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Restaurants

Sardinha O Rei Dos Frangos

Posted by Devon Scoble / Listed on January 26, 2009 / review policy

Sardinha BBQ ChickenSardinha, Toronto's self-appointed King of BBQ Chicken, thrives on a loyal contingent of Bloorcourt locals: a succession of portly retirees, skinny hipsters, kerchiefed grandmas and leather-jacketed bruisers. With this motley queue rotating as smoothly as the chicken-laden spit, Sardinha serves up enough bird legs to keep customers doing the chicken dance all day (if they were so inclined).

Sardinha Chicken TorontoUnlike the matron in the long blue coat, who likes hers well-done ("Give her a well-done piece," said the boss, "She likes it that way"), or the guy who came to commiserate after losing $500 at the slots, I don't come to Sardhina enough for staff to know I like my chicken juicy. This is too bad, because the leg in my quarter chicken dinner had some dry, chewy bits I could've done without.

Sardinha ChickenAlthough not exactly a regular, I have been here enough to be surprised by these rogue bites of rough poultry. I usually order a whole roasted chicken, and like most Sardinha fans, I get it to go. Taking my dinner home means I can eat it with my hands, licking the tongue-tickling hot sauce from my fingertips as loud as I like.

Sardinha Rei Dos FrangosI can also make that $9.00 bird last several meals. After I've finished lip-smacking the sauce, and tearing through crispy skin and tender flesh, I take the bones and remaining jus in a pot of water, add starchy leftovers (rice, potatoes, pasta) and a bit of veg and boil it down to a savoury soup that is as delicious as its first incarnation. Sardinha chicken is my kind of whole food.

Sardinha Rei Dos FrangosThe whole, spit-roasted hens are always juicy and delectable to the bone, as was most of my quarter chicken dinner. Dry bits aside, my meal was tasty, filling and economical: $7.00 for a piece of chicken, generous heap of rice (or choice of Greek or Parisian potatoes) and a crispy iceberg salad slathered in homemade vinaigrette. Best of all was the spicy sauce, equal parts pepper and vinegar, all delightful. This set came with a pop, but for an extra $.50, I ordered pomegranate juice instead, delighting in the intriguing blend of pomegranate, apple, elderberry and cinnamon.

Sardinha Rei Dos FrangosNext time I might opt for a breast instead of leg, or stick with my regular whole chicken. Or maybe I'll get funky with a sole dinner, slab of moussaka or slice of lasagna. In any case, I will be back. It might take until I'm portly and kerchiefed myself, but one day I want the boss to recognize me and say, "give her that big juicy one. This lady, she likes her chicken juicy!

Discussion

23 Comments

Lindsay / April 12, 2008 at 01:01 pm
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I love you Sardinha. Take my money. All of it. The only thing that would make you better is if you were open 24 hours.
AnnieD / September 3, 2008 at 05:21 pm
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They have the BEST chicken in town. I love this place!
monique / October 13, 2008 at 06:28 pm
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I love Sardinha, this place rocks!!!!!They have the best chicken in town. Wish they were open 24 hours.
Paul / January 26, 2009 at 02:31 pm
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They have a garlic/lemon sauce as well, but it's not as good as the spicy sauce. The whole chicken deal is an amazing value.
jayseeca / January 26, 2009 at 06:04 pm
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i must disagree. the best chicken in town is at O Barradino at Lansdowne and Wallace (1 street light north of Bloor), Sardinha doesn't compare!
Raph / January 26, 2009 at 11:21 pm
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I find Sardinha's chicken disappointing and dry. The best BBQ chicken I've had in Toronto is at Churrasqueira Oliveira at 898 College Street.
john / January 27, 2009 at 09:55 pm
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Their is a Sardinha at Weston Rd and Lawrence as well.
Delicious.
Danielle / January 29, 2009 at 08:47 am
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This place is incredible. Get chicken and then add ribs (lots of them and ask them to make 'em fresh for ya) then add french fries (not the little potatoes). Take it home and bring the mayo to the table and mix the hot sauce with it.
DELICIOUS!
Jo / March 13, 2009 at 01:35 pm
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This place is located in my old neighbourhood and when I lived there, I visited often. I would usually get a whole chicken to go. Some days the chicken was cooked better (juicy) than others (too dry), but I always went back for more. I do not like their rice (too dry) but the potatoes are pretty good when warm. I also enjoyed some of their fish options.
Ana / September 2, 2009 at 03:12 pm
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This place used to be owned by portuguese and the food was amazing. Recently the business was sold to another culture and now it lacks the authentic portuguese cuisine it thrived off of. let's move on to better the Barradino on Wallace and Lansdowne is by far !00% better. Good by to our old Sardinha and if you still want to eat the food made by the true Sardinha chef's go to Oliveira on College east of Crawford. Happy eating!
smartygirl replying to a comment from jayseeca / October 29, 2009 at 05:00 pm
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not o barradino - theirs is the driest ever. churrasco's on st clair is awesome.
jason / November 2, 2009 at 05:53 pm
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The food and all was fantastic... for a while.. until i found a roach in my rice.... Never again guys, never again....
Anonymous / December 4, 2009 at 05:23 pm
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This place stinks. I work nearby, and i used to eat there quite often. Once i saw a lady who works there arguing with the owner (guy named Chris). Chris wanted her to use old, gray-looking minced meat. Lady who worked there said that she simply couldn't. I found hair in my food, saw them cross-contaminating cooked chicken with fresh. I had food poisoning a couple of times, and same with my friends (remember, i work nearby, so in two years i ate there like 300 times).

Food they cook comes frozen in big plastic bags. 9$ for half chicken meal? No thanks.
Joe / December 21, 2009 at 10:25 am
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I used to go to Sardinhia but have recently started going to The Grill Pit nearby at Bloor and Manning. I don't know how they make their sauce but it's amazing! I still like to try different chicken places for a change but so far I'm hooked to The Grill Pit.
Jo Magpie / December 23, 2009 at 03:17 pm
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Got there 15mins before closing time, ordered a quarter chicken dinner but pretty much got half a chicken. Came with a large portion of parisienne potatoes and fluffy rice. All for $7.50, taxes in. Their hot sauce is pretty good too. Overall, two thumbs up. I definitely recommend.
Brandon / August 21, 2010 at 08:17 pm
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As a relatively new patron to this whole Portuguese chicken scene, I've only tried Churrasco at Mt Pleasant/Eglinton, and have been there several times due to the close proximity to where I used to live. Now that I'm down on Bloor, I wanted to find and try another place, and Sardinha is fantastic. The grilled half chicken with potatoes and salad is the way to go. Tons of food and a drink for $10. As Joe mentioned above, there is also the Grill Pit, which is steps away from my house, but I wasn't all that impressed with their roasted chicken or their piri-piri sauce (their ribs are great though). I'm definitely willing to go for a bit of a walk to return to Sardinha in the future.
ruth costa / September 23, 2010 at 03:09 pm
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I just moved to Mississauga and I heard they have a store somewhere here. Does anyone know the main intersection?
csmellis / June 22, 2011 at 07:01 am
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does anyone know who owns Sardinha Rei Dos Frangos?
csmellis / June 22, 2011 at 07:02 am
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does anyone know the name of the guy who owns Sardinha Rei Dos Frangos?
Marshall / September 5, 2012 at 05:30 am
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I used to live across the street and frequented this place often until my fifth bout of mild food poisoning. I can't bring myself to eat portuguese chicken anywhere because this place has scarred me so bad. Their only saving grace are the potatoes, but if you live in the area you can buy them and take them home to cook.
FG / May 7, 2013 at 04:20 pm
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If you want to eat authentic portuguese cuisine and churrasco chicken cooked the wSy it's supposed to be done (over charcoal) please take the time to go to Churrasqueira Martins at Rogers and Weston Road! It's worth the drive or ttc tide but make reservations or you may not get a table! Their food is absolutely delicious and authentically portuguese!!
Fernando Alonso / October 13, 2013 at 04:40 am
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I went to this restaurant yesterday for dinner. Place was packed. Read the good reviews the night before. So I was looking forward to this experience. Seconds after walking in Ordered half chicken meal with round potatoes and rice. Staff was FAST to take my order. I was in and out in less than 3 minutes. They have a makeshift oven for cooked chicken to stay warm. Oven was packed with birds. All the chicken is cooked in bulk for quicker service. not a bad idea. but face the fact , a chicken warming in a oven for just a hour will become dry. the old guy removed a chicken, then tossed it in some stainless steel tub to cut it. Looked like one of those WW2 military hospital pottys. They filled a take out capsule with rice , potatoes and chicken. let me iterrupt by saying this capsule must have weighed pounds. it was so dam heavy. the chicken was drenched in sauce. my final thought. couldn't eat the rice because it was taking a bath in sauce. potatoes were good but had this one corner burnt to a crisp. so u had to eat around it. chicken had a proper , one of a kind taste. but it was way to dry. I really believe that there product is amazing. just they were alitte sloppy this day with the preparation of this meal. maybe it was the bad batch out of a 100? What do you think everyone??? Should I give this place another chance??? Those who are fans and loyal patrons of Sardinha, please help me out with ur advice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Paulo Pato / April 9, 2014 at 11:01 pm
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well after reading all these comments about Sardinha's churrasqueira I desagree with all these commentaries i really don't think that they're chicken is that great, i'm portuguese myself and i ate portuguese chicken in almost all of the churrasqueiras in the portuguese community and in all the places i ate the best of them all is right on Ossington Ave. south of Dundas "Alex rei dos leitoes" try the chicken from there and then write a revue, yummmmy

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