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Best Roast Chicken $20 and under

So I love roast chicken. It is a recent food love that started in the last few years when I began to roast them at home. Thank the lord for cast iron skillets, thermapens, and the French person who isolated the elements of mire poixe. Now that I have a child, I find myself with less and less time to cook and a grand substitution is in order. While I fully understand that a splurge worthy restaurant like Melisse may make a bird that would make someone like me swoon to no end, I'm kinda broke for that place.

I know and worship Pollos a la Brasa on Western. Though they may suffer from inconsistency and dare I say an overall quality decline since they started taking credit cards, I still like the Zankou and their paste that could make poi palatable. Im looking for a few more options, up to $20 out the door for a quality roasted bird. Downtown adjacent becomes even more appealing as I find this meal to comforting and if I aint making it, it's gonna be a carryout situation, with netflix fully cued up.


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  1. bba - if a Gelson's is close by, their Free Range Roasted Chicken for I believe $9.99 is quite the deal. Very flavorful.
    You would have the Silver Lake store on Hyperion or the Hollywood one on Franklin to chose from when thinking downtown LA proximity.

          1. re: Stravinsky

            While The Weekly had reported back in January of this year that TiGeorge's "was" going to close at the end of that month Yelp has reports as late as 2 weeks ago of people eating here/taking out.

            See here:http://www.yelp.com/biz/tigeorges-chi...

            Can someone confirm whether or not they are still open? I'll try the phone later if no one chimes in definitively, one way or the other.

            1. re: Servorg

              TiGeorge's is OPEN for business. I just spoke with the owner. He said he plans to be there until at least 6 tonight, and later if customers are still coming in the door. So the reports of TiGeorge's closing are COMPLETELY wrong.

              1. re: Servorg

                Good reporting.

                Perhaps a new thread worthwhile to announce that?

                It's nice to hear. I always thought it was among the best chicken with the avocado wood they use.

                1. re: Servorg

                  such a weird concidence. I took a different route home last night trying to avoid traffic on the 110 and noticed a sign that said "Wood Fired Chicken" on the sidewalk. So I looked and it was TiGorge's. Never had heard of this place before, so I quickly googled it on my phone and the pics looked amazing. I've never had haitian food.

                  I was going to ask CH if anyone has ever been here since I don't ever recall this place being talked about. So I'm assuming it's really good?

                  1. re: TailbackU

                    With that kind of 'coincidence' I'd say it's a message for you to check it out :).
                    It's got to be *that* good.

          2. *Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken
            19092 Beach Blvd
            Ste S
            Huntington Beach, CA 92646

            *Chicken Maison
            3332 S Bristol St
            Santa Ana, CA 92704

            Better than Zankou West LA.

            *And of course at home if you take the time to brine overnight (salt, pepper, lemon, thyme, rosemary, +/- marjoram, garlic, and bit of brown sugar) a Bristol Farms free range chicken. Pat dry, rub a little olive oil on the skin, and roast 400 degrees for 60-90 minutes until the thigh juices run clear. Crispy skin, moist breast meat, and thoroughly cooked dark meat. I also add shiitake and white mushrooms the last 30 minutes which creates a delicious jus. Perfect with a glass of burgundy.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Porthos

              You beat me to it.

              Big +1 on Chicken Maison. The spicy lemon garlic is my favorite.

              1. re: Porthos

                Retracting my previous rec for PRC. Re-tried it this weekend and it had a very acrid smokey taste. Like someone went a bit heavy on the liquid smoke. Tossed out half.

                I'll add the half roast chicken at Bella Cuba in exchange. Better than Versailles in my experience.

                1. re: Porthos

                  +1 on Bella Cuba. I'm going for lunch tomorrow, and I have a really hard time not ordering that dish.

                  Any other suggestions, Porthos? Your recommendation for the Arroz con Pollo was right on.

                  1. re: OCSteve

                    I cycle between the arroz con pollo, roasted half chicken, ropa vieja, and rabo in about a 5:1:1:1 ratio. The rabo encendido (oxtail) is excellent but messy.

                    If I have a group with me, I add the yucca rellena or platanos rellenos to share. The platanos rellenos come 4 to an order: 2 beef filling and 2 pork. I prefer the beef so I request all beef.

                    1. re: Porthos

                      Thanks! I've had the oxtail. It's very good. I also really like the vaca frita. I may have to try the ropa vieja.

                      1. re: Porthos

                        Just to follow up, I tried the ropa vieja last week. Very good. Thanks for the rec.

                2. Not roasted but the smoked chicken at Bludso's is about $13.

                  1. Don't kill me, but I have to plump for the Costco rotisserie chicken. At $5, it's one of the best deals in town. Consistently plump, juicy, and flavorful. Subtle and special? Nope. But a pretty tasty chicken. I find it pretty satisfying to eat when fresh with just a good hot sauce at hand, and after refrigerated, an excellent base for a chicken salad. For someone with a kid, it's a good thing to have in the fridge.

                    17 Replies
                    1. re: heinous

                      I used to love the Costco chicken, but srsly the Zankou chicken is miles, no leagues, better than the Costco counterpart. an extra 5 bucks and you get pita, crack garlic sauce, peppers, and pickles.

                      1. re: ns1

                        sigh. our affair will never work, ns1. for me, zankou chicken has gone way downhill over the years, and is usually pretty dried out and nothing special.
                        maybe you're hanging at a better zankou.
                        and the pita bread they give is better suited for packing material.
                        costco chicken is o.k., although it is incredibly wet.

                        i like the chickens better at sevan in glendale, or from that peruvian place kitty korner from don adrian's

                        1. re: linus

                          LOL. opposites attract. or something. as long as we never eat together, we're cool :D

                          Consistency can be a problem @ Zankou (never order a chicken before they close), but when on point that shit is delicious. Esp. when you get bits of crunchy skin and spices. Noms.

                          1. re: ns1

                            I used to love that shit when it was crisp.

                            Just give me a plate of the crispy skin.

                            1. re: ns1

                              You need to go to Super King Market. $5 a bird, Same flavors as Zankou but juicier, and the pita and garlic sauce can be bought there for next to nothing.

                              1. re: Savour

                                I'll pay the $5 upcharge to not deal with Super King's parking lot.

                                Actually, after pita/garlic sauce costs it may only be a $1-2 savings.

                                1. re: ns1

                                  ns! we agree on something! huzzah!

                                  super king's parking lot would make the buddha weep.

                                  1. re: linus

                                    my god have you seen the sky outside? pigs flying and everything.

                                    1. re: ns1

                                      Winged pigs ice skating in Hell...

                                      1. re: Servorg

                                        Yeah buddy.

                                        Now we can munch on some fucking piggy pig wings, buffalo style.

                                  2. re: ns1

                                    If you are just going for one or two things? LIke the chicken and pita?

                                    Park ACROSS the street and walk over at the crosswalk, easy peasy.

                                    Or have your loved one drop you off, they go and wander the out of the closet superstore down the street, then meet you at a nearby cross street. No big paring involved.

                                    And I find it awfully nice that I can get chicken - and pita and garlic sauce - and wine, all at the same place. Cuz if I am not cooking, it usually means it's a day where wine is truly needed. Truly.

                                    1. re: ns1

                                      I go the one in Altadena, which isn't QUITE as bad as Glendale. At least not on Saturday mornings.

                                    2. re: Savour

                                      Never heard of Super King Market. Looks like they have a half-dozen locations. Do all have the great chicken? Which has the horrible parking? I'm thinking of Van Nuys or San Fernando Blvd.

                                      1. re: nosh

                                        Nosh -

                                        I know the San Fernando (Los Angeles) parking lot can be a bear and I've had folks complain about the Northridge and Altadena one as well. But if you can go at off times or, park just off the lot, or tag team with a friend - it's easier and worth it.

                                        I think all the SK's have the roasted chicken. They give you one tub of the garlic sauce (it's good!) and will give you one extra if you ask. Any more than that and you have to pay, I think it's 50¢ a tub? And at the Los Angeles one, it just so happens that the hot foods are right by the wine and pita. Pretty handy ; )

                                        1. re: nosh

                                          They all have horrible parking. The newest unit, the Van Nuys location at Van Nuys Blvd. and Sherman Way, is a converted Albertson's which was situated behind the former Krispy Kreme.
                                          That shopping center never had such parking problems after Krispy Kreme closed, until now.
                                          Never tried the chicken, though, as not overly convenient.

                                    3. re: linus

                                      If only there was some sort of matrimony between costco and Zankou. I agree that the Zankou has slowly degraded over the years (Pasadena location). Just about 5 years ago I used to get a decently sized chicken with a bag of pita bread (~6-8) and lots of garlic spread. The skin was crisp as if deep fried, and the meat was not as dry it is now. Now the whole chicken is more like a whole hen...probably 50-60% the size of Costco's. The whole chicken dinner consists of a smallish bird that is quit dry around the white meat and the wing is crisped to the point where it's almost inedible jerky, and you get just 3 pita breads. Depending on who's working the register they can be more liberal with the garlic spread.

                                      Costco sells quite possibly the largest bird and most certainly the most bang for the buck...I think I read somewhere they sell their chicken at a loss. While the brine makes the meat almost too moist, it does have an effect in terms of a skin that isn't as crisp and depending on how you reheat it can be quite moist.

                                2. We pick up rotisserie chicken at whole foods about twice a month. Toss some veggies on a roasting pan and voila, easy dinner on lazy days. Not saying it's the cheapest choice, though.

                                  1. The guy who does roasted chicken at the Hollywood, West Hollywood & Larchmont farmers markets. He probably does others, too.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: katydid13

                                      Grill Masters. Very, very good roast chicken - especially if you catch it around the busy middle of the market time.

                                    2. In downtown LA, The Sultan on 6th St makes good Lebanese-style roast chicken

                                      1. If you can scrape together another $2 you can get the roasted brick chicken at Sotto. Fantastic! Agree with you oon Pollo a la Brasa.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Thor123

                                          +1 on Pollo a la Brasa. Golden, crispy skin and succulent meat. The aji sauce is downright addictive.

                                        2. I love the beer can chicken at A-Frame thought the whole chicken will run you $22 (just a little over your budget) or $12 for a half chicken.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: wienermobile

                                            OMG, yessss. That's such good chicken.

                                          2. Not sure how this will go over, but sometimes El Pollo Loco hits the spot. Good value and tasty beans, rice and tortillas. Not as good as Pollo a la Brasa, but more accessible.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: Thor123

                                              In my opinion ever since El Pollo Loco started using partially pre-cooked chicken to cook the chicken faster it has gone way downhill. Years ago it was always juicy and fresh…not anymore.

                                              1. re: wienermobile

                                                they used partially precooked chicken now? so sad :(

                                                who does the precooking???

                                                1. re: wienermobile

                                                  Where did you hear that? I have only seen them throw whole raw chicken on the flame.

                                                  1. re: Thor123

                                                    This was done at a change of ownership of the chain. I have not been back since. If they were smart maybe they changed back?

                                              2. Have you had the chicken at Dino's on Pico? Half chickens are flame broiled and basted with a tangy vinegar based sauce. Delicious and served over a pile of fries, that soak up the juices and sauce, for under $7!

                                                2575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                                                In the Echo Park/Silver Lake area I also like the roast Jidori chicken at The Park and the roasted half chicken at Black Hogg, both on Sunset. Both entree portions are half chicken w/fries for under $20.

                                                Dino's is great for takeout. I'd have them package the fries separately and give you an extra container of the sauce for your to go order. The other two places do takeout but are more about dining in.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: JeMange

                                                  You get Dino's to package the sauce separately? I eat there, and they stopped giving me a separate container of their "sauce" decades ago. I love Dino's. I don't mind that my extra sauce sogs my fries. They recognize me there. Maybe I'll try asking again.

                                                2. One more thought....not sure if it's roasted or what but it's delicious and garlicky -- that chicken at versailles.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: jessejames

                                                    I thought of that too! Very good.

                                                  2. I really like Cha Cha Chicken in Santa Monica. Also, I think Baby Blues BBQ in Venice makes a really juicy chicken. I have only had it twice, I can't speak for the WeHo location, and I know BBB is a source of contention on this board ... But I was surprised how well cooked it was and they deliver.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. Haven't been back to P a l B on Western since the remodel; I'm afraid it may have done them no good food-wise, as the Zankou expansion and Pollo Loco acquisition did THEM no good. ( I remember the first U.S. Pollo Loco on Alvarado, when the menu was "(a) half chicken (b) whole chicken with (1) corn or (2) flour tortillas, drinks in the cooler...", but I date myself).
                                                      Versailles is VERY consistent, year after year, at least at the original Venice/Motor location; can't or won't vouch for the other ones.
                                                      Pollo Unico (Santa Monica/Virgil) turns out a decent, very mesquite-y grilled bird, for cheap, although they partially pre-cook, which can lead to serious dryness issues if you hit the wrong part of the cycle.
                                                      Grocery store chix, be they Gelson's Ralph's,Costco, etc. all seem to have consistency issues, and many tend to be seriously salty.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

                                                        " Pollo Loco acquisition "

                                                        what are you referring to?

                                                        1. re: ns1

                                                          When Pollo Loco opened their first US store at 6th and Alvarado, they were a free-standing company. Their menu, was, as noted, minimalist.

                                                          " In 1983, the American restaurants in the chain were acquired by Denny's.... .... American Securities Capital Partners acquired El Pollo Loco in 1999 and sold it to current owner Trimaran Capital Partners in 2005."
                                                          (from Wikipedia)
                                                          It's been all downhill since '83.

                                                        2. re: silverlakebodhisattva

                                                          Took out from Pollo a la Brasa last night. The new store next door is not yet done. Chicken was good as ever.

                                                          1. re: CharlesKochel

                                                            Skip. Unless you just wanted healthy. It ain't really fodder for true hounds.

                                                          2. Try 99 Ranch or any other of the large Asian markets.
                                                            $7.00 gets you either a whole "Salty Chicken" or "Soy Sauce Chicken". Always fresh (never frozen) and delicious. Pair it
                                                            with a quart of Rice or Chow Mein Noodles, and you'll have
                                                            a great meal for 2 for about 10 bucks.


                                                            13 Replies
                                                            1. re: ChefRoux

                                                              The soy Sauce chicken is ready to eat ? So that one does not not have to take it home and cook it ?


                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                that is correct, but I don't think asian chickens (salted/soy sauce) fall into the same context as this thread

                                                                WRT roast chicken: if it doesn't end up with crispy skin it's crappy roast chicken ^_^

                                                                and soy sauce/salted chicken have the exact opposite of crispy skin

                                                                1. re: ns1

                                                                  Yea. My favorite is just that: the crispy skinned shit just like NOLA cracklins.

                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                      try the beer belly on western for death by duck if u like that sort of thing...who doesn't?

                                                                      1. re: jessejames

                                                                        Yeah, I tried it a couple years back.

                                                                        It was good but not as good as I had imagined.

                                                                        My imagination got the best of me on that one.

                                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                                          if you want even more duck fat and cracklins in ktown then try


                                                                          you can cook it down in the duck fat to your own crispy preference and the have fried rice cooked in the fat...a light meal

                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                            or for crispy chicken skin, try the fried chicken at ob bear -- simply done and crispy and awesome...

                                                                            1. re: jessejames

                                                                              Oh, man. You don't have to mention OB bear twice (btw, check out their business cards, coolest fucking thing I may have ever seen --- a teddy bear holding a huge mug of beer with a thick layer of head).

                                                                              Those spicy wings are crack on a fucking plate and washed down with copious mugs of Hite beer a little too often.

                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                the wings are killer i agree - i love the spot...the fried chicken is quite nice too--different treatment than the wings...no sauce/spice, just crispy goodness...a great place to get loaded in every way!

                                                                              1. re: happybaker

                                                                                Yep...... Someday I'll get my DH to take me there....

                                                                  1. Has anyone tried the relatively new Beverly Chicken on Beverly near Vermont? I believe they are doing a wood oven roast similar to Pollo a la Brasas.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Thor123

                                                                      I have. Pollo a la Brasas is better.

                                                                      Beverly Chicken is doing a wood smoked chicken similiar to PALB, but you can either get mexican-ish sides (rice, beans, tortillas) or middle eastern sides (hummus, pita, salad). The chicken was decent, the hummus was pretty good, the salad was soggy and wilted by the time it steamed in the take-out container with the chicken. The interior of the restaurant leaves a lot to be desired, better to get the food to go (they also deliver).

                                                                    2. Surprised no one has mentioned California Chicken Cafe.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: wienermobile

                                                                          Does California Chicken Cafe even roast or rotisserie chicken? In my experience, CCC is nondescript chicken prepared to supplement salads or other dishes with the sides or salads being the focus. Crisp skin? I haven't found it at CCC. Significantly more expensive than Zankou. Appears to me to cater to the style-conscious more than the chicken. Will admit that their salads and sides beat Zankou and another favorite, Feast From the East.

                                                                          1. re: nosh

                                                                            Yes it is cooked on a rotisserie. In the Venice location it is right in front of the kitchen for all to see.

                                                                            1. re: nosh

                                                                              I find it bland. Half step up from Koo Koo Roo. For a chain El Pollo is much better.

                                                                          2. I've always been partial to Marouche on Santa Monica Blvd near Normandy. My favorite baba ganoush, too.

                                                                            1. Oinkster has a really great chicken, and on Monday nights I think its $21.50 for a whole chicken, 2 sides and 2 desserts.