You hear it so often from great chefs that it must be true: A perfect Roast Chicken is among the most challenging of dishes. It is also one of the most delicious, especially if it begins with a free-range, high-quality bird, uninjected with fats, oils, hormones, and who knows what else. (In fact, a chicken’s pallor is often more indicative of a full-flavored chicken than the bright yellow found at most supermarkets.) The world’s top chefs have their tricks to producing a perfect roast chicken, from basting it with certain herbs to modulating the temperature in the oven while it cooks. Here is a list of restaurants where I’ve had the very best.

CHICAGO: Zinfandel
59 W. Grand Ave.
(312) 527-1818
A good Midwestern rendition,
with terrific biscuits on the side.

NEW YORK CITY: Merge
142 W. 10th St.
(212) 691-7757
A whole 3 1/2-pound bird with
rosemary and lemon, for two.

PARIS: L’Amis Louis
32 rue du Vertbois
011-33-1-4887-7748
The classic French roast chicken, burnished and succulent, carved tableside and served with the city’s best French fries.

SAN FRANCISCO: Dine
662 Mission St.
(415) 538-3463
Chef Julia McClaskey makes a golden crisp-skinned beauty, which she stuffs with Parmesan-flavored orzo pasta, then sets it atop sautéed pea shoots drenched in the rich pan juices.