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Mar 7, 2008 03:15 PM

Great Places for Fish and Chips (aka fi' n' chi')

The St. John's post inspired this one....great places for fish and chips in Newfoundland..but i suppose you mainlanders can also chime in with your favorites !!

Ches's - a well known St. John's chain , always had a good feed here ! (prices seem to have jumped big time though)

Leo's - haven't had this since university days, but I lived off their fries dressing and gravy during many a lean time as a student. Good stuff here too ! A stone's throw from Ches's in the same block of buildings on Freshwater road (ches's has many locations around the city)

The Big R - two of these i think in the city, one on harvey and one on blackmarsh road i think. This was also a favorite for years , but at least for a while they were using frozen fish.

B & B's take out on Blackmarsh road - not necessarily known for the fish, but this is a Reddi-Chef location and fish with wedges sounds pretty good to me. They do (or did) family sized orders.

By The Beach Restaurant in Portugal Cove - by FAR one of the best views to enjoy while having fish and chips....which are fantastic here (they use canola oil for a lighter taste), so so good. VERY hard to get a table during summer months, but worth it to wait.

The Captain's Table in Witless Bay - fantastic food, very fresh. Also hard to get a table here !!!

I have been to a number of other places that i can't remember on the island. There used to be a lovely place out in Cape St. Mary's and others out Harbour Grace or Carbonear way.

Let's hear yours !!

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  1. I just moved to St.John's and so far i would say the fish and chips everywhere has been mediocre at best. Everyone uses frozen fish because of their obsession with cod. Come on guys, try a different fish. How about fresh haddock or fresh halibut. Also, nobody makes fish and chips. It's all fish and fries. Proper chips should be nice and chunky, about the size of your thumb. Everyone here uses french fries. I would say the best I've had so far is The Big R. Just because their fries with gravy and dressing was tasty. Ches's sucked! Everything was tasteless and very expensive. The 2 pieces of fish were so small, they were really just a one piece from a normal chippy split into 2 pieces. My family is from Northern Ireland and I grew up eating great fish and chips. St.John's is way behind BC in the good fish and chips department.

    10 Replies
    1. re: tdeane

      i think you're eating in teh wrong places most servings are not frozen (oddly, your choice of Big R..often is)....and more often than not are huge.

      Cod....IS "fish" in nfld....anything else, likely IS to come to the table frozen.

      When you say "proper" chips, sounds like you're speaking from UK standards....our chips are usually alot bigger than those i've found on the mainland Canada. Thicker cut, fresh cut. Again, if you get the right place.

      Ches's can, at times be over hyped, and each location of it, can have different standards.

      I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

      1. re: im_nomad

        I've eaten at several fish and chip places here now. Nobody serves chips, fries only. They are not bigger than chips on the mainland. I am from the mainland and if you go to a proper fish and chip joint you will get thicker chips than you get here in St.John's. I didn't say they aren't tasty, I just wish they wouldn't call them chips when they aren't. So far, the fish everywhere has been frozen and the big R has had the biggest portions. Easily twice the size of the portions at Ches's.

        1. re: tdeane

          just curious, what "proper" fish and chip joints are you talking about on the mainland aka the maritimes? I've found it rare to find home cut fries, mostly frozen fries, in most places, unless you're there for breakfast to get thick chunky home fries. The fresh cut fries i've encountered are often narrower etc, than the fries in nfld, when i've found them. And i've encountered far too many frozen fries on the mainland. This sounds like splitting hairs.

          tdeane, we in Nfld have always called it fish and chips. I don't know if it's because of our long lost association with the UK or what, but that is what we call them. Why put down a local favorite? I would also imagine that our Jiggs Dinner is very far removed from the Corned Beef and Cabbage dinners served elsewhere, but again , that's what we do.

          I still don't understand where you are getting all this frozen fish from. I should hope your experiences during the summer are better.

          In my OP, i didn't imply that other areas were doing anything wrong, or that it was superior . I can understand the dispute of one restaurant, but you are, i'm sorry, single handedly saying that the way Newfoundlanders do fish and chips is "wrong".

          1. re: im_nomad

            I'm just saying they aren't chips. I'm not saying they are doing anything wrong except calling them chips when they should be calling them fries. I don't know where you are eating fish and chips on the mainland, but when I go to a real chippie(and yes there are some on the mainland). I get nice chunky chips not french fries. The potato cutter they use at all the places here is for frites. I know, I have the same one. I'm not saying they don't taste good, I'm just pointing out a small peeve of mine.
            As far as the frozen fish goes, I had it at Ches's, BigR, Leo's, Buddy's and another one off Kenmount Road. The name escapes me right now. The real chippie's I've been to were in BC. There are quite a few. And, by the way, I like the jiggs dinner a lot. The beef can be a little too salty for me but very tasty. My neighbor said he likes to do it with the salt pork riblets better than the beef. I am hoping to try that soon.

            1. re: tdeane

              I prefer the British method of preparing fish and chips, but I find that the quality of basic ingredients used in many of the recommended fish and chips joints in Newfoundland is on average much better.

              British batter is normally more crispy (which I like) and I must say that when prepared correctly, British chips are vastly superior to the fries/chips offered up in St. John's. Of all the fish and chip shops in St. John's, only Leo's produces a good fry/chip in my opinion. So many places in St. John's offer up soggy, burnt fries/chips, and I don't find them much to my liking.

              From this long-time fish and chip fan, Leo's gets my nod. The interior does little to recommend the place to the uninitiated and the hours are much shorter than the two other mainstays closeby (Ches' and The Big R), but the fish and chips is good. Stay away from the onion rings, though. For those, I'd recommend a trip to Ches'.

              And for those of you who order burgers at a fish and chip shop, what are you thinking? As a friendly warning, I have found that burgers in Newfoundland fish and chip shops are normally quite dire. :-)

              1. re: maclock

      's really too bad that you weren't around in the city when Hamburger Heaven was on the that place made a good burger.

                1. re: im_nomad

                  I was, actually, but I was quite young at the time. I don't recall liking it as a child, but that doesn't mean much. After all, what do kids know about food? :-)

                  1. re: maclock

                    tdeane the well known fish and chip restaurants you are talking about have been around for years in St. John's and what they serve has always been fish and chips never fries. They may not be the type of chips you are acustomed to but they are what most nflders would consider to be chips. As far as frozen fish being served, well of course frozen fish is served when no fresh fish is available. I am sure you have heard the issues with the fishery if you are indeed living in NL. I can say with certainty though that the Big R always served frozen fish and their serving were larger because they were serving frozen fish while the other shops were serving fresh. As for good fish and chips on the mainland.. where??!!!! I've lived on Ontario for many years and have never yet had fresh cod, halibut or haddock anywhere!!!!

                    1. re: karenzkarz

                      I am from BC living in NL now. I grew up with much better fish and chips than you can get in St.John's. The chips I'm acustomed to are how they are everywhere I've been except St.John's. No one has had fresh fish here yet and of course I am aware of the shortage of Atlantic whitefish. No matter what you say karen, they are fries not chips and the people here call them fries a lot of the time.

                2. re: maclock

                  I agree that Leo's is probably the best I've tried so far. Ches' was the worst.

      2. Last week I was impressed by the fish and ships at Murphy's in Pictou, NS. One big flat piece of fresh haddock with a thin crunchy crust laid on a big but not too big pile of seasoned fries. Only $6 and change, although rolls and tartar sauce are extra.

        Shaw's Landing in West Dover, NS has been really really good - but I think there's new management.

        I haven't been to Ches's since late last century but it left a very favorable impression.

        3 Replies
        1. re: mussel man

          Was in Pictou, NS just last week and was told to have fish and chips at Murphy's. We went and were really impressed with the fish (haddock) which was excellent...very crispy and crunchy and very light...delicious. The chips were just ok...not as good as McD's!

            1. re: jk603h

              Have to agree about Shaw's Landing, we had chowder there last summer and it was like dishwater, friends had fish and chips and they were poor.

          1. The Ship Pub does a solid, crispy, not too greasy fish and chips, and an excellent pan-fried cod. Best on Friday evenings, in my opinion. Now that they fixed the kitchen vent you won't leave the place smelling of fish and oil.

            Won't get into the is-it-a-chip-or-a-fry discussion, but the medium-width longish things we call chips are quite good. Brown or white vinegar provided; lemon if you are that kind of person. Good dressing, if you're into it. Gravy is salty badness (in a strangely compelling way).

            They tell you if the fish is frozen, which is not the norm except when the supply dries up. And it's cheap as chips too.

            My fish and chips pleasure lasts only as long as it takes me to get through it, sadly. The old gut can't take it like it used to. That's why I take a pan-fry over a battered product. Plus, when the fish is good, you can actually taste the fish.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sinjawns

              according to Mom, it can be the oil. places that use canola oil to fry tend to be easier on the belly.

            2. None anyone in our family has been better than Bullocks in Yeloowknife, NWT. In a log cabin that housed the first hardware store in the city (not sure of the age, but was likely built around 1920 0r 1930), it is our favourite. There is a choice of fish based on what is frsh that day, they have an amazing batter along with wonderful fresh chips. The place has more personality than most people I know, many celeb writings and pics on the walls (EVERYWHERE) includng on the ceiling even on the cooks!

              Brit Fish and Chips in Edmonton is a close second.

              1. If you're in St.John's, LEO's hands down. I'm living in Ontario now and I dream about. I've tried to convince people visiting home to bring me back chicken and chips, dressing and gravey or fish, but nobody will.
                BUT WAIT....DICKS on Bell Island has to have a mention. Nothing better than getting a whole mess of fi n' chi' and getting on the Ferry. So yummy. I miss it so much. I have never found anything here on the main land that even comes close.