Miami's Best Chicken Wings: Sakaya to Sparky's to Scully's
Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Miami® 2012 online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.
If you decide to go on a hunt for Miami's best chicken wings there are few things to keep in mind. First is to order the smallest available portion at each restaurant because this is a marathon, not a sprint.
Beyond that you'll need a pen and paper, to remember the intimate details of each variety. Think you've got it covered? Not yet. We'd also advise some floss. Squirrel away any extra moist towelettes. They'll come in handy. Bring along a travel bottle of hand sanitizer too. Lastly you'll want to have some lip balm handy. They sometimes burn.
Lucky for you, we already took on the task of finding the best Miami has to offer. Here's what we found.
Photos by Zachary Fagenson
10. Scampi Wings at Scully's Tavern
How can garlic-and-butter-doused anything ever be bad? Scully's might catch a bad wrap for its cameo on the Food Network's Diners Drive-Ins and Dives, but the little Irish pub has been serving up meaty, crispy wings drenched in butter and roasted garlic for years. Keep a fork nearby to get some of those tender roasted cloves onto each bite.
9. 718 Wings at King's County Pizza
This tiny North Miami Beach pizza joint has become a much-loved local spot for ex-pat New Yorkers hungry for the memory of the greasy, cheesy utility pizza of the tri-state area. There are few foods that pair better with pizza than wings. Here the 718 sauce, the area for King's County where Brooklyn lies, is sweet while maintaining traditional buffalo sauce's spice and orange color. King's County's are meaty, with a perfect crunch on the outside.
8. Bucket O' Wings at Titanic Restaurant and Brewery
This microbrewery and pub is a longtime favorite of University of Miami students and beer buffs. Behind the bar are windows giving diners a look into the restaurant's brewing operations. Titanic's wings come in either one pound ($8) or two pound ($14.50) portions. They may look like regular buffalo wings, but they're not. Glazed in a creamy Vietnamese Sriracha hot sauce you immediately feel the spicy punch of the Thai chili sauce that's gained a cult-like following.
7. Buffalo Style Chicken Wings at Clarke's Irish Pub
Despite being in South Beach's weirder than weird South of Fifth neighborhood, Clarke's has a local feel and bartenders who are better at working a crowd than pouring the beach's signature $16 vodka tonics. These are straight up classic buffalo wings done right. Plenty of meat on the bones, covered in a good, not-too-spicy sauce. The blue cheese dressing on the side is housemade, and the best we came across in our search.
Photo courtesy Burger Beast
6. Jerk Chicken Wings at Sparky's Roadside Barbecue
New York duo Kevin Kehoe and Hans Seitz opened Sparky's in 2010, bringing proper homestyle barbecue to downtown Miami. Get the smoked chicken thigh and pulled pork plate when you visit, but start off with the Jerk Chicken wings. Meaty and full of spice thanks to plenty of scotch bonnet peppers in the sauce make these one of Miami's better and more unusual wings.
Photo courtesy Sakaya Kitchen
5. Korean Fried Chicken Wings at Sakaya Kitchen
Call it the little shop that Korean Fried Chicken (and honey orange glazed ribs) built. Richard Hales' double fried chicken wings have been a hit ever since he mustered the balls to open Sakaya Kitchen in the once-deserted Midtown Mall. Sweet, crispy and meaty, these wings come sprinkled with chopped scallion and minced garlic and could convert even the most dedicated chicken wing purist.
4. Smokehouse Wings at Bulldog Barbecue
Former Top Chef contestant and all-around loud mouth Howie Kleinberg took his television momentum and opened this North Miami barbecue joint. His smokehouse wings are unlike any other we've had. The blue cheese doesn't come on the side, it's mixed in with the spicy hot sauce and dressed over meaty wings. They're somewhat smokey, somewhat spicy and everything you want in a wing.
Photo courtesy Burger Beast
3. Buffalo Wings at The Filling Station
Despite measured improvements, few places in downtown Miami remain open in the evening after all the lawyers have cleared out. The Filling Station is one the few holding a flag. It's the last stop for the ever-growing Critical Mass ride, where cyclists of all stripes finish off with a beer, perhaps a burger and their award winning wings. The Filling Station manages to get all that spicy, vinegary buffalo flavor onto their wings without the trademark neon orange color.
Photo by Alex Rodriguez
2. Grilled Wings at Shuckers Bar & Grill
Keep your damn sauce away from Shuckers' grilled wings. They're crispy on the outside, hot and juicy on the inside with the perfect amount of spice thanks to a special, secret blend. Just off the 79th Street Causeway, Shuckers sits right on Biscayne Bay. Football and these wings is exactly the way to spend a fall Sunday. Be careful though, there was more than an hour wait for a table on a recent weekend.
1. Special Grilled Wings at Sports Grill
Sports Grill, far west on Sunset Drive, is an average-looking sports bar with anything but average wings. They're grilled and have a crispy exterior with plenty of char. After grilling they're tossed in Sports Grill's spicy signature sauce. The kicker is a quick Worcestershire sauce wash that gives them a vinegary pop and adds an element of savoriness we couldn't find anywhere else. On top of that they were some of the cheapest we found. $4.79 for five.
By the way, boneless chicken wings are not wings. They're chicken nuggets and a clever marketing campaign.
For more follow Zach on Twitter @ZachIsWeird.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Miami dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.
More Food & Drink News
- Sliderz Opens Next Week: Tiny Sandwiches, Big Flavors Coming to North Miami
Sat., Nov. 7, 7:00pm
Fri., Nov. 13, 7:00pm
Thu., Dec. 3, 6:30pm
Fri., Dec. 11, 6:30pm
- Sushi Maki Turns 15, Debuts Lighter, Brighter Menu
- Puroast Coffee Opening in Brickell in October