One of the most important parts of transitioning to college was forming a list of restaurants that I could rely on. As an avid supporter of the potato and someone who does not shy away from fried foods or salt, I began my french fry tour. Up and down State Street and around the Capitol, I was in search of the perfect fry–crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and as salty as my personality. I have completed my mission and have found the best french fries in Madison. 

1. HopCat

Channing Smith

Hopcat's famous "crack fries" are absolutely worth the hype. The perfect balance of a hot, crispy outside with a soft potato center never fails to amaze. HopCat is a go-to for the bar and comfort food selection. The cracked pepper offers a signature flavor that sets these fries at number one. And HopCat gets extra points for the large portions. 

2. Graze

Graze is a modern spot on Capitol Square specializing in classic American cuisine. With huge windows overlooking the Capitol, the fries definitely match the great atmosphere. These perfect munchies are served with a super flavorful garlic aioli. 

3. Der Rathskeller

Sarah Arora

Der Rathskeller is a Memorial Union hit. This German pub-fare spot dazzles in the fried food department. Their cheese curds, tater tots, and onion rings are commendable, but the french fries deserve a standing ovation. These thick-cut, steak-style fries compliment everything ranging from gourmet grilled cheeses and burgers to fresh salads.  

4.  Disco Fries

Disco Fries has a menu that is based on perfecting the art of the french fry. This small but sleek storefront offers dozens of unique takes on the fry. My favorite is the "classic poutine"—a mountain of fries topped with generous amounts of gravy and cheese curds. During extended hours, Disco Fries is truly the ultimate late-night snack. 

5. Bassett Street Brunch Club

Channing Smith

Brunch is all about the sides, so fantastic fries at Bassett Street Brunch Club come as no surprise. These fries supplement everything from fish tacos to a mid-morning omelet. Fries for breakfast? No one's judging, because aren't hash browns a thing?

6. Roast

I was introduced to Roast during my first week at UW. Someone insisted I had to try the sweet potato fries. Though I typically prefer a classic french fry, I am beyond grateful for my friend's suggestion. 

7. Mooyah

A popular burger spot on State Street, Mooyah offers both sweet potato and classic fries, along with add-ons of green queso or chili cheese. It doesn't hurt that their milkshakes are perfect for fry-dunking, either. 

8. Mickies Dairy Bar

Situated towards Camp Randall, this old fashioned-style diner is Wisconsin in a nutshell. The vinyl booths, tiled floor and hand-written menu create a nostalgic feel, complete with fries that never disappoint. The sweet potato fries are a perfect balance of sweet and savory.

9.  Sushi Express

Channing Smith

Have you ever chewed on a spicy tuna roll and thought to yourself, "Huh, something salty and savory could really compliment this?" I can't be the only one. Though fries may seem like an unconventional choice at a sushi joint, I feel confident placing them on this list. Make sure to order a side of spicy mayo for optimal dunking.

10. Five Guys

Five Guys is super reliable, easy, and convenient when you need a quick bite in between classes. The fries are served in cups bigger than your head. If you're keen for a little spice, try the cajun-style fries. 

11. Dotty Dumpling's Dowry

Despite what the name suggests, there are no dumplings at this famous restaurant, but there are unforgettable fries. Dotty's offers six takes on their "sizzling fries," along with a handful of specialty sauces to mix and match. The "hot fries" stand out as a perfect medley of hot sauce and blue cheese over a pile of french fries, fried in trans fat-free canola oil.

Every corner of this MadTown, there is a French fry calling your name. Whether you're out to dinner with your parents, or in search of a late-night snack, somewhere in Madison is the perfect fry for you.