In the winter months, few things are as satisfying as chicken parmesan. Warm red sauce, a fried chicken cutlet, and broiler-melted mozzarella cheese are exactly what the body craves in January.
What makes a good chicken parm? For starters, the price has to be right. For the purposes of this article, anything over $25 was eliminated because the dish should be hearty and affordable. We’re looking for the basics done right: bright and flavorful marinara, a thin and crispy chicken cutlet, gooey cheese, and (if you’re lucky) enough pasta for at least one more meal.
Cosa Buona makes one of the best chicken parm sandwiches in town. The catch: you can only get it on weekdays (except for Monday and Tuesday), and lunch only runs from from noon to 2:30 p.m. So, there are 168 hours in the week, and for only 7.5 of them does Cosa Buona serve their parm sandwich. That’s pretty damn elusive, but squeezing this puppy into your schedule is worth it. The bun is fluffy, the breading is crispy, and the sauce is sharp; arugula and prosciutto kick things up a notch. 2100 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park.
Pinocchio is the most family-friendly Italian-American restaurant on this list. This Burbank staple is attached to a deli, and it’s got the cheapest chicken parmesan on this list: $8.95 for any dinner in Los Angeles is wild, and all things considered, the chicken parm at Pinnochio is pretty damn good. The main selling point for this one is the familial ambiance, the price, and the hefty portion size. If you have kids, Pinocchio is the perfect place to introduce them to the joys of Italian-American cuisine. 3103 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank.
At this Los Feliz standby, there are two parms to choose from: a sandwich served during lunch and a larger dinner portion during the evenings. The sandwich is more than just the entree shoved in between two slices of bread—sun-dried tomato pesto, burrata cheese, and fennel slaw make it a standout. It’s flavorful and a little messy, but that’s a likable quality in a sandwich. This one is well worth the $16 price tag.
Pergoletta has a wonderful Italian aesthetic, with checkered table cloths, homey décor, and ever-present chef-owner Paolo. Running at $12.95, Paolo serves you a tender, meaty chicken parmesan that is fragrant with oregano and fresh tomatoes. Pergoletta has two locations, but the one on Hillhurst has the best vibes. Get there before dinner and you can dine at a table in the deli (maybe the best way to enjoy any meal). 1802 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz and 2827 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake.
The chicken parmesan at Frankie’s is unexpectedly sauce heavy, but “a lot” is what you want from a good parm. This is a true bread-on-the-table Italian-American affair, and their gigantic parm is under $25. Oh, and the pasta comes tossed with delicious marinara. The eggplant parm is nothing to sneeze at either. 7228 Melrose Ave., Hollywood.
RELATED: Lasagna Is So Hot Right Now
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.