The Niners get back to work in a couple of weeks, which means you get back to eating alllll the chicken wings in a couple of weeks.
To help ensure you're eating the right ones, we wrangled five of the city's best food writers -- Allie Pape from Eater SF, Anna Roth from SF Weekly, Jay Barmann from SFist, Marcia Gagliardi from Tablehopper, and Paolo Lucchesi from San Francisco Chronicle's Inside Scoop -- and had them rank their top six wings in the city. Then we assigned points accordingly (6pts for first, 5pts for second, 4pts for third, etc.), and added everything up for this definitive top 11 list.
T10. Hi Tops (4 pts)
"They’re pretty basic Buffalo wings, but done totally right and are super-sticky with sauce. They’re tangy, mildly hot, and not overly salty, and I’m pretty sure they’re still using whatever secret sauce recipe Jamie Lauren came up with when they opened." - Jay
T7. Kezar Pub (5 pts)
"It’s all about context, right? Good Buffalo wings taste even better in the city’s best sports bar." - Paolo
T7. The Other Guys (5 pts)
"This newish pop-up serves whole wings doused in a zingy, aromatic dry rub made with seven different types of peppercorns (including the numbing Szechuan ones), dried lemon peel, salt, and other good stuff. Eating one is like sucking on a battery, in a good way." - Anna
T7. Toyose (5 pts)
"Toyose is one of the best spots in the city, period. Korean pub food rules the menu, and the fiery, saucy wings are always a must-order. Unless you don’t want to get your fingers dirty. Then it’s a maybe-order." - Paolo
6. Double Decker (6 pts)
"This was one of the first restaurants I went to when I moved to San Francisco, and even if it's adjacent to a Days Inn, I still think their Buffalo wings are one of the city's best-kept secrets." - Allie
5. Chino (7 pts)
"These wings were kind of a sensation back when the Bar Tartine chef was first working at Nombe, when they first opened. They’re coated in this fantastic Latin-Japanese combination of scallions, lime, fish sauce, serrano chili, honey, garlic, Japanese pepper flakes (ichimi togarashi), cilantro, and mint, and I could eat 100 of them. I’m really happy that a version is now on the menu at Chino." - Jay
4. ICHI + Ni (8 pts)
"Tender and intensely citrusy from a yuzu infusion, ICHI's wings are the perfect way to counteract all the healthiness of your omakase meal." - Anna
3. Dirty Habit (12 pts)
"These seriously engineered wings hit all the marks: juicy, crunchy, spicy, sticky, tangy, mad flava, and finger-licking good. Craving them, all the damn time." - Marcia
2. Wing Wings (19 pts)
"That thick, vaguely spicy Korean chili paste they use on the wings is just so damn good... and because it's so close to my house, a 10-pack of them has served as dinner more times than I'd like to admit." - Anna
1. San Tung (20 pts)
"The king stays the king." - Paolo
"Duh. These sticky/sweet/crunchy dry-fried wings are on all the best-in-city lists for a reason, and cravings for them bring me out to the Sunset on the semi-regular." - Anna
"I don't really think anything more needs to be said about these." - Allie
Special thanks to all of our participants -- we literally could not have done this without you.
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Joe Starkey is Thrillist's San Francisco Editor and is about to eat a MILLION wings after putting this together. Help support his bad habits on Twitter.
1. Hot Sauce and Panko1545 Clement St, San Francisco
2. Hi Tops2247 Market St., San Francisco
3. Kezar Pub770 Stanyan St, San Francisco
4. Double Decker465 Grove St, San Francisco
5. Chino3198 16th St, San Francisco
6. ICHI Sushi + NI Bar3282 Mission St, San Francisco
7. Dirty Habit12 4th St, San Francisco
8. Wing Wings422 Haight St, San Francisco
9. Toyose3814 Noriega St, San Francisco
10. San Tung1031 Irving St, San Francisco
From a pair of self-proclaimed "chili heads" who dig the hot stuff so much it's a surprise they don't give it away, give it away, give it away, HS&P's slinging 118 tongue-burners outta an old Chinese herb/massage parlor, plus has a tasting station boasting 30 free-to-try varietals ensuring people can still leave with something that burns.
Finally, a place to drink and relax where your sexuality isn't reduced to a stereotype. Hi Tops is a gay sports bar in The Castro that's decked out in benches made from bleachers, flat-screen televisions (16 of them, so they're always playing the game you came to watch), and Top Chef-level nachos, wings, and corn dogs. The speciality cocktails are a huge draw too, like the house Haterade that's served in a plastic water bottle.
A sports bar (especially big on soccer) with pool tables, Golden Tee, trivia, and bar eats, including some of the best wings in SF.
An under-the-radar spot in Hayes Valley that has some of the best wings in the city, and they come in "bucket" size.
Chino's a Chinese dumpling haven serving all of your wonton desires. They just opened their doors, so Spring into action already and give them a visit.
Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar is a sushi and sake oasis in the Outer Mission outfitted with a giant mural that tells you how to eat sushi. Ni Bar operates much like an izakaya with sake, shochu, and small plates like yuzu chicken wings and miso eggplant. Ichi, on the other hand, keeps the San Francisco ethos in mind with a sustainable and seasonal menu of raw fish, but doesn't skimp on anything delicious. The chef's choice is one of the best omakase deals in the city.
Dirty Habit is intimately hidden away on the fifth floor of Union Square's Hotel Palomar. The sultry bar and restaurant features seasonal cocktails (plus all of the classics) and an extensive selection of spirits, especially whiskey. Standout bar bites include house-made bar nuts and finger-licking good chicken wings doused in sweet soy and chili vinaigrette. The back patio has tons of seating, a fountain, and a fire pit. Take our word: this place is cool.
From a Baltimore-repping former Little Skillet chef, WW is a house of wing-y awesomeness that'll sling fried chicken to Lower Haight-ians 'til 2a outta a clean-lined, bright orange-floored, personalized saloon door-equipped interior that seats 10 at stools and four more at out-front benches, presumably pre-warmed by Brian Cardinal.
This place has some of the best Korean pub fare in SF. The wings are a must-order item, thanks to their firey flavor and the fact that they're drenched in sauce.
The chicken wings at Inner Sunset's San Tung are regularly cited as San Francisco's best. They're battered, fried, and tossed in a signature sweet-and-spicy peppery glaze, but the move here is to order them dry, before they're doused in sauce. The crunchy, golden brown exterior gives way to a tender meat interior seasoned with ginger and garlic. Order a plate or two for the table and don't ignore the rest of the menu, which features comforting Chinese dishes like shrimp & leek dumplings, black bean sauce noodles, and sautéed garlic string beans.