Serious Eats

Which Chain Makes the Best Chicken Taco?

[Photographs: Farley Elliott]

Over the past month, we've covered many different chain tacos (see: carnitas, steak, ground beef, and fish). Some taco chains may do steak and fish, but not ground beef. Another place may do carnitas but not steak. Yet, after weeks of staring at the same menus in the same national chains, one thing became abundantly clear: all of them serve chicken.

Ah yes, chicken. The unobtrusive white meat. If you're looking for a quick, lean protein, white chicken breast will do just nicely, and chain tacos all across America have long since known that fact. And, because chicken breast relies so heavily on the flavors around it, diced up chunks of poultry work inside corn or flour tortillas, fried inside taquitos, romping with beans, plastered with cheese or drowned out with cream.

A deft hand can certainly turn the beleaguered bird into something flame-licked and delicious. Or, the right sampling of simple spices can make your chicken soar. But all that takes time, something that many chain places simply don't have. So what's it take to make a great chicken taco?

Rubio's Street Taco

The Criteria

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The Chains We Tried

Recommended

Del Taco Fat (Flatbread) Taco
El Pollo Loco Taco Al Carbon
El Pollo Loco Tortilla Wrap
Qdoba Hard Taco
Rubio's Gourmet Taco
Rubio's Street Taco
Chipotle Chicken Soft Taco

Wouldn't Kick This Taco Out of Bed

Del Taco Grilled Chicken Ranch Taco
Green Burrito Street Taco
Taco Bell Fresco Taco
Qdoba Soft Chicken Taco
Chipotle Chicken Hard Taco
Baja Fresh Corn Tortilla Taco
Wahoo's Cajun Chicken Taco

Not Recommended

Del Taco Al Carbon Taco
Del Taco Grilled Chicken Chipotle Taco
Del Taco Original Grilled Chicken Taco
Taco Bell Soft Taco
El Pollo Loco Taquitos
El Pollo Loco Crunchy Taco
Green Burrito Honey Mustard Chicken Wrap
Green Burrito Southwest Soft Taco
Rubio's Classic Taco
Baja Fresh Flour Tortilla Taco
Baja Fresh Taquitos
Wahoo's Regular Taco

About the author: Farley Elliott is a writer and comedian living in Los Angeles. He blogs about burgers at Beef and Bun and covers the LA comedy scene for LAist.com.

Printed from http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/09/best-chicken-tacos-fast-food-chains-del-taco-el-pollo-loco-qdoba-rubios-chiptole.html

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