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SF's Best Restaurants for Chicken?

I'm trying to think of a place to bring friends who are coming to town this weekend. One of them really likes chicken (but doesn't eat other meat or fish). Last time they visited, we went to Limon, which was a big hit. So I'm trying to think of other places in SF proper where chicken is the focus. What am I missing? I'm probably looking more for hole-in-the-wall/inexpensive places, and not mid- or high-end.

Zuni (probably too expensive for this occasion, but it should be on this list)

Goood Frickin Chicken - I always get the shawarma or falafel, which is great. Never actually tried the straight-up chicken.

Shin To Bul Yi - I like this place on Taraval for Korean Fried chicken. What other places have it?

Toyose - Another Korean chicken option.

Limon - Great for Peruvian chicken, but we went here last time. This vibe and price-point are perfect though for what I'm looking for.

San Tung - Too crowded, and I dislike most of the menu (with the exception of the chicken).

I think there are a number of places that specialize in Southern fried chicken, so would be great to know about those. But really I'm looking for other places, maybe off the radar, that are worth the trip for the chicken.

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  1. Salt-baked chicken at Hakka Restaurant.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Does that need to be ordered in advance?

      1. re: Dave MP

        No, it's on the regular menu available as a half or whole. But when you call for a reservation, you can tell them to hold one for you. There's also a roast chicken stuffed with preserved greens that is very good, and that needs to be ordered a day ahead. I would suggest that you make a reservation. I was there twice this summer and was stunned that the restaurant was completely full on a week night both times. They must be doing three dinner turns a night. We were lucky to get a table the first time.

        Here's the one stuffed with preserved greens and mushrooms. I'm not certain, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't have any other meat or seafood in the stuffing. You could ask.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Is that stuffing similar to what's in the 'bacon with preserved veggie' dish?

          I think we'll probably go for the salt-baked, though. Looks like you can order ahead for an entire chicken, but for the half chicken you can just order when you get there.

          1. re: Dave MP

            Yes, though since Hakka preserves its own, they're less salty and funky than other versions. Here's your post on the stuffed chicken,

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Thanks for the reminder. Apparently I liked it!

    2. Il Pollaio (italian name, but owned by a family from South America, I think Argentina?). Simple but nice--grilled chicken, bean or green salad on the side, hefty steak fries, and cheap.

      1. I haven't been but you could try Proposition Chicken.
        Also, there is The Front Porch or Wayfare Tavern

        1 Reply
        1. re: Scott M

          Somebody said recently that Front Porch's fried chicken's not what it used to be:


          Sarah Kirnon, the chef who put it on the map, has her own place in Oakland, Miss Ollie's, three blocks from 12th St. BART. Best fried chicken I know of.

        2. Pollo asada burrito at La Cumbre. They use a very nice marinate and haven't had anything similar in the Mission (but I'm sure there's others).

          1. At one point Range was ranked highly here for their roast chicken. I can't recall if I've had it but I've had nothing but good experiences there in the past.

            Delfina's chicken dish is also solid.

            1. I had a good rotisserie chicken at La Fusion in the FiDi. Crispy skin. It comes with a warm bread salad and a side of your choice. Also came with two aiolis and a chimichurri sauce. Not a bad deal at around $16 for a half chicken.

              1. I love this place and their rotisserie chicken is great!

                1. For the southern/soul food side of things, I'd go to Farmer Brown -- they have southern fried chicken and a smoked chicken pot pie. I can vouch for the fried and the sides, but not the pot pie (a number of years ago, however). Prices may be a bit higher than desired (in between Limon and Zuni, I think).

                  1. Shin To Bul Yi's fried chicken is much better than Toyose's.

                    Palmyra on Haight has very juicy rotisserie chicken, foul, baba ganoush, honey cake.

                    Otherwise I'd hop on BART and go to Miss Ollie's.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Windy

                      I actually went to Shin To Bul Yi on Thursday, and will be posting about it too. Agree that their chicken is better than Toyose's....although I don't love it at either place. I like other non-chicken items better at S.T.B.Y.

                    2. Thanks everyone for the ideas. We ended up at Hakka, and I reserved a chicken w/ preserved vegetables in advance. As I noted last year, it's nice to be able to make a reservation here since this place does get busy.

                      The stuffed chicken contained pork, which I didn't realize when I ordered. Luckily my non-pork eating friends were fine just eating the chicken, but it meant they couldn't really enjoy the stuffing, which was too bad. I wonder if it's possible to request a vegetarian stuffing instead of one w/ pork.

                      We also had the tofu/fish claypot (but with only tofu—yes, you can do this!), and the fried pumpkin w/ salted egg yolk (excellent as usual), and some sauteed water spinach w/ garlic (not tender enough, but OK).