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Zankou-style chicken in Bay Area?

I've never been to Zankou Chicken in Hollywood, but I've read about it online, in Saveur's recent Top 100, and had friends tell me it's the best chicken they've ever eaten. I don't think I'm going to make it down to Hollywood anytime soon. Does anyone know of a similar style of Armenian chicken here in the Bay Area?

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  1. Not familiar with this term - would you please describe what makes zankou chicken special?

    1 Reply
    1. re: niki rothman

      The chicken at Zankou is fine, but what makes it special is the garlic spread they serve with it. Whenever I'm down in SoCal, I make sure to stop by Zankou Chicken. My husband and I have been lucky in getting a second serving of the garlic spread when we ask nicely! I could eat that stuff by itself :-)

    2. I am from LA and I miss Zankou and went to the one on Sepulveda in W. LA, I have not found anything like it here so far.

      Zankou chicken is rotisserie roasted to crisp perfection, great flavor and super tender. It comes with a garlic sauce that is butter like spreadable lot's of flavor without being overpowering. They offer lot's of Middle Eastern dishes that are fresh and tasty.

      You can buy a whole chicken with some other take out dishes and have food for a few meals.

      1. I think Good Frickin' Chicken is probably the closest to Zankou, but they don't have the garlic sauce . . .

        2 Replies
        1. re: farmersdaughter

          I like GFC!! a good alternative but still not the same, just different. Kankou is more Lebanese style food in general. The garlic sauce paired with the way the is chicken cooked makes it different.

          1. re: Lori SF

            I thought GFC was kinda dry. If we're talking rotisserie chix, my rule holds - I only eat in restaurants food that I cannot make as easily at home, and risking the intervention of the monitors for irrelevance, I'll put in a plug that should be on the cookware board: my Ron Popeil Compact "Showtime" Rotisserie (under $100) which you can pick up in a lot of retail stores makes the most perfect juicy/crispy skinnned chix you could ever dream of and it is so, so easy (just remember to tie up the food with cotton string really tight and oil the ends where it inserts). If you don't own one and love rotisserie chicken, run don't walk to buy one of these little wonders.

        2. does anyone remember the little middle eastern chicken place on piedmont ave about 8 yrs ago that had 'zankou' style chicken? i recall it being quite tasty, reasonably priced, but unfortunately not busy/pricey enough to survive there. it had that garlic spread too. it was something like ten bux for the bird, the spread, and a few pitas, and for a few dollars more you got a couple sides, like salad and hummus.
          i'm just hoping against hope that they moved rather than faded away.
          i agree GFC is decent, but its no zankou.

          2 Replies
          1. re: echo

            hello I do remember the Piedmont Ave place, 'Ike's' I think, good fresh carrot juice and reasonable, not oversalty food like wraps in flatbread. Its demise(don't think it resurfaced) was another step in the 'yupsterella-fication' (the musician Taj Mahal's nickname for Berserkley is 'yupsterella') of the street,with Jojo's, gregoire, cesar's,dopo in the trend, soon to be capped at the Pleasant Valley end with expensive condos. For decent wraps for $5-6 and good lunch specials incl. rice,raita, naan for $6.50 on the "Ave" at present, try the Indian hole-in-the-wall conjoining Kerry House. peace

            1. re: moto

              thanks moto
              good memory, i think ike's is right. purely academic at this point, but do you recall their chicken? zankouesque?
              i think it a great pity that we had a good chicken place, lost it, and still have no replacement nearly 10 yrs hence.

          2. I have yet to find anything like Zankou, to my regret.

            The Sepulveda location is a bit gritty, though, and its self serve, place your order at the counter style, just a FYI for BA hounds who make the trek South.

            1. Zankou is Lebanese, not Armenian.

              Goood Frikin Chicken has garlic sauce, but from all reports it's not as good (or at least not as garlicky) as Zankou's.


              2 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                It's owned by a Lebanese family but highly Americanized or evolved into catering to Americans. I would hardly ever see Lebanese folks there, even at the Glendale branch (the original). Where as if you go out to the Valley there a handful of truly Lebanese deli style places serving up authentic Lebanese food catering to the Lebanese community.

                1. re: Lori SF

                  My point is that if you're looking for that style of garlic sauce, you want Lebanese places, not Armenian ones.

              2. To clarify: Zankou is owned by a family of Armenian ancestry from Lebanon.

                1 Reply
                1. re: lvr1176

                  I believe that toum (the garlic sauce) is Lebanese rather than Armenian.

                2. Wikipedia is not always right, but appears to back you on the birthplace of toum. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toum. At the risk of straying too far from this Board's subject matter jurisdiction, I gotta say that Toum as described and photographed in wikipedia differs from the toum at Zankou. The toum at Zankou is white (at least as I remember it from living in LA and frequenting the place from '01 until '03). The wikipedia post says that "for quicker preparation (and much cheaper and lousier quality, boiled potato is used, or even mayonnaise." I always thought that Zankou's could have mayo in it, but I always found it to be delicious. I have never had the "pure" toum discussed in wikipedia, so I can't comment on "lousier quality."

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: vinchar

                    The garlic sauce at Goood Frikin Chicken is white, but from all reports not as garlicky as Zankou's.

                  2. This comes up every few months -- there is nothing in the Bay Area that comes close to Zankou.

                    And I would like to add that it not *just* the garlic sauce that makes Zankou so amazing... it is also the pickles!

                    1. I must confirm that nothing I have had here in the Bay Area even comes close to Zankou. Their rotisseri chicken in combination with the white garlic sauce, the hummus and the pickled veg all in that pita is fantastic. I was kinda disappointed with Good Frikin Chicken and many other places in SF that has something similar. I guess we will just have to wait for them to open one here. They also have a killer shwarma.

                      1. Saying that Zankou is probably the best rotisserie chicken in America really isn't much of a stretch.

                        1. If you mean the rotisserie chicken, try Costco. In LA, home of Zankou, many folks actually prefer Costco's chickens (though no garlic sauce). For chicken tarna/shawarma, however, I've got no suggestions...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: a_and_w

                            Truly Mediterranean makes good chicken shawerma, though I prefer the lamb.