Where to Get Boston's Best Roast Chicken

By Catherine Smart
11/22/2022
Where to Get Boston's Best Roast Chicken

There is a reason Ina Garten makes her husband Jeffrey a roast chicken every Friday night. We’re talking cozy, wholesome comfort food at its best. Plus, a whole chicken (with sides) will feed four hungry mouths, whether we’re talking toddlers, roommates, or the boyfriend rummaging through your fridge in search of leftovers. Here are our picks for the most succulent, flavorful birds in greater Boston.

Alcove

Alcove Roast Chicken
Photo Credit: Drew Katz

With a sprawling waterfront patio overlooking the Zakim Bridge, Alcove has a menu inspired inspired by the “New England farm coast.” So there’s plenty of seafood, but also terrestrial delights—like the Grilled Half or Whole Chicken. Jammy grilled lemons give this juicy spatchcocked bird bright flavor, and the dish comes with three sides from a tempting selection. We’re partial to the charred shishito peppers, fries for dipping in au jus, and a salad—those citrusy juices make a perfect warm dressing.

Shy Bird

Shy Bird | Where to Get Boston's Best Roast Chicken

A restaurant devoted to the rotisserie, Shy Bird won’t steer you wrong when you’re hungry for roast chicken. (Or a chicken sandwich, for that matter.) The brined, spice-rubbed bird is available by the half or whole. Dinner for Two comes with McDonald’s-esque rosemary fries—the highest compliment!—and a bracing green salad. It’ll feed four if you order an extra side or two, plus a Chocolate Chip Cookie or two for dessert. South Boston will soon get its very own taste of Shy Bird with a second location opening imminently.

Bianca

Bianca | Where to Get Boston's Best Roast Chicken
Photo Credit: Stephen Martino

If you’re wondering if the Cushmans—known for sushi at O Ya and Hojoko—can make a mean roast chicken, the answer is a resounding yes. Their suburban restaurant, Bianca, located at Chestnut Hill shopping center The Street, is centered on a wood-fired grill (though maki rolls like Shiitake Mushroom Tempura Sushi are an excellent starter). The Freebird Half Chicken finesses the grilled bird with smoked rotisserie chicken jus, chimichurri sauce, and fines herbs. We also love the menu-staple Chopped Rotisserie Chicken Salad, which combines tender morsels with mixed greens, avocado, blue cheese, parmesan, green and red onions, North Country Smoked Bacon, and a sweet and spicy dressing.

Machu Chicken

Machu Picchu | Boston's Best Roast Chicken

In Union, Square, Somerville, Peruvian restaurant Machu Picchu spun off this takeout-focused spot famous for Pollo a la Brasa. Order from Machu Chicken for the juicy bird, rotisserie-roasted over Peruvian charcoal and priced with sides for an absolute steal; stay for the creamy, garlicky sauces it’s served with. You’ll want to hoard that aji verde in the fridge and pour it on absolutely everything. Machu Chicken is available by the quarter, half, or whole bird, on its own or with a family-style side like golden French fries or Tacu-Tacu, Peruvian-style beans and rice.

Thistle & Leek
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

If you’re wondering whether it’s possible to improve on a classic roast chicken, pay a visit to Thistle & Leek in Newton Centre. Chefs Kate and Trevor Smith, the wife-and-husband duo behind the cozy gastropub, take an innovative approach to the golden bird: It’s a young chicken, cut in half so it roasts quickly and evenly in 15 minutes. Like the classic, this roast chicken arrives at the table sporting crisp, golden skin, with seasonal vegetables tucked around the succulent poultry. The chefs pair it with a seasonal, soul-warming porridge, such as oat risotto or creamy, charred corn polenta.

Branch Line

There was a time when rotisserie chicken in the suburbs meant Boston Market—and then acclaimed local restaurateur Garrett Harker and former Eastern Standard general manager Andrew Holden built a classy restaurant around a giant, rotating spit. The Herby Rotisserie Chicken at Branch Line is available by the half or whole bird, served with a zesty house sauce; or opt for the fiery Piri Piri version in either size. It’s available a la carte, but you’ll want to add on sides or perhaps the famous Sugar Snap Pea Salad.

Vee Vee

Vee Vee | Where to Find the Best Jamaica Plain Restaurants
Credit: Chris McIntosh

Jamaica Plain neighborhood restaurant Vee Vee is small and satisfying, with a few tables and a bar reserved for walk-ins, and a unique menu of appetizer, dessert, entree selections that change with the seasons. Chicken is always an herb-coated, tender Statler set—the classic cut of a breast of chicken with the drumette still attached—served with pillowy ricotta gnocchi. It’s a menu staple for good reason, and always pairs perfectly with a crisp saison from Vee Vee’s low-key incredible beer selection.

Sycamore Roast Chicken
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Sycamore is as good a farm-to-table bistro as you’ll find around Boston, and it’s hiding in plain sight in Newton Center. The menu doesn’t dwell on owners’ Dave Punch and Lydia Reichert’s attentive product sourcing by listing names of farms everywhere, but Green Circle Chicken does get a shoutout. This name in poultry signifies quality and flavor, describing a bird fed grains and vegetables and raised without antibiotics or hormones in certified humane, free-range conditions. Again, the menu doesn’t dwell on this, but after one bite you’ll understand why Sycamore’s Green Circle Chicken is a star. The set changes seasonally with Mediterranean-esque accoutrements, such as savory boquerones salsa verde.

Updated by Jacqueline Cain. Ellen Bhang contributed reporting.

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