clock menu more-arrow no yes
Kassie Borreson

16 Succulent Roast Chickens in San Francisco

These versions make it a decidedly un-boring dinner choice

View as Map

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 in 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 best roast chicken, look no further than these 16 places.

Did we miss your favorite spot? Let us know in the comments.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Hillstone

Copy Link
1800 Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 392-9280
Visit Website

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 & rice.

2. Bonita Taqueria y Rotisserie

Copy Link
2257 Chestnut St
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 801-5599
Visit Website

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).

3. Il Pollaio

Copy Link
555 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 362-7727

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.

4. Perry's

Copy Link
1944 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 922-9022
Visit Website

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.

5. Roli Roti Gourmet Rotisserie

Copy Link
Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market
San Francisco, CA 94111
(510) 780-0300
Visit Website

One of the OG chickens in town, Roli Roti serves its juicy, golden brown birds from roving rotisserie trucks around town. They're at markets every day of the week, and set up shop regularly in places like the Jug Shop parking lot at Polk and Pacific. 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

6. Spinnerie

Copy Link
1401 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 345-1999
Visit Website

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.

7. Isla Vida

Copy Link
1325 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 678-5171
Visit Website

Farmerbrown founder Jay Foster looks to the Caribbean with Isla Vida, serving succulent Cuban and Jerk style chicken rotisserie roasted over a wood fire. Each style is juicy and tender: the Cuban is citrus and herb rubbed, while the jerk is a spicier affair, and they’re both available in quarter, whole, and half sizes. The setup is fast-casual, with to-go and delivery options, but no shortage of tables inside the plant and light filled dining room on Fillmore Street. It’s a worthy and fitting location in the heart of San Francisco’s historically black Fillmore District.

8. Marlowe

Copy Link
500 Brannan St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 777-1413
Visit Website

Marlowe's poulet vert is a fixture on the menu of American-French hits, though the accoutrements change with the seasons. Right now it's being served with pancetta, brussels sprouts hash, sweet potato puree, and a mustard date jus, but not matter what comes along, the chicken is always moist and flavorful.

Eric Wolfinger

9. Marla Bakery

Copy Link
3619 Balboa St
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 742-4379
Visit Website

Like everything else at Marla Bakery, the roast chicken is prepared with a lot of care. It's brined in whey and served alongside smashed smoked potatoes and roasted broccoli rabe. But the really exciting part is the fermented chili paste, of which you will probably want more.

Ellen Fort

10. RT Rotisserie

Copy Link
101 Oak St
San Francisco, CA 94102

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. Look out for RT’s second location, coming soon to a space off Divisadero.

Kassie Borreson

11. Souvla

Copy Link
531 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117

Souvla's whole roast chicken is available through Caviar with juicy potatoes, a side salad, and your choice of yogurt dipping sauce for $30. As for the chicken itself, it's Souvla's signature spit-roasted, feta-brined rotisserie chicken. If it's just that chicken you want, you can pick one up at all locations after 6 p.m. for $20.

Caviar

12. Zuni Cafe

Copy Link
1658 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 552-2522
Visit Website

A roast chicken list without Zuni is no list at all. Because this is the roast chicken that started it all, and 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 $58 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

13. Limon Rotisserie

Copy Link
524 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 252-0918
Visit Website

Peruvian-style chicken is the specialty of small chainf 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).

14. Piri Pica

Copy Link
590 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 800-7994
Visit Website

Chef Telmo Faria (Uma CasaTacolicious) and Khalid Mushasha (Black CatLolinda) pay tribute to the Portuguese created but internationally popular chicken dish piri-piri at Piri Pica, which translates literally to pepper sting. Piri-piri’s spices have their roots in Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony, and customers can get a taste Faria’s spin on the style in a few ways: Mild, zesty (with lemon and herbs), standard piri-piri, or spicy.

15. Delfina

Copy Link
3621 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 552-4055
Visit Website

Get an entire half a Mary's organic chicken with king trumpet mushrooms, olive oil mashed potatoes, and jus at Delfina for $24. It's easy to overlook this dish because of the more obvious choice — pasta, pasta, and more pasta — but it's a sleeper hit beloved by longtime fans of the restaurant.

16. El Pollo Supremo

Copy Link
5210 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 337-5750
Visit Website

Charboiled 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 $14.54, and there is a plethora of Cuban sides to round out the meal, like various rices, beans, salads, potatoes, and more.

Loading comments...

1. Hillstone

1800 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94111

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 & rice.

1800 Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94111

2. Bonita Taqueria y Rotisserie

2257 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123

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).

2257 Chestnut St
San Francisco, CA 94123

3. Il Pollaio

555 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

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.

555 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

4. Perry's

1944 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94123

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.

1944 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94123

5. Roli Roti Gourmet Rotisserie

Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market, San Francisco, CA 94111
Roli Roti Official Photo

One of the OG chickens in town, Roli Roti serves its juicy, golden brown birds from roving rotisserie trucks around town. They're at markets every day of the week, and set up shop regularly in places like the Jug Shop parking lot at Polk and Pacific. 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.)

Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market
San Francisco, CA 94111

6. Spinnerie

1401 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

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.

1401 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109

7. Isla Vida

1325 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115

Farmerbrown founder Jay Foster looks to the Caribbean with Isla Vida, serving succulent Cuban and Jerk style chicken rotisserie roasted over a wood fire. Each style is juicy and tender: the Cuban is citrus and herb rubbed, while the jerk is a spicier affair, and they’re both available in quarter, whole, and half sizes. The setup is fast-casual, with to-go and delivery options, but no shortage of tables inside the plant and light filled dining room on Fillmore Street. It’s a worthy and fitting location in the heart of San Francisco’s historically black Fillmore District.

1325 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115

8. Marlowe

500 Brannan St, San Francisco, CA 94107
Eric Wolfinger

Marlowe's poulet vert is a fixture on the menu of American-French hits, though the accoutrements change with the seasons. Right now it's being served with pancetta, brussels sprouts hash, sweet potato puree, and a mustard date jus, but not matter what comes along, the chicken is always moist and flavorful.

500 Brannan St
San Francisco, CA 94107

9. Marla Bakery

3619 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121
Ellen Fort

Like everything else at Marla Bakery, the roast chicken is prepared with a lot of care. It's brined in whey and served alongside smashed smoked potatoes and roasted broccoli rabe. But the really exciting part is the fermented chili paste, of which you will probably want more.

3619 Balboa St
San Francisco, CA 94121

10. RT Rotisserie

101 Oak St, San Francisco, CA 94102
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. Look out for RT’s second location, coming soon to a space off Divisadero.

101 Oak St
San Francisco, CA 94102

11. Souvla

531 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Caviar

Souvla's whole roast chicken is available through Caviar with juicy potatoes, a side salad, and your choice of yogurt dipping sauce for $30. As for the chicken itself, it's Souvla's signature spit-roasted, feta-brined rotisserie chicken. If it's just that chicken you want, you can pick one up at all locations after 6 p.m. for $20.

531 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117

12. Zuni Cafe

1658 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102
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 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 $58 for a whole chicken with bread salad, but one that's shareable and well worth it.

1658 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94102

13. Limon Rotisserie

524 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Peruvian-style chicken is the specialty of small chainf 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).

524 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

14. Piri Pica

590 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Chef Telmo Faria (Uma CasaTacolicious) and Khalid Mushasha (Black CatLolinda) pay tribute to the Portuguese created but internationally popular chicken dish piri-piri at Piri Pica, which translates literally to pepper sting. Piri-piri’s spices have their roots in Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony, and customers can get a taste Faria’s spin on the style in a few ways: Mild, zesty (with lemon and herbs), standard piri-piri, or spicy.

590 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

15. Delfina

3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Get an entire half a Mary's organic chicken with king trumpet mushrooms, olive oil mashed potatoes, and jus at Delfina for $24. It's easy to overlook this dish because of the more obvious choice — pasta, pasta, and more pasta — but it's a sleeper hit beloved by longtime fans of the restaurant.

3621 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

Related Maps

16. El Pollo Supremo

5210 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

Charboiled 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 $14.54, and there is a plethora of Cuban sides to round out the meal, like various rices, beans, salads, potatoes, and more.

5210 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112

Related Maps