San Francisco may be known for its diverse culinary scene, but one dish that always hits the spot is barbecue chicken.
Whether you're a local or a tourist, there's nothing quite like indulging in a plate of juicy, smoky chicken that's been grilled to perfection.
But with so many restaurants and eateries serving up their own take on this classic dish, it can be overwhelming to decide where to go for the best barbecue chicken in San Francisco.
That's where we come in. We've scoured the city to compile a list of the top spots to satisfy your cravings for this finger-licking good meal.
From traditional Southern-style pit barbecue to fusion twists on the classic dish, our list has something for everyone.
So buckle up and get ready to embark on a mouthwatering journey through San Francisco's best barbecue chicken joints.
1. The Bird
If you're looking for a delicious and affordable place for BBQ chicken, The Bird is definitely worth checking out.
This counter-serve spot is always busy, but the wait is worth it for their juicy and flavorful chicken sandwiches. The spicy option is highly recommended for those who like a little kick.
The seating options are limited, but there is both indoor and outdoor seating available. The Bird also offers loaded fries and tots as well as beer to enjoy with your meal.
Don't miss out on this minimalist venue for some of the best chicken sandwiches in town.
2. Hot Sauce and Panko To Go
Hot Sauce and Panko To Go is a must-visit spot for anyone looking for delicious BBQ chicken. This small, hidden gem offers a variety of flavors that are sure to satisfy any craving.
Their Korean wings, bacon-wrapped bourbon wings, and fried chicken sandwich are all juicy and packed with flavor.
The chicken is cooked to perfection and falls off the bone. The decor is cool, and the staff is friendly. The only downside is the wait time, but the food is well worth it.
Whether you're a local or just passing through, make sure to check out Hot Sauce and Panko To Go for some of the best wings you'll ever have.
3. Cordon Bleu Vietnamese Restaurant
Cordon Bleu Vietnamese Restaurant serves up delicious BBQ chicken that is moist and flavorful.
The menu offers a variety of options, including shish kebab and imperial rolls. The staff is friendly and efficient, making for a pleasant dining experience.
The restaurant is small and cozy, perfect for a casual meal. While prices have gone up over the years, the food remains affordable and worth the visit.
Don't forget to bring cash, as this establishment is cash only.
Cocobang is a Korean restaurant that offers some of the best bbq chicken in town.
Along with the delectable chicken, they have a variety of Korean starters that are standout good. The staff is friendly and helpful, and the atmosphere is cozy and welcoming.
Although the space is a little cramped and outdated, the food is worth it. The soy and garlic fried chicken is a must-try dish.
Additionally, they are open until 2:00 am, making it a perfect spot for late-night cravings. If you're looking for authentic Korean food, Cocobang is definitely worth a visit.
5. Pete's Bar-B-Que
Pete's Bar-B-Que is a counter-service, cash-only joint that serves up some of the best BBQ chicken and ribs in the area.
The food is made with delicious barbecue sauce and comes in generous portions at an affordable price.
The restaurant has been around for many years and has a loyal following of locals who keep coming back for the great food and friendly service.
The atmosphere is no-frills, but the quality of the food more than makes up for it. If you're looking for a tasty and satisfying BBQ meal, Pete's Bar-B-Que is definitely worth a visit.
6. The Front Porch
The Front Porch is a cozy Southern-Caribbean soul food restaurant that serves up some delicious BBQ chicken.
The meat is juicy and the breading is crunchy and flavorful. The staff is incredibly friendly and welcoming, making your visit enjoyable and memorable.
The atmosphere is great, and the vibe is pretty perfect, making it suitable for small groups or fundraisers.
If you're looking for some tasty BBQ chicken, The Front Porch is definitely worth checking out.
7. The Roost
The Roost is a must-visit for anyone craving delicious BBQ chicken.
The chicken is juicy and flavorful, with a crispy skin that's sure to satisfy.
But what really sets The Roost apart is their creative sides – the garlic roasted cauliflower and sweet potato croquettes are both standouts.
The staff is friendly and the menu offers a variety of flavorful options. Don't forget to try one of their amazing cookies for dessert!
8. Wing Lee BBQ
Wing Lee BBQ is a Chinese restaurant that serves some of the best BBQ chicken in town.
The chicken is perfectly cooked and seasoned to perfection, making it a must-try for any BBQ lover.
The roasted pork and BBQ chasiu pork are also delicious, and the takeout food options are great for a quick and easy dinner.
The restaurant is a no-frills environment and offers counter service. If you're in the mood for some unfussy Chinese standards, Wing Lee BBQ is the perfect choice.
9. Clement BBQ
Clement BBQ is a great spot for those looking for good, cheap barbecue chicken. While not gourmet quality, the food is still very tasty and a great value.
Customers can pick two side dishes to go with their rice or noodles, as well as a beverage and pastry, and still have change left over.
The freshly roasted duck is a must-try, and the barbecue pork is very flavorful without being too saucy.
There is also dim-sum available in the back of the restaurant. Whether eating in or taking out, customers won't be disappointed with the food at Clement BBQ.
10. Aceking BBQ
Aceking BBQ is a must-visit for anyone who loves high-quality BBQ chicken. This Chinese BBQ restaurant offers a variety of skewers, including beef, chicken, mushroom, green beans, and sweet potato, all bursting with flavor.
While the prices may be a bit steep, the food is well worth it and perfect for group dining.
The staff provides excellent service and is always ready to help with recommendations. Additionally, the grilled slice buns, lamb and beef skewers, and AK fried rice are highly recommended.
Aceking BBQ is a great spot for those looking for traditional Chinese BBQ in a welcoming atmosphere.
11. Proposition Chicken
Proposition Chicken is a must-try for anyone who loves great tasting BBQ chicken. The menu is small but focused on delivering quality food.
The fried chicken is moist with a good crust, while the grilled chicken salad is unexpectedly good.
The restaurant also offers a vegetarian option of tofu. The staff is exceptionally courteous and friendly, and the service is fast.
The indoor dining experience is nice, with an outdoor patio available as well. Prices are reasonable, and the chicken is definitely worth trying.