10 Best Fried Chicken Sandwiches in L.A.

"Southern fry" chicken sandwich at Plan CheckEXPAND
"Southern fry" chicken sandwich at Plan Check
B. Rodell

Food trends tend to be annoying to anyone who eats out a lot. It gets boring to eat the same kale salad at every restaurant, to have every waiter think you need the concept of small plates explained to you, to find bacon in places bacon never should appear. But one trend I hear no one complaining about is the rise of the fried chicken sandwich. 

A few years ago, only a handful of places served a fried chicken sandwich, and anyone who had a serious craving and wasn't close to one of those places had to make do with fast food. These days, the fried chicken sandwich is everywhere. There are food trucks dedicated to it, and some of our best restaurants serve versions that bring in components of the Italian or Thai or Japanese food they serve on the rest of the menu. There are spicy versions, Southern versions, upscale versions and street-food versions.

Here are the 10 you ought to go out of your way to find and devour while thanking the trend gods for delivering us such bounty. 

Fried chicken sandwich at Free Range L.A.EXPAND
Fried chicken sandwich at Free Range L.A.
B. Rodell

10. Free Range
This food truck is the ethical man's answer to the fast-food fried chicken sandwich. It is — as the name suggests — made from free-range chicken, and it comes with Fresno chile coleslaw and whole-grain honey-mustard sauce. While there's a bit more crunch and flavor than your average fast-food joint's version, at its heart this is the child of the delicious smooshed-bun sandwich you got at the drive-thru as a kid. It's just a better, kinder version. Check freerangela.com for times and locations. 

The "animal-style" chicken sandwich at Picnic in Silver Lake
The "animal-style" chicken sandwich at Picnic in Silver Lake
B. Rodell

9. Picnic
Every week, this newish sandwich shop in Silver Lake comes up with a different fried chicken sandwich, and some of them are very, very silly. There was the one with mac and cheese on it, the one with salsa and a huge dollop of sour cream, and the above monstrosity, the "animal-style" chicken sandwich made in honor of the In-N-Out burger of the same name (they've also done a double-decker homage to the Big Mac). But even when it comes sloppy and covered in pinkish "spread," you can taste the love they put into these sandwiches. They ain't cheap — it's listed at $14 on the menu — but many days they have a lunch special where you can get the sandwich plus a drink for $12. 3206 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake. (323) 522-6026, facebook.com/picnicsandwichla

Chicken sandwich at Barrel and AshesEXPAND
Chicken sandwich at Barrel and Ashes
B. Rodell

8. Barrel and Ashes
Advertising "the best damn chicken sandwich ya ever had" on the menu, Barrel and Ashes is kind of courting consternation. While we don't quite agree with the claim, we do like this sandwich a lot. It comes with coleslaw, jalapeños and pimento cheese, and the chicken is plump and tasty. We actually wish there was a little more pimento cheese on the thing — it's a thin smear on the top bun, more of a condiment than a real factor — but the intense pops of tang from the jalapeños provide a nice contrast to the oily chicken. 11801 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. (818) 623-8883, barrelandashes.com

Chicken sandwich at Hinoki and the BirdEXPAND
Chicken sandwich at Hinoki and the Bird
B. Rodell

7. Hinoki and the Bird
In some ways, the lunch-only fried chicken sandwich at Hinoki and the Bird is straightforward. A soft oval bun holds fat orbs of incredibly well-cooked fried chicken, along with crisp green lettuce and a slather of aioli. But the aioli is flavored with shichimi togarashi, the Japanese spice mixture, and rather than tomato or onion, the sandwich gets its crunch and personality from sliced daikon radish. The plate also comes with a variety of pickled veggies, and the whole thing makes for an incredibly satisfying lunch. 10 Century Drive, Century City. 310.552.1200, hinokiandthebird.com

Fried chicken sandwich at Major Dave's ChickenEXPAND
Fried chicken sandwich at Major Dave's Chicken
B. Rodell

6. Major Dave's Chicken
This sandwich, from the underappreciated fried chicken joint that opened last year in Pasadena, distinguishes itself in many ways. First, you can get it hot, as in Nashville hot chicken–style hot (you should). Second, it comes on a crusty, freshly baked bolillo roll. Third, the components that bring it all together are exceedingly fresh and tasty: sweet cherry tomatoes, coleslaw and a house-made buttermilk-chive dressing. It's a four-napkin sandwich that's obviously made with a ton of love and care, and that searingly spicy crust gives it a kick unlike any other on this list. 163 N. Hill Ave., Pasadena. (626) 460-8730, majordaveschicken.com. 

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