First, there were cupcakes, then tacos, then Detroit-style pizza. The fads that feed a foodie frenzy are as much a Toronto trend as bandwagon-jumping come playoffs (insert whichever team here). But some fads breed permanence, and we’re glad to see the Spicy Chicken Sandwich and all its iterations blazing a trail beyond merely a passing trend.

But the options! Ohh, the options are endless and the conquest to crown a single sandwich is too much for any one person. Luckily for me, I have a hungry teenager to help bring balance to this beefy list. And in keeping with the democratic nature of this site, and the quest to continue this thread, please do not conclude this is as a finished and polished piece, this living, breathing map to crispy spicy juicy crunchy in Toronto is by far no means conclusive.

Add in your favourite spots in the comments below! ๐Ÿ” ๐Ÿฃ

popeyes spicy chicken sandwich
popeyes spicy chicken sandwich

๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ” Popeyes– Hard to express how much we love this sandwich, it’s a stalwart favourite, no matter the location or occasion, this crunchy crispy all-chicken sandwich is our go-to fave. Predictably consistent, this puffy dry-spiced portion is perfectly nestled into a big buttery bun, then slathered in sauce and then crowned with pickles. SPICY CHICKEN SANDWICH $7.29.

๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ” Union Chicken– Since my summer obsession back at Union Summer Market I have been smitten for this sandwich (lead photo). Lovingly still at the top of the tasty tower, Union Chicken hunts down only naturally raised free-run chickens to brine and batter, and the effort is noticeable and worth the payoff. OG FRIED CHICKEN SANDWICH COMBO $19.

victory foods kitchen hub
victory foods

๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ” Victory Foods via Kitchen Hub– This plump juicy sandwich came delivered via Kitchen Hub. Remarkably, it arrived hot, crispy and amazing, a feat to eat and worth the calories and price factor. A juicy thigh rests on a fluffy bun paired with crisp celery and blue cheese. Like a chicken wing, but handheld. Terrific! BUFFALO FRIED CHICKEN SANDWICH COMBO $20.

๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ” Ding a Wing– This Roncesvalles chicken coop features a crispy brined chicken thigh wedged into a sturdy Martins Potato bun. Added sweet slaw and pickles complete the triforce, or upgrade to the Big Mat version to amp up the caloric intake. A noble contender with slightly spicy but not in a burn your face off kinda way though. CHICKEN SANDWICH $10.

ding a wing chicken sandwich
ding a wing ‘big mat’ sandwich

๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ” Chick-Fil-A– I didn’t want to even include this chain, with their over-the-top ridicule and contempt for, uhm, people, but since my gay bestie indulges in these weekly, I was told to get over it, order the damn sandwich and get on with life. The hate-filled sides and colourful fountain pops aren’t worth the trip, but the sandwiches are legit, on point with their American counterparts. The Deluxe Spicy Chicken Sandwich is the way to go, with Monterey jack cheese + jalapenos, lettuce and tomatoes decorating the seasoned and super tasty chicken. SPICY CHICKEN SANDWICH $6.19-$6.99.

chick fil a spicy chicken
chick-fil-a spicy chicken sandwich + deluxe spicy chicken

๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ” Shenanigans– The server said that this one would come back to haunt me and they were correct – it is HOT AF. Iceberg lettuce masks *some* of the Red-Hot style heat, but it’s no use, the double-decker breaded cutlets are stacked and jacked. The pickles and lettuce are a nice touch, as is the super-soft but properly toasted bun to amass all that nasty sauce. LOVE MY TENDERS SANDWICH $17. (+$1 for makin’ it nasty).

swiss chalet crispy chicken sandwich
swiss chalet crispy chicken

๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ” Swiss Chalet– Saucy to the max with coleslaw and a barely there bun, this supremely messy super sloppy sandwich is worth the napkin quotient. You’d think they would slide in some chalet-spice but thankfully they copycat the OG Nashville version. It’s a hot mess, and I am here for it. CRISPY CHICKEN SANDWICH $14.99.

daves hot chicken combo
daves hot chicken

๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ” Dave’s Hot Chicken– With 7 fun ways to tear up your intenstines, Dave’s bringing the fun with this new-ish import also from the US. With one (light spice) to seven (reaper, where they actually assume no personal responsibility to your insides) the choice is yours alone and we’ll see you there (five is where our heart is at). Sticking to a very tight menu, Dave has tenders and sliders, carbs and kale and what else is there in life anyways? A trickle of heat and a crinkle fry had me at hello. SINGLE SLIDER $7.99.

stefanos sandwiches-chicken
stefano’s sandwiches vegan fried chicken

๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ Stefano’s Sandwiches– Secret spices and a top notch plant-based chicken replacement secures Stefano’s inclusion on this list- remarkably flaky and seductively juicy plant parts replicate the realness of the real deal. Fluffed and folded into an in-housemade ciabbatta bun and that’s how you win people over to the dark side. Magic! VEGAN FRIED CHICKEN $14.

๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ” Superchicken– A new contender, Superchicken opened on Yonge Street south of Sheppard just this past July, quietly removing Smoke’s Poutineire (and the obnoxious stickering that follows) from the strip. Salty brined, battered and wined and dined, we loved it and the popcorn chicken too. Just not spicy or saucy enough to keep it on repeat. SPICY CHICKERN BURGER $9.19.

๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ” A&W– Had high hopes as I’m a loyal teenburger lover and frankly, I was pretty disappointed, not like crying into my ice cold rootbeer but definitely letdown by the dude who talked a big spicy game on the commericals – so we tried at another location and had better results, but marginally. There’s just not a lot of love or excitement to this one. SPICY HABANERO CHICKEN BURGER $6.79.

a&w spicy chicken sandwich
a&w

๐Ÿ” and ๐ŸŒฟ KFC– I don’t know what I expected at a fast-food chain that I have completely neglected in hopes it would actually disappear, but research is research and the Colonel kept calling, so we double-downed on the effort and inspected both plant based and traditional offerings. We reckon the plant-based one should be fed to snakes and only snakes, while the the latter is only slightly more approachable. Turns out, the plant-based has already been bounced from the menu so I guess if you like crusty sandwiches made by old bearded guys then this chicken version is for you! SPICY FAMOUS CHICKEN CHICKEN SANDWICH $7.79.

kfc spicy plant based chicken
kfc plant based

Rating System

๐Ÿ” – flawed, basic, would eat again only if forced to

๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ” – mostly meh, would suggest to frenemy

๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ” – worthy of a revisit, it’s not you it’s maybe me but probably not

๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ”- almost a slam dunk, tweak here or there and magic!

๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ” – jackpot! Worthy of lining up for, possibly cutting appendages off for…

Every sandwich proudly purchased (except Victory Foods which was gifted) and shot by Libby Roach.