Location: 384 Bloor Street West (inside the Annex Food Hall)
I mentioned recently that I think Chica’s Chicken serves the best fried chicken in the city. I still think that, but PG Clucks is giving them some serious competition for that title.
I tried the Jalapeno and Honey (Toronto Life’s pick for the second best sandwich in the city): “Honey Dipped Chicken, Sweet Pickled Jalapeños, Fermented Jalapeño Sauce, Ranch Sauce.”
It’s so good. It’s quite sweet from the honey (the chicken is tossed in some kind of honey sauce) but it’s balanced perfectly by the zingy pickled jalapenos and the abundantly delicious ranch and jalapeno sauces. It’s almost absurd how delicious it is.
And the chicken itself is absolutely perfect — it’s super crispy, juicy, and flavourful.
Bonus: their new location, in the Annex Food Hall, is way nicer than the original on College. That one is just a closet-sized take-out joint, but this one actually has tables, which means that you don’t have to eat your sandwich hunched over on the sidewalk like an animal. That’s always nice.
Location: 545 King Street West, Toronto
Though the fried chicken sandwich at Porchetta & Co. used to be one of the best in the city, sadly, I think those days are long gone. The last few I’ve had have been nothing too memorable — and that includes the Korean fried chicken sandwich, one of their recent specials.
The sandwich, per their menu: “Sweet & Spicy Korean Chili Sauce, Lettuce, Pickles, Kimchi, Cilantro, Green Onion Lime Mayo, Milk Bun.”
It was fine. It certainly wasn’t out-and-out bad; the rich mayo and the sweet chili sauce are a tasty combo, and the pickles and the kimchi do a good job of cutting through the richness. I wish it had been spicier (the spice level was basically at a vague tingle), but it was tasty enough for what it was.
The chicken was a bit of an issue, however. It wasn’t quite as crispy as you’d like, and the meat itself was pretty tough.
The bun was probably decent at some point, but it was stale and dry.
Though I didn’t hate eating it, the sandwich added up to a whole bunch of meh. I think I’ll probably stick with the porchetta from now on, which is still great.
Location: 2853 Dundas Street West, Toronto
I’ve said a few times that Chica’s probably serves the best fried chicken in the city. Well, I take it back. At this point, I can confidently say that it’s not probably the best fried chicken in the city — it is the best fried chicken in the city. It’s insanely good.
I just tried the Small Fry Sando, which is Chica’s “small” sandwich (it’s small only by their standards; it’s quite hefty) that comes topped with coleslaw, pickles, and Chica’s Sauce, which they describe as a Thousand Island-style dressing.
It’s so good. I mean, just look at it. What’s that? You want another angle? Well, okay.
The fried chicken itself is almost improbably delicious — the exterior is crunchy and amazingly well seasoned, and the chicken is profoundly juicy. It’s weird how good it is.
Everything else complements it perfectly, particularly the sauce, which is clearly about a million times better than any Thousand Island I’ve had before. It’s a top-shelf sandwich.
I also tried the fried pickles, and hey, wouldn’t you know it — they’re outstanding. The thinly-sliced pickle chips feature a perfectly crispy exterior; I’ve had some fried pickles where the crisp-factor isn’t quite there, but these are amazing. The zippy, slightly sweet seasoning complements them perfectly, as does the delicious ranch dipping sauce (which, like the Thousand Island, is way better than your average ranch).
Location: 1520 Aimco Boulevard, Mississauga
The Bacon Jalapeno Chicken Sandwich from Wendy’s has pretty much everything I like in a fast food sandwich; it’s got gooey cheese (with both a melty cheese slice and cheese sauce), bacon, jalapenos, crispy fried onions, pickled jalapeno slices, and a smoky japaleno sauce.
So yeah, it’s good. They’d have to work pretty hard to mess it up.
The worst part about this chicken sandwich is, funnily enough, the chicken. The sandwich features their Spicy Chicken patty, and they keep it in one of those warming drawers (AKA the fast food ruiner).
So it’s dry, of course. It’s also a little bit too salty, and thoroughly infused with a vaguely unpleasant processed flavour.
The toppings are so abundant, however, that it’s barely even an issue. I only had one or two bites that weren’t crammed with stuff.
You’ve got the richness from the cheeses, crispiness from the fried onions, zestiness from the sauce, a nice meaty bite from the bacon, and a good amount of acidity from the jalapenos to help cut through the sandwich’s richness. It’s quite tasty.
It also has a decent kick to it — it’s nothing too aggressive, but for something from a fast food joint, it’s not bad.
Location: 25 The West Mall, Etobicoke
The common refrain is that you should give a restaurant at least a few weeks before you pass judgment on it. It often takes a little while for the kitchen to work out all the kinks.
Union Chicken is a perfect example of this. Last year, I went there within a couple of weeks of its opening; it was absolutely, positively awful. I tried a few things and they were all horrifically bad.
In the meantime, I’ve heard basically nothing but good things, so I figured it was probably about time to give it another shot. And it was night and day. Everything was really, really good.
The Buffalo and blue cheese fried chicken sandwich was delicious. It’s got everything you’re looking for in a fried chicken sandwich: that amazing exterior crunch, a juicy piece of chicken (the fact that it’s thigh instead of breast helps mightily in this regard), and a zingy sauce that makes it all sing.
There’s something about the magical interplay between vinegary Buffalo sauce and creamy blue cheese dressing that just works, and Union Chicken only elevates that — the blue cheese dressing on the sandwich is seriously tasty, with a mild garlicky bite that sets it apart.
I had the baked beans on the side, and they were also well above average. Sometimes baked beans can be a bit of a sweet overload, but these had a nice vinegary punch to round things out, and a decent amount of spice. The texture was a bit soupy, but they were otherwise top-shelf beans.
That sandwich, though. I was honestly surprised at how good it was. It definitely belongs on a list of the best fried chicken in the city.