HOME > Chowhound > Chains >
Are you making a specialty food? Share your adventure

Best French Fries?

relativeways1 Jun 10, 2008 09:46 PM

Somebody posted this in the Mcdonalds vs Burger King vs Wendy's post...just curious who has the best fries?

I really like McDonald's (I eat them with sweet and sour sauce) and I drooled when I saw the animal style fries at In n' Out, although I've never had them...

  1. iL Divo May 27, 2011 07:21 PM

    Arby's curly fries are blech ^{<€^]~&:(
    Used to be our favorite fries were Carls Jr.
    Always heard they were mashed potatoes, formed, frozen, then fried and crisped.
    Also in Vegas @ the Dive no longer in existence, think it was Steven Spielbergs.
    Now I suppose I'd have to vote for Vera's

    1. n
      NewDude Jan 3, 2010 11:37 PM

      Haven't tried them in a while, but Jack in the Crack's curly fries were glorious years ago. Can't vouch for 'em recently...

      1 Reply
      1. re: NewDude
        down73 Jan 4, 2010 02:32 PM

        Its good to hear that someone likes them. Those things mess me up so bad that I can't even eat their regular fries because there is always one stray curly in the sack that taints the whole order. And one stray curly was not an intended pun, but it does fit come to think of it.

      2. j
        joe777cool Dec 29, 2009 09:56 AM

        I love Wendys fries, but they have to be hot and fresh. If you wait even 10 minutes to eat them you are better off throwing them in the trash. They get soggy, cold, and NASTY in record time!

        3 Replies
        1. re: joe777cool
          down73 Dec 30, 2009 11:08 PM

          I have never understood how people can eat the seasoned curly fries at Arby's or Jack in the Box. There is no food on the planet that gives me heartburn. Except those effing curly fries.

          On the orginal question, I may be the only one here that feels this way, but I loved the fries at Bennigans. I had friends at the one in my home town that worked behind the bar and I would always get a basket of those when we are all up there drinking pints. If i knew i was going up there, i would reach in my fridge and grab a couple of leftover whataburger ketchups that i hoard anytime and everytime I go to whataburger. That will sound silly to most, but I know for a fact that i am not the only one in the South that respects that whataburger ketchup.

          1. re: down73
            Clams047 Dec 31, 2009 04:56 AM

            Fully agree that Arby's and other typical curly fries rate down there with BK as truly gross .

            1. re: Clams047
              joe777cool Dec 31, 2009 05:32 AM

              i had arbys for the first time over the summer (closest one is 2 hrs away). My fiancee and I were actually excited when we saw it. What a disappointment on all levels. Even thought we got there early and they made everything fresh to order and hot, there wasnt a single thing we ate where we were like "we have to come back for this." And the fries......I love curly fries, but the coating or seasoning on the outside.......GROSS!!!!! too bad.

        2. f
          FrankD Sep 11, 2009 08:02 PM

          If you get a chance to visit Toronto, try the fries at Swiss Chalet - they put McD's and every other fast food chain to shame.

          1 Reply
          1. re: FrankD
            Brennius Sep 12, 2009 05:20 PM

            Why would you say Toronto? There are over 200 Swiss Chalet locations coast to coast including Buffalo NY.

            Their fries can be great or awful depending on location and how busy they are. At least they're fresh cut (not frozen) -- I've never forgiven their sister chain Harvey's for abandoning Swiss Chalet-style fresh-cuts during their nosedive into profound and total mediocrity.

            My real message here is, chains are the weakest of all on good french fries. Find, stroke, cultivate and reward your local indies that understand that fries come from fresh Russets, not the freezer. Speaking only for Canada, it seems to be an Eastern Canadian thing (like the Coke/Pepsi divide) - central and Western Canada seems to tolerate frozen fries while the Atlantic and Quebec would heave them back in yer face.

          2. poofty Sep 11, 2009 06:47 PM

            while living in the south loved Bojangles "hot" or "cajun" fries

            1. t
              TomSwift Sep 10, 2009 09:19 AM

              I suppose this qualifies as a chain as there are two branches, but HITCHING POST (in CA) (yes, of Sideways fame) has killer fries, both potato and sweet potato. They fry in beef tallow and you are transported back to McDonalds of the early 60's, but much better. Agree that McD's fries today are a sellout to the food police and are surviving on the memories of boomers who don't care. What is it? About 95% of the orders placed at McD include fries?

              1. j
                joe777cool Sep 10, 2009 06:56 AM

                While Mcd's fries in S&S is a clasic, Wendy's fries when hot, and only when hot, with lots of ketchup are the best.

                I HATE HATE HATE Burger Kings fries, in fact I will order a sandwich or tenders there and skip the fries completely. That nasty coating is the worst thing that ever happened to the french fry. When will BK figure out their fries SUCK????

                2 Replies
                1. re: joe777cool
                  Emm Sep 10, 2009 07:30 AM

                  A regional chain where I live named Penn Station has far and away the best fries. They're cut with the skins on and fried to order in peanut oil. Means a short wait, but worth every minute.

                  1. re: Emm
                    Fibber McGee Sep 10, 2009 07:51 AM

                    Penn Station also sets out vinegar with the other condiments. They know how to do fries right.

                2. j
                  Jacey Sep 9, 2009 10:10 AM

                  Back in my middle school days I used to eat fast food quite a bit. I remember loving Hardee's seasoned, curly fries. At one point BK came out with a new formula for their fries, and it reminded me of fish sticks.

                  People seem to live Five Guys' fries.

                  1. n
                    NewDude Sep 8, 2009 07:31 PM

                    Details Magazine voted Mickie D's best fast food fries on the block. But it's details, what do they know? I used to like Mickie D fries growing up.

                    In the recent past, I enjoyed Wendy's fries. They were nice and crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, and of a good size. Plus, they used some funky oil which smelled slightly stale, and that topped off the entire fast food experience...

                    Buy anything from Wendy's after hours though, and you might as well as throw it in the trash right after you buy it.

                    1. _
                      _ML_ Sep 8, 2009 07:10 PM

                      +1 for Five Guys.

                      1. a
                        aynrandgirl Jun 24, 2008 09:33 AM

                        I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Carl's Jr's "criss-cut" fries, which are quite tasty.

                        1. Karl S Jun 22, 2008 11:15 AM

                          McDonald's fried are living off their formerly deserved reputation, which they don't deserve anymore.

                          The first huge mistake was getting rid of tallow (in the US, at least) - the kind that Julia Child long admired. Not only did it compromise flavor and texture, but it dramatically increased caloric load (by a factor of 25%-33% for the same unit of weight). Sure, less cholesterol, but way more calories and less tasty. Bad bad idea.

                          Second, the elimination of transfats has made things even worse. I don't know what vegetable oil they are using, but I do get whiffs of the telltale sign of canola oil - fishy aftertaste.

                          It is a rare time that I get McDonald's fries that are worth their calories - that's why if I never bother with anything other than the smallest size.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Karl S
                            Lindseyup67 Jun 22, 2008 04:19 PM

                            My fav has got to be Culvers crinkle cut....second would be Wendys (if they are cooked until they are done and are hot)

                            1. re: Karl S
                              Steve Green Dec 30, 2009 09:59 AM

                              I've copied the ingredient list from McD's site (below). Karl S, you mention the elimination of transfats -- is "hydrogenated oil" considered a transfat, or does that only apply to "partially hydrogenated oil"?. BTW, I believe the fishy smell/taste is often caused by a chemical reaction due to fryer baskets with the plating worn off. Or maybe they just fried too much fish in that oil. :o) Anyway, here's the appetizing list:

                              "French Fries:
                              Potatoes, vegetable oil (canola oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural beef flavor [wheat and milk derivatives]*, citric acid [preservative]), dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (maintain color), salt. Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness). Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent.
                              CONTAINS: WHEAT AND MILK *(Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients)."

                              1. re: Steve Green
                                aynrandgirl Jan 1, 2010 05:36 PM

                                The fishy taste is a confluence of two factors:

                                1) Canola oil subjected to high heat
                                2) A genetic quirk of the taster

                                I have that quirk and I can instantly tell when anything is cooked in canola oil. Unfortunately most people don't have it, so restaurants continue to use canola oil in high heat applications like deep frying. The quirk is similar to the ones that make cilantro taste like soap, make phenyithiocarbamide paper strips taste bitter, or allow you to smell cyanide.

                            2. ChrisOC Jun 19, 2008 06:17 AM

                              My vote would be for Five Guys

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: ChrisOC
                                hotdoglover Jun 20, 2008 03:47 AM

                                Agree about Five Guys. Not even close. Although I've heard that quality varies from location to location, the 3 I've been to in North Jersey are the same. Consistently good. I also love their burgers. Well done, but juicy and flavorful. One of my favorite places to eat and I'm not usually a fan of chains.

                                1. re: hotdoglover
                                  cavandre Dec 30, 2009 04:54 AM

                                  Quality appears to vary significantly! At the Five-Guys near us (Melbourne, FL), the fries spent too much time waiting in their styrofoam cup while our burger was prepared. As a result, they were very soggy & not at all appealing.

                              2. k
                                Kam7185 Jun 16, 2008 12:10 PM

                                Fries could possibly be my favorite food, I am not very keen on wasting calories so I don't indulge unless they are worth it.

                                Food Court finds: Arbys and Jack in the box make awesome curly fries when fresh! Love "boardwalk fries" and the skin on fries from "The great steak and Potato"

                                Casual dining chains: Chilis fries are nice and seasoned well. Claim jumper has wonderful salt and pepper shoestring fries that are so good dipped in salsa ranch!

                                1. m
                                  MysticYoYo Jun 14, 2008 11:16 AM

                                  I like Checkers crispy, seasoned fries the best.

                                  1. m
                                    Mag454 Jun 13, 2008 12:25 AM

                                    I like Arby's curly fries the best...

                                    1. ipsedixit Jun 12, 2008 10:38 PM

                                      McDonald's and Islands.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                        nothingswrong May 28, 2011 04:59 AM

                                        ooh--islands! haven't eaten there since i was forced to... but those fries! they are so salty and the seasoning is perfect. i love salty. good for raising the blood pressure and oh so tasty with a drink...

                                      2. steakman55 Jun 12, 2008 04:28 PM

                                        McD's for fast food; Chili's for casual sit down.
                                        Hate hate hate the coated fries anywhere

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: steakman55
                                          ccbweb Jun 12, 2008 05:39 PM

                                          Are the Chili's fries similar to McD's at all? What's good about them? I ask because I've never taken notice, not because I disagree.

                                          1. re: ccbweb
                                            steakman55 Jun 12, 2008 08:35 PM

                                            Not a copy of McD's which are superior to Chili's, just pretty good IMO.

                                            1. re: steakman55
                                              ccbweb Jun 12, 2008 09:19 PM

                                              Good to know. I'll have occasion in the next few months to eat at Chili's at least a couple of times. I'll definitely give the fries a try; thanks!

                                              1. re: ccbweb
                                                stephanieh Jun 14, 2008 11:13 AM

                                                Chili's does have good fries. They aren't thin like McDonald's (they're like the next size up on whatever standard french fry cutters there are out there). Chili's seasons them well and usually gets them fried properly crisp outside and tender inside. They are similar to the fries at Joe's Crab Shack, if you've had those. The difference seems to be Joe's seasons a little more, or uses a more seafood-influenced seasoning on theirs. Also, it's been awhile since I've been, but Outback Steakhouse used to have good fries.

                                          2. re: steakman55
                                            RetiredChef Jan 5, 2010 06:00 AM

                                            +1 Chili’s

                                            I’m not a French fry fan and the only chain I actually ever remembering ‘eating’ French fries and liking them was at Chili’s.

                                          3. Mister Big Jun 11, 2008 01:40 PM


                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Mister Big
                                              TongoRad Jun 14, 2008 11:35 AM

                                              Seconded. Big time.

                                            2. Chew on That Jun 11, 2008 10:14 AM

                                              animal fries? what's that?

                                              I guess I like McDonalds fries the best. Wendys are ok, but I despissse Burger King's fries! Yuck.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Chew on That
                                                Velvet Elvis Jun 11, 2008 01:20 PM

                                                fries covered with cheese, 1000 island dressing, and grilled onions. Sounds kind of gross, but it is really good.

                                                1. re: Velvet Elvis
                                                  currymouth Jun 11, 2008 01:24 PM

                                                  One word. Poutine.

                                              2. m
                                                mdepsmom Jun 11, 2008 09:47 AM

                                                Chick-fil-a's waffle cut fries has all of them beat!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: mdepsmom
                                                  Ralphie_in_Boston Jun 12, 2008 07:55 AM

                                                  Agree 100%. M

                                                2. c
                                                  charlesbois Jun 11, 2008 06:26 AM

                                                  Of course McDonalds. BK used to be second, but then they screwed with their fries and put a weird coating on them. And now Wendy's fries their fries in the same oil as their fish, so they have a fishy taste. Arby's curly fries are OK, but Olga's curly fries are better. A&W's fries are ok too.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: charlesbois
                                                    Firegoat Jun 12, 2008 08:37 AM

                                                    Agree on the McDonalds..... it they are hot... and I have an extra packet of salt in case they forgot to salt them.

                                                    Hate BK's.... but I will eat their onion rings with the spicy onion ring dipping sauce. (Now I know they aren't REAL onion rings... but I am texture challenged when it comes to onions, all I can guess is they puree them and then form them into little rings on a tray or something. )

                                                    1. re: charlesbois
                                                      libgirl2 Jun 12, 2008 02:15 PM

                                                      I love McDonald's fries the most. White Castle follows second. I agree about BK's fries. I actually stopped going there years ago when they created those gross things.

                                                      1. re: libgirl2
                                                        charlesbois Jun 12, 2008 07:14 PM

                                                        ooo yeah, I forgot about White Castle...although some purists might argue crinkle cut aren't the same as straight cut fries, the Castle does generally serve up some fresh, hot fries. good call.

                                                    2. beelzebozo Jun 11, 2008 05:50 AM

                                                      i like rally's/checker's

                                                      1. ccbweb Jun 10, 2008 11:20 PM

                                                        Fries alone; McDonald's. And its not close in my mind.

                                                        1. c
                                                          currymouth Jun 10, 2008 10:16 PM

                                                          Popeyes then McDonald's. but ever since MD has stopped spraying their fries with beef tallow, the traditional taste is gone.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: currymouth
                                                            starbucksbrew Jun 11, 2008 06:22 AM

                                                            Popeye's is one place I don't like the french fries. I always get their red beans & rice instead.

                                                            For french fries, Checkers and Houstons (if we're talking all chains and not just fast food).

                                                          Show Hidden Posts