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16 Spots for Fried Chicken

Step aside, Colonel Sanders

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Juicy, flavorful, and with just the right amount of crunch: fried chicken is hands-down America’s favorite comfort food. Whether Southern-style thighs, twice fried Korean-style tenders or buttermilk brined wings are your weakness, nothing tastes quite like succulent pieces of lightly breaded poultry.

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- Please note map points are not ranked.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Ramen MENMA

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509 Mission Ave
Oceanside, CA 92054
(442) 500-8080
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Known mostly for its ramen, this beloved spot is also serving the best kaarage, or Japanese fried chicken, in town.

2. The Crack Shack

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407 Encinitas Blvd
Encinitas, CA 92024
(760) 230-2968
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The second edition of chef/partner Richard Blais and executive chef Jon Sloan’s fast-casual chicken and egg phenomenon has two San Diego locations in Little Italy and Encinitas. The usual and chicken-based sandwich suspects are all here, like The Royale and Coop Deville.

3. Furaido Premium Chicken Company

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14837 Pomerado Rd
Poway, CA 92064
(858) 877-0859

Poway is the latest neighborhood to get its own spot for Korean fried chicken. Furaido Premium Chicken Co. recently opened at Atlas Market, an international supermarket with an in-store food hall. Furaido owner Calvin Chung has been a chef for two decades in the Los Angeles area, where he runs a shabu-shabu restaurant called Kokumi in Arcadia. The restaurant serves a menu of halal and gluten-free fried chicken — tenders, wings, and drumsticks — in 15 different flavors ranging from garlic-soy glaze to butter honey dip and barbecue dust. 

4. Gala Chicken

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7655 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 279-7959
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This tiny outlet, located in the food court at Zion Market, was San Diego’s only spot for KFC (Korean fried chicken) before recent newcomers Bonchon, Cross Street and others. Open at 11 a.m. daily, folks line up for Korean-style fried chicken with spicy or sweet soy glazes. The owners ship all their ingredients in from Seoul, where they have another outpost.

5. Bonchon Korean Fried Chicken

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4690 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 836-1287
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Bonchon finally arrived to San Diego in November 2018, bringing Korean-style fried chicken to Convoy Street where the international chain has opened its first outpost in San Diego. Founded in South Korea, the company counts over 200 stores in nine countries. The chicken, which is twice-fried to order, comes with either a soy garlic or spicy glaze, or half and half. Chicken wings are the best-seller, but Bonchon also offers chicken strips, drumsticks, and boneless wings. 

6. Krispy Krunchy Chicken

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5950 Balboa Ave
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 300-8899
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You’ll find this Cajun-style fried chicken spot tucked inside the 99 Ranch Market on Balboa. The chicken here is moist, flavorful, lightly breaded and comes in several forms, including Buffalo wings, Cajun tenders, and a crispy chicken sandwich. The combos are probably the most popular option, ranging in price from $7 to $10 for two, three or four-pieces they can also come with a biscuit, side and drink.

7. Cross Street Chicken and Beer

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3707, 4403 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 430-6001
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Kearny Mesa is home to Cross Street Chicken and Beer, which opened in 2017. Owner Tommy Nguyen, who will run the eatery along with wife Grace Chi and close friend Wilson To, a longtime manager at Crab Hut’s Convoy Street location, spent two years traveling around Asia sampling the fried chicken specialities of each culture’s cuisine. 

8. Chicken Charlie’s FRYBQ

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5407 Balboa Ave
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 279-1111
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Head to Chicken Charlie’s for reasonably priced hot wings tossed in house made sauce, and chicken strips, plus a multitude of sandwiches, including the Spicy Fiesta and Buffalo Blue. There are two and four piece fried chicken and waffles available, or combo plates piled with fried chicken, and choice of either a half rack of baby back ribs ($19.95) or crispy fried shrimp ($16.95), plus sides like fried zucchini and corn on the cob.

9. Chicken Rebel

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(619) 723-0358
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‘Free Range & Fried’ is the motto of this well-loved food stand, which has become a regular fixture at breweries throughout San Diego thanks to its delicious fried chicken offerings. Juicy and flavorful with an ultra-crisp crunchy crust, all Chicken Rebel chooks are cooked sous vide before hitting the fryer. You’ll find their 8-spice buttermilk brined birds stuffed inside one of three delicious sandwiches: The Classic, Rancher and Buffalo. Pair with a pint and some gourmet tater tots for finger lickin' perfection.

10. Crispy Fried Chicken

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4919 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92115
(619) 582-3938
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This cash-only fast-food joint specializes in Southern-style fried chicken, hushpuppies, plus sides like mac and cheese. Perfectly crispy on the outside, and hot and tender on the inside, here you can chow down on multiple combinations of strips, thighs, wings, popcorn and even gizzard plates. The fried chicken combo (2, 3, 20, 15 and 20-pieces) features two sides and costs between $5.50 to $21.

11. StreetCar Merchants Chicken Bar

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4002 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 546-9010
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Folks have flocked to StreetCar Merchants since the fried foods purveyor first opened in North Park in late 2014. They’re still frying up Mary’s Free Range Air Chilled Chickens too, Southern and a twice-fried chicken Korean-style, which come with a variety of sauces, including Sriracha mayo and sweet Korean BBQ.

streetcar 2

12. Da Chicken Coop

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2605 Lemon Grove Ave
Lemon Grove, CA 91945
(619) 460-0837
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Southern-style fried chicken is the name of the game at this Lemon Grove fried chicken joint. Plates are divided to strips and dark meat—the strips being fried boneless breasts. Regulars also love the fried catfish and okra.

13. Bonnie Jean's Soul Food

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1964 54th St
San Diego, CA 92105
(619) 262-8854
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Chicken strips, wings, thighs and gizzards come in finger food, plate and family-sized to go portions at this authentic Southern-style spot in Rolando. Home style cooking at its finest, folks rave about the crisp, well seasoned chicken and waffles, which are just $5.99 every Tuesday. Additional specials include a barbecue chicken lunch plate on Wednesdays and barbecue chicken dinner with large beans, coleslaw and four rolls for $10 every Saturday.

14. Louisiana Fried Chicken

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2850 National Ave Suite 109
San Diego, CA 92113
(619) 233-0670
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Louisiana Fried Chicken has a sprawling menu of favorites, but one of the go-to’s is surely its fried chicken & waffles. Wings, gizzards and fried tilapia are also popular, too.

15. Royal Mandarin

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1132 E Plaza Blvd
National City, CA 91950
(619) 477-4151
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This no-frills restaurant in National City does big business in traditional Chinese entrées and sides but it’s their fried to perfection salted pepper wings that are an all-time favorite for San Diego chicken lovers in the know. Party platters start at $33 for 35 pieces, dining in at the restaurant will set you back $11.95 for a plate of nine.

16. Max's Restaurant, Cuisine of the Philippines

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2127 Olympic Pkwy #1001
Chula Vista, CA 91915
(619) 737-5913
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The Filipino chain with over 200 locations around the world opened in Chula Vista a couple of years back. Known as “The House That Fried Chicken Built”, Max’s menu centers around its signature marinated and fried chicken, plus traditional Filipino dishes ranging from chicken adobo to crispy pata and fried lumpia.

1. Ramen MENMA

509 Mission Ave, Oceanside, CA 92054

Known mostly for its ramen, this beloved spot is also serving the best kaarage, or Japanese fried chicken, in town.

509 Mission Ave
Oceanside, CA 92054

2. The Crack Shack

407 Encinitas Blvd, Encinitas, CA 92024

The second edition of chef/partner Richard Blais and executive chef Jon Sloan’s fast-casual chicken and egg phenomenon has two San Diego locations in Little Italy and Encinitas. The usual and chicken-based sandwich suspects are all here, like The Royale and Coop Deville.

407 Encinitas Blvd
Encinitas, CA 92024

3. Furaido Premium Chicken Company

14837 Pomerado Rd, Poway, CA 92064

Poway is the latest neighborhood to get its own spot for Korean fried chicken. Furaido Premium Chicken Co. recently opened at Atlas Market, an international supermarket with an in-store food hall. Furaido owner Calvin Chung has been a chef for two decades in the Los Angeles area, where he runs a shabu-shabu restaurant called Kokumi in Arcadia. The restaurant serves a menu of halal and gluten-free fried chicken — tenders, wings, and drumsticks — in 15 different flavors ranging from garlic-soy glaze to butter honey dip and barbecue dust. 

14837 Pomerado Rd
Poway, CA 92064

4. Gala Chicken

7655 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92111

This tiny outlet, located in the food court at Zion Market, was San Diego’s only spot for KFC (Korean fried chicken) before recent newcomers Bonchon, Cross Street and others. Open at 11 a.m. daily, folks line up for Korean-style fried chicken with spicy or sweet soy glazes. The owners ship all their ingredients in from Seoul, where they have another outpost.

7655 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92111

5. Bonchon Korean Fried Chicken

4690 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111

Bonchon finally arrived to San Diego in November 2018, bringing Korean-style fried chicken to Convoy Street where the international chain has opened its first outpost in San Diego. Founded in South Korea, the company counts over 200 stores in nine countries. The chicken, which is twice-fried to order, comes with either a soy garlic or spicy glaze, or half and half. Chicken wings are the best-seller, but Bonchon also offers chicken strips, drumsticks, and boneless wings. 

4690 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111

6. Krispy Krunchy Chicken

5950 Balboa Ave, San Diego, CA 92111

You’ll find this Cajun-style fried chicken spot tucked inside the 99 Ranch Market on Balboa. The chicken here is moist, flavorful, lightly breaded and comes in several forms, including Buffalo wings, Cajun tenders, and a crispy chicken sandwich. The combos are probably the most popular option, ranging in price from $7 to $10 for two, three or four-pieces they can also come with a biscuit, side and drink.

5950 Balboa Ave
San Diego, CA 92111

7. Cross Street Chicken and Beer

3707, 4403 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111

Kearny Mesa is home to Cross Street Chicken and Beer, which opened in 2017. Owner Tommy Nguyen, who will run the eatery along with wife Grace Chi and close friend Wilson To, a longtime manager at Crab Hut’s Convoy Street location, spent two years traveling around Asia sampling the fried chicken specialities of each culture’s cuisine. 

3707, 4403 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111

8. Chicken Charlie’s FRYBQ

5407 Balboa Ave, San Diego, CA 92111

Head to Chicken Charlie’s for reasonably priced hot wings tossed in house made sauce, and chicken strips, plus a multitude of sandwiches, including the Spicy Fiesta and Buffalo Blue. There are two and four piece fried chicken and waffles available, or combo plates piled with fried chicken, and choice of either a half rack of baby back ribs ($19.95) or crispy fried shrimp ($16.95), plus sides like fried zucchini and corn on the cob.

5407 Balboa Ave
San Diego, CA 92111

9. Chicken Rebel

5401 Linda Vista Road Suite 406

‘Free Range & Fried’ is the motto of this well-loved food stand, which has become a regular fixture at breweries throughout San Diego thanks to its delicious fried chicken offerings. Juicy and flavorful with an ultra-crisp crunchy crust, all Chicken Rebel chooks are cooked sous vide before hitting the fryer. You’ll find their 8-spice buttermilk brined birds stuffed inside one of three delicious sandwiches: The Classic, Rancher and Buffalo. Pair with a pint and some gourmet tater tots for finger lickin' perfection.

10. Crispy Fried Chicken

4919 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115

This cash-only fast-food joint specializes in Southern-style fried chicken, hushpuppies, plus sides like mac and cheese. Perfectly crispy on the outside, and hot and tender on the inside, here you can chow down on multiple combinations of strips, thighs, wings, popcorn and even gizzard plates. The fried chicken combo (2, 3, 20, 15 and 20-pieces) features two sides and costs between $5.50 to $21.

4919 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92115

11. StreetCar Merchants Chicken Bar

4002 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104
streetcar 2

Folks have flocked to StreetCar Merchants since the fried foods purveyor first opened in North Park in late 2014. They’re still frying up Mary’s Free Range Air Chilled Chickens too, Southern and a twice-fried chicken Korean-style, which come with a variety of sauces, including Sriracha mayo and sweet Korean BBQ.

4002 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104

12. Da Chicken Coop

2605 Lemon Grove Ave, Lemon Grove, CA 91945

Southern-style fried chicken is the name of the game at this Lemon Grove fried chicken joint. Plates are divided to strips and dark meat—the strips being fried boneless breasts. Regulars also love the fried catfish and okra.

2605 Lemon Grove Ave
Lemon Grove, CA 91945

13. Bonnie Jean's Soul Food

1964 54th St, San Diego, CA 92105

Chicken strips, wings, thighs and gizzards come in finger food, plate and family-sized to go portions at this authentic Southern-style spot in Rolando. Home style cooking at its finest, folks rave about the crisp, well seasoned chicken and waffles, which are just $5.99 every Tuesday. Additional specials include a barbecue chicken lunch plate on Wednesdays and barbecue chicken dinner with large beans, coleslaw and four rolls for $10 every Saturday.

1964 54th St
San Diego, CA 92105

14. Louisiana Fried Chicken

2850 National Ave Suite 109, San Diego, CA 92113

Louisiana Fried Chicken has a sprawling menu of favorites, but one of the go-to’s is surely its fried chicken & waffles. Wings, gizzards and fried tilapia are also popular, too.

2850 National Ave Suite 109
San Diego, CA 92113

15. Royal Mandarin

1132 E Plaza Blvd, National City, CA 91950

This no-frills restaurant in National City does big business in traditional Chinese entrées and sides but it’s their fried to perfection salted pepper wings that are an all-time favorite for San Diego chicken lovers in the know. Party platters start at $33 for 35 pieces, dining in at the restaurant will set you back $11.95 for a plate of nine.

1132 E Plaza Blvd
National City, CA 91950

Related Maps

16. Max's Restaurant, Cuisine of the Philippines

2127 Olympic Pkwy #1001, Chula Vista, CA 91915

The Filipino chain with over 200 locations around the world opened in Chula Vista a couple of years back. Known as “The House That Fried Chicken Built”, Max’s menu centers around its signature marinated and fried chicken, plus traditional Filipino dishes ranging from chicken adobo to crispy pata and fried lumpia.

2127 Olympic Pkwy #1001
Chula Vista, CA 91915

Related Maps