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Roast / Rotisserie Chicken updates? (Berkeley area)

For years, Lola's was my 'go to" chicken when I wanted a good chicken, so any other place that might have been good fell off the radar. I get one from Magnani from time to time, but for that "really good take out chicken" is there one or more left in the area? (... edited to add - In addition to the Zaki Kebab house chicken, which is very good, but they often run out, and you can't pick it up until dinnertime).

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  1. I had a good one from Cafe Rouge a couple of months ago. Herbs under the skin and good size.

    1. It gets mixed reviews, but I like Poulet (on Shattuck and Virginia).

      It's too bad Berkeley Rotisserie on Shattuck and Channing is no longer with us. I liked that place too.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Agent 510

        I agree, I had some really great chicken from Poulet earlier this month; I hadn't been there for a while, but that chicken will prompt me to go back.

      2. The ones at the butcher at Market Hall in Rockridge are pricey (of course) but good.

        1. Colusa Market has nice rotisserie chickens. Call ahead, though, to make sure they're ready.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Glencora

            A group of co-workers and I often split these and some salad for lunch. They are usually ready 12:30-1 and sell out/are claimed around 6, and can sometimes be a little dry by the end of the day. I often ask for one that isn't as dark brown. Nice herb rub. $10ish.

            RE: BB Chickens. I haven't had the BB chickens yet, but they looked fabulous yesterday and had a few different choices. Unfortunately, the provencal herb is the one that really caught my attention, so I don't remember the others well... There was one with lemon and rosemary(?), another herb mix...

            1. re: adrienne156

              The provencal is the one to get. Makes a decent chicken salad the next day too if there's any left over.

          2. Berkeley Bowl has really good chicken $8 and fairly small
            Costco for $5 is great and very large
            Magnani is dry and tasteless
            Cafe Rouge is good but pricey at $10

            5 Replies
            1. re: mustardgirl

              $10 is pricey for a good quality chicken? (A high quality raw chicken costs that much or more). Costco is such a salt bomb, I swell while I'm eating it.
              Any more feedback from others on the BB and Cafe Rouge chickens?

              1. re: lmnopm

                I have to agree: the Costco chicken tastes good for one or two bites, and then the saltiness/overseasoning really gets to me.

                Not in Berkeley, but the rotisserie chicken at Culina in the Alameda Marketplace is very good. IIRC they sell it by weight.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Culina sells Mary's free range chickens. they're brined overnight so they're super juice and delish.

                2. re: lmnopm

                  The Cafe Rouge chicken I had was Hoffman and was very moist. I did call ahead (like 45 minutes) and ask them to save me one.

                  1. re: lmnopm

                    I'd like to chime in:
                    Costco bird is way too saturated in salt for me.
                    BB birds are convenient for those of us who shop there, otherwise, i think they're just mediocre.
                    Back in the day when Magnani was on College Ave, their bird was impeccable.

                3. Not a rotisserie chicken but I've picked up very good mesquite grilled chickens from Mi Pueblo on High St in Fruitvale/East Oakland. $8 for a whole, $4.99 for a half.

                  They grill them, butterflied, out front on huge grills. They must do 3-4 dozen at a time. Very tasty but definitely try and get a hot, fresh one that hasn't be sitting there. Since they're butterflied, they don't hold juice as well. I think around 5-6 p.m. when you still see smoke. Haven't been there any sooner so I can't tell when they start.

                  Mi Pueblo Food Center
                  1630 High St, Oakland, CA 94601

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ML8000

                    I've only been there earlier on the weekends, and they definitely have the grills fired up by mid-day. They smell yummy!

                  2. I ike the Dafe Rouge chickens A LOT! And I am not related to that Hoffman family so no affiliation/bias.

                    1. Berkeley Bowl East's are pretty good though always just slightly overdone even when I've got one straight off the rotor.

                      The new and not-yet-opened cafe in Berkeley Bowl West seems to have a rotisserie machine plus a beer/wine license. This would appear to hold a lot of potential for augmenting the local eat-in chicken situation.

                      Whole Foods is another possibility, roughly equivalent to BB but a buck or three more expensive.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                        The BB chickens I saw were at West.

                        ETA: Thanks for the tip above.

                        1. re: adrienne156

                          Is the cafe open or are they cooking them in the main store too?

                          1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                            BB seems to be moving the rotisserie operation entirely to the West. I haven't seen the rotisserie operating in BB East for about a week. West hasn't gotten the hang of it yet, though. Underdone one day, thrown into the container and sort of mangled another day. But I'll give it time, because I really like their Provencal chickens. Always plenty of juice, seasoned such that the carcass makes a pint of nice quick stock.

                            1. re: heidipie

                              Rotorchicken thing was working in bb east this afternoon. Where is everybody? There were empty spaces in the parking lot!

                            2. re: Chuckles the Clone

                              I saw them in the main store under heat lamps in the deli area, near the baked goods.

                          2. re: Chuckles the Clone

                            I second the Whole Foods recommendation...solid value, imho -- Rocky birds, too.

                            Costco is cheap ($5) but not really, when you consider how fatty it is. Never mind the salt...this is a seriously overfed bird...hormones? you betcha.

                            RoliRoti - farmer's market -- this is good, but even with the rosemary, lots of olive oil...still like WF more...

                          3. Ah ... Lola's ... I so miss the chicken. However, don't forget you couldn't pick that up until four.

                            I'm not a fan of Cafe Rouge's chicken. It is fine, but just seems sort of meh to me.

                            As long as chicks like Berkeley Bowl and Costco are getting mentioned, Raley's / Nob HIll makes the best chicken in that category. I'm not saying I'd go out of my way for it, but I think they are tastier the the other two. I'd rather have the Raley's bird than the Cafe Rouge bird, but that's just me.

                            Next to Zaki, which is frankly the only one I'll buy regularily, don't forget on farmers marker days there Roli Rosti... Grand Lake on Saturdays, Old Oakland on Friday, and if you want a bridge toll San Rafael on Sunday.

                            Speaking of Grand Lake, what's up with that rotiserrie place across the street from the Grand Lake Farmers market. Did it ever open or did it never open?

                            Acrually I forgot, there's this Mexican Market on 23rd just off MacDonald that makes a fine chicken. Haven't been there in a while. It seems they also now have a cart outdoor selling tacos and chicken

                            Flames, Chicken, and JalapeƱo

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: rworange

                              When I lived in Fremont and was a few blocks from a Raley's, I occasionally bought rotisserie chickens there, and I agree that they're reliably well cooked and seasoned, and well-priced.

                              Roast chickens aren't something I'm currently buying much, but I will go out of my way for Zaki's chicken.