fish and chips
Another good place is Ben -n- Nicks on College Ave. just across the street from Market Hall in Oakland. The fish and chips are almost always really great - very crispy and in addition to the vinegar and tartar sauce, I think you can get some sort of spicy aoli with it too. The beer selection is of course, great. It's a pub after all. The service can be a little wierd though.
By the way, I totally agree with the Kensington Circus recommendation. I love that place.
My absolutely favorite fish and chips place is the Irish Bank located right downtown. The batter is light and crispy (not hard and caked on to the fish) and the fries are fantastic. I'm even quite fond of the coleslaw you get on the side. You wouldn't necessarily find it on your own since it's located in an alley called 10 Mark Lane (cross street is Bush). But, it does tend to get busy during happy hour. I've been going there forever, and I'm embarrassed to admit that despite always being up for trying something new, the only dish I've had there is the fish and chips. I have had a couple of bites off my boyfriend's hamburger, and it was excellent as well. Plus, you can feel like you're in Ireland without having to fly across the pond.
Kensington Circus Pub on Colusa at the Berkeley/Kensington border. Very fresh fish lighlty coated and not too greasy, thick cut chips and lots of imports and local brews on tap. They also have a beer machine and the selection changes regularly. Excellent onion rings and a very good sheperds pie (but ask for the salsa on the side, not on top-that's just WRONG).
This is definately a neighborhood pub: dogs lounging around just outside the door, kids crawling around the special play area (which morphs into the dart board area after the kids go home to bed)and live music a few times a month. Be forewarned; it can be noisy and the service is, ahem, spotty.
re: Alexandra Eisler
Thanks to everyone for their fish and chips recommendations; I now have a list of places that I am dying to try out!
Last night my boyfriend and I hit the Kensington Circus Pub; the fish and chips were so good! battered and fried to perfection, and the french fries tasted fresh-cut. great beer selection, too...i'll definitely be going back...thanks for the suggestion, Alexandra!
The best fish is in Menlo Park at a place called Jonathan's the catfish is what they do there. It is southern style in like a cornmeal/breadcrumb coating, the shrimp is really good there too.
In the city, there is a place on Larkin just north of Geary on the right side, it has a reference to england in the name and they serve it on newspaper.
Berkeley: Spenger's has changed their fish and chips from the old restaurant (egg battered, sauteed fish) which I loved as a child to the more traditional style - of course, the food is less than appealing there these days. There's a place on Shattuck ave. called Fish & Chips (I think) which I haven't tried, but it looks good.
Oakland: Lot's of little joints around that serve fish and chips - not sure if any serve beer because they're all rather small and mostly to-go. I'll bet the fish is good though. The only place I've tried is Roaster's Fish and Ribs, I had ribs - which were pretty good and the fish looked okay. Small place with a couple stools along the walls or to-go.
San Francisco: I love the fish and chips at Kate O'Briens on Howard or at the Edinburgh Castle at 950 Geary - a Scottish pub that only serves fish and chips (in newspaper). And I haven't been in years, but The Ramp (off 3rd st.) used to have good fish and chips.
I myself am a lowbrow fish and chips man. I'm talking about the joint exclusively being a fish and chips place, y'know...like back in the old days of the fad of the "Broasted Chicken" places with National Geographics spread all over the place, the walls yellowed with grease from the fryers.
I'm talking about Yorkshire Fish and Chips in Oakland on Grand, with National Geographics galore. They had kind of a bad review by some snooty high-falootin' guy back just recently. But it was mostly about them not having certain things in stock (scallops, clams, etc.) I suggest calling ahead if you want to try some of the more exotic fare. I'm mostly a cods, prawns, chips. The tartar sauce with fries is fabulous. Mmmmm mmmm....malt vinegar. The owner is very generous, and I dig him. I used to go all the time when the place used to by on Shattuck, next to that bar Spats. Now I go to Oakland and feast when I can. They have ginger beer! I like washing the fish and chips down with a nice cold Coca-Cola. Refreshing! They are closed Mondays.
Yorkshire Fish & Chips
Lunch and dinner Tues-Sun.
248 Grand Ave., (510) 251-0622