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Great roast chicken in SF?

OK, I'm not sure why but the fall weather has had me on a roast chicken quest lately. Had Zuni's and Globe's recently.... wondering what some other Chowhoud favorites are?

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Zuni Cafe
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

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  1. i love the roast chicken at range.

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    Range
    842 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

    3 Replies
    1. re: lucymom

      ME! TOO! michelin starless or not.

        1. Pollo a la brasa from Limon Rotisserie comes to mind. Same dish at Inka's is also a winner. Not sure I'd put them up against Zuni's roast chicken, but both are really good on the comfort food scale.

          3 Replies
          1. re: BernalKC

            I'll second Inka's. 10x better than the pigeons across the street at Good Frickin' Chicken.

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            Inkas Restaurant
            3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            1. re: Civil Bear

              Third on Inka's and second on Range's though I've (sadly) only tried them each once. The Bay Area has an embarrassment of roasted riches :-).

              1. re: grayelf

                4th on Inka's. Have ordered their rotisserie chicken to go on several occasions.

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                Inkas Restaurant
                3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

          2. Bar Bambino's twice-cooked Sicilian-style chicken is really good. It's not exactly roasted, but the effect is similar.

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            Bar Bambino
            2931 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

            1. As a result of the article below, I am planning to head to Marlowe for the poulet vert.
              http://sanfrancisco.grubstreet.com/20...

              They also like the "open flame" chicken at Goood Frickin Chicken, but I prefer the moister, herb-infused rotisserie style.

              The Due Drop In chicken looks awfully good in the photos, too.

              1. We love the Zuni chicken. Last week we traveled to Yountville for lunch at Keller's Bouchon Bistro. My wife loved the chicken there. She said it was the equal of Judy Rodger's Zuni chicken but different: the skin of the brined bird was "crackly"; creamy polenta instead of bread cubes; perhaps a tad juicier. She loved it.

                Give it a shot if you're in the neighborhood.

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                Zuni Cafe
                1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                Bouchon
                6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                1. I'm a huge, huge fan of the rotisserie chicken at Zaki Kabob House, in Albany. It does not have a crispy skin, but it's exceptional in both flavor and moistness. It's rubbed in some Middle Eastern spices (I don't know what they are, just that they are good), marinated, and then roasted. The price is quite reasonable too--$15.95 for a whole chicken with pita bread, seasoned rice, and a tomato/cucumber salad, or the half-chicken plate for about 10 dollars.

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                  Zaki Kabob House
                  1101 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jillyju

                    that's good to know, thanks! that place has had so many incarnations, i was leery of trying it.

                  2. How about the rotisserie chicken from Costco? Don't laugh! Costco brines their chickens so they are always very moist. I just wish they would use higher-quality chicken to start with.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: vincentlo

                      My sister told me they are really good - i haven't tried them yet, but i will.

                      1. re: vincentlo

                        I get them all the time(2x/month) for days when I can't cook properly. I blast them at about 450 to rewarm them, crisp the delicious skin and dry out the too moist meat for my wife.:-) They are good in a pinch.They are not as good as the Zaki's I've had and certainly not as tasty as Zuni but they are convenient and there are 2 meals for 2 on that $6 bird.

                        1. re: wolfe

                          Thx for this. So, better than Lucky's? The last Lucky's bird I got tasted like it had been sitting around for a day or so. And nowhere near as cheap.

                          1. re: mariacarmen

                            For a good chicken at an amazing deal, Costco.

                            For a really good chicken at a fair deal, Range.

                      2. Okay I know I may get some flak for some of these choices, but they're my opinion so here I go.

                        First off, roast chicken is one of my favorite things, and for whatever reason, even though I'm a good cook, it's one thing I have a tough time making at home.

                        So I actually buy those $7 whole roast chickens at Safeway sometimes. I love them.
                        Okay? So there's my ground level I'm coming from.

                        I live in the Castro and there are 3 places I'll order roast chicken. From best to worst:

                        Chow -- I hate this restaurant for everything else, but every once in a while, if there's no line, I'll go in and get the chicken.
                        2223 -- I like this for the whole plate they serve. A towering portiion with masthed potatoes, green beans, and onion rings. The onion rings are on top, and if you eat them first you'll be too full, so eat one, move them to the side, and continue on.
                        Home -- also nice.

                        I actually don't like Zuni, unlike everybody else on this list.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: pauliface

                          The roast chicken at the Safeway on Market by the Castro (Market & Fillmore) has been surprisingly outstanding. Better than Whole Foods for sure (which is $2 more expensive and typically smaller)....even better than the ones I had from Costco. It is incredible moist and flavorful...though sometimes can be a little fatty. Not sure if it's consistent all the time or across Safeways, but the last few times I've had roast chicken from that location, they've been great. A key thing is to note what time is marked on the chicken container. Also another thing to note, they're great to use as the base for a dish (pastas, salads, rices, etc.)

                          1. re: carfeng

                            I always go for the ones that have a nice well-done brown skin -- they're generally not fatty...

                          2. re: pauliface

                            i don't love Zuni's chicken either. All i want from Zuni is to sit in the bar area with some bubbly and oysters on a rainy afternoon. and some fries.

                            And i like the Safeway chickens too, waaay better than Lucky's.

                            But - pauliface - you owe it to yourself to try this UBER-simple recipe:
                            http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
                            even if you don't do the butter/dijon thing - it's foolproof. (tho the butter/dijon thing is orgasmic.) It's just chicken salt and high heat! oh, and a little kitchen string.

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                            Zuni Cafe
                            1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                            1. re: mariacarmen

                              Thanks for the link -- I love roast fowl but hate opening and closing the oven to baste. Thomas Keller tells me not to baste (except at the end), I'm not going to baste :-).

                          3. I love the rotisserie chickens you can get from the Roli Roti trucks that are at various Farmers' Markets around the Bay Area. Not inexpensive $12.00 for a whole bird at my local market in Pacifica (Wednesday after 4pm). They use a high quality bird and they are absolutely freshly cooked. Sometimes a line forms if the chickens on the spit are not ready yet. The only other thing the truck sells is the roasted fingerling potatoes that cook under the chickens and absorb all the drippings.

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                            Roli Roti
                            , Hayward, CA

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: pamf

                              I always walk by the Roli Roti truck at San Francisco's Ferry Plaza Market. Never bought anything but everything looks so good. Any truth to the rumor that they'll roast a duck or some other fowl?

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                              Roli Roti
                              , Hayward, CA

                              1. re: steve h.

                                What I have heard is that they will do ducks and such for catering. I don't think they have them on the public trucks.

                                They do have porchetta at the Ferry Plaza for Thursday lunch, but my friend downtown says the line is always too long to consider, as he usually has a limited time for lunch.

                            2. I really enjoyed the chicken at suppenkuche. The best chicken that I have had in years.