A vestige from medieval times, rotisserie chicken is prevalent in Toronto, and a good one will transport you back to simpler times, when grabbing a leg by the bone and servicing it with your hands, then sucking the jus off your fingers was a compliment to the chef. Hypnotized by the perpetually dripping skewers forever spinning behind store counters and shop windows across the city, we felt the call of the spit and set out to locate the best rotisserie roasted hens Toronto has to offer.
FLOCK ROTISSERIE + GREENS | 330 Adelaide St. W.
The Harbord Room’s Cory Vitiello’s chicken and salad joint Flock offers a healthier spin on fast food spit supper, a mandate that means you won’t find gravy, but ensures you chicken that stands on its own legs. Grab their naturally raised, antibiotic- and hormone-free chicken in whole, half, and quarter portions, and then slam it into a healthy mandala of broccoli, almonds, wheatberries, and arugula.
CUMBRAE’S | 714 Queen St. W.
There’s a reason Cumbrae’s supplies local institutions like County General, the Drake, and Terroni. As one of Toronto’s most popularly respected butcher businesses, it keeps a reliable stock of meats sourced from Ontario raised, naturally fed animals that are completely hormone-. drug-, and chemical-free. They also do rotisserie right, and their Queen location features a small eat-in area, offering sandwiches with chicken fresh off the skewer.
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LIBERTY VILLAGE ROTISSERIE & GRILL | 155 Liberty St.
A tested favourite and well guarded secret (don’t tell a regular we sent you, okay?) of the Liberty Village office crowd, when this former Rotisserie House switched names and owners, they swapped out less successful menu items for trendier choices like fish tacos and chicken poutine, but their Portugese-style rotisserie chicken (available pulled or grilled and on a wrap or a sandwich, or in classic whole, half, or quarter portions) and their special hot sauce are what’s made this an institution of its own.
CHURRASQUEIRA DAROSA | 2853 Dufferin St.
This casual, family-owned churrasqueira keeps things simple. Grab a quarter chicken off one of the always-spinning rotisserie chickens, fill out your plate with some rice from the hot table, sit down, and watch the game. It’s also licensed.
THE ROOSTER ROTISSERIE AND GRILL | 942 Bloor St. W.
The rebranded Sardinha O Rei Dos Frangos offers its Bloorcourt regulars the same Portugese classics that attracted them in the first place, now under a name that travels a little bit easier. Just be prepared for a line.
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BEST PORTUGUESE CHICKEN | 942 The Queensway
Going by the more modest BPC for short, this Etobicoke shrine to Portugese chicken supplements its main dishes with regionally fitting sides like parisienne potatoes and garlicky rice. Trading in ginormous portions, they definitely make the trip to Etobicoke worth it, and they’re fully licensed, too.
CHURRASQUEIRA COSTA VERDE | 347 Oakwood Ave.
Costa Verde’s take-away counter has sent its York customers off with spicy, piri-piri-painted hens for more than 18 years. Their parisienne potatoes and their hot piri-piri sauce also both come highly recommended.
CABBAGE TOWN KITCHEN | 292 Wellesley St. E.
Forgoing the piri-piri, this liberally spelt Cabbagetown spot offers Halal-certified chickens doused in your choice of hickory or chipotle barbeque sauce. A quarter chicken combo with basmati rice and a choice of Greek or Caesar salad will return enough change to facilitate your next TTC ride.
(Main Photo by Richard Sandoval via Flickr)