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Aug 28, 2008 03:46 PM

Zankou Chicken

Are all of the Zankou Chicken restaurants the same? I live near one in West L.A. - but is it worth it to drive to Hollywood?

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  1. Essentially, yes, they are all the same. I've been to both the ones you've named multiple times, and a few others. My short answer to your question on is it worth it: Absolutely not. WLA one is 98% as good as Hollywood.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gadflier

      the westside zankou is good in a pinch, and the items they serve seem to be as good as those at the hollywood location. BUT, as chowpatty referenced, the hollywood menu is much larger, and a lot of the kebabs and other items only found here are really delicious and cooked to order -- which adds a few minutes to your wait but is worth it in quality. i highly recommend the shish tavouk.

    2. Not necessarily worth a drive from West L.A., but the Hollywood one is the original one and somewhat different from the others. The garlic sauce is still hand-packed, for those who care about such things, and there are additional menu items such as several types of kebabs, tabbouli and grape leaves. I've always found the chicken quite consistent at that one, while I keep hearing bad reports about the other ones.

      1. There are all sorts of opinions about Zankou on this board, from the most divine rotisserie chicken ever to horrible, grotesque slop. I'm a fan. I discovered the place at the mid-Hollywood/downtown location (Sunset at Normandie) and now live near the W.L.A. branch (Sepulveda just south of Santa Monica Blvd.). Word has it that the family has split into factions, and nobody will ever know for sure whether the historic garlic paste recipe has been messed with.

        Here are the truths: The garlic paste is delicious, a fantastic idea. Their white meat breast portions tend to be a bit dried out. The half rotisserie chicken or whole chicken, shredded from the carcass mixed white and dark meat with the seasoned skin included in the pita with the garlic, is their ultimate dish. Breast quarters are a ripoff. The chicken tarna pita sandwiches are good. The beef shawarma is dry and the falafel is old. Choose wisely and you will dine magnificently, otherwise take your chances. The differences between locations are spotty, but it often pays to eye a particular perfect bird revolving on the rotisserie and specify that whole chicken.

        1 Reply
        1. re: nosh

          You nailed it. Just as a note, there's free valet a the W.L.A. one which I'm not sure has been mentioned. If you're in that neighborhood around lunch time, that could be reason enough! (and no, I've never noticed a difference btwn. Pasadena, Van Nuys, WLA).

        2. They all seem to be owned by different family members, the family constantly feuds since daddy went nuts and killed his mom and sister and self (?? did I get the right family members), and the stores all sort of differ. I live near the Van Nuys one, and it's still darn good.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Diana

            I don't know how he relates to the family, but I like the way the big balding white-haired guy who is obviously a manager has always been sitting around at the tables in here (sherman oaks/van nuys) for at least a decade.

            The garlic paste has never been the big deal everyone makes of it... but anyway the tarna plate totally rocks.

            1. re: theonceler

              I always thought he was an owner or manager but I haven't seen him for a while and when I asked the lady behind the register about him she told me that he is a customer!

              1. re: theonceler

                I think their chicken kabobs are really good too--extremely juicy. But ultimately, the chicken tarna plate is the best thing here. I find the thick tahini sauce as impressive an accompaniment as the garlic paste.

            2. having thought that all zankou chicken restaurants were the same, i was shocked yesterday by my experience in little armenia (hollywood, on sunset). my armenian friend took me there, and his family swears by it. they live in the south bay, so it's quite a trek out there. while the rotisserie chicken was slightly better, the chicken tarna was LOADS juicier and tastier. it also is run entirely by an armenian staff. it seems less manufactured/branded than the other zankou chicken outlets. my friend tells me that the little armenia one (the original storefront) is run by the rest of the family (not the suicidal killer).

              2 Replies
              1. re: lakeshow318

                Yes, well obviously none of them are run by the suicidal killer, what with the suicide and all.

                1. re: lakeshow318

                  Looks like the Hollywood location could be run by a different group. Note that the Hollywood location is not mentioned on the Zankou web site: