How's Il Pollaio on Columbus? (N.Beach)

I just returned from my semi-annual trip to Montreal and after a large take-out order last night from Portugalia (family-run churrascaria known for their spicy charcoal grilled birds that are slow cooked to order), I’m feeling the loss of rotisserie more than ever in SF. I’ve passed by Il Pollaio on Columbus countless times when walking through the neighborhood, and I’ve always been curious about what goes on inside. I’ve rarely, if ever, seen it mentioned on the old Chowhound. Can someone please offer some thoughts?


I used to live across the street from Il Pollaio and it is probably in my top three restaurants I miss most in North Beach. I love their chicken and also their rabbit. It is simple and their food is consistently delicious. Try it out, it wont break the bank.

Thanks, I just did today (shortly after posting) and I enjoyed it. The meat was a bit dry to be honest, and it wasn’t as plentiful as expected (not much meat on the bird) but it certainly did the job and the price was right. It doesn’t hold a candle to Montreal’s abundant Portugese rotisseries I’m afraid, but I’ll be back whenever I need my Sunday night chicken fix. I had a side of fries and grilled onions. I also took home a lentil soup which I’m eating right now for dinner. Next time, I’ll try the rabbit.

This was my frame of reference btw. Hard to beat.

Are there any authentic Portugese rotisseries in San Francisco proper?

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Hmmm, it was never dry when I had it but it’s been a little over 4 years since I moved. The breast was a little dry as reheated leftovers. I have had moister chicken, for example a roasted chicken at Ad Hoc, fried chicken at Miss Ollie’s, both unfair direct comparisons in terms of price or cooking method.

I dont love their side dishes, you probably ordered the best ones. The good thing about their salad is that it is never wilted, and Ive seen people make chicken salad even though it is not on the menu. However, their salad dressings are very generic or bottled. My husband likes their marinated eggplant.

what are your other top 2 restaurants you miss most in North Beach?

Since we’re talking about rotisserie chicken here, she’d better say Girapolli. :wink:

Da Flora (miss the most, no contest) and Tony’s.

Just a quick update to report that “Mary’s Chicken alla Diavola” from the Delfina in Pac Heights is really, really good - much better than I would have ever guessed. It’s actually the best I’ve had from a casual local restaurant (ie. not Tosca/Zuni level) but unfortunately, like most good things in this city, it’s priced a bit high for what you get, which is a pretty small half bird. I almost wish they’d open a focused rotisserie for take-out/delivery, just turning these out in choice cuts with more consistency and a couple of basic sides. I actually liked the chicken better than most of the delivery pizzas I’ve ordered from them. It’s too bad that Caviar is such completely stupid rip-off, because I’d make it a regular order.

Moving south in the SF geography, our favorite rotisserie chicken is at Good Friikin Chicken (Mission & 29th). This place is run by Jordanians and is very authentic middle eastern. Their hummus is the best around and most like what one (once upon a time) would get in Damascus. The chickens are small (young) beautifully spiced and generally juicy.

Thanks for this, the photos look good – I will add it to my list and report back once I’ve given it a try!

I have to offer an opposite view. Goood Frikkin Chicken is in my neighborhood and I’ve eaten there many times over the past 10 years (not because I thought it was good, but because it was a good gathering place for large groupa of parents with young kids). Sure, the hummus is good, but there’s nothing else there I’d recommend. As a lover of falafel, I can say theirs is flavorless. Now that the kid is older, we don’t go there.

I will say that they and Front Porch were very generous in feeding scores of firefighters during the horrible June fire on Mission St.