French fries are a universal delight.
Though they may all seem the same to the untrained eye and palate, each fried slice of tuber brings something a little different to the table. Maybe it's the amount of salt sprinkled on. Maybe it's the type of fat they're cooked in. Whatever it is, Southern California — home of McDonald's, which makes the best fast-food french fries on the planet — and Los Angeles in particular has a fantastic array of french fries to choose from.
Here are the 10 best baskets of fries around the city.
Downtown's new Miro is fine dining, but it's not delicate dining. The servers will tell you that the fries aren't particularly light and airy; instead, the kitchen is aiming for heartiness with these oversized spud slices. But it's not all about girth. They're well-salted creatures, and fried till they're crisped up all over and a light shade of brown.
Cassell's, the beloved Koreatown spot that served egg salad sandwiches to generations of Angelenos, recently got a facelift. But the food is still straightforward and wholesome. The french fries at Cassell's are a simple delight, made of Kennebec potato fried in peanut oil, making them one of the few vegan options on this list.
Jar is a steakhouse, perfected. The classic West Hollywood restaurant, helmed by celebrity chef Suzanne Tracht, does a lot of chops and steaks and other rich, meaty dishes. It's the kind of food L.A. is actually all about. French fries are, as we know, the perfect accompaniment to red meat, so unsurprisingly, Jar's are fantastic. They're thin but not shoestring, and dusted with parsley and bits of sauteed garlic.
E.P. & L.P.
Not to cause any existential crises, but what is a french fry? Is it the potato that makes it a fry? Or might it be the shape, or even just the very fried nature of the beast itself? E.P. & L.P. serves tofu fries at its rooftop bar, each rectangle of tofu fried until crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, just like potato fries. These don't come with ketchup, though.
This burger joint caused a commotion when it opened about 10 years ago. At the time, authentically Belgian-style fries were a pretty innovative idea for L.A. Other purveyors of fries have since caught on to the double-fry method, but the Oinkster isn't slacking — these are still fantastic fries. And they come with a variety of sauces, including homemade ketchups and aioli.
Beer Belly acts very aw-shucks about its designation as a beer bar, but the spot is actually low-key gourmet. It offers a small variety of fries: one that doesn't mention the type of oil used, one that's fried in pork fat and tossed with arugula, bacon bits and vinegar, and two made with duck fat. One is served with duck confit, while the other is tossed with duck skin cracklins and served with raspberry mustard.
Church & State
This downtown French bistro has been flying under the radar since opening chef Walter Manzke left a few years ago, but it's still churning out reliable classics. The fries here are cooked in a lard-heavy oil mixture and come to the table crispy as can be. And being a European joint, Church & State takes pride in its aioli, too. It's expensive, but you've never felt more elegant while eating something with a dippin' sauce.
This choice may seem odd at first glance, but here's the thing: Langer's serves the same fries as Shake Shack. Perhaps the two restaurants use a different vendor, but they're both serving previously frozen crinkle cuts from a bag. But at Langer's, they can be used as a base for chili and cheese. That's more L.A. than the new shiny guys will ever be.
These fries are delicious, but you will not be able to finish them. Based on serving size, it seems Belcampo expects people to be able to eat about three potatoes in one sitting, as well as a burger. But we shouldn't complain about having too much of a good thing. Every massive pile of fries from Belcampo has been fried in beef tallow (as McDonald's used to do) and served with fancy ketchup — the specifics of said ketchup vary by location.
Top Round Roast Beef
A french fry list is not complete until there is a curly option. Top Round is at its essence an upscale(ish) Arby's, and its curly fries do the chain one better, using only beef fat to fry up the spiral wonders. The restaurant does have a regular fry option, but that's no fun, not when you have the choice. (Which do you prefer, tight curls or loose curls?) There's the option to top them with beef gravy and/or homemade cheese “wizz,” too.