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What do YOU order from Zankou?

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I've only been to Zankou's Van Nuys location a couple times and always stick to the 1/4 chicken white plate. Am I missing out?

When you go to Zankou, what is YOUR favorite item of choice? Is it location dependent? Do you make special changes to make it "better"?

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  1. Usually Van Nuys location, 1/4 dark or 1/2 chicken depending on my hunger level, no pickles (sub chiles) and extra container of garlic sauce.

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    Zankou Chicken
    5658 Sepulveda Blvd Ste 103, Van Nuys, CA 91411

    2 Replies
    1. re: sel

      i believe i saw a zankous on sunset near ....i want to say western-ish. is this the same chain as you guys are talking about? worth a visit?

      1. re: samtron608

        I find their iced water to be surprisingly consistent -- unlike everything else.

        Throw me into the "Zankou has gone downhill ever since they started putting the garlic paste in those foil-covered cup thingies" camp.

        I live very close to the Van Nuys location; in fact, if I were homeless, I'd set-up camp very near that shop (in the brush-tunnels of the Sepulveda basin). But I'm not homeless, so -- whoever brought that up -- just move along, nothing to see here.

        Zankou used to be so amazingly good -- these days, not so much.

        In my most humble of opinions, of course.

        -cb-

    2. Yes, there is a Zankou in Van Nuys just off the freeway, and one on Sunset at Normandie. Also a big one in W.L.A. on Sepulveda just south of Santa Monica Blvd.

      You are missing out if you order the 1/4 white meat rotisserie chicken at Zankou -- the wing is way overdone, and the breast tends to be dry unless you get very lucky. And the 1/4 white is charged a premium. A MUCH better deal is the half-chicken, or the whole chicken with half for there and half for later. The dark meat and skin from the leg portion is never overcooked, stays moist, and adds richness and moisture when you strip pieces off and make a pita sandwich with their wonderful garlic paste. By the way, I just noticed recently that Zankou provides little packets of hot sauce as well -- another good addition to the pita.

      If you must get a wrap, the chicken tarna is far superior to the chopped roast chicken. I'm not a fan of either the beef shawarma or falafel at Zankou -- the beef tends to be dry and the falafel balls invariably have hung out under a heat lamp for too long. I keep things simple there -- a half-chicken if I'm just eating there, a whole chicken with half there and half to go if I'm heading home soon so I can put the foil bag into the fridge.

      1. The best thing there is the "Combo plate." It's not on the menu and it's a combo of the chicken tarna and the shawarma. The should call the place Zankou beef!

        3 Replies
        1. re: brez

          This sounds like a great idea - which location have you ordered this at? I've asked once at the Pasadena location and they refused.

          1. re: Vaya Con Carne

            Comedian and radio show guy Adam Carolla has a hilarious on-going rant about the "NO! Cannot Have!" attitude he's encountered from the counter women at Zankou. Even when he's willing to pay extra to have an order 'his way', he gets the "NO! Cannot Have!" beat-down from the humorless mavens of the rotisserie...

            1. re: silence9

              I know that one counter lady with the black eyebrows in hollywood makes my husband so nervous he forgets what things are called. Then he kinda hem and hahs while she death stares him. Usually I have to step in and order

        2. The Tarna (chicken shawerma) sandwich is my favorite. The garlic paste is already in there, all you need is to add a few pickles.

          1. Half chicken plate, sub muttabal for hummus, extra garlic. And now that I hear you can sub chiles for pickles, I am *so* doing that next time!

            I alternate between the Sepulveda/Santa Monica, Pasadena, and Glendale locations. I've found the Glendale location to be the best of the three, the Pasadena one to be the weakest.

            1. tarna sandwich, side of rice with the garlic sauce mixed in.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ronsilverado

                Tarna! Zankou has Kabobs now. I havent tried them yet though. Anybody try the Kabobs?

                1. re: waxfondler

                  The tri tip kabobs at the Pasadena location are pretty great, but you have to wait quite a while for them.

              2. scan the board or the LA times for the story of zankou and how it got divided by the family. i think the way we tell is how the garlic paste comes. the foil topped garlic paste, i think is one part of the family, and the original clear plastic garlic containers is the other one.

                i go to the one on sunset and normandie (original clear plastic garlic containers).

                i order a whole chicken + large tabbouleh. i know the large tabbouleh is a rip off, but i don't feel like chopping parsley.

                i have only ever gone to this one, and this is the only thing i ever order. it's been consistent.

                1. Trust me on this.

                  Get a tarna sandwich with extra sauce (on the sandwich) and with extra crispy bread. I also recommend an additional garlic sauce on the side.

                  Get the muttabal (baba ghanoush) with extra crispy pita.

                  Lastly, if you are at the Hollywood location (I think they are the only ones that have this), get a soujouk sandwich with extra garlic sauce and extra crispy bread. But, make sure you put this on a separate order, otherwise they'll hold your whole order for the 10-15 minutes it takes to grill the soujouk.

                  You cannot go wrong with this ordering, I assure you

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: film_score

                    These are exactly the things I get (tarna, muttabal, & soujuk, extra garlic sauce). I've given up on the chicken back in the early 90s. Never been disappointed with Zankou since.

                    1. re: E Eto

                      This is sad. I've always wanted to get to Zankou CHICKEN, but now you tell us not to get the chicken!

                      1. re: The Old Man

                        The tarna sandwich is a chicken schwarma sandwich (but it's not rotisserie chicken, it's on the spit and it's also a lot more seasoned)

                  2. Chicken tarna wrap, two falafel balls on the side, and an extra container of garlic sauce.

                    1. Whole chicken + side of hummus (garlic, pita, pickles, all included). Easily feeds 3+ adults for less than the price of 3 combos.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: pharmnerd

                        Concur. Although your car (and house) will stink for days.

                      2. I order the 1/4 white meat combo and ask for lettuce and extra toum.
                        I love putting the chicken, sauce, lettuce, tomato, and pickles on the pita! mmm!
                        Whoever said the wing was burnt??? I LOVE the wing there and I don't eat it anywhere else. Its really crispy and has great flavor! I guess I've also gotten lucky because I only remember having a dry breast once out of the many times I've eaten there. I've been to the Hollywood, Pasadena, Anaheim, and another location I can't remember exactly where but there was a great baklava bakery in the same center (Burbank maybe?)

                        I ordered a schwarma once and was very disappointed.

                        1. Glendale location--

                          Either 1/4 dark plate, or chicken tarna plate. I love their hummus, and think the tabbouleh add the necessary acid, to really wake up the taste.

                          I used to love the garlic paste, but now use it sparingly. Turns out my husband's love is conditional.

                          1. I live near the VN Zankou, and haven't been in several years as I found their chicken to be dry, rather flavorless; basically, nothing special especially for the price.

                            I've noticed that a new Zankou is going in near my office, in Toluca Lake, on Riverside near Lankershim, next to Baja Fresh, where a crappy place called Italian Fisherman used to be.

                            Anyone know about this? Is it the good side or bad side of the family? Regardless, I'll try it out once it opens and report back, but it sounds like the tarna sandwich may be a sure thing to try. I love falafel, but with several other places nearby (including Amir's and Shish, both on Ventura) the falafel bar is set pretty high.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: GK in SO

                              I was stoked when I heard they were moving to the neighborhood, but their website says it's not scheduled to open until the fall. Better late than never, I guess.

                              1. re: strummerjones

                                Not until the fall? O that's because they're waiting for the chicken to dry out!