fish and chips - dine-in?
I've read (and enjoyed) all the fish and chips posts over the last while. While I must say my fave is British Style fish and chips, my husband hates the fact that it's usually cold (and in his words- soggy) by the time we get home. I would like to try Reliable or Wood green next. Are any of them dine-in? Any recommendations for good dine-in fish and chips?
On Good Friday, I had fantastic half-price fish and chips at the Original Motorcycle bar on Queen near John, where Jeremiah Bullfrog's used to be. The fish was hand-battered (they go easy on the batter) and perfectly cooked, and the fries were fresh (not frozen) with the skin on, and very tasty. And the price (about five bucks) made the whole meal even tastier! I think they do half-price fish and chips every Friday night. I would go there and eat that same exact meal again in a heartbeat. It seemed like everyone was there for the deal.
We had lunch at Olde Yorke on Laird on Wednesday, our first time there. It was wonderful! The batter is very light and crisp and non-greasy. The fries were very good, as was the cole slaw. We each ordered a different type of fish -- the haddock, cod and halibut. My favourite was the cod (Icelandic, according to the menu). They also serve hake, available on their daily specials list. We also tried the clam chowder (New England style), which was quite good although a bit too gloppy for my tastes.
Lovely, homey service, and a 10-minute wait at 1:30 p.m.
I went out looking for fish and chips on Good Friday. Was surprised to see my local, Malt 'N Salt, open but I passed by, as it was empty. I went to Highland on Ellesmere, and it was busy. I ordered haddock and chips, and got a good sized fillet, fried until just done, in a thin, sparse, and greasy batter.
I prefer a thicker batter, non greasy, but this fish was very good.
The big disappointment was the fries. Hand cut russets? Maybe, but I couldn't tell from the bland flavor. Every one was limp and soggy, almost mushy. Even the bits or tiny pieces were soft.
I don't know why so many places can't get fries right. Time, temperature, and cutting are important variables. The variety of potato is crucial as well. At some point the Yukons or Russets may not produce well, and should be discarded for whites such as Kennebec. How many places really watch over the variables? The frymaster has to be in control, like a good cook or barista. I should have stuck to the quiet place, Malt N Salt.
Highland Fish & Chips
3357 Ellesmere Rd, Toronto, ON M1C1H1, CA
Malt N Salt
750 Oklahoma Dr, Pickering, ON L1W3G9, CA
Malt'n Salt - duplicate
285 Lawson Rd, Toronto, ON M1C, CA
If you're interested in a road trip, try Thistle in Burlington. This restaurant is nothing special to look at but it has a very loyal following. Fish and chips are served up with halibut or haddock. Portions are huge and very well prepared. On a Friday/Saturday be prepared to wait no reservations. They also serve a few Brit staples like Black pudding if you're into that.
Reliable is my neighbourhood chippy, dine in and take out. It can be truly excellent (and, thus, I recommend it) but, like most Leslieville restos, it isn't...reliable. Stick to the cod, haddock, or - if you must - halibut (which tends to be dry). Tell them how well done you want them to cook your chips. I can't get my palate around the batter fried salmon, but it seems to be a big seller (wild Pacific of some sort). Creamy cole slaw is okay. Usually, only the cod, haddock, and halibut are fresh, though they will tell you the truth when something isn't. Order anything else at your peril. The "scallop" and "shrimp" things are gross. They close early.
Before Reliable came under its current ownership, Olde Yorke was my favourite. As with Reliable, I loved the fish and chips (though found the halibut was often dry). The fish batter differs decidedly from the Toronto norm. I never liked much else on their menu. Licensed and mobbed at peak hours. I haven't been there in quite some time.
High St was a disappointment. Very friendly and patronized by many British expats of a certain age. Though the clientele hardly seemed obsessed with their health, High St switched from beef drippings to "trans-fat free oil" as their frying medium at some point. Things may have been better before, but the perfectly cooked, greaseless, batter had little taste. The skin-on, home cut fries were also perfectly cooked, greaseless, and nearly tasteless. The haddock was beautiful fish, but the edges were overcooked all around both pieces. There were no typical tummy after effects, but I would rather have had more flavour than no "suffering". Large menu, with battered haggis, mushy peas, and homemade pies (none of which I've tasted). Great homemade tartar sauce. Also homemade "brown sauce" if you like that kind of thing. If you have a British sweet tooth, you might love some of the homemade desserts, but I gagged on the pudding.
Woodgreen closed last year (it was takeout only).
I have been to King's Table in the Beach only once, but it was extremely good on that occasion.
I have had delicious fish and chips at Allen's, but they are very expensive - about double Reliable's price.
I really wanted to love British Style, since they are convenient and open late, but I was always disappointed. I also found them expensive for what they sell.
Avoid Len Duckworth (the one on Danforth across from Crappy Tire). They were once good and still seem to have a good reputation, but they left my tummy decidedly unhappy for hours afterward more than once before I stopped going. Essentially the polar opposite of High St, and not good enough to justify it.
Yes, Reliable is dine-in; but it's quite small, and it closes early in the evening (not sure of the time). There's Olde Yorke on Laird near Eglinton, also, and it's a comfy, old-style dining room, dark wood, rich colours, etc. Also, High Street, near Lawrence & DVP, with an atmosphere somewhere between Reliable and Old Yorke. These are the three dine-in places I would recommend.