Fried chicken in Toronto does not adhere to a single regional style. This is a city where Southern-fried chicken is just one of many options, and finger lickin' Korean, Taiwanese, Filipino, and even unique maple-dusted Northern variations can be found on menus citywide.
Here are my picks for the top fried chicken joints in Toronto by neighbourhood.
Formerly, McRamyun, now Mo'Ramyun offers up a classic chicken katsu, plus fusion recipes like chicken wings ($5.45 for 3 pcs, $11.45 for 7pcs) coated in crispy crushed noodles accompanied by garlic mayo and a gochujang.
The Whippoorwill specializes in comfort foods and the crispy fried chicken thighs ($17) are among the many plates of soulful classics on offer. Expect juicy dark meat encased in crackling skin and dressed with Korean BBQ sauce.
The TFC, a.k.a Tawainese Fried Chicken at Kanpai boasts a crispy skin dusted in spices and finished with fresh toppings including cilantro, scallions and chili peppers. Order three ($9), or eight pieces ($22.) at a time, or opt for the 12 piece bucket ($88) including a pail of PBR, side of tater slaw and a choice of sides.
Lucky Red slings five spice fried chicken on the bone, two pieces at a time for $6, four for $11, and six pieces for $16. The house hot sauce packs some serious heat, while pickled vegetables on the side offer relief.
Morgans on the Danforth does fried chicken ($16) two ways and neither route will disappoint. Satisfy cravings for southern style buttermilk fried chicken accompanied by bacon studded braised chard and a choice of fries or corn bread, or go for the Korean style chicken marinated in gochujang hot pepper paste and served with kimchi fried rice and sautéed bok choy.
Luther's Chicken operates out of the kitchen at the Churchill and as you might guess from its name, fried chicken is the specialty. Bone-in and boneless varieties are available in various combinations, but if you're flying solo try the two piece buttermilk fried chicken meal ($13) including a biscuit and a choice of two sides.
Order (with 24-hours notice) from Momofuku Noodle Bar, where fried chicken is a large format meal ($125) featuring two whole fried chickens, one southern style and one Korean style. Meant to feed 4-8, this meal comes complete with scallion pancakes, ginger scallion sauce, jalapeno garlic sauce, pickled vegetables, radishes, herbs and Tabasco salt.
The southern fried chicken ($16) at The Mugshot Tavern is a lot of food. Each order includes a trimmed half chicken battered and fried crisp, plus broccoli slaw and mac 'n' cheese (or a choice of side).
The Dirty Bird distinguishes itself from the rest of the flock with its signature Northern (maple sugar-dusted) style. Orders range from two pieces of dark meat with a side for $7, up to 10 pieces with three sides for $31, or you can have your chicken in sandwich form or laid over thick fresh waffles.
Skin + Bones does fried chicken at lunch in sandwiches ($11) topped with coleslaw, ranch, pickled carrot and cucumber. They do a spicy version at brunch too, this time over waffles with coleslaw ($13).
Fried chicken with potato waffles ($14) is just one of several beer-friendly foods at Eulalie's Corner Store. Look forward to crispy, gently spiced fried chicken with savoury waffles paired with plum and red wine preserve.
Max's Restaurant hails from the Philippines, as does its 70-year old recipe for fried chicken. Available by the half ($12), or whole ($18) bird, expect flavourful seasoned poultry, fried to a perfect golden hue and retaining ample moisture inside. A side of garlic rice is well advised.
The fried chicken ($22) at The Saint is coated and fried to perfection yielding juicy supple flesh inside. The entree is served with smoked sweet potatoes, collard greens and pickled watermelon for a complete (and euphoric) southern experience.
Boneless chili and pepper encrusted chicken thighs ($10.50) are right at home on Electric Mud's menu of Southern fare. Get some crack buns and pork rinds to start, then a side of coleslaw to cut through the richness.
The signature fried chicken ($18) is a favourite at The County Cocktail & Snack Bar. As a main ($18) with buttermilk ranch, Texas mop sauce and fresh herbs, or stacked on a bun ($14) with avocado chutney and pickled onions - these golden fried specimens are finger lickin' and addictive.
The Ace certainly knows how to ace this southern staple. The country-fried chicken ($19) boasts a crackling exterior and moist, juicy flesh inside. Each order comes with collard greens, cornbread, and ham gravy for good measure.
ST. CLAIR WEST
The Stockyards is famous for its fried chicken (along with everything else it does from BLTs and burgers to breakfast sandwiches and smoked meats. Here you'll find fried chicken over Belgian waffles ($13) on offer until 3pm, then it's all about the four-piece dinners ($15) featuring buttermilk brined chicken served with fries, coleslaw, and hot sauce.
WEST QUEEN WEST
The fried chicken plate ($16) is the pièce de résistance at chef Jonathan Poon's Bar Fancy. Each order features four pieces of delicious, crispy-skinned bird accompanied by slices of Wonder Bread, pickles, lime, two sauces (habanero and mayo) and wet naps.
What did I miss? Disagree with my selections in the comments.
Lead photo from Bar Fancy
by Liora Ipsum via blogTO