6 of the best fried chicken sandwiches in LA

By Brad Japhe

The fried chicken sandwich seems simple enough: a cutlet of poultry—crispy breaded crunch on the exterior, succulent white-meat sealed within—delivered between two sturdy buns, with some garnish for good measure. It’s hard to think of a way to combine these into anything even remotely unappetizing. But while there are plenty of perfectly decent fried chicken sandos across greater Los Angeles, the truly exceptional examples are actually few and far between. Here are six of the undisputed fried chicken champions of LA.

Howlin’ Ray’s
All serious LA conversations about fried chicken begin and end at Howlin’ Ray’s, where patrons line up for hours to get a taste of this spicy sensation. Believe the hype—it’s all about ingredients and execution. Antibiotic- and hormone-free birds are coated in a proprietary blend that packs plenty of heat and fried in peanut oil for a deep and savory crunch. Order yours Luis Style (off the secret menu) and it comes with melted Cheddar, fresh slaw, and sliced pickles on piping hot Texas Toast.
Neighborhood: Chinatown MAP

Great White
The Great White Crispy Chicken Sandwich is a platonic ideal of proportionality. The slightly toasted yet still fluffy sesame seed bun is a form-fitting vehicle that offers the perfect ratio of plump, rice flour–coated chicken in every bite. The blending of textures—crispy, crunchy, juicy, and succulent—is heightened by a dose of sweet and tangy from dill pickles and a sweet onion special sauce.
Neighborhood: Venice MAP

Horse Thief BBQ

Horse Thief BBQ
Grand Central Market is peppered with dozens of satisfying food stalls, and Horse Thief is a perennial standout among them. The barbecue destination’s habit-forming beef brisket and pulled pork are maybe a bit too effective at stealing the show, but diners here shouldn’t pass over the fried chicken option, which is one of the city’s most flavorful variations. Buttered brioche holds a heaping stack of crunchy poultry, topped with pickled jalapeños and a house-made mustard slaw.
Neighborhood: Downtown MAP

Night + Market Song
This might come as the biggest surprise on the list to some, but if you’ve ever been to this Thai street food sensation in the heart of Silver Lake, you know what’s up. The anchor of the eatery’s Jaan Duan (fast plate) menu is this $10 jaw-dropper—a thick chunk of thigh served “chiengrai-style,” topped in cilantro, jalapeño, and a generous pile of papaya slaw. A single toothpick stabbed straight through the middle tries to keep it all in place.
Neighborhood: Silver Lake MAP

Coop DeVille at The Crack Shack

The Crack Shack
The newest addition to the city’s fried chicken landscape is this San Diego export, courtesy of celebrity chef Richard Blais. Variety is the name of the game here, with half a dozen mouthwatering options to choose from, but you won’t want to pass up the Coop Deville: fried breast on brioche, accompanied with pickled Fresno chiles, lime mayo, and Napa cabbage.
Neighborhood: Century City MAP

Son of a Gun
A restaurant renowned for its seafood emphasis, Son of a Gun perhaps surprisingly also makes one of the city’s finest fried chicken sandwiches, a creation that’s been on the menu since they opened all the way back in 2011. This offering is all about the balance between crunchy exterior and tender interior. Each bite delivers both in equal measure—an initial crispiness that quickly gives way to lasting juiciness. It’s finished off by a house-made “rooster aioli,” with a just-right hint of sriracha.
Neighborhood: Beverly Grove MAP

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