, Cross-Rhodes in Evanston has been offering Greek-style steak fries that are cooked twice, strained, then tossed in a a lemon-wine-herb marinade. Like a Chicago hotdog, it is considered uncouth to ruin them with ketchup.