Food & Drink

The Best Fried Chicken Sandwiches in LA

Published On 07/15/2016 Published On 07/15/2016
Plan Check chicken sandwich
Courtesy of Plan Check

Plan Check

Fairfax & other locations

This upscale gastropub continues to hold it down with its excellent, ketchup leather-topped burgers, but you’d be missing out if you didn’t get on board with the Southern Fry. This formerly feathered friend features a fantastically smoky fried Jidori chicken breast that’s been cold-smoked, buttermilk-brined, coated with rice flour and secrets and fried in -- wait for it -- beef tallow. This work of art is then topped with duck breast ham, spicy green pimento cheese, and house-made pickles that are seasoned with kombu for an extra umami-kick, all held together by a hearty house-baked bun.

EP & LP

West Hollywood

Head to the stunning rooftop of this buzzy West Hollywood two-part outfit, where you’ll find the recently expanded LP menu now includes a knockout fried chicken sandwich. Available in regular or spicy habanero format (pro tip: make it spicy!) the LP entry features crisp and peppery fried chicken breast, romaine, house mayo, and a squishy and buttery bun. Trust us, you will likely find yourself ordering a second before the first is even finished.

Danny Jensen/Thrillist

Howlin’ Ray's

Chinatown

Nashville Hot Chicken is sort of a big deal these days. And short of hopping a plane to Tennessee, you can get your fix of the fiery fried chicken at Howlin’ Ray’s, a food-truck-turned-brick-and-mortar in Chinatown’s now-bustling Far East Plaza. And while you should definitely carve out some time for a box of the wings and weekend waffles (just be ready for a long line), don’t pass up the chance to devour the shop’s beast of a sandwich. You’ll find a huge boneless breast with a thickly crunchy and garlicky crust that is spiced with traditional cayenne as well as habanero, ghost pepper, and the intense red savina, all of which is balanced by sliced pickles, cole slaw, and the house “comeback” sauce on a toasted and buttered bun. You can choose your heat level from a six step scale, though if you go for anything above the medium be prepared to make frequent use of the free refills of lemonade and peach iced tea, and quite possibly some tears.

The Bellwether

Studio City

There are plenty of excellent choices on the brunch menu of this newish Studio City favorite, but your mind should already be made up to order the Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich (along with the mini-burger-adorned Bloody Mary). Stacked high with huge hunks of delicately crispy chicken, it comes with a house-made pimento cheese, a tangy green tomato chow chow, all served on a buttery roll.

Courtesy of Alimento

Alimento

Silver Lake

While this swank, date-friendly destination may call the fried chicken sandwich by another name -- the Chicken Milanese -- it still tastes as sweet, er, savory. The Italian-influenced variation features an excellently crisp, breadcrumb-crusted chicken cutlet topped with slices of prosciutto cotto, a puntarelle slaw, pepperoncini, and spicy mayo for a perfect zing with a house-made brioche bun to round out the delicious picture.

M Con

Beverly Grove

This recent and welcome addition to Beverly Blvd brings a Taiwanese twist to the typical chicken and bread combo with their Night Market fried chicken sandwich. You’ll find a flattened and deep-fried, organic chicken breast topped with pickled mustard greens, a sweet mayo, cilantro, and a house-made scallion bun that’s like a brilliant cross between an English muffin and a scallion pancake. Pro tip: turn up the heat again with a splash of the house simbal sauce.

Courtesy of Barrel & Ashes

Barrel & Ashes

Studio City

With a name like “The Best Damn Chick’n Sandwich Y’ever Had,” you’d hope that the sandwich would deliver big. And thankfully at this Studio City BBQ joint, it does. Now available at dinner as well as lunch, this crispy, fried beauty comes with pimento cheese, jalapeños, cole slaw, and is served on a fluffy and buttery milk roll. Is it the best damn one? Your call, dude.

Danny Jensen/Thrillist

Birdies

Downtown/South Park

Formerly known as Mabel’s, this small and stylish downtown joint may have swapped out waffles for donuts, but it thankfully held on to its excellently crunchy fried chicken. While you could opt for the original version of the fried chicken sandwich, we recommend going for the (surprise, surprise) Birdies Spicy. You’ll find a hearty breast of Mary’s free-range chicken that’s been breaded with King Arthur flour and fried using a pressure cooker, then topped with a light cabbage slaw, pickles, Tillamook pepper jack, and ghost pepper mayo, all sandwiched by a homemade bun.

Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill

West LA

You may know this NY-import for its top notch sushi and Japanese small plates (Oxtail fried rice!), but those in the know set their sights on the glorious fried chicken. Now available in convenient sandwich form, the Fried Chicken Slider stands out from most with a light and crunchy crust made from matzo meal and spiced with togarashi and other Japanese spices. It’s topped with wasabi mayo and uniquely served on crispy rice patties instead of a bun.

Danny Jensen/Thrillist

Sack Sandwiches

Melrose and West Hollywood

While you may expect most fried chicken sandwiches to be served hot, Chef Michael Voltaggio won’t be penned in by your expectations: at his two casual outposts (one on Sunset and the other on Melrose) the Top Chef winner serves up his famous Cold Fried Chicken sandwich, featuring chicken that has been cooked sous-vide then lightly fried and served with ranch cheese, lettuce, pickles, and hot sauce, and served on house-baked ciabatta. And now he’s added the excellent cordon bleu to the mix as well, which features the same great fried chicken along with ham, Swiss, arugula, mayo, and Dijon mustard. They’re not huge sandwiches, but that’s all the more reason to order both.

Night + Market Song

Silver Lake

This brightly painted Thai hotspot in Silver Lake adds a Southeast Asian spin to a Southern classic on the lunch menu (if you ask nicely, they’ll do it as an off-menu option at dinner, too). The towering sandwich features a Northern Thai-style fried thigh on sliced tomato and house ranch, and topped with a spicy papaya salad-slaw, cilantro, and jalapeños.

Courtesy of Canelé

Canelé

Atwater Village

Whether you show up for lunch or brunch to this adorable Atwater Village favorite, you’re in luck. At lunch, you’ll find a fairly straightforward -- though still totally tasty -- option with a crunchy fried chicken breast, mayo, and pickles on a seeded brioche bun. Brunch-goers are treated to the same delicious chicken, but this time with the bright acidity of pickled green tomato, red onion, mayo, and a toasted brioche bun.

Son of a Gun

Melrose

While much of the menu at this Melrose spot from wunderkind duo Jon and Vinny tends to skew towards seafood, they fortunately made room for chicken of the land as well. This hulking fried chicken sandwich comes with a spicy bread & butter pickle slaw, a vinegary slaw, Sriracha aioli, and a steak knife in case the thing tries to fight back.

Courtesy of Mess Hall

Mess Hall

Los Feliz

This Los Feliz crowd-favorite also promises to have “LA’s Best Fried Chicken Sando,” and it’s definitely in the running. Available at lunch during the week, the sandwich features a flaky and crispy fried breast, which gets a bit of the hot honey aioli treatment and is served with lettuce, red onions, pickles, and a brioche bun. And if you swing by on the weekend for brunch you can score the “South x Southwest” variation, which is comprised of fried chicken, country gravy, bacon, egg, and cheddar, all served on a biscuit.

Community

Los Feliz

This tiny Los Feliz outfit packs a mighty punch at lunch with its hand-torn, battered, and fried chicken sandwich, which includes oven-roasted tomatoes for a bit of smoky umami, an herbed aioli, and mixed greens for a lighter touch, all served on a French roll. Pro tip: add avocado for some sweet fattiness.

Courtesy of Poppy & Rose

Poppy & Rose

Downtown

Planted neatly in the Flower District, Poppy & Rose turns some tremendous breakfast options, but its fried chicken sandwich is no shrinking violet. The belle of the ball features a tender buttermilk-brined thigh, fried to a golden brown and served with house pickles and aioli on a buttery and fluffy brioche bun. Do yourself a favor, order the biscuits, too.

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1. Plan Check Kitchen + Bar 351 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (West Hollywood)

This sophisticated gastropub -- with a few locations across Los Angeles -- is acclaimed for its burgers, whiskey, and craft beer. The namesake Plan Check burger, topped with pickles, onions, and Americanized dashi cheese, is famous for its layer of Ketchup Leather, which is a square of dehydrated tomato paste that melts over the patty like a layer of cheese. Plan Check’s comfort food vibe makes for a hip and social ambience, complemented by tall communal tables and plenty of bar seating.

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2. E.P. & L.P. 603 N LA Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069 (West Hollywood)

It's a bit hard to discern which is which at this two-for-one West Hollywood spot. Downstairs is E.P., an Asian restaurant that combines Thai cooking with Chinese, Fijian, and Vietnamese elements. Meanwhile, L.P. is the upstairs patio bar serving up street food small bites and killer cocktails surrounded by stunning views of the Hollywood Hills.

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3. Howlin' Ray's 727 N Broadway #128, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (Downtown)

This Chinatown chicken specialist is the brick-and-mortar outpost of the beloved food truck of the same name. Howlin' Ray's counter-service joint serves up Nashville-style hot chicken sandwiches in five increasing levels of spiciness: mild, medium, hot, extra hot, and howlin' hot, the last of which is characterized by a slightly sweet but intense cayenne pepper burn that's unlike any spice mix you've tasted before. The howlin' hot chicken is almost too spicy to order on its own, which is where the rotating array of daily sides specials like bacon creamed corn and pimento macaroni salad, plus crinkly-cut fries, come in handy to cool your mouth down.

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4. The Bellwether 13251 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604 (Mid Valley)

This hip Studio City brunch and dinner spot started by Father's Office veterans Ann-Marie Verdi and Ted Hopson is full of colorful shared plates (charred octopus, chamomile roasted carrots), craft beer, and good cheer. The food menu includes two dozen small and big plates, and the beverage menu goes way beyond mixed drinks with cocktails and wine on tap.

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5. Alimento 1708 Silver Lake Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026 (Silverlake)

This bright and airy Italian bistro is a perfect laid-back spot for date night. Zach Pollack, of Sotto and South Coast Plaza's Pizzeria Ortica, has flipped Italian food on its head with an inventive menu, even calling his Tortellini in Brodo "al contrario" (or, opposite) -- tiny dumplings filled with hot broth and a sauce with diced mortadella and Parmesan cheese. His clever take on classic Italian dishes has brought crowds of locals and celebrities through the door.

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6. Barrel and Ashes 11801 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

For the best barbecue in Studio City, look no further than Barrel and Ashes. The family-style menu includes out-of-this-world Texas-style brisket, wings, and tri-tip, plus a gooey, buttery, hoecake for dessert. Add a friendly staff, communal tables, and boozy cocktails, and this spot is a go-to for a casual and beyond-satisfying dinner.

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7. Birdies Fried Chicken and Doughnuts 314 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA (Downtown)

For a taste of Southern comfort in DTLA, look no further than Birdie's. Fried chicken and doughnuts are the name of the game here -- think sandwiches stacked with juicy-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside meat, crunchy cole slaw, and doughnuts in flavors like blueberry lemon and candied maple bacon. Open 'til 3am Sunday through Thursday and 24-hours a day on weekends, Birdie's is a go-to for late-night eats and/or hangover cures.

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8. Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill 189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (West La)

The Bromberg Brothers and partner Toshi Ueki gift LA with their dedication to pristine sushi and family-style Japanese small plates in the form of Blue Ribbon Sushi, an equally pristine and expansive space at The Grove. And their dedication shows: high-quality fish like Japanese red snapper and Atlantic Amberjack are brought in daily, and their famous wasabi-honey fried chicken attracts throngs of loyal fans.

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9. Sack Sandwiches 8915 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069 (West Hollywood)

Founded by Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio, mini-chain Sack Sandwiches takes run-of-the-mill deli subs to the next level with its four-inch sandwiches that vary between familiar classics like BLTs and reubens and more niche creations like the chicken Cordon Bleu. The Sunset Blvd location is geared towards the take-out lunch crowd, but there are a few stools if you're planning to stay. Whatever you order, be sure to finish it off with a side of house-made chips and a Stumptown Coffee-spiked mocha milkshake.

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10. Night + Market Song 3322 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

The second location of Chef Kris Yenbamroong's Night + Market, the cool and casual Song (which means two) continues the original restaurant's ode to Thai street food. The Silverlake spot serves all of Yenbamroong's cult classics, like the sweet and salty party wings, plus a revolving door of dishes exclusive to the location. The far-from-ordinary Northern Thai plates certainly aren't the Americanized cuisine you're used to in LA, so trust your gut and order whatever looks good. FYI: the fried chicken sandwich is a lunchtime hit.

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11. Canelé 3219 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, 90039 (Atwater Village)

This cozy Atwater restaurant is a go-to for brunch -- just watch out for the sizable weekend crowds. It's worth the wait, though, for ultra-fresh dishes like chilled gazpacho, sweet and savory favorites like thick-cut French toast and baked pancakes, and some seriously tasty house-cured bacon. The chefs here keep things super-seasonal when it comes to ingredients, but no matter when you stop in, their fried chicken sandwich is a must.

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12. Son Of A Gun 8730 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048 (Mid Wilshire)

The menu at this nautical Melrose spot from chef superstars Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Animal and Jon & Vinny's) is seafood heaven with a fried chicken sandwich thrown in to remind you just how great turf can be, too. It's a hulking masterpiece with a spicy bread & butter pickle slaw and Sriracha aioli. If you're in the mood for surf, go for the trout or the octopus salad.

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13. Mess Hall 4500 Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (Los Feliz)

This sleek, summer-camp-themed Loz Feliz spot (think metal cafeteria trays on the wall) pulls out all the stops: an extensive gastro-inspired menu with offerings at breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and late-night, plus a full raw oyster bar. We'll narrow it down for you: try the fried chicken sandwich (with a hot honey aioli), a side of the perfectly crisp french fries, and a mint julep out of their top-notch cocktail program, and head for the outdoor patio.

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14. Community 2044 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (Los Feliz)

This tiny Los Feliz outfit brings a strong lunch game, especially with its hand-torn, battered, and fried chicken sandwich. Dig into one with a helping of their seasoned fries and an iced tea alongside your fellow fried chicken seekers -- the cozy, laid-back space embodies its name, offering about 25 communal seats. A bonus? Cakes are available for order (we suggest trying the Pistachio Cake with Pistachio Creme & Chocolate Ganache), including custom decor cakes.

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15. Poppy + Rose 765 S Wall St, Los Angeles, CA 90014 (Downtown)

An adorable cafe in the Flower District, Poppy + Rose knows a thing or two about comfort food. Take the super-tender buttermilk-brined fried chicken, which is served atop a brown butter vanilla Belgian waffle with a side of smoked honey butter. Not comforted yet? Try the biscuits and gravy or pulled-pork hash. Tucked between wholesale flower warehouses, this breakfast/lunch spot has a shabby chic vibe accentuated by subway tiles, mismatching chairs, and French-style carafes of water on every table.

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16. M Con 8459 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

Down the street from Beverly Center is M Con, a Taiwanese counter-serve whose name is short for "modern convenience." The fusion spot's speciality is sandwiches made with house-baked scallion buns, but the bowls and dishes (like fried chicken strips or pork belly and ribs over rice) are equally notable. The Night Market fried chicken sandwich, essentially the love child of an English muffin and scallion pancake, is very, very good.