Restaurants

Where To Find Sydney’s Best Fried Chicken In 2023

By Tim Piccione

There are plenty of things we’ve become competent at making for ourselves at home. But if there’s one thing we’ll forever leave to the experts, it’s fried chicken. There’s unimaginable magic that happens when you combine a tender piece of chicken with eggs, flour and spices—out of the deep-fryer comes a miracle in the form of a hot piece of golden fried chicken.

Sandwiches, burgers, tenders, drumsticks, wings, thighs, breast, southern, spicy, buffalo, sticky, American, or Korean—we’ll take them all, and Sydney is delivering the delicious goods. Choose your spice, ready your sauce and grab a napkin. This is where to find the best fried chicken in Sydney.

Belles Hot Chicken

Barangaroo, Tramsheds and Circular Quay

Originating in Melbourne’s Fitzroy in 2014, Belles Hot Chicken soon made its way north to Barangaroo for a "pop-up"—and the rest is history. We now have three locations for absolutely bang-on fried chicken, including a vintage-inspired Circular Quay spot that's blurring the lines between a classic chicken joint and more refined restaurant.

Taking the comfort food offering and adding Sydney Harbour views, a booze menu with local brews and canned cocktails, premium bourbon and champagne, and vintage saloon-inspired decor, the Circular Quay location is without question the most scenic spot to down everything from Belles' wings, drumsticks and tenders in signature flavours (chicken salt, original, traveller, hot and really f**kin hot) to Nashville-style chicken sandwiches and heaving share plates.

Honey

Darling Square

If you like your fried chicken with a side of K-Pop, Honey needs to be on your radar. Loud, vibey, and literally drenched in neon lights, Honey is inspired by the nightlife of Seoul and serves a menu of Korean pocha, or late-night snacks. The highlight of the snack menu is the Korean fried chicken, served crispy and juicy and best enjoyed with Honey's icy-cold house beer, with sauce options including creamy onion, flaming hot, jalapeno, and the classic soy garlic.

Butter

Surry Hills

Since opening up back in 2016, Butter has made a delicious mark on Sydney’s fried chicken game—and we've never looked back. With rare sneakers for sale in the front window, hip-hop playing over the speakers, Hennessey cocktails on offer, and fancy champagne in the fridge, Butter is a vibe like non-other. But it’s with its beautiful golden fried chicken that the eatery has made a name for itself.

The Cheezus burger sees a fried chicken thigh slapped between buns with double cheese, lettuce and honey mustard, and the fried chicken doughnut topped with salted butter and pure maple syrup has also become the stuff of legend. Make sure you order up some chicken wings or tenders as well, to be promptly dipped in mash and gravy or into brown onion gravy and tonkotsu ramen broth during winter.

Super Nash Brothers

Auburn, Willoughby, Waterloo and Waitara

Remember how we mentioned that Nashville-style fried chicken is the bee’s knees? There’s plenty more where that came from, courtesy of Super Nash Brothers. If you’re searching for that good stuff, look out for spiced fried chicken batter that almost reaches a deep red hue—that’s when you know you’ve hit Nashville gold. 

This crew keeps it nice and simple, offering a few combos including classic sandos with sweet and sour pickles, boxes of tenders, wings, and a thigh box with pickles, ranch dressing, and a slice of milk bread to mop everything up.

Mary's

Newtown, Circular Quay, CBD, Castle Hill and Moore Park

The crew who once upon a time opened a burger joint just off Newtown’s main strip nailed two critical things: a simple, killer menu and some eternal rock 'n' roll vibes. Before expanding to other locations in the past few years, Mary's fried chicken existed only as one of the best burger-accompanying sides in town, but these days you can also order Mary’s chicken burgers or spicy chicken burgers whenever you desire. In the spirit of Mary's, we recommend adding bacon.

Johnny Bird

Crows Nest

Old-timers might remember that until 2018, Johnny Bird was called Johnny Lobster. But after realising more than half of their sales were actually coming from their fried chicken, owners Jason Hall and Tom Baker decided to pivot. Today, other than a cheeseburger and some legit-good tofu and vegan options, the menu is lovingly dedicated to fried chicken.

Here, fried chicken comes in all forms—tenders, thighs, sticky wings with your choice of sauce, in popcorn form, or on loaded fries. But as usual, it shines on burgers. You can’t go wrong with the classic Johnny Burger with fried chicken, pickles, coleslaw, tomato relish, and chipotle mayo, and had better add a side of mac & cheese or southern slaw.

Thirsty Bird

Newtown

A regular visitor might love Thirsty Bird for their loaded waffle fries, tater tots, bacon mac 'n' cheese, buffalo wings, or maple syrup-covered Belgian waffles. But, as you probably expected, it’s the southern fried chicken that keeps us coming back again and again. Order it as an original piece set numbered to your liking and with whichever dipping sauces you prefer or placed inside a burger.

Again, sandwich choices are aplenty with options that include pineapple and bacon or jalapeno salsa and chipotle mayo. We look straight to the classic southern fried chicken burger, on a bun softer than air and with fresh slaw and special sauce. 

Redfern Surf Club

Redfern

Since swinging open its doors back in 2018, Redfern Surf Club has brought all the chill surf club sausage sizzle vibes to bustling Botany Road—and their fried chicken burger with pickles and mayo is one of the most underrated in Sydney. The menu also ticks off a buffalo chicken burger with Franks Hot Sauce-covered crispy fried chicken, and a hot chicken burger with cayenne chilli-glazed southern fried chicken, both served on a pillowy potato bun. If you're not vibing a burg, you can also grab tenders and pieces of the good stuff.

Clem's Chicken Shop

Newtown

An absolute icon of King Street, Clem's has been in the fried chicken game since 1982. Clem's is a go-to for a late-night feed, serving roast chicken, veg dinners, potato salads and, of course, mouthwatering fried chicken, this family-owned and operated spot holds a place in many Sydneysiders' hearts. Order up fried chicken in five- or nine-piece packs, with or without chips, in a burger, or as a slab of schnitty. Sometimes, it's the simplicity that really hits home.

Wing Shack

Kings Park

Wing Shack sounds like a place straight out of the United States. And we don’t think the owners would mind that connotation attached to their name one bit, with the burger and fried chicken joint initially born out of love and admiration for American cuisine and authentic southern fried chicken. Original or Nashville spices, wings, or tenders? Sauce options include cheesy BBQ, buffalo blue cheese, Nashville spicy, Southern classic, or honey sriracha. Finally, this is a big if-you-know-you-know: American-style biscuits are also on the menu.

Suzie Dukes

North Rocks and Kareela

When it comes to putting up delicious and unique flavour combinations on burgers, Suzie Dukes has a confident command of the game. With a secret fried chicken coating and soft milk buns baked daily in their neighbouring bakery, this burger joint does a classic buttermilk fried chicken burger with oak lettuce, tomato, onion, and aioli, or spice it up with house slaw, pickled radish, and sriracha mayo. Like all creative burger joints, Suzie Dukes also keeps us on our toes with specials that in the past have involved doughnut or waffle burger buns, buffalo chicken, honey, hummus, pancakes, and so much more.

Stockman’s BBD

Dee Why

We’re eternally grateful for Stockman’s BBD's dedication to burgers, beers, and desserts (that’s what the BBD stands for), and if you’re not ordering a plate of loaded waffles, a pina colada, a popcorn milkshake, or one of their Wagyu patty beef burgers, we highly recommend anything with fried chicken.

For burgers, choose between the Cluckaroo with fried chicken, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and aioli, or the Hot N Clucky with jalapeno and pineapple salsa, cheese, bacon, fried avocado, and chipotle mayo. Otherwise, look for the Nashville chicken-loaded fries or the waffle chicken bites, deep-fried in house-made waffle batter and topped with parmesan cheese.

Bar Luca, BL Burgers, And Loaded by BL

Various locations

In whichever store form and wherever in Sydney, the burgers originally conceived in Bar Luca’s CBD restaurant are some of this city’s best. While the menus from Bar Luca spinoffs BL Burgers and Loaded by BL are more so dominated by beef creations, don’t discount what these folks can do with some fried chicken.

Alongside southern tenders and fried chicken wings served in sauces like buffalo and ranch, habanero hot sauce or chipotle BBQ is the BL Chicken: a burger with a southern fried chicken thigh, American cheese, streaky bacon, lettuce, black garlic aioli, and chilli jam.

Ume Burger

Barangaroo

At Ume Burger, Japanese flavours reign supreme, so we advise you run mouth-first to the karaage burger. We’re talking Japanese fried chicken, cheese, lettuce, and onion, with Ume spicy sauce and tonkatsu sauce. Or order that Japanese fried chicken as a side and dip it liberally in mayo. Pair that with a slate of drinks like Japanese beers and ciders, house-made sodas, Japanese whisky, or a yuzushu spritz—happy days.  

El Jannah

Various Locations 

If you live across the Greater Western Sydney area, then you’ll know that this list can’t be whole without the inclusion of El Jannah. The cult Lebanese charcoal chicken store opened its first Granville location in 1998 and has since spread out across Sydney’s West. We won’t hold anything against you if you go straight for the signature charcoal chicken with garlic sauce, pickles, and bread, but take a second to admire the perfectly golden and crunchy, southern-style fried chicken on offer as well. Tenders, wings, mixed pieces, on a burger with spicy mayo and lettuce, with a side of tabouli, coleslaw, or traditional hummus.

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken

Various Locations

We all know the saying, quality over quantity. But a long time ago, Hot Star Large Fried Chicken asked, “why not both?” It’s all in the name—these Sydney legends are delivering hot fried chicken, and it’s large. First bringing the flavours of Taipei’s Shilin Night Market to our city in 1992, the fried chicken joint now has 10 locations across greater Sydney and a few more around the country. Fried chicken that requires a double-handhold, chicken bites, curly fries, a chicken "subwich" with gravy or chilli or cheesy chicken–there’s a good reason these folks have been around for so long.

Fat Belly Jack’s

Newtown

Originally from Brisbane, Fat Belly Jack’s was established by Sydneysider Ben Kagan, who offers Nashville hot chicken burgers at a "pop-up" operating out of The Marly in Newtown. Opt for a Fat Belly burger for fried chicken (with your desired level of heat, bread and butter pickles, red eye mayo and oak lettuce with optional blue cheese sauce (trust us, go for it), or keep it simple with wings and tenders.

Flying Tong

Newtown

At Flying Tong you can’t go wrong with original Korean fried chicken in all its golden, crispy goodness. But if you’re ordering to share, shake things up with soy garlic, sesame seed, and spring onion, "spicy bomb" with chilli flakes and coriander, or sweet chilli with crushed peanut and parsley. Drink choices range from Korean beers on tap to Inner West local craft brews, traditional soju and unfiltered rice wine.

Need something sweet? Here's where to find Sydney's best vanilla slice

Image credit: Super Nash Brothers, Belles Hot Chicken, Honey, Butter, Super Nash Brothers, Mary's, Johnny Bird, Thirsty Bird, Redfern Surf Club, Wing Shack, Suzie Dukes, Stockman's BBD, Ume Burger, El Jannah, Hot Star Large Fried Chicken, Fat Belly Jack's

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