Whether American, Korean or Indian, naked or saucy, on a waffle or between buns, or even vegan, there’s more fried chicken in the German capital than ever before. Here are our top picks by category:
Hottest US-style wings
The newest trend on the fried chicken front? Wings, as North Americans might remember them from happy hours and game nights. As made from regional, corn-fed Kikok birds, they’re the star attraction at Nola, the new Louisiana-inspired pop-up housed in onetime it-hangout Noto on Torstraße. The buttermilk-marinated, thickly breaded chicken bits are coated in Cajun spices or a sorta-piquant “Nashville hot” sauce; get a side of homemade biscuits or pickles to round out the meal.
The perfect Buffalo wing, drenched in butter and Frank’s hot sauce, sadly has yet to be replicated in Berlin, though expat hangout The Neighborhood comes closest. Go on “Wings Wednesday” for a discount on their spicy, garlic-parmesan or BBQ chicken (or cauliflower), served with the requisite bleu cheese dressing, celery and carrot sticks.
Elsewhere in Kreuzberg, the so-called Buffalo wings at La Chupita, a new “Tex-Mex” venture from the always-hustling House of Small Wonder/Crackbuns crew, don’t taste anything like the real thing, but they’re good in their own right – and even better shredded and stuffed in a quesadilla. Alas, the triple-chilli-pepper rating amounts to German spicy; you’ll have to turn to the burger experts at The Bird and their habanero “Napalm Wings” for some real heat.
The era of Peak Chicken Sandwich may be over, but deep-fried poultry on bread hasn’t stopped being delicious. The pandemic project Birds In The Kitchen is, incredibly, still out and about; check Instagram to find out the latest whereabouts of their juicy, decadent “Blazing Buffalo”. Meanwhile, former pop-up Gully Burger is one of the latest buzzed-about businesses to join the game of foodie musical chairs that is Markthalle Pfefferberg, and its moist, masala-spiced fried chicken on a custom “Indian brioche” bun from Bekarei is as good as ever (the new lamb burger is also not to be missed, BTW).
Goldies, they of the fancy loaded Pommes and smashburgers, are still doing some lovely things with corn-fed birds – try the chicken burger with zhoug or bearnaise mayo. And grizzled veteran Butter Bronson’s, which was putting buttermilk-marinated chicken between buns as far back as 2015, has just scored a permanent spot in the courtyard of Jules in Gleisdreieck, so fans no longer need to wait for the next Bite Club to get their fix.
Most finger-lickin’ KFC
No, not the Colonel. Korean chicken – double-fried, spicy-sweet, eaten with French fries, pickled radishes and preferably beer – has proliferated all over Berlin since Kreuzberg’s Angry Chicken (not the best, but the first) paved the way in 2010. Prenzlauer Berg’s Kokio is the discerning Korean’s fave, serving huge sharing platters of bone-in or boneless bird parts smothered in sauces like soy-wasabi or the verifiably spicy “Super hot”.
Those who prefer their KFC on the go head to Guten Dag, the not-so-secret little kiosk slinging soy or gochujang-coated wings under the tracks at U-Bhf Eberswalder Straße. Personally, our new favourite – though it’s been open for a few years – might be Gangnam in Wedding, a family-owned hole-in-the-wall where the wings are juicy, garlicky and almost ridiculously crispy. Get the kimchi or potato pancakes as a starter.
Most satisfying chicken and waffles
Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it: nothing cures a hangover or fulfils sweet-savoury breakfast cravings like fried chicken on a waffle. Berlin restaurants seem to have skipped over the simple version of the combo, as proffered by US soul food eateries like Roscoe’s, and gone straight to upscale or fusion-y “takes” on it. Luckily, those are still delicious.
At clubby Schöneberg brunchery Frühstück 3000, for example, the waffle is laced with cheddar and the chicken is drizzled in chilli bacon caramel. At Geist im Glas, where the decadent brunches are as big of a draw as the mixology, the chicken is from Sonnenallee poultry institution Risa and it’s in the waffle, which also has sriracha in the batter.
The most straightforward version of the dish can be found at fellow cocktail bar Eigengrau, where the roving Australian behind international pop-up Daniel Does Food now has a brunch residency. Buttermilk-marinated chicken on a waffle with honey butter, maple syrup and pickled jalapeños – what more could you ask for?
Most convincing vegan chicken
The Graefekiez Imbiss Tsu Tsu first came to our attention not because they were the first Japanese karaage specialists in Berlin – which is also impressive – but because their crispy soy chunks were virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.
Of course, that’s not the only restaurant where vegans can get in on the fried chicken craze. Daniel Does Food (see above) offers waffles with fried Tindle, the plant-based poultry substitute with a texture as chickeny as the name is cringe.
And when the multiculturally minded crew at Neukölln’s Crazy Bastard Kitchen is frying chicken, there’s always a vegan version of it, which comes with the same over-the-top toppings as the meaty one – including, of course, all the eponymous hot sauce you can withstand. Check their pop-up schedule on Instagram, and be prepared for a wait.