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MSP: fish 'n' chips

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Anyone have really, really, really good fish 'n' chips? I mean, as good as Mac's in St Paul... I'm hoping for something closer to home (the other side of the Twin Cities).

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  1. Enso, I'm not a fish and chips aficionado, but I had really really good fish and chips at the Irish fair last weekend from the booth by The Local. I've never actually been to The Local itself, but I'd say it's worth a try based on their fair fare!

    1. Jake O'Connor's Public House, an Irish Pub in Excelsior has a decent plate of fish 'n' chips. I had them Tuesday night.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Davydd

        Thanks, that tip also reminds me I once had some decent f&c at Brit's Pub in Mpls.

        1. re: Enso

          It's been a few years, but I remember Brit's as some of the worst F&C ever. Better to stroll across the street to the Local.

          1. re: Enso

            The F&S @ Brit's are still the best in MPLS without a doubt. The Local, Kieren's and Keegan's all use too much batter so you never taste the fish (and have arrived undercooked).

            As a point of comparison; I eat at Brit's and the Local at least once a month (futbol fan) and generally order F&S.

            1. re: Foureyes137

              Good to know that it's gotten better. I remember the batter as being more of a grease-encrusted shell, so I never went back. It's easy to miss places that get better (or worse) if you don't try them again periodically. That's one of the nice things about CH.

              Agree with Kieran's. And Keegan's has that distinctly frozen, boxed, bought-it-at-Costco texture to the crust. The only reason I hang at Keegan's is for the Sunday night folkies, the Smithyck's, and I can walk home.

              1. re: Loren3

                Loren, same here: Re: Keegans. I also go for trivia and the Guiness Stew which is good (I know, you don't eat beef). Also, the Guiness is colder than @ Whities.

                1. re: Foureyes137

                  Aren't you supposed to drink Guiness warm? ;-) I was pleasantly surprised by Whitey's. That was a good find (and should be in a different thread).

                  1. re: Loren3

                    Not me and at least in the UK you don't. Heck, the best Guiness I've ever had was Guiness Extra Cold...I wish they had it in the US. Perhaps the Irish drink it warm...that's just not appealing. I can't stand Jameson either. ;)

                    1. re: Foureyes137

                      the guinness served at the end of the guinness brewery tour in dublin was very cold, served by a tiny, ancient female bartender and placed on a white marble bar several inches thick. what really surprised me was that it didn't come in pints, imperial or otherwise-- she used little footed beer glasses, like stouter hurricane glasses, if you can picture it. different thread for sure if i keep on about it.

                      1. re: soupkitten

                        There was a thread recently in the Beer posts about "proper" drinking glasses for beer. I weighed in as one of the cynics.

                    2. re: Loren3

                      Major misconception dating back many years. I hit 21 brew pubs and public houses in England and never had a warm brew of any kind. I think Guinness promotes its drink as cold.

            2. re: Davydd

              Here is a photo of the Jake O'Connor's Public House Fish'n'Chips made with cod.

            3. Have you checked out Sea Salt in Minnehaha Park? Their fried fish sandwich is to die for, so they know how to bread and fry a fish. Even if they don't have french fries, you'll be happy.


              Sea Salt Eatery
              4801 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55417

              2 Replies
              1. re: AnneInMpls

                Is that the same as one of their Po' Boys?

                1. re: Enso

                  Nope, the Po' Boys are different. The fried fish sandwich features a light white fish - you don't get to choose - and the Po' Boys are available with a choice of filling (catfish, oysters, and something else).

                  Hmmm... I checked their menu, and I don't see "Fried Fish Sandwich". Maybe it's the Alaskan Fish sandwich. But you can't lose with any of their fish sandwiches.


              2. People swear by Macs Fish and Chips on Larpenteur in St Paul. Never been there.

                3 Replies
                1. re: dlgoldie

                  I personally haven't been as thrilled by Mac's since they stopped using halibut and raised their prices. Have they gone back to the halibut recently? Plus, I think the OP was specifically looking for an alternative to Mac's--a place closer to home for home.


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    TDQ - I was at Mac's a few weeks ago - no, they did not return to Habilut - BUT, despite the fact that I prefer halibut to haddock or cod - Mac's is still a no-frills good fish joint. We also got the shrimp n' chips - it was 6 butterflied shrimp. I really do like the batter - feels more tempura style-light, but still crunchy and satisfying. I personally get the fish sandwich - and though I am a die-hard french fry fan - I just cannot get into Mac's. So, while I think the fish as fried is better at mac's - if you want the whole package - I'd stay with the Local or other Irish joints. By the way, this past weekend - Barefoot Contessa made fish and chips with homemade tartar sauce - I'm going to make it this weekend. Looks ez and delicious!

                    1. re: snoboardbabe77

                      Thank you for this update. I still long for the old halibut days, I guess, but Mac's still is a decent option for fish and chips in St. Paul, just not as good as the old days. Really, though, I'd rather get the fish fry at the Groveland Tap. Their fish is fantastic, though only available on Fridays and the fries are good, too.

                      Mac's fries were always awful. :).


                2. My experience has been that every where in town is hit or miss with F&C in town. I have not tried Bihn Mihn ( sp?) on Portland and 60th, Has anyone else? My vote for worst in town goes to the Tailgate. The only reason I went was because some freinds had a coupon. SInce they have three kids I cut them slack and agreed. The server said she loved fish and that it was great. Lo and behold fish sticks and soggy fries. This is consistent with everything that came out of their kitchen. How do you screw up a grilled cheese? Really! I know it's off of the kids menu, but comeon!!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: GastronautMN

                    that's what you get for eating at a place w.a pickup truck sticking out of the front of its building..

                    just kidding, but i am glad we haven't tried it yet. it's on our route pretty much everywhere (we live a few blocks from there), and i keep saying 'maybe we should try it'. now i know not =)

                    have you been to the new mid eastern place next door, shiraz?

                    1. re: GastronautMN

                      Binh Minh has a "for lease" sign on the side of the building now. I just glanced as a I drove past, so I'm not sure if they're closed or not.

                      In other news, the Grand Ole Creamery on Cedar is now open.

                    2. When I drive home from downtown, heading north on Central Avenue, there is a little seafood shop on the right side of the street, not far from Totino's. They have now hung a fish & chips sign out their front door. Has anyone stopped there? I'm curious how their fresh fish is.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Nikkie1t

                        Nikkie, the last time fish n' chips came up on the Midwest board, someone had tried it there with his family. Gave it a thumbs up (though a bit slow in the making), and they have fresh-made waffle fries. Also, you can choose which fish you''d like used.

                        We live 2 blocks away, but have still not had a chance to get over there yet, despite my promise to myself I would do so after reading that post.

                        1. re: Foureyes137

                          Thanks, Foureyes. It looks a little difficult to find parking right by the store, but I'll make it a point to check it out soon.

                          1. re: Nikkie1t

                            When I have driven past it, it looks like there is a small place for parking right behind the shop. (Only enough for a few cars). Report back and let us know how it is if you stop in!

                            1. re: autmommy

                              Just ate there a few days ago, the f & c's were pretty good, fresh and the batter was done well. The owners were nice too, it was overall a good experience.

                              1. re: saintfirky

                                Were the chips good, too? or just the fish? I recall that the chips (and tartar sauce) as abominable.

                                You didn't, by chance, inquire about what kind of fish they are using these days, did you?


                      2. The last few weeks I’ve been noticing an ad in the dining section of the City Pages for Adrian’s Tavern-- 4812 Chicago Ave South. I have to say I’ve never been there or even heard of it, but the text of the ad reads, in full...

                        “FISH & CHIPS. That simple. That good.”

                        It might be worth checking out for those that find themselves in that part of town. Anyone know if it lives up to the pride they seem to take in it??

                        Uncle Ira

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Uncle Ira

                          I haven't been to Adrian's. Locals seem to like it for bar food.

                          1. re: Uncle Ira


                            Adrians is a friendly, semi-divey place that has moved up a bit with the neighborhood. I love em dearly, but it is a *bar*, and you will find the bartender cooking your food as well. F&C is decent honest F&C but missing the sublime aspect.

                            Macs too--tend to be a overbreaded and oily. Its too bad because if the reputation (founded on the old owners) will only carry them so far. Its good enough, but no longer worth a trip cross town.

                            Alas--I'm not being very helpful with a positive suggestion here. But I guess Fish and chips are part of my triumvirate of local-dining sorrow: We lack a collection of superior fish and chips, Indian, and genuine grade A (well, I like cecils and the elusive Acme) delis in the twin cities.


                          2. There is a place on Central and 1st called "Seafood Market". It is a little ma and pa shop. The son is a local fish distributor and provides fish for this market. They recently started a little "restaurant" where they sell primarily fish and chips (There are a few other fish dishes as well, but know for their fish and chips). Personally, I haven't tried it but every time I'm there buying seafood, someone is raving to me about the fish and chips. It is worth a try and I believe the price is $5. Hope this helps.

                            1. I have been in search of awesome Fish and Chips since the old days of Arthur Treachur's...I was told to try Mac's F&C in St Paul....Please Do not EVER go there!!! We could not even eat it...it was like drinking a cup of oil with some dried up fish in the middle of a crusty grossness. On a lighter note, the coleslaw was good...well, the whole 4 bites of it that they give you! AVOID AVOID AVOID!!!!

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: ogbeach

                                Ogbeach, Sorry your experience at Mac's was so bad. We actually haven't been back there for quite some time, but either something has seriously changed, or we went to two different Mac's. The handful of times we have eaten there - the fish sandwich, fish basket (sans fries....TDQ and I agree here completely, the "chips" are terrible...which I guess is half a reason not to get it, it's half the meal...) and the shrimp were very light on the breading- in fact, it reminded me more of tempura-style than any type of thick, cup of oil coating - ?? Now I'm curious..I might have to see if it has changed now this much since the last time (few months ago) that we went.

                                1. re: snoboardbabe77

                                  Yes, someone else please give a recent 2nd opinion. Haven't been in a while, but in all the times I've eaten there, I've never had an experience like ogbeach reports (I hope you reported the problem and they at least offered to replace it). It will be a very sad thing if they've gone that far downhill.

                                  1. re: snoboardbabe77

                                    Maybe we were just there at a bad time...sadly though, it was so bad that we will most likely not try it again. We have recently had Culver's fish, and surprisingly, it was yummy!! We also had the Fish and Chips at McCormick and Schmik's. Now, these were the absolute supreme delightful bites of heaven, but WHO is willing to pay 18$ for it(unless your parents were paying of course?) Anyhow, if you are fortunate enough to try them, you will NOT be sorry!!!! Thanks for the feedback!

                                2. Tried the fish & chips (and the hard cider) at McMahon's Pub (in the former Poodle Club location) on East Lake Street last night and was quite pleased. The coating did not slide off, the chips were seasoned and everything came out hot. The owner said they had to fiddle with the recipe to get the coating just right.

                                  McMahon's Pub
                                  3001 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55406

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: NordeastB

                                    oh wow-- the former poodle club. i think i was there for meat raffle once. can you tell us about this new place: mcmahon's, and whether it's a great new lake street pub, a keeper, a winner? anyone opening any type of new pub/bar/drinking establishment in msp these days certainly has my sympathies.

                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                      I was there for breakfast once many years ago. They put a new top on the bar and new tables and chairs. The owners told us the kitchen was in pretty, bad condition when they bought the place. We just had the f&c and potato/leek soup which was good. Noticed they did have lamb stew on it. Decent selection of Irish beers and liquor. It is much cleaner than before.

                                      Nothing fancy but we would definitely go back.

                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                        If you google for "McMahon's Pub Minneapolis" you get articles from several local papers/blogs/etc. It's a guy who was involved with Kieran's etc.

                                          1. re: MSPD

                                            turns out we know him! and he was at kieran's quite a while. . . good to see the barstaff opening up their own place. i think dom will have good attention to detail and won't skimp in any of the important places-- can't wait to get over and see his new place now!

                                      2. I would strongly recommend the Claddagh pub in Maple Grove. I go in with the intention of ordering anything other than F&C, but just can't bring myself to do it. The fish is perfectly battered, the chips have a light herb batter on them and are truly unique. Apparently it's a chain all over the midwest.

                                        1. I've tried mac's in st. paul. I've had a good order of fish there, and a bad order. But I think the place closed down. I just tried the seafood market on central ave---but it wasn't all that great. The fish was tilapia, but the fries were amazing. Anyone try bill's fish n chips in dwntwn Mpls on 11th ave.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: alpa chino

                                            Alpa Chino - when were you last there? I just drove by it on Good Friday and the place was hopping?

                                            1. re: snoboardbabe77

                                              Mac's is still open; the in-laws live right around the corner. I've been only once but it was really, really good. Now scared to jinx it.

                                              1. re: jeanmt

                                                I could've sworn I drove by larpenteur ave and saw that mac's was closed down. It was a little while ago. Maybe I'm wrong. I'll drive by again this weekend.

                                          2. heh heh. *warning, unconventional fish & chips rec to follow* ;-)

                                            when i first tried the spicy, crispy fried tilapia at pak zam zam on central ave, i thought about how all the long-suffering msp fish & chips lovers would probably enjoy this spicy version--mmmm. . . 4 spicy,greasy, flaky, tilapia fillets, served with 2 sauces and wrapped inside a hot paratha (ordered on the side) instead of newspaper! how can you go wrong? & there is an aloo (potato) side dish at the restaurant that would definitely bring the dish into crossover middle eastern fish & chips heaven. pretty much everything at pak zam zam is under 10 dollars and easily feeds 2-4. might be worth a try, for an intresting twist on the f&c craving.