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Fried chicken and fried chicken sandwich from Birdsong
Fried chicken at Birdsong
Patricia Chang

Where to Get Spectacularly Crunchy Takeout Fried Chicken in San Francisco

From classic Southern buttermilk birds to fried chicken slathered in gochujang or stuffed with glutinous rice

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Fried chicken at Birdsong
| Patricia Chang

Fried chicken is, in many ways, the perfect pandemic food. It’s portable. It travels well. It’s deeply comforting. And, when done right — well seasoned, crispy on the outside, juicy and succulent on the inside — it’s just the thing to pick you up during a stressful time. No wonder so many of San Francisco’s finest restaurants are cranking out takeout versions these days, joining the city’s wealth of fried chicken specialists.

Even better, today’s SF fried chicken landscape is wonderfully diverse, with birds slathered in gochujang, slicked with fish sauce, or stuffed with glutinous rice sharing equal billing with the Southern buttermilk style. Check out these 18 spots for takeout fried chicken that will be sure to make you lick your fingers.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. New Golden Daisy

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1041 Stockton St
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 392-0111

New Golden Daisy is your prototypical Cantonese takeout deli with roast meats hanging in the window and big vats of prepared dishes sitting on the steam table. But by far, the best thing to get is a big carton of the restaurants excellent fried chicken wings — all drumettes. The restaurant is open for takeout from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Call in or walk up to order.

2. Hot Sauce and Panko

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1468 Hyde St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 359-1908
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These are some of the most succulent, flavorful fried chicken wings in town, available in a whole range of internationally-inspired sweet, savory, or spicy varieties: everything from a pad Thai-inspired version to mango habanero or Jamaican dry jerk. Order online for pickup or delivery.

Hot Sauce and Panko

3. Wayfare Tavern

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558 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 772-9060
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Celeb chef Tyler Florence has made Wayfare Tavern a go-to destination for California-style fried chicken thanks to an intense cooking process that involves a sous vide machine, an overnight rest, and Florence's grandmother's flour mixture before it finally hits the Fryolator. Order online, or get delivery via Caviar or DoorDash. The restaurant has also opened for outdoor dining. Don’t live in the city? During the pandemic, the restaurant has even launched a fried chicken food truck, which brings Wayfare’s chicken to specific drop-off points in Redwood City, Pleasant Hill, and San Rafael on a set schedule.

4. The Bird

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115 New Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 872-9825
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For those who like their bird on a bun, the Bird has been of the city’s most popular fried chicken sandwich shops since it opened in 2016. The (genuinely fiery) Nashville-inspired spicy version is especially choice. And, morning or night, a smaller piece of chicken served on a brown butter-brushed buttermilk biscuit makes for an excellent snack. Call in or order online, or get delivery via Caviar.

5. San Ho Won

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22 Hawthorne St
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 685-4860
Visit Website

During the coronavirus crisis, Corey Lee has converted his three-Michelin-starred operation at Benu into a test kitchen for his forthcoming Korean restaurant, San Ho Won. The $46 prix fixe is a full-on, multi-course feast — one of the most exciting takeout options in the city right now. And whenever it’s available as an entree, Lee’s take on fried chicken should not be missed: half of a Cornish hen that has been mostly deboned and stuffed with glutinous rice before it hits the fryer. It’s a kind of cross between Southern-style fried chicken and Korean samgyetang (normally a soup). And it is spectacular. Pre-order on Tock for pickup in front of Benu.

fried Cornish hen stuffed with yellow chive fried rice Luke Tsai

6. Rusty's Southern

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750 Ellis St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 638-6974
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Sweat tea brined fried chicken is always a good choice at chef Rusty Olson’s dependable, Carolina-influenced Southern joint in the Tenderloin. Get it on a plate with collards and Hoppin’ John on the side — with an option, for heat lovers, for Nashville hot or Carolina dipped-style chicken. Or go for a big six-piece dinner, with a full slate of sides, meant to feed a family of five. Order online for same-day pickup.

7. Hetchy's Hots

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1077 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 872-9290
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A virtual restaurant operation run out of the Square Pie Guys SoMa kitchen, Hetchy’s puts its own twist on the burgeoning Nashville hot chicken sandwich trend, with versions dusted with spices that mimic the flavors of a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto and others that are spiked with Calabrian chiles or powdered ranch dressing. All of the sandwiches travel impressively well. Order online only for takeout or delivery.

The signature Hetchy Hot, which comes topped with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Daniel Beck

8. Birdsong

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1085 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 369-9161
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Birdsong, the Michelin-starred fine dining spot in SoMa, has basically turned itself into a fried takeout fried chicken shop — a remarkably successful one, by all accounts. Customers can opt for a sandwich or the “Birdbox” ($35), which comes with a big hunk of fried chicken, hot sauce, Peruvian-style purple cornbread, and a chocolate chip cookie. In all cases, that chicken comes with the claw attached, making this most striking-looking takeout options around. Order online for pickup, or get delivery via Caviar.

9. Little Skillet

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360 Ritch St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 777-2777
Visit Website

If there's something wrong about eating fried chicken and waffles on a loading dock in an alleyway, then you don't want to be right. Just follow the smell of sweet waffles to this small takeout window in SoMa where there's bound to be a line of fried chicken fanatics waiting to get their fix — especially now that the restaurant has opened up its parklet for outdoor dining. Call in or order online.

10. Brenda's Meat & Three

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919 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 926-8657
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Like a slightly gussied-up take on Popeyes, with outstanding crunch and a bit of slow-building heat, the BFC (Brenda’s Fried Chicken) is probably the most popular dish here. Apart from the juicy buttermilk chicken, what sets Brenda’s Meat & Three apart is, of course, the “three” — the choice of three mostly excellent sides that come with each meal, like cream biscuits, cheese grits, and tomato and okra maque choux. Order online, or get delivery via Caviar.

11. Nopa

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560 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 864-8643
Visit Website

Of all the things Nopa, one of the city’s most elegant, highly esteemed farm-to-table restaurants, was known for in pre-COVID times, fried chicken wasn’t really one of them. No matter: The buttermilk-brined version of the dish they’re serving now — $20 for half a bird, with a side of Sriracha honey for drizzling — is the showpiece of its to-go menu. Order online.

Fried chicken from Nopa Becky Duffett

12. um.ma

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1220 9th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 566-5777
Visit Website

During the pandemic, Um.ma has shifted its focus to become, mostly, a grill-your-own-meat Korean barbecue spot on its lovely back patio, but the restaurant is still serving many of its customers favorites for takeout. Top of the list: its excellent gochujang- and honey-glazed Korean fried chicken wings. Order online, get delivery via one of the third-party apps, or, if you’re comfortable, grab a seat on that patio.

13. San Tung Chinese Restaurant

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1031 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 242-0828
Visit Website

Two things are bound to happen when you go to San Tung. You'll wait for a long time (even picking up takeout). And then you'll eat some of the best dry-fried chicken wings you've ever had. By far the restaurant’s most popular item, the wings are deep fried in batter and tossed in a sticky-sweet sauce with garlic, ginger, and red peppers. That magical combination has made them an absolute legend among San Franciscans. Call in to place your takeout order.

14. Krispy Krunchy Fried Chicken

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599 S Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110

Yes, it’s fast food chicken served out of a gas station convenience store (in the Mission, in this case). But there’s a reason Krispy Krunchy proponents swear this is best Southern-style fried chicken in the entire city. Juicy flesh and well-seasoned, unfailingly crunchy skin — hence the name — are the hallmarks here. Walk up to order.

15. Sf Chickenbox

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819 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 509-9607
Visit Website

SF chicken veteran Christian Ciscle’s (previously of Wing Wings) new fried chicken venture, SF Chickenbox, is now based out of the Mission brewpub Brew Coop. That chicken, however, remains just as good — juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside, with mochi muffins and pickles on the side. Get an order of Old Bay seasoned fries while you’re at it. The pop-up is open Sundays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Order online.

Caleb Pershan

16. Hard Knox Cafe

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2526 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 648-3770
Visit Website

Hard Knox café is back open for takeout AND dine-in, including plates of their juicy, hot fried chicken. Order a plate of spicy or regular fried chicken snuggled up with sides like collard greens and coleslaw, or have it resting atop a fluffy Belgian waffle. If you’re not quite ready to dine at the restaurant (which has a lovely parklet), order your chicken to go, online.

17. The Front Porch

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65A 29th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 695-7800
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If you want chicken in a bucket in SF, you can either go for fast food (no judgement here) or head to Front Porch, where the "Bucket O' Chicken" — ten juicy, cornmeal-encrusted pieces of happiness — will run you $31. Buy a bottle of the excellent housemade hot sauce while you’re at it and you’ll be set for the night. Call in or order online.

18. Frisco Fried

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5176 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94124
(415) 822-1517
Visit Website

The motto of this Bayview Hunter's Point soul food joint is "fried with pride," and once you bite into their fried chicken, you'll taste that it's true — it’s one of the crispiest, most succulent versions in town. Call in or get delivery through one of the third-party apps.

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1. New Golden Daisy

1041 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108

New Golden Daisy is your prototypical Cantonese takeout deli with roast meats hanging in the window and big vats of prepared dishes sitting on the steam table. But by far, the best thing to get is a big carton of the restaurants excellent fried chicken wings — all drumettes. The restaurant is open for takeout from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Call in or walk up to order.

1041 Stockton St
San Francisco, CA 94108

2. Hot Sauce and Panko

1468 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Hot Sauce and Panko

These are some of the most succulent, flavorful fried chicken wings in town, available in a whole range of internationally-inspired sweet, savory, or spicy varieties: everything from a pad Thai-inspired version to mango habanero or Jamaican dry jerk. Order online for pickup or delivery.

1468 Hyde St
San Francisco, CA 94109

3. Wayfare Tavern

558 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Celeb chef Tyler Florence has made Wayfare Tavern a go-to destination for California-style fried chicken thanks to an intense cooking process that involves a sous vide machine, an overnight rest, and Florence's grandmother's flour mixture before it finally hits the Fryolator. Order online, or get delivery via Caviar or DoorDash. The restaurant has also opened for outdoor dining. Don’t live in the city? During the pandemic, the restaurant has even launched a fried chicken food truck, which brings Wayfare’s chicken to specific drop-off points in Redwood City, Pleasant Hill, and San Rafael on a set schedule.

558 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA 94111

4. The Bird

115 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94105

For those who like their bird on a bun, the Bird has been of the city’s most popular fried chicken sandwich shops since it opened in 2016. The (genuinely fiery) Nashville-inspired spicy version is especially choice. And, morning or night, a smaller piece of chicken served on a brown butter-brushed buttermilk biscuit makes for an excellent snack. Call in or order online, or get delivery via Caviar.

115 New Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94105

5. San Ho Won

22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94105
fried Cornish hen stuffed with yellow chive fried rice Luke Tsai

During the coronavirus crisis, Corey Lee has converted his three-Michelin-starred operation at Benu into a test kitchen for his forthcoming Korean restaurant, San Ho Won. The $46 prix fixe is a full-on, multi-course feast — one of the most exciting takeout options in the city right now. And whenever it’s available as an entree, Lee’s take on fried chicken should not be missed: half of a Cornish hen that has been mostly deboned and stuffed with glutinous rice before it hits the fryer. It’s a kind of cross between Southern-style fried chicken and Korean samgyetang (normally a soup). And it is spectacular. Pre-order on Tock for pickup in front of Benu.

22 Hawthorne St
San Francisco, CA 94105

6. Rusty's Southern

750 Ellis St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Sweat tea brined fried chicken is always a good choice at chef Rusty Olson’s dependable, Carolina-influenced Southern joint in the Tenderloin. Get it on a plate with collards and Hoppin’ John on the side — with an option, for heat lovers, for Nashville hot or Carolina dipped-style chicken. Or go for a big six-piece dinner, with a full slate of sides, meant to feed a family of five. Order online for same-day pickup.

750 Ellis St
San Francisco, CA 94109

7. Hetchy's Hots

1077 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103
The signature Hetchy Hot, which comes topped with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Daniel Beck

A virtual restaurant operation run out of the Square Pie Guys SoMa kitchen, Hetchy’s puts its own twist on the burgeoning Nashville hot chicken sandwich trend, with versions dusted with spices that mimic the flavors of a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto and others that are spiked with Calabrian chiles or powdered ranch dressing. All of the sandwiches travel impressively well. Order online only for takeout or delivery.

1077 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94103

8. Birdsong

1085 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Birdsong, the Michelin-starred fine dining spot in SoMa, has basically turned itself into a fried takeout fried chicken shop — a remarkably successful one, by all accounts. Customers can opt for a sandwich or the “Birdbox” ($35), which comes with a big hunk of fried chicken, hot sauce, Peruvian-style purple cornbread, and a chocolate chip cookie. In all cases, that chicken comes with the claw attached, making this most striking-looking takeout options around. Order online for pickup, or get delivery via Caviar.

1085 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94103

9. Little Skillet

360 Ritch St, San Francisco, CA 94107

If there's something wrong about eating fried chicken and waffles on a loading dock in an alleyway, then you don't want to be right. Just follow the smell of sweet waffles to this small takeout window in SoMa where there's bound to be a line of fried chicken fanatics waiting to get their fix — especially now that the restaurant has opened up its parklet for outdoor dining. Call in or order online.

360 Ritch St
San Francisco, CA 94107

10. Brenda's Meat & Three

919 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94115

Like a slightly gussied-up take on Popeyes, with outstanding crunch and a bit of slow-building heat, the BFC (Brenda’s Fried Chicken) is probably the most popular dish here. Apart from the juicy buttermilk chicken, what sets Brenda’s Meat & Three apart is, of course, the “three” — the choice of three mostly excellent sides that come with each meal, like cream biscuits, cheese grits, and tomato and okra maque choux. Order online, or get delivery via Caviar.

919 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94115

11. Nopa

560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Fried chicken from Nopa Becky Duffett

Of all the things Nopa, one of the city’s most elegant, highly esteemed farm-to-table restaurants, was known for in pre-COVID times, fried chicken wasn’t really one of them. No matter: The buttermilk-brined version of the dish they’re serving now — $20 for half a bird, with a side of Sriracha honey for drizzling — is the showpiece of its to-go menu. Order online.

560 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117

12. um.ma

1220 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122

During the pandemic, Um.ma has shifted its focus to become, mostly, a grill-your-own-meat Korean barbecue spot on its lovely back patio, but the restaurant is still serving many of its customers favorites for takeout. Top of the list: its excellent gochujang- and honey-glazed Korean fried chicken wings. Order online, get delivery via one of the third-party apps, or, if you’re comfortable, grab a seat on that patio.

1220 9th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94122

13. San Tung Chinese Restaurant

1031 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

Two things are bound to happen when you go to San Tung. You'll wait for a long time (even picking up takeout). And then you'll eat some of the best dry-fried chicken wings you've ever had. By far the restaurant’s most popular item, the wings are deep fried in batter and tossed in a sticky-sweet sauce with garlic, ginger, and red peppers. That magical combination has made them an absolute legend among San Franciscans. Call in to place your takeout order.

1031 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122

14. Krispy Krunchy Fried Chicken

599 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

Yes, it’s fast food chicken served out of a gas station convenience store (in the Mission, in this case). But there’s a reason Krispy Krunchy proponents swear this is best Southern-style fried chicken in the entire city. Juicy flesh and well-seasoned, unfailingly crunchy skin — hence the name — are the hallmarks here. Walk up to order.

599 S Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110

15. Sf Chickenbox

819 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Caleb Pershan

SF chicken veteran Christian Ciscle’s (previously of Wing Wings) new fried chicken venture, SF Chickenbox, is now based out of the Mission brewpub Brew Coop. That chicken, however, remains just as good — juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside, with mochi muffins and pickles on the side. Get an order of Old Bay seasoned fries while you’re at it. The pop-up is open Sundays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Order online.

819 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

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16. Hard Knox Cafe

2526 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107

Hard Knox café is back open for takeout AND dine-in, including plates of their juicy, hot fried chicken. Order a plate of spicy or regular fried chicken snuggled up with sides like collard greens and coleslaw, or have it resting atop a fluffy Belgian waffle. If you’re not quite ready to dine at the restaurant (which has a lovely parklet), order your chicken to go, online.

2526 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94107

17. The Front Porch

65A 29th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

If you want chicken in a bucket in SF, you can either go for fast food (no judgement here) or head to Front Porch, where the "Bucket O' Chicken" — ten juicy, cornmeal-encrusted pieces of happiness — will run you $31. Buy a bottle of the excellent housemade hot sauce while you’re at it and you’ll be set for the night. Call in or order online.

65A 29th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

18. Frisco Fried

5176 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94124

The motto of this Bayview Hunter's Point soul food joint is "fried with pride," and once you bite into their fried chicken, you'll taste that it's true — it’s one of the crispiest, most succulent versions in town. Call in or get delivery through one of the third-party apps.

5176 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94124

Related Maps