Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Jul 19, 2005 09:02 PM

Zankou Chicken....TERRIBLE

  • d

This place is awful. Ive eaten at the Hollywood and West LA branch and I have no idea what the big fuss is. My Ronco rotisserie makes better chicken then this. Please tell me what the hype is about...I just dont get it.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. cheap, some people LOVE the garlic sauce, the hummus is pretty good

    1. Some have had good experiences; some have not.
      Some like it; some don't.

      If my only experience was the Hollywood store, I would never return.
      But, the Anaheim store has been great every time I've visited.

      I've also heard rants about the Anaheim branch

      1 Reply
      1. re: Curt
        David Feldman

        FWIW, I've had the same experience -- the Anaheim location has been the most consistent (I haven't visited the West L.A. branch).

      2. In general, I've had dry chicken. Although, the key is how you eat it I think.

        I take chunks of chicken, and put it in little pillows of ripped up Pita Bread.

        Then put some tomatos and pickled raddish or whatever that stuff is Zankou-taco. Then sometimes I put Hummus in there. Then smear it or dip it in the garlic sauce.

        Its good that way. I wouldn't eat the chicken alone...I barely would even just the chicken + garlic spread. But the little mini-pita-sandwhiches with EVERYTHING together is why I return.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Xericx

          I agree.. there's something about putting a pita together with everything in it that is addictive.. everything meaning a schmear of garlic sauce, hummus, the tomatoes, radish, and chicken. The one in Glendale is consistently good.

          1. re: Xericx

            The one experience I had there found the chicken very dry. Didn't get the whole rave about the garlic sauce, but I'd try it again as suggested.

            1. re: SpongeBobSquarePegs

              Concur...dry chicken, feh on the garlic sauce.

          2. Okay, it's really important when you review a restaurant... especially when wording your topic so strongly... to explain why you feel that way.


            "My Ronco rotisserie makes better chicken..."

            .says nothing, especially seeing that a notable $84 multi-course chicken-based meal that has received near-universal acclaim on this board is prepared on a Ronco Rotisserie.

            I think that this goes equally strongly for restaurants that you like. Posting:

            "This place is fantastic. I just dont get the complaints."

            Is just as meaningless.

            Personally, I've had some great meals, and some less than stellar ones' at Zankou. It's uneven.

            There are those who say that it used to be better -- based on my experience, I suspect this is the rosey lense of memory. Of course, the prices were once quite a bit lower.

            If you love garlic, the garlic sauce is a revalation, there's nothing else quite like it in LA. If you love outrageously fatty roasted chicken that has been rendered down to schmatlz with a prefectly crisp skin and reasonably moist flesh, you'll get it approximately half the time at Zankou. Time of day, phase of the moon, your zodiacal sign all have some relevance, but what that relevance might be is ineffable.

            The tarna sandwich is great, uniquely seasoned, usually heavily daubed with sauce, and very tasty... but it is DRY. If you're there for moist chicken this isn't an option, you're much better off taking your chances on the half chicken plate.

            All that being said, I don't have any investment in whether or not you LIKE Zankou... I'd just like to know specifically what it is that you don't like... that way, I might be able to recommend a chicken restaurant that you'd like.

            . and if you really do love your Ronco chicken, try the Melisse $84 chicken dinner that Josiah Citrin has put together. It IS consistantly good.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Homer

              Zankou is very average Lebanese chicken and garlic you can find at lots of places especially downtown, Hollywood, Glendale, Pasadena, etc at Sultan, Mediterranean Cafe, etc, It is the pollo loco of Lebanese style chicken no more no less.

              1. re: Iskander S.

                Its ARMENIAN - not LEBANESE

                1. re: blackbookali

                  Since Armenians live and have come from many different countries in that part of the world, and of course now including Glendale, could you please differentiate the difference between Lebanese and Armenian for the unknowing?

                  1. re: carter

                    Hi Carter. Since your question is not specific to Los Angeles chow please put up your message over on our General Topics board, (see link to take you there). Please, no replies here as we will be taking down this question as soon as Carter has been able to put up his new message on GT.

                    Thanks for your cooperation.


                    1. re: carter

                      OK. To get by the rules and keep this question relevant to LA.

                      Since Armenians live and have come from many different countries in that part of the world, and of course now including Glendale, could you please differentiate the difference between Lebanese and Armenian AND recommend LA/OC restaurants that adhere to those distinctions for the unknowing?

                      1. re: zruilong

                        Many Armenian foods are variations of foods from the Armenian diaspora including Russia, Turkey, Greece, Iran, and Lebanon. These different encluturations of Armenians have resulted in nuances and adaptations of the ethnic foods from those parts and lumped in with traditional Armenian dishes. That's why so many Lebanese restaurants around LA serve dishes that are also traditionally served in Armenian homes and claimed as being authentically Armenian (not that all of them in their served form are authentically Armenian). As far as the difference between Armenians and Lebanese go, I don't care as long as the food is good and the people are kind both amongst themselves, to each other, and to the folks they meet who are neither Armenian nor Lebanese. I speak as a first generation Armenian who is grateful to enjoy my ethnic foods among the food of our Lebanese friends with my Nicaraguan, African American, and Korean friends joining us:) it's a frightening sight, really, to see the amount of food my group can put away once my "U.N." shows up at a restaurant. lol

              2. I'm surprised by most of the posts on this place. While I have had a rare dry bird, my usual experience is that this is one of the best deals in the entire country(even at the "inflated" $8 or so for a bird, garlic, and pita that will feed four). For $2 a head you have to cut it some slack. Melisse may be worth 40x as much, (not including the wine markups), but only when money doesn't count at all.
                I also have not noticed any change in the quality over the past ten years. I get the feeling that there is some luck involved - they never discard a chicken that is overdone, much to their discredit, and there is apparently no way to slow down the stacked fat dripping rotiserries. I have had better experiences at the Glendale location than elsewhere, possibly because the community provides such a high turnover of chickens that they don't have time to get overdone. I usually go early (before 6pm) and have rarely had anything but a moist, crisp, salty skinned marvel. At its best there is simply nothing like it. At its worst... well, you've been ripped off.
                I would also suggest getting the mutabal (roasted eggplant) and spreading that along with the garlic sauce in a chicken filled pita. A deeper flavor than the hummus and a one of a kind experience and the moistness can salvage a dry bird (I'm not justifying these occasional disasters, just saying that they are not a total waste).