Better Than Chick-fil-A: 5 Fried Chicken Sandwiches

It was a sight last September: People camped out along the sidewalk on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue on a chilly morning, many playing board games while snuggled in sleeping bags, all in the name of fried chicken. Yes, Chick-fil-A, the Southern fast-food chain known for its pickle-topped chicken sandwiches and waffle fries, opened its new Hollywood location, promising free sandwiches for a year to the first 100 customers. The place was packed from the get go, and the lines haven't stopped since.

But not everyone is a devoted fan. Controversy over whether the company funds anti-gay organizations has some chicken lovers in a moral battle between heart, mind and palate. We're here to help. If you just can't stomach the chicken chain, we've found five fried chicken sandwich alternatives -- even better than Chick-fil-A -- to try around L.A.

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Canele/Photo: Lesley Balla At Canele in Atwater Village, golden, juicy fried jidori chicken thighs are piled high on a toasted brioche bun with nothing but green tomatoes, red onion and mayo. You'll only find it on the Saturday and Sunday brunch menu.

ink. sack/Photo: Lesley BallaBefore Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio debuted his sexy ink. restaurant on Melrose, he opened a tiny sandwich shop a few doors down. The chicken here is actually cold--cooked sous vide first, then fried--but the crusty roll is warm. In between, an intriguing "ranch cheese," some shreds of lettuce, and tangy heat from Gindo's Spice of Life sauce. Super tasty.

Fukuburger/Photo: Gourmet PigsIt's loud, rowdy, and a little obnoxious, but one of the best "burgers" at Hollywood's new Fukuburger is the chicken katsu. The panko-crusted chicken is crispy and juicy, smothered in the oh-so-secret "crack sauce" (probably a mayo and chile sauce concoction) and lettuce. Messy and delicious.

Photo: The HudsonWe love the little sliders at The Hudson in West Hollywood, mostly for their simplicity--the flavorful chicken is topped with cheddar cheese and ranch dressing--but also because they're mini. They're perfect with a beer, and a real bargain during happy hour (though offered any time, too).

Son of a Gun/Photo: GastronomyLeave it to Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook--the chefs behind Animal--to serve one of the city's best fried chicken their seafood restaurant. At Son of a Gun, the chicken is just about perfect, the brioche bun wonderfully buttery and toasty, with the slaw--cabbage and bread-and-butter pickles--adding a nice cool bite after the spicy Sriracha aioli. Get a glass of Champagne with this one. Really.

[Photo credits: Gourmet Pigs; Gastronomy]

About the Author

Los Angeles-based freelance food writer.
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Thank you, sweet Lesley!