The Best Restaurant Chicken Dishes in America

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated in 2018 that our annual consumption of chicken as a nation was about 98 pounds per person. When the National Chicken Council conducted a survey of chicken-eating habits, also last year, it found that in the two weeks preceding the survey, 86% of the consumers questioned had eaten a chicken meal or snack bought at a supermarket and 68% had eaten one from a food service establishment. In other words, we like our chicken.

It’s a great source of protein — much cheaper than most meats and seafood and very versatile. You can eat it in almost any form but raw. Actually, some Japanese restaurants do serve raw chicken, called torisashi, but U.S. health officials warn strenuously against eating it. Chicken is known as one of the leading causes of food poisoning — even when it’s not recalled for contamination or other issues. These are the 29 food recalls that poisoned the most people.

But chicken can be barbecued, roasted, grilled, and of course fried. It can be minced and shredded and cut into bite-sized pieces; made into soup; added to salads. It’s a popular filling for tacos and enchiladas, and an ingredient in virtually all of the world’s cuisines in one form or another.

Besides being found all over the world, chicken is served at every kind of eating place, from fast food stands to some of the country’s fancier dining establishments. Here are the best restaurants in America.

24/7 Tempo has consulted national and regional “best” lists and drawn on editorial experience to develop a list of the best restaurant chicken dishes in America — or at least a good representation of them, since there are so many.

These include whole roast birds, fried chicken pieces (with and without waffles on the side), classic Italian and Mexican preparations, Chinese and Japanese chicken specialties, even an innovative eggs Benedict made with spicy fried chicken instead of Canadian bacon. And in this case, the chicken definitely comes before the egg.