The 10 Best Fried Chicken Restaurants in Los Angeles

Tokyo Fried Chicken
Tokyo Fried Chicken
Garrett Snyder

Are you sick of healthy food trends like kale salad and poké? If so, 2016 might be the year for you, a time when Los Angeles is rediscovering its torrid love affair with the wonderful magic that occurs when poultry meets hot oil.  That’s not to say this city isn't already home to great fried chicken — shoutout to old-guard spots like Jim Dandy, Mom’s BBQ and Honey Kettle (and R.I.P. to Flossie’s) — but the recent explosion of really good chicken within the last year or two has been enough to make even the casual bird enthusiast take notice. Peak Chicken might not yet be upon us, but we are much closer to the summit than before.

A quick ground rule: this list is for purebreds, i.e., no restaurants serving fried chicken as a nightly or weekend special, no matter how delicious (Terrine, Ledlow, the Bellwether, Poppy & Rose, etc.). And yes, we probably missed your favorite spot, but you can always yell it at us virtually in the comments section below. Everyone knows their mother’s fried chicken is No. 1 anyway.

Two-piece and biscuit at Krispy Crunchy Chicken
Two-piece and biscuit at Krispy Crunchy Chicken
Garrett Snyder

10. Krispy Krunchy Fried Chicken

If you haven’t heard of this Louisiana-based fast food outfit with more than 2,000 locations nationwide, don’t be surprised. The core of Krispy Krunchy’s business model involves partnering with gas stations and convenience stores, which fry and sell their proprietary “Cajun recipe” chicken on-site. In Los Angeles, the two free-standing locations are located inside South L.A. shopping malls — one in the Slauson Supermall, the other in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. But don't be fooled, this stuff is more than food-court fodder. Krispy Krunchy’s chicken easily bests fast-food giants like Popeye’s, Church’s, et al. The skin is as crackly as the name suggests, and the meat is quite moist thanks to a patented “Cajun flavor injection” technique, which is surely as terrible for you as it sounds. But hey, there’s also blueberry biscuits, and those are basically fruit, right? Various locations, including 3650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Baldwin Hills; (323) 293-3332, krispykrunchy.com.

Blue Ribbon fried chicken
Blue Ribbon fried chicken
Courtesy Blue Ribbon Sushi

9. Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill

There are valid reasons to be skeptical about Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill, a popular Asian brasserie with outlets in New York, Vegas and, now, L.A.: 1) it’s located deep within the Michael Bublé–soundtracked tourist trap that is the Grove, and 2) the sushi itself is pretty middling. But both those concerns are dwarfed by one thing — the stupendously good (and deservedly famous) fried chicken, which arrives crusted in matzoh meal and dusted with a paprika-heavy seasoning mix. A side of addictive wasabi-honey sauce further gilds the proverbial lily. The price for a half fried chicken might seem steep at $28, but those looking for a smaller portion can opt for the weekday happy hour deal: four wings for $7. 189 The Grove Drive, Beverly Grove; (323) 352-9300, blueribbonrestaurants.com.

"Best Fried Chicken Ever" at Pizza Romana
"Best Fried Chicken Ever" at Pizza Romana
Garrett Snyder

8. Pizza Romana

Pizza and fried chicken? The dream is real at Pizza Romana, a counter-service pizzeria on La Brea, which offers wood-fired pies, crowd-pleasing side dishes and a reasonably priced Italian wine list. When owner Alex Palermo flipped the former concept, Cube Café & Marketplace, into a pizza restaurant, he was wise enough to continue serving Cube’s beloved fried chicken, and for that we are grateful. Listed on the menu as “The Best Fried Chicken Ever!!,” the schnitzel-esque boneless breast nearly lives up to its own self-assured title, especially when dunked in the accompanying tarragon ranch dressing. Fried chicken aficionados might find the lack of dark meat dubious, but a lengthy brine keeps the white meat supple and flavorful. And if you’re more the chicken tender type, they have those too. 615 N. La Brea Ave., Fairfax; (323) 939-1148 ext. 10, pizzaromana.com.

Spicy fried chicken at 77 Kentucky
Spicy fried chicken at 77 Kentucky
Tony Chen

7. 77 Kentucky

Since the fried chicken fad swept through Koreatown a few years ago, the pinnacle of the genre has probably been Kyochon, a fast-casual spot with wings by the box, or O.B. Bear, a throwback tavern where Hite beer towers harmonize with sticky glazed chicken parts. The new standard bearer, however, might be 77 Kentucky (or, Chil Chil Kenteoki in Korean), the first international outlet of a 1970s-era chain based in Busan, which specializes in American-inspired fried chicken and french fries served in oversized steel bowls. The whole situation is kind of meta, like when a Panda Express opens in China, but fortunately the chicken is spectacular enough to transcend any cultural confusion. The flavor options are numerous and delicious: garlic-glazed chicken, sweet and spicy chicken, “Real Hot Pepper” chicken, "Chinese" chicken, or the “Original Style,” the latter arriving as a quarter bird plunged in hot oil until its skin turns to glass and seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper that you sprinkle on yourself. The sole tragedy here is the lack of beer — this food practically screams for it — but until the alcohol license arrives, you’ll have to console yourself with a cold Fanta. 698 S. Vermont Ave., Koreatown; (213) 263-2686.

Fried chicken and sides at Mama Joan's
Fried chicken and sides at Mama Joan's
Garrett Snyder

6. Mama Joan's Soul Food

There are few soul food gems in L.A. that can keep pace with Mama Joan’s, a family-run establishment in a Ladera Heights strip mall (motto: “putting the soul back in soul food”) where the fried chicken is fried to order rather than plucked from a steam tray. That small detail alone makes a big difference, as the chicken skin comes out crackling and golden, worlds away from the stodgy, heavy-breading variety that has become too commonplace. You can get the chicken smothered in brown gravy if you like, but that just means more distraction from the extra-crispy crust. If you have room, the made-from-scratch sides are equally comforting — succotash, red beans and rice, gooey mac and cheese — which, along with a sweet tea and cornbread muffin, can easily turn your quick lunch into a long afternoon nap. 5496 W. Centinela Ave., Ladera Heights, (310) 670-5900.



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