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Reliable Fish 'n Chips - Queen St. East

Wednesday, about 2 o'clock ... two of us visited Reliable Fish and Chips (as seen on Restaurant Makeover). We ordered one Halibut 'n Chips and one Cod 'n Chips. The chips were excellent, perhaps the best we have tasted. The halibut was also excellent, while the cod should have been halibut. The fish 'n chips were perefectly served, not at all greasy. The fish batter stayed nice and crisp. Service was warm and friendly. Lots of customers were coming and going during the time we were there. We met George, the owner, who is much more interesting in person than on TV. The most impressive of all, besides the fantastic fish 'n chips, was the cleanliness throughout the restaurant. Everything, even the salt and pepper shakers, was spotlessly clean. A rare thing in a restaurant today.

Nothing beats good fish 'n chips and a ride on the streetcar!

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  1. He's got a great sense of humour as well. The pictures on the wall of the past of that place are pretty interesting too.

    1. Well, we took the bait and had take-out from here this evening. It was about 7:30PM and they were just closing up. No sit down dining, just takeout the man declared, which suited us just fine.
      3 orders of Halibut and 2 chips came out to 23 dollars and change.
      Chips were nice, very nice. We see what the other poster said about the photos on the wall, there was one from April 1959 on the wall of the area.
      The Halibut was nice as well and definitely not greasey, which is what enticed us into going there as well as the cleanliness which was quite evident. It has limited seating available... about 4 or 5 tables unless I was missing something.. lol
      The only knock I would have on them is the thinner slice of fish than what I normally expect however, it was not that big of a deal that it will stop me from going back when in the area.
      I just had a hankering for fish and chips tonight and this fillied that void.
      Thanks.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Poorboy

        After these recommendations and one from a friend, I'm really looking forward to trying this place... especially after British Style's new owners have gone to using 1/4" (at best, and that's probably being generous) thin cuts of fish buried under a very generous and overwhelming layer of breading. Thanks for the review!

        1. re: vorpal

          It's a great place and I've never has a bad or greasy meal there. The halibut is ace, but also try the salmon as well. And don't you love spray mist bottles of vinegar???

          1. re: vorpal

            I will have to check out Reliable as well, but did go to British Style this Sunday, and was served up a huge piece of fish with a nice thin greaseless layer of batter. My wife couldn't even finish hers, and that is a rarity. Fries were very good and plentiful as well. Would rate fish and chips as very good. Strange how vorpal was given what seems like a totally different service. Would warn that you not order scallops though, as these are previously frozen and terrible.

            1. re: fluke17

              I wonder if it just happened that we ended up with different people in the kitchen? I really used to enjoy their food. Perhaps I'll go on a Sunday instead of during the week and see if it makes a difference.

        2. I've eaten there several times... It's a nice place (clean, friendly, nice decor, etc.) but I found the fish n chips to be middle of the road. I'm sure I'll eat there again (I live close) but I'm still looking for better fish n chips in the area.

          Interesting that several people really liked the chips... I found them ok, but the dive down the street (Woodgreen Fish and Chips) actually has much tastier chips. (Everything else about Woodgreen is wrong though, I don't recommend the place.)

          The fish at Reliable is small but seems fresh. However, as some have noted, is a bit thin and has a thin edge that can get overcooked and kinda firm. The batter is nice and light but uninspiring in my opinion.

          So overall I found the food average, or maybe a bit better than average even though everything else about the place is great. I really wanted to make the place a favourite of mine but the food trumps all else to me, and it just wasn't compelling enough.

          1. The halibut & chips there are incredible there. Never soggy or greasy, just totally crisp and delicious, especially with the malt vinegar! I mean you could get cheaper fish & chips nearby but the portions are smaller and the quality is not as good.
            I also love the poutine with his own fries (not pre-made from frozen). Mmm now i'm totally craving!!

            1. Just curious... what makes you feel that the cod should've been halibut? Was it just not as excellent as the halibut, or was it genuinely bad?

              I'd love to know, as I just spent 2 weeks in St John's stuffing my face with as much Cod n' Chips as I could eat, and it was a revelation to me after years of being a halibut devotee. I just found that it had better flavour and texture, though much of it probably had to do with the fact that the fish was probably swimming in the ocean just hours before hitting the fryer.

              I'm actually rather excited at the concept of getting Cod n' Chips so close to home, but I'd rather leave my warm memories untainted by a crappy product and just go with my usual halibut. :P

              1 Reply
              1. re: tartiflette

                I've generally found the cod at Reliable to be better than the halibut - at least to my taste. The salmon, though, I find weird.

              2. I have to wonder why this place has such great reviews, I visited it after watching the makeover show and the decor and all is really nice, looks a lot smaller in real life, but I have nothing negative to say about that.
                The service was friendly and the environment was nice but the chips were really bad, I mean little shreds of potato, like leftover pieces with some skin on it .. it just wasn't right.
                When I was there the oil looked very dirty, and I saw the owner bring out a bucket of potatoes that were soaking in a liquid (water?) but it really looked like scraps of potato, if this is what makes their chips special and the reason why everyone including chef Lynn crawford thought were wonderful then I just don't get it.
                The fish was alright, I had the halibut, and battered shrimp/onion rings. They were ok.

                2 Replies
                1. re: BamiaWruz

                  That's never happened to me there. We shall see. The fish and potatoes are usually spot on. The shrimp and the onion rings are frozen.

                  1. re: BamiaWruz

                    Soaking in water after peeling and chopping is quite common with fresh fry operations, to remove some surface starch, and and to preserve the uncooked chips for a few hours. Skins are often removed by an abrasive barrel, spinning, and a small amount of skin may remain on some spuds.

                    What is variable, from one place to another, is the type of potato used. If they depend on supermarket potatoes, the quality will vary from week to week.
                    They can get regular large Russets delivered, or pick them up from a reliable source such as Costco. But some cooks won't use large Russets, and it appears as if Reliable used smaller, less reliable spuds on the day you were there.

                  2. cool, im gonna check this out and see how it compares to Olde Yorke fish+chips in my hood :o