24 Essential Fried Chicken Restaurants in Manila
Fried chicken. You can find it in high-end restaurants. You can find it in fast-food chains. You can find it anywhere and everywhere simply because a dish this amazing should be enjoyed by everyone. Every respectable fried chicken lover nurses a standby. We know the classics like the back of our hand. But many other restaurants are proving just as good.
Fujian natives opened the first Savory after the war. Now, it's 67 years old, split into three franchises, and still serving up some seriously good Chinese/Pinoy-style fried chicken. Savory has developed loyalists who will swear by its golden, crispy, paper-thin skin and ultra-thick, lip-smacking gravy—which isn't so much a necessity in chicken like Savory; think of it, rather, like a cherry on top of an already delicious sundae.
Max's Fried Chicken
Ah the house that fried chicken built. Max's storied past revolves around their revered fried chicken that's seriously sarap to the bones. With a strong international presence, Max's has even wowed Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold with its perfectly seasoned crispy, coating-free birds. Don't forget to whip up their signature banana ketchup + Worcestershire sauce condiment.
See a list of Max's branches.
Where do we even begin? The gilded flaky coat? The little red dots that permeate the skin when you get the spicy version? The deafening crunch when you take your first giant bite? The wisps of steam that float out from the exposed meat? This fast food giant is the holy grail of fried chicken.
See a list of Jollibee branches.
Who knew 11 secret herbs and spices could be this compelling? The good folks behind KFC realized the power of their fried poulty and decided to maximize its potential—putting it in tubs, buckets, boxes, sandwiches, salads, and everything else they come up with. Their signature gravy comes part and parcel with the chicken—but we admit that we know people who come for the gravy alone.
See a list of KFC branches.
Sincerity may not be as widespread as other Binondo and Banawe staples, but ask anyone for their favorite Chinese fried chicken, and these buttery, peppery beauties are usually top of mind. Sincerity has been around since 1956, meaning they've had sufficient time to perfect their classic recipe.
See a list of Sincerity branches.
Ramon Lee's Panciteria
One of the oldest restaurants in the Philippines, Ramon Lee's Panciteria has been around for 88 years. While the Metro has been permeated with hip new restaurants, the classics are always reliable standbys. The glossy brown skin is more juicy than salty, covered in deliciously saltiness. The meat? Always steaming hot, amazingly flavorful.
Ramon Lee is at 540 Ronquillo Street, Santa Cruz, Manila.
We can see that this restaurant specializes in breakfast food, but the way they cook their pan-fried chicken should be commended. In fact, they're just as good in that aspect that they could probably get away with changing their name to Chicken House--if only it wouldn't be redundant. Max's is their sibling establishment after all.
See here for a list of Pancake House branches.
Their repertoire isn't limited to plunking poultry in a piping hot pool or oil, but man do their fried chicken steal the show.
The Girl + The Bull
Noted as one of Metro Manila's best, The Girl + The Bull's fried chicken is so sensational that when they first opened on Aguirre, it was available only on Fridays and Saturdays (and for advanced ordering). It was, like the rest of the options on the menu, art on a plate: beautiful blonde flakes peppered with herbs all blanketing large pieces of succulent chicken; on the side, gorgeous brioche french toast. Co-owners Gab Bustos and Thea Rivera have since moved to a more sophisticated spot in Makati, and their deeper involvement in the culinary scene has only pushed them to improve their flavors. That stunning brioche, for example, has been revised by ace baker Richie Manapat.
The Girl + The Bull is at Grand Midori, Bolanos Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City.
The large cuts of chicken are salty, but in the best possible way. It comes with a sweet, slightly spicy sauce that could even out the flavors even better.
Catabolic Cafe is at 22 Malingap, Diliman, Quezon City.
Kettle and Fireside by Kettle
Chef Chiloy Santos burst into the culinary scene thanks to the scene-stealing fried chicken of the Kettle chain of restaurants. Two enormous chicken fillets are marinated in spices and buttermilk for 24 hours, infusing it with flavor while simultaneously making the meat more tender. It's cooked to perfection too—oily, juicy, fatty, in the best possible way.
A similar dish can be seen at Fireside, but served as tenders.
Exchange Alley Coffee House
Last year, there was a cozy nook somewhere in the South that served amazing little sandwiches and gin. Bread and Botany didn't last, but the impression it made with its nine-spiced fried chicken is forever. Owner Jonathan Choi actually came up with the recipe to impress his girlfriend's family and fortunately, the ever hospitable restaurateur decided that his efforts was well worth reviving in his latest project, Exchange Alley Coffee House. It's now dubbed Chick and Chips, the poultry cousin of Fish and Chips.
Exchange Alley Coffee House is at Molito Lifestyle Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
MSG and lots of it—that's the unapologetic explanation for why even up to now, three years later, Bad Bird can still generate incredibly long, patient lines. You'll see the kitchen staff vigorously shaking glorious seasoning powders all over your poultry—and if you're a glutton for flavor, upgrade your heat level to Chemical.
Bad Bird has branches at Hole in the Wall, Century City Mall, Makati City; and SM Mega Fashion Hall, Mandaluyong City.
Every order takes 15 minutes, but you'll never find yourself more patient than when you're waiting for these crispy, salty, freshly fried chicken. The peppery gravy is a nice contrast to the sharp flavor. Rice is a must.
See a list of Army Navy branches.
This chain of holes in the wall is proof that chicken is probably the most versatile protein. They have grilled chicken, roast chicken, chicken sisig, chicken wings, and, of course, fried chicken. The cuts are big and generous, covered in blonde flakes and impressively juicy till the last finger-licking bite. Exactly what makes it Latin we're not sure, but its accompanying chimichurri sauce is the stuff of dreams.
See a list of Señor Pollo branches.
Chef William Mahi has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants all over the world and he sure knows how to work a chicken. The fried chicken in his homey restaurant is boneless, making for a much more convenient dining experience, with a good dose of salt and herbs. Underneath the incredibly thin breading is seriously moist and juicy chicken like you've never tried before.
210° Kitchen + Drinkery is at 1D G/F Icon Plaza, 25th Street corner 6th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.
Looking for over the top? Birdhouse's chicken-themed menu will make your chicken-loving heart race, literally and figuratively. While they have the usual fried chicken, the centerpiece of this fowl restaurant is a fried chicken fillet sandwich oozing with salted egg lava.
Birdhouse is at Uptown Mall, Taguig City.
Tom Sawyer's Old-Fashioned Krispy Chicken
This fried chicken joint predates the local KFC and McDonald's. Back in the '80s, it was in Greenhills, comforting students and residents with simply good fried chicken. It closed after some time, but quietly reopened in 2014—this time in Tiendesitas. Fortunately, the crispiness hasn't wavered and the flavors haven't gone stale.
Tom Sawyer's Old-Fashioned Krispy Chicken is at Tiendesitas, Pasig City.
This speakeasy-inspired bar is a favorite among night owls, but the booze sometimes overshadows the food—and the food is pretty tops. Chef Jehrad Dolino has a special fried chicken, which he has cheekily named the JFC. It has a very distinct flavor thanks to some fruit elements in the marinade, which makes it brighter compared to others.
Moonshine is at Sapphire Bloc, Sapphire Road, Pasig City.
When faced with perfection, there are simply no words. What can you say with fried chicken done absolutely right? Chef Justin Golangco's version comes as boneless chicken thighs cooked evenly and throughout. The seasoning is heavy but the flavor is hardly overwhelming, especially when you enjoy it with their creamy mashed potatoes.
Available only at Bucky's, 5666 Don Pedro Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
Cow & Chicken
Yankee-style fried chicken with gravy and honey and waffles? That's a formula that can't go wrong. Someone make the clever decision to go with chicken thighs, the most flavorful cut of chicken, and emphasize those flavors further with seven spices and an overnight bath in a marinade.
Cow & Chicken is at 16 United Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City.
If you're in the mood for an adventure, drive to this little eatery for exciting renditions on fried chicken. Chef Bryan Francisco may be making a name for himself thanks to his pillowy beignets, but his Filipinized fried chicken needs to be recognized. If you're feeling traditional, go for the Adobo Fried Chicken. If you're looking for a twist, go for the Sinigang Fried Chicken. Heck, try them all!
We won't dare miss Japanese fried chicken in a list like this, and Chibi's happens to be the best. The karaage originally played a small part in the menu of Chibi's Kitchen until it became so successful, the owners had no choice but dedicate establishments devoted solely to frying chicken Japanese-style.
See a list of Chibi's Karaage branches.
It's come to a point where we have to ask: what doesn't Wildflour do well? The best part isn't even their crunch-perfect chicken. It's the fluffy waffle below it.
See a list of Wildflour branches.
Tipple & Slaw
Yet another bar whose food has been eclipsed by good times, Tipple & Slaw has a mean fried chicken. When they first opened, Tipple & Slaw came out with a large and hearty two-piece, coated in ruddy breading, then drizzled with a truffle-infused gravy. There were chips on the side because you might as well continue being indulgent. Now, their fried chicken du jour is much simple, but no less desirable. If you can't put a finger on that fresh flavor, it's because they use Asian spices!
Tipple & Slaw is at Forum South Global, 7th Avenue corner Federacion Drive, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.