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Finding the Best Fried Chicken in San Francisco !!

Who DOES really have the best, most tasty Fried Chicken in
San Francisco??? Not other counties, just in SF ??

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  1. wouldn't consider frisco fried nor auntie april's the best (both on 3rd) but i would consider them for honorable mention.

    1. Try Hard Knox. The one on 3rd does it right. I haven't tried the other location.

      Firefly is also very good.

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      Hard Knox Cafe
      2526 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107

      1 Reply
      1. re: Shane Greenwood

        Hard Knox on Clement Street is tasty, too - at lunch with waffle!

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        Hard Knox Cafe
        2448 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

      2. Thanks for posting this. I'm on a fried chicken "quest". For now, the best for me is Queens Louisiana Po Boy Cafe. I"m not even sure if they serve it everyday. They definitely have it on Tuesdays, for the $1.99 2 pieces of dark chicken special. You must include this fried chicken as one of the best.

        I had it at Little Skillet, which I love, but still think Queens is better.

        Also tried the fried chicken at Mel's Diner on Lombard and it wasn't even close.

        1. To Hyang's (Korean) buldak, now on the specials board. Wings fried then sauteed in a sweet chili sauce, with fallen-off crunchy bits of sauce-soaked fried breading garnishing the wings.

          To Hyang
          3815 Geary @ 2nd Ave
          SF

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          To Hyang
          3815 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118

          1. IMHO - Hands down...Wayfare Tavern in SF. Whats not to like with a large portioned moist, intact well-seasoned coating and organic to boot.

             
            8 Replies
            1. re: Jim

              Points off for no sides, roasted garlic, crispy woody herbs and lemon don't count.

              1. re: wolfe

                Talking about the best tasting, not best bargain or best plated.

              2. re: Jim

                I think it was the greasiest fried chicken I've ever encountered. I'm not grease or fat phobic, but it was unappetizing for me. I liked that it had spices involved, and the flavor was pretty good, but this was not a "hands down" best fried chicken experience for me.

                The popovers, oysters, and other parts of the meal were pretty great, service seemed like it would improve if given a bit more time.

                1. re: SteveG

                  I've had the fried chicken at Wayfare Tavern three times -- the first two times (dinner) were phenomenal, but the last time (lunch) was average at best.

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                  Wayfare Tavern
                  558 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94111

                  1. re: SteveG

                    I agree. The chicken I had the other night had skin/batter that just fell off in a pathetic lump. The rest of the meal was fine, but the accolades the fried chiken gets are lost on me.

                    1. re: KansasTornado

                      Yes, there was so much grease under the skin on the meat that the way you described the piece, that it "had skin/batter that just fell off in a pathetic lump" is exactly what happened to mine. I ended up just scraping off all the skin and batter to carve out a few slices of meat and ate my friend's hamburger.

                      1. re: SteveG

                        tried it last night, and agree- tasty seasoning but why no crunchy batter/skin??!

                  2. re: Jim

                    I think Wayfare's was the best fried chicken I've had in SF proper.

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7165...

                    1. Wings should be a separate category.

                      1. One of the best I've had in SF recently was at Fish and Farm. David Lebovitz raved about it on his blog, and of course, I had to try it! I've been there twice, and it's very, very tasty. It had more savoriness to it than some others'. It wasn't as special as Ad Hoc's fried chicken, but so far, it's my favorite in the city. (Little Skillet was also great, and I don't understand why since it's the same owner, but it was better than Farmer Brown's; Maverick's was good but not amazing; Firefly's was very god but doesn't seem to be on the menu anymore; and I haven't tried Front Porch or Hard Knox yet.)

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                        Ad Hoc
                        6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

                        The Front Porch
                        65 29th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                        Farmer Brown
                        25 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                        Fish and Farm
                        339 Taylor Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                        Hard Knox Cafe
                        2448 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: goodeatsgal

                          Firefly in Noe Valley still lists fried chicken on the menu: "The Fried Chicken of Your Dreams with Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, Peas & Carrots and a Damn Fine Buttermilk Biscuit"

                          Have to say I was surprisingly blown away by the fried chicken at Firefly when I tried it a year ago. I enjoyed it more than the FC at Hard Knox, Front Porch (pre-ownership change--haven't been back since...), and Farmer Brown's.

                          http://www.fireflyrestaurant.com/menu...

                        2. This is more appropriate for the home cooking board, but if you're willing to put in the time and effort to try the Ad Hoc fried chicken recipe, you will produce a fried chicken that is perhaps better than anywhere in the Bay Area besides ad hoc

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                          Ad Hoc
                          6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

                          1. In the 7x7 magazine William Warner, owner of Tell Tale Pastry Co mentions 3 places he likes for fried chicken:
                            The Front Porch
                            Foreign Cinema
                            Show Dogs

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                            The Front Porch
                            65 29th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                            Foreign Cinema
                            2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

                            Show Dogs
                            1020 Market St, San Francisco, CA

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: hhc

                              The chef who put the Front Porch's fried chicken on the map opened her own place, Hibiscus in Oakland.

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                              The Front Porch
                              65 29th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                            2. Zero Zero has a really good fried chicken, though it's only the thigh portion.

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                              Zero Zero
                              826 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: DezzerSF

                                +1 for Zero Zero's fried chicken. We don't like the strange yogurt sauce but love the addictive chile sauce served with the chicken. We ask for the sauce served on the side, so we can enjoy every bit of the crisp batter. Otherwise, the portion sitting on top of the sauce gets soggy.

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                                Zero Zero
                                826 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                                1. re: DezzerSF

                                  Dezzer, you say "though it's only a thigh portion" like it's a bad thing. As I recall it's also boneless which makes it perfect. The pizza's not bad either, and don't forget the fried chicken livers. I might have to go tomorrow, now that you got me thinking.

                                2. I have not been a fan of the fried chicken at Farmer Brown in the past, and always found it too dry and in need of some salt and spices. But this weekend I tried the fried chicken basket at the bar (4 pieces for $10) and was really impressed -- the chicken was great, the flavor was great, it wasn't dry in the least, and it was a great price.

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                                  Farmer Brown
                                  25 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                  1. Underwhelmed by Farmer Brown's version (very dry). So far best I've found is Front Porch...crispy, well-flavored, and, most-importantly moist. I believe the poster who says Firefly's is good. Firefly seems to excel at making really really good versions of basic dishes.

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                                    Farmer Brown
                                    25 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: possumspice

                                      Got an email from Firefly saying that starting tonight they're doing fried chicken every Tuesday. Until now it would just come and go. Had it once and it hit all the right notes.

                                    2. Namu doesn't make anyone's list? I haven't tried their fried chicken yet (have only been for burgers and Free Food Monday) but it looked mighty fine.

                                      I remember liking the fried chicken at Zero Zero more than the pizza. Was underwhelmed by Firefly's a couple of years ago.

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                                      Namu
                                      439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: scarmoza

                                        I've only tried their farmer's market version, but it wouldn't make my best of list. I'm a big fried chicken fan, and I'm open to many styles (though buttermilk is my favorite) this batter-fried chicken was the sort that had too thick a layer of batter which was tasty, but left the skin a bit flabby. They would probably do better with the skin removed, as the batter crust and the chicken were both quite tasty. I assume the chicken was cooked (possibly sous vide) prior to battering and frying.
                                        I haven't met a fried chicken I've liked better than my buttermilk+hot sauce soak, slow poach, flour and starch breading (well salted), then fry until crust is crisp method, but I still hate frying in a lot of oil, so I'm on the lookout.
                                        I've enjoyed Hard Knox (on 3rd), which I'd call a good version of KFC original recipe. I've also enjoyed Farmer Brown and Little Skillet, though feel slightly disappointed in their lack of buttermilk tang, both samples have been fried well and had a flavorful and crisp crust.
                                        I am not a fan of Hibiscus/the Front Porch, but that might be due to a style issue. Neither were poorly fried--the interior meat was juicy enough, but the style is brined and breaded with something like breadcrumbs/shake and bake--just not something I'm looking for.
                                        Which brings me to a couple points outside of SF, but which illustrate that it's best to specify what you're looking for when you're after the "best" fried chicken. A lot of chowhounds disparage Bakesale Betty's for making large batches of sandwiches, rather than fried to order (though their obnoxious line practically ensures you'll get a recently fried sandwich) and many of the disparagers laud Gregoire's "buttermilk" fried chicken sandwich, which is observably fried to order. I've enjoyed all of the Betty's sandwiches I've ordered, and found all of them to have a buttermilk tang and crispy crust. About 5% weren't warm when consumed, but the taste/juiciness/crunch was still there. On the other hand I've tried the Gregoire sandwich twice (the second time because I got excited about buttermilk fried chicken and had forgotten about how disappointed I was the first time I had ordered it.) To my taste buds it has no buttermilk tang, is undersalted (I do like salt), and instead of what I want for a crust, it had overly-browned breadcrumbs adhering to the surface.

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                                        Bakesale Betty
                                        5098 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                                        The Front Porch
                                        65 29th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                        Hard Knox Cafe
                                        2526 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                                        Farmer Brown
                                        25 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                        1. re: ...tm...

                                          I disparage Betty for serving me really dry chicken all 4 times I've tried it. From the long lines, it seems I've been unlucky, but am getting tired of trying.

                                          They are pretty friendly and I like their cookies :)

                                      2. a wee bit off san francisco, but Mom's Tofu House in south sf is my go-to place for fried chix. Every friend I brought there loved the fried chicken, with some liking the original and most liking the spicy version.

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                                        Mom's Tofu House
                                        217 Grand Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Crunchyapple

                                          I love everything at Mom's Tofu House, including the fried chicken. I can't go anywhere near South City without getting cravings for that place.

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                                          Mom's Tofu House
                                          217 Grand Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080

                                        2. I would try three star out on Noriega. It's a chinese takeout restaurant and the fried chicken is realy tasty!