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Rotisserie chicken at Jaranita Jaranita

13 Succulent Roast Chickens in San Francisco

These versions make it a decidedly un-boring dinner choice

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Roast chicken can swing from boring to otherworldly in a moment's time. But when it's done right, there's nothing better than a bird that's moist, juicy, and tender on the inside, and crisp, salty, and crackly on the outside. It's a great indicator for the cooking chops of a kitchen, and the ones that do it right often pass the litmus test in other areas, too.

It's all too easy to fall into the trap of dry roast chicken, but this list is stacked with the plumpest and juiciest in town. These versions span a variety of cuisines (Italian, Peruvian, Cuban, and more), all putting their own spin on the humble chicken while fastidiously maintaining its juicy integrity. Some of the restaurants included are dedicated to the bird alone, while others serve it on a menu of other dishes. It's easy to overlook the chicken in the latter case, but you'd be remiss to do so at these establishments.

For the city's finest roast chicken, look no further than these 13 places.

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Hillstone

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Hillstone has fervent fans nationwide, and its San Francisco followers are no different. The entire menu is a solid order, including the free-range rotisserie chicken, which comes roasted with crushed herbs and an apricot glaze, served alongside black beans and rice.

Jaranita SF Peruvian Rotisserie

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From the same team as La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, Jaranita is a colorful chicken shop that burst into the Marina at the beginning of 2021. The Peruvian menu centers on a rotisserie chicken, spun over mesquite charcoal, and available whole or by the half, as a complete dinner with fries and salad. But there are also tempting cebiches, empanadas, and lomo saltado, and true to the neighborhood, there’s brunch and happy hour action with bright cocktails.

Rotisserie chicken at Jaranita Jaranita

Bonita Taqueria y Rotisserie

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Part taqueria and part rotisserie, Bonita has a Mexican bent on its Mary's free-range rotisserie chicken, which can be ordered at the counter as a half or whole chicken, or shredded into tacos, burritos, bowls, quesadillas, and more. You can eat it all there, but it's more comfortable to take it home to Netflix (or order it online).

Il Pollaio

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Get a half or whole roast chicken that's very simply seasoned (salt, pepper, olive oil) and is served alongside lemons, plus the choice of French fries or salad. You can eat here, but it's equally geared toward takeout.

Perry's

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For a straightforward option, Perry's has a simple half roast chicken served with fingerling potatoes and seasonal vegetables underneath in its jus. It's moist, just salty enough, and very satisfying.

Roli Roti Gourmet Rotisserie

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One of the OG chickens in town, Roli Roti serves its juicy, golden-brown birds from roving rotisserie trucks. They're at markets every day of the week and set up shop regularly at the Ferry Building. Add sides like roasted brussels sprouts and fingerling potatoes and dinner is served. (For non-chicken enthusiasts, Roli Roti's porchetta is also extremely excellent.)

Roli Roti Official Photo

Spinnerie

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The chicken at Spinnerie — like many on this list — is Mary's free-range, and it's spatchcocked and deboned, making it very easy to eat. Pick from a varied choice of sides, such as dripping fingerling potatoes, spit-fired Calabrese cauliflower, mac and cheese, and more to serve alongside, and have dinner for a group very quickly.

RT Rotisserie

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From Rich Table's Evan and Sarah Rich, this is the neighborhood rotisserie restaurant of your slightly-elevated-but-mostly-really-casual dreams. Counter service, takeout, and delivery yield beautifully roasted, buttermilk-brined chickens, cauliflower, or pork belly. Eat any of those three on their own, atop a salad, or in sandwich form, then follow up with soft serve. A second location now also serves just off Divisadero.

Kassie Borreson

Souvla's whole roast chicken is available on its own or rounded out with juicy potatoes, a side salad, and your choice of yogurt dipping sauce. As for the chicken itself, it's Souvla's signature spit-roasted, feta-brined rotisserie chicken.

Caviar

Zuni Cafe

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A roast chicken list without Zuni is no list at all. Because this is the roast chicken that started it all, and one that will forever be the city's top chick. But there are rules associated with this chicken, and you should know them. First and foremost, the kitchen needs an hour to cook it, and second, you cannot order it in advance. It's a pricey entry at $68 for a whole chicken with bread salad, but one that's shareable and well worth it.

Zuni’s famous chicken with bread salad Bill Addison

Limon Rotisserie

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Peruvian-style chicken is the specialty of small chain Limón Rotisserie, where its "pollo a la brasa" (grilled chicken) is slowly roasted rotisserie style and served with aji (garlic) sauce and two sides of your choice (options include yuca fries, rice and beans, salad, and more).

Village Rotisserie

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An Aussie-style chicken shop spun into Noe Valley in fall 2021, serving rotisserie chickens, duck fat potatoes, and lemony broccoli salad. The owners are a brother and sister who grew up in Sydney but now live with their families in the neighborhood and understand the desperation of busy parents, tech personalities, and everyone else who would rather not cook their own dinner tonight. Step right up to the counter for takeout, or wind through to the back to kick it under fringe umbrellas on stripy deck chairs.

Rotisserie chicken dinner with sides at Village Rotisserie Patricia Chang

El Pollo Supremo

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Charbroiled chicken is the name of the game at El Pollo Supremo, which is family-owned by a very enthusiastic crew for the past 22 years. An entire chicken is just $14.99, and there is a plethora of Cuban sides to round out the meal, like various rices, beans, salads, potatoes, and more.

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Hillstone

Hillstone has fervent fans nationwide, and its San Francisco followers are no different. The entire menu is a solid order, including the free-range rotisserie chicken, which comes roasted with crushed herbs and an apricot glaze, served alongside black beans and rice.

Jaranita SF Peruvian Rotisserie

Rotisserie chicken at Jaranita Jaranita

From the same team as La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, Jaranita is a colorful chicken shop that burst into the Marina at the beginning of 2021. The Peruvian menu centers on a rotisserie chicken, spun over mesquite charcoal, and available whole or by the half, as a complete dinner with fries and salad. But there are also tempting cebiches, empanadas, and lomo saltado, and true to the neighborhood, there’s brunch and happy hour action with bright cocktails.

Rotisserie chicken at Jaranita Jaranita

Bonita Taqueria y Rotisserie

Part taqueria and part rotisserie, Bonita has a Mexican bent on its Mary's free-range rotisserie chicken, which can be ordered at the counter as a half or whole chicken, or shredded into tacos, burritos, bowls, quesadillas, and more. You can eat it all there, but it's more comfortable to take it home to Netflix (or order it online).

Il Pollaio

Get a half or whole roast chicken that's very simply seasoned (salt, pepper, olive oil) and is served alongside lemons, plus the choice of French fries or salad. You can eat here, but it's equally geared toward takeout.

Perry's

For a straightforward option, Perry's has a simple half roast chicken served with fingerling potatoes and seasonal vegetables underneath in its jus. It's moist, just salty enough, and very satisfying.

Roli Roti Gourmet Rotisserie

Roli Roti Official Photo

One of the OG chickens in town, Roli Roti serves its juicy, golden-brown birds from roving rotisserie trucks. They're at markets every day of the week and set up shop regularly at the Ferry Building. Add sides like roasted brussels sprouts and fingerling potatoes and dinner is served. (For non-chicken enthusiasts, Roli Roti's porchetta is also extremely excellent.)

Roli Roti Official Photo

Spinnerie

The chicken at Spinnerie — like many on this list — is Mary's free-range, and it's spatchcocked and deboned, making it very easy to eat. Pick from a varied choice of sides, such as dripping fingerling potatoes, spit-fired Calabrese cauliflower, mac and cheese, and more to serve alongside, and have dinner for a group very quickly.

RT Rotisserie

Kassie Borreson

From Rich Table's Evan and Sarah Rich, this is the neighborhood rotisserie restaurant of your slightly-elevated-but-mostly-really-casual dreams. Counter service, takeout, and delivery yield beautifully roasted, buttermilk-brined chickens, cauliflower, or pork belly. Eat any of those three on their own, atop a salad, or in sandwich form, then follow up with soft serve. A second location now also serves just off Divisadero.

Kassie Borreson

Souvla

Caviar

Souvla's whole roast chicken is available on its own or rounded out with juicy potatoes, a side salad, and your choice of yogurt dipping sauce. As for the chicken itself, it's Souvla's signature spit-roasted, feta-brined rotisserie chicken.

Caviar

Zuni Cafe

Zuni’s famous chicken with bread salad Bill Addison

A roast chicken list without Zuni is no list at all. Because this is the roast chicken that started it all, and one that will forever be the city's top chick. But there are rules associated with this chicken, and you should know them. First and foremost, the kitchen needs an hour to cook it, and second, you cannot order it in advance. It's a pricey entry at $68 for a whole chicken with bread salad, but one that's shareable and well worth it.

Zuni’s famous chicken with bread salad Bill Addison

Limon Rotisserie

Peruvian-style chicken is the specialty of small chain Limón Rotisserie, where its "pollo a la brasa" (grilled chicken) is slowly roasted rotisserie style and served with aji (garlic) sauce and two sides of your choice (options include yuca fries, rice and beans, salad, and more).

Village Rotisserie

Rotisserie chicken dinner with sides at Village Rotisserie Patricia Chang

An Aussie-style chicken shop spun into Noe Valley in fall 2021, serving rotisserie chickens, duck fat potatoes, and lemony broccoli salad. The owners are a brother and sister who grew up in Sydney but now live with their families in the neighborhood and understand the desperation of busy parents, tech personalities, and everyone else who would rather not cook their own dinner tonight. Step right up to the counter for takeout, or wind through to the back to kick it under fringe umbrellas on stripy deck chairs.

Rotisserie chicken dinner with sides at Village Rotisserie Patricia Chang

El Pollo Supremo

Charbroiled chicken is the name of the game at El Pollo Supremo, which is family-owned by a very enthusiastic crew for the past 22 years. An entire chicken is just $14.99, and there is a plethora of Cuban sides to round out the meal, like various rices, beans, salads, potatoes, and more.

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