(credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Once one of the least-used portions of chicken for a meal, wings have grown immensely in popularity over the past few decades. Now one of the most expensive sections of a chicken, the wings in its many variations and tastes, can be found at restaurants and other eateries all over the country. Of course, in the Bay Area, there is no shortage of spots for delicious chicken wings, some of which have garnered considerable attention as among the best in the country. Although some lovers of chicken wings will disagree, especially because it’s disproportionately in San Francisco’s favor, here is a carefully prepared list of the best chicken wings in the Bay Area.
1031 Irving St.
San Francisco, CA 94122
With an unassuming storefront, San Tung Chinese restaurant doesn’t seem to stand out much along the row of restaurants on Irving Street just south of Golden Gate Park. But if you see a line of customers waiting patiently outside to savor the restaurant’s acclaimed chicken wings, you know you’re about to visit someplace very special. Mentioned as one of the best places in America for chicken wings from several leading publications, San Tung offers dishes as either a wet version and the highly recommended dry, deep-fried version. To avoid a possible line queue outside the restaurant, try visiting during lunch and avoid stopping by in the evenings. If there is an interminable line and it becomes unbearable, head over to San Tung II, right next door.
444 Embarcadero W.
Oakland, CA 94607
Located in Oakland’s popular Jack London Square, this restaurant’s motto says it all — “soul food at its best.” Indeed, this Zagat-rated, family-owned business is unquestionably one of the best spots for southern fried chicken in the Bay Area. Chicken wing fans should opt for Ernestine’s Buffalo Wings, a delightful dish with eight drummettes and a marvelous home styled buffalo sauce. Other recommended traditional soul food dishes available from the menu include grits, black-eyed peas, cornbread and sweet potato pie. Another good bet from the restaurant’s menu for chicken wings is Keith’s Tackle, a Southern-influenced creation with two wings, extra large waffle and a nice helping of mac and cheese.
1545 Clement St.
San Francisco, CA 94118
Many lovers of chicken wings, especially those in the multicultural Bay Area, will argue the most appetizing version is Korean BBQ. And if you’re among countless numbers of people who agree, head over to Hot Sauce and Panko in the Inner Richmond district. There’s very limited seating, no restroom or TV, and you have to pay for your water or BYO. But no matter, because you’ll really only be there to try out the chicken wings and one or more of the incredibly delicious sauces. Go for the house favorite sauces, such as yaki with teriyaki seasoning, Korean with the housemade gochuang hot pepper paste or green, with cilantro ginger sesame oil, spice mix and jalapeno. For just $3 more ($9.99), visitors can order the Wings and Waffle Special served in several yummy styles, such as Satay, Thai, Red Rooster and Hot Buffalo or Double Hot Buffalo.
576 Haight St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
If you like your chicken wings served Southern-styled, then Memphis Minnie’s is your place to go in San Francisco. Once described as possibly the best BBQ restaurant in California, this eatery features traditional Southern-styled BBQ food by smoking all of the meats in-house from four to 18 hours by burning white oak logs instead of the conventional electric or gas heat. While there, you may also want to sample some other house specialties, such as the Slow-Smoked Texas Beef Brisket or Memphis Sweet Smoked Pork sandwiches, Deep South Sweet Potatoes and the Fried Cheese Grit Sticks. Just recently, Memphis Minnie’s earned the distinction of serving this year’s best chicken wings in the Bay Area from a popular local reader’s poll.
422 Haight St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
With servings of up to 25 wings and 10 different sauces, Wing Wings can satisfy even the most discernable chicken wing aficionado. Among the most raved about sauces worth trying are Buffalo, Angry Korean, Papalote Salsa and the house’s signature concoction, Wing Wings. The restaurant’s menu has all sorts of other tasty goodies, such as boxes of fried chicken, chicken sandwiches, yummy biscuits and fries. Wing Wings is located in the Lower Haight neighborhood, between Fillmore and Webster. Also offered here are catering services, take outs and home deliveries.