One could argue that fried chicken is America’s greatest contribution to world gastronomy: golden brown and crunchy on the outside, flavorful and oozing juices on the inside. In New York City, it’s available in a dizzying number of permutations, now including an Indian-spiced version straight from the streets of Mumbai, a vinegary Dominican version, and a skillet-fried riff that marks the return of a beloved Harlem chef. As the country’s foremost comfort food, fried chicken has never been needed more.Read More
The Best Fried Chicken Dishes in New York City
Where to find fried chicken, on plates and in sandwiches, at restaurants across the city
Paula's Soul Food Cafe
The fried chicken at this soul food cafe in the Wakefield section of the Bronx is buttermilk-marinated, and hence a little darker than most. It’s great, and so are the whiting sandwiches, mac and cheese, banana pudding, and takeout seafood boils from owner Omar Bailey. There’s another location in Hackensack, New Jersey.
John's Fried Chicken
This branch of a Jersey Dominican restaurant chain produces some very fine fried chicken at bargain prices, with a faint tang of its vinegar marinade. The skin is thick and crisp, and the bird is routinely served on a luxurious bed of rice and peas. A steam table holds other potential sides. Open 24 hours.
Charles Pan-Fried Chicken
After a years-long hiatus, chicken impresario Charles Gabriel recently returned to Harlem with a revamped and expanded menu that included barbecued ribs, smothered chicken, fried fish, and pulled pork. But the heart of the operation is still lightly dusted pieces of chicken, skin intact, fried in a series of skillets by the old-fashioned method that came here from the Carolinas long ago, requiring constant surveillance on the part of the cook.
Palace Fried Chicken
With a touch of paprika and a shake of garlic powder, the chicken at Palace Fried Chicken in Astoria has a slight red tint and draws on a number of Latin American influences. It’s also shockingly inexpensive and open until at least 10 p.m. each night. The free biscuit is pretty good, too. All of the meat is halal, and there’s plenty of seating inside the restaurant.
The fast-food Filipino chain Jollibee — whose mascot is a radiantly happy bumblebee — has long been established in Woodside, but it took years for its Manhattan branch to open in 2018, and then two more appeared in Jersey City, one inside the PATH station at Journal Square. Good fried chicken sold by the piece is its raison d’être, but the sides are also worth ordering. These include a very sweet spaghetti with tomato sauce topped with cheese. The peach-mango fried hand pies are also estimable.
This oddball restaurant hidden behind the lobby of a Japanese hotel (don’t miss the animatronic dinosaur that greets you from a glass cage) specializes in sushi and tempura, and the fried chicken is some of the best found in the city’s Japanese restaurants. Pieces of thigh meat are marinated in soy sauce, and the flavor of the flesh is rich and salty. Squeeze on the lemon for maximum enjoyment.
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Bonchon New York
This classic Korean fried chicken chain fries its chicken twice, and you can count on a crisp and slightly sweet crust, whether ordering the spicy version or one doused in soy garlic. Sides include kimchi coleslaw and pickled daikon radish, and the Parmesan-heaped french fries aren’t bad, either. There are multiple other locations, including in Brooklyn and New Jersey.
TKK Fried Chicken
For some fine fast-food fried chicken that’s not Popeyes, turn to Taiwan’s TKK chain, founded in 1974. It teamed up with Kung Fu Tea near Baruch College, where you can wash down fairly conventional fried chicken with a vast range of hot and frozen beverages, plus beer. The chicken comes in three degrees of hotness. Don’t miss the fried chicken skin rolls stuffed with sticky rice, called kwa kwa bao.
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This Korean chain, which calls itself the King of Chicken, offers the usual assortment of bone-in and boneless chicken pieces, and batters that vary in crispiness and spiciness. It specializes in unusual dipping sauces, which come in flavors like camembert, honey garlic, and scallion that enliven the poultry considerably. There are other locations in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn.
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This fast-casual spot from Chintan Pandya and Roni Mazumdar, the partners behind the popular Indian restaurants Dhamaka and Semma, serves a fried bird with an Indian spin. The sandwich comes in two sizes on a Portuguese pao roll and is available at a range of heat levels, along with chutney and yogurt raita. Regular bone-in pieces of chicken, served in a box, are also available, as are vegetarian options, the best of which is made with fried cauliflower.
Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken
The fried chicken at this sushi empire spin-off — a knock-off of spicy Nashville chicken — is nothing special, but a recently introduced fried chicken “hot dog” turns out to be a very enjoyable way to eat fried chicken. One of several variations available, called “the firedog,” consists of a tender served in a hot dog bun with dill pickles, sweet pickled jalapenos, and chipotle mayo for several explosive charges of hotness.
This microsized spot in Alphabet City specializes in two things: fried chicken and catfish. The chicken is simple and crisp-skinned, with little fuss made other than very careful cooking. The sides are also great, especially the lighter-than-air biscuits and hearty mac and cheese. Caesar salads are also available, and there are multiple food court locations, too, but be forewarned they serve chicken tenders and chicken sandwiches, not whole bone-in pieces.
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The Commodore has been a Williamsburg destination for more than a decade, with a corner location near the on-ramp of the BQE, a pair of kitschy dining rooms, and a backyard. Chicken sandwiches topped with coleslaw and pickles — the breast filet sticking way beyond the bun — have long been a staple, and there’s a chicken dinner on the menu, too.
Pies 'n' Thighs
This is where the Brooklyn hipster fried chicken movement began under the Williamsburg Bridge in 2006, when Pies ’n’ Thighs debuted at the Rockstar Bar. Its current location still turns out excellent plump fried chicken pieces. The bird’s heavily brined, and the pies aren’t bad, either.
This restaurant located under the BQE at least partly wants to be like In-N-Out Burger, or so the name and red and yellow signage seems to suggest. The burgers and fries are up to snuff, but even better are the huge fried chicken sandwiches, too big to wrap your jaws around. Order them spicy or plain, and eat them at the counter inside or across the street at picnic tables near the Williamsburg bus depot.
Gage & Tollner
Gage & Tollner opened on the ground floor of a commercial building in 1879, and its landmarked interior has been preserved, despite a rocky history that has seen it closed for years before recently reopening. It was once home of the legendary Black chef Edna Lewis, whose spirit still hovers over the kitchen. Fried chicken is one of the menu’s offerings, buttermilk marinated and served with hush puppies and kimchi slaw, the latter a touch of modernity in a historic plate of food.
Expect fried chicken with a Haitian influence at Grandchamps in Bed-Stuy. It’s served with the spicy slaw called pikliz, plus white rice and twice-fried plantains. The bird is spare, crusty, and utterly delicious. Other Haitian standards like griot are available, and a selection of groceries is displayed on the counter.
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The Yemeni owners of this Clinton Hill bodega claim they learned to fry chicken from African American cooks in the neighborhood. And there it is, gleaming in the glass cabinet: chicken parts fried in small batches, and utterly fantastic. The deli is open 24 hours and only offers takeout.
Peaches Hot House
Bed-Stuy mainstay Peaches Hot House’s business actually thrived throughout the pandemic, and one main reason is its fried chicken, served as a Nashville-style hot chicken plate or as a fried chicken sandwich. This neighborhood spot offers decent-sized portions that are reasonably priced, but most of all, the Southern-inspired recipes are no fuss and exactly what is expected of stellar fried chicken: crispy, flaky, and juicy.
Eleven Madison Park veteran chef Eric Huang makes fried chicken seasoned with Tianjin chile and Sichuan peppercorns, plus a rotating side dishes such as smashed cucumbers or a seasonal salad. For much of the pandemic, the chicken was available for takeout and delivery, and at one point it had a waitlist of close to 10,000 people. Now it’s served from a small restaurant on the edge of Park Slope and Prospect Heights.
Mitchell's Soul Food
Unbrined and coated with a miraculously thin, crisp crust that’s mainly skin, the birds at Mitchell’s Soul Food are supremely flavorful, and they’re served with all the traditional soul food sides, plus some less-usual ones like tomatoes and okra, and beans flavored with ham. The decades-old restaurant is a Prospect Heights stalwart.
This Newark-based restaurant describes itself as “farm to soul” and has quite a different demeanor than the usual soul food spot. It might be in an upscale shopping mall rather than Eastern Parkway with its comfy padded booths and businesslike ambiance. The fried chicken is exceptional, lightly breaded but still exceedingly crunchy, with flavor to spare. The cornbread isn’t bad, either.