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Best New Fish & Chips in Calgary - The British Chippy

Today was opening day for *The British Chippy* (Shoppes at Bridlewood Plaza, 2335-162nd Ave SW, Unit 233). I've been waiting for some time to visit this place, mostly because they advertise themselves as "authentic" British Fish 'n Chips. Whenever there's a new fish 'n chips place in Calgary, I have to try it. "Authentic British" has always intrigued me, since it usually signals greasy overcooked fish, soggy beer batter, flaccid fries and decor suited for the 1970s. My mission was to see if this new place matched the sterotype. My expectations were not high.

Man, was I surprised. This is, without a doubt, the best fish 'n chips I've had in Calgary to date! Anywhere, for that matter. Miss L agrees completely. The cod is hand-cut in house, a nice 6 oz. portion. The batter is home-made from an old (secret?) family recipe. (The owners, Gary and Simone Hodgkinson, bring 3 generations of traditional British fish 'n chips to Calgary.) The potatoes (local and organic) made the very best chips I have ever had in Calgary. Flavorful, nicely browned, and very very good. The batter for the fish is light and crispy, with no aftertaste. The fries are perfect. They clearly cook at the right temperature, which results in a very pleasant and tasy meal. Mmmm ...

Being "traditional" British (northern), you won't find any halibut or pepper here. Yup, no pepper (but you can ask and you will receive). There's also a shortage of Canadian drinks, although there is a really good selection of British pop. They also have traditional mushy peas (fresh, no preservatives or coloring), and a curry sauce (which I haven't tried yet, but will). The service is outstanding, and the place is very clean, even after the opening day lunch rush.

This is definitely one of my favorite new little restaurants in Calgary. It's a perfect location for residents of the SW, and a little bit out of the way for other Calgarians ... But definitely worth the drive. The British Chippy is all about fish 'n chips and nothing else. And it works.

Their website is http://www.thebritishchippy.com

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    1. Thanks for the review - but what about cost? You have me excited about trying this place since it is practically in my backyard - but I need to know how expensive it will be...

      1 Reply
      1. re: emsmom

        For Calgary, I liked the price. Cod and Chips (serving size, just right) $11.99. Value = priceless. IMO, this place is much, much better than Boyd's, Trawler's, Captain's or anywhere else in town.

      2. I'm in "the SW" and this might as well be on the other side of the planet for me. You mean the far south.

        9 Replies
        1. re: John Manzo

          You're right, John. Maybe we can convince the City to establish a new quadrant, "Far South, Mountain Side".

          It's crazy to only have 4 quadrants in Calgary now. I will try to remember to qualify. You should be in "Beltline, West" if anything.

          1. re: John Manzo

            Still the SW though John regardless of how far away it is from you. I grew up in Shawnessy. Really glad to see Bridlewood getting some good food. There's supposed to be a decent cafe out there too!

            1. re: peter.v

              Peter.v - I know this isn't about the fish and chips but... where is the cafe? I could use a good cup of java that I don't have to go downtown for...

              1. re: emsmom

                http://www.facebook.com/caffecrema#/c...

                Looks like it's in one of the newer and further out strip malls. I can't believe that there are shops out that far! Their machine, the Slayer is an awesome new espresso machine that is quite rare.

                1. re: peter.v

                  quite rare for the time being!

                  They have two at Beano but peter if you can believe it Beano still doesn't have proper espresso cups. You get a spro and they pull it onto a 5-oz cappuccino cup not even a "piccolo" cup.

                  1. re: peter.v

                    Peter, I meant to thank you earlier - I am really enjoying Caffe Crema. Thanks for the tip!

                2. re: peter.v

                  Oh I know it's in the SW but this is a huge quandrant comprising more than 300,000 people- Downtown is SW as is, say, Somerset. It's an outdated reference (nothing against Bagelguy since he didn't invent it, but it's annoying to me when you ask somebody where they live and they say "the southwest." That can be a huge range of neighbourhoods!)

                  1. re: John Manzo

                    Usually when someone says they live in a quadrant they mean outside of the inner city. That's my experience, anyway.

                    1. re: John Manzo

                      That's just because you're a latecomer to the City and don't understand these things, John. ;-)

                3. Awesome! Thanks Bagel Guy. I love curry sauce with British fish and chips.

                  1. hey happy to hear of great Fish And Chips,..
                    my son+fam live in Cedarbrae,.... so i'll check it out soon...
                    be back at 'cha

                    1. What is with that plaza in Bridlewood ending up with all the decent restaurants? There's a very good donair place (Donair Grill?) and a great chinese place (Brothers?) in the same plaza. Seems so unfair for a bunch of good restaurants to be concentrated so far from my house...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: tex_in_yyc

                        Its even farther away when you've moved out of town like I have ;)

                      2. Does it have seating or is takeaway only?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: graemejw

                          It has 28 seats, and takeout. I'm told it was jam-packed full for dinner yesterday, with line up and all.

                        2. Well, we loaded up everyone in the van for fish and chips and took the trek down from the far northwest to Bridlewood as my husband LOVES fish and chips. They are closed this weekend because their fryers are broken!!!! Everyone please phone ahead as he's not sure if they will be fixed. Sorry, don't have the no. handy, but it's on their website.

                          1 Reply
                          1. Ya but do they have Mushy peas and or curry dip???

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: CookieGal

                              From BagelGuy's original post: "They also have traditional mushy peas (fresh, no preservatives or coloring), and a curry sauce (which I haven't tried yet, but will)."

                              1. re: alau2

                                Well I guess that question sums up my attention span! I think I read to the sentence before that one, and was giddy with excitement! *lol

                                So did I also skim over a mention of if they wrap their wares in newsprint or not?

                                And does anyone know the cod source? where it's caught and how?

                                CHEERS

                                1. re: CookieGal

                                  Hahaha. Don't blame you, I'm pretty excited about this too!

                                  1. re: CookieGal

                                    They can't wrap the fish 'n chips in newspaper --- Health Code.

                              2. Having lived in the UK for 6 years and sampled some mighty fine (and some nasty) fish n'chip shops, I've had a hankering since moving back to Canada for the past 6 years. I've tried so many different places in western canada and so far only Mr. Pickwick's in Vancouver have come close.

                                Suffice to say I didn't have high hopes for this place in Calgary, the land of grass and more grass. I drove down south during lunch (it felt like driving to High River) to this little remote place and was pleasantly surprised that it was quite busy considering its location. Ordered the haddock and chips but they were unfortunately out of mushy peas so I had their coleslaw. Took them about 20 min to cook the order and it's good they warn you with the sign at the front about the possible wait time.

                                The verdict? The coleslaw was a ripoff, $1.95 for about two mouthfuls of cabbage with not enough seasoning. Fries were however quite good and tasty as it seems like they do it properly by double frying them. They say they are organic and grown by a local farmer. Haddock was ok, a little dry and chewy on the edges but the batter was quite crispy. They didn't include any condiments and for some reason didn't wrap the order in paper like I'm used to, instead it was in a Styrofoam container. They had lots of paper beside the fryer (not newspaper).

                                Overall a 7/10 but sadly they're almost the best I've had in Calgary so far, maybe next time I'll try the cod to see if it's any better than the haddock. The Cat'n Fiddle pub on 16th Ave has fish n'chip halibut specials on Fridays and I enjoy their battered fish a bit better but the chips are better at the Britishchippy.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: slingshotz

                                  We went to Brit Chippy two days ago with our 1.5 year old son. The place were busy and we had to wait for 10 mins to get a table. Ordered the cod since haddock was sold out. I also ordered the coleslaw (yeah it is expensive for the amount you get, but at least it was fresh unlike KFC's coleslaw).

                                  The food took about 20 mins to come to our table. Fortunately, the nice lady owner gave us sample size of chip for us to nimble while waiting. Very much appreciated since my boy was starting to go cranky (I don't think because he was hungry, just boredom I guess).

                                  And I love the chip! The smell of the organic potato is awesome. And I agree with slingshotz that the fish is a little dry but at least the batter was pretty good (best I had in Calgary). So we were happy.

                                  Oh we also tried British pop called Lin (pineapple something juice)...it was refreshingly good.

                                  1. re: jojok

                                    Lilt? It's a pretty good soft drink with grapefruit and pineapple juice. I didn't notice it there but did notice they had some UK alcohol but no Magners cider :(

                                    1. re: slingshotz

                                      Well I was really excited when I saw their ad in the community paper. It was great finding the reviews on Chowhound. Overall I would rate my experience there as poor boardering on never be back. My son requested it for his birthday and after reading the reviews figured I would call ahead. No answer, but the machine said they can't when they are busy, that's okay. Drive to the shop, most tables full, 3 or 4 people waiting for pick up. Not crazy I thought. Place order, paid 80+$'s. Told the wait would be about 20-25 minutes, no problem. Seen a chip van deal with hoards of drunks at closing in a 1/4 that time, but okay, they are ironing out kinks. Return after wandering wait a further 20 minutes, losing sympathy as no one bothered to update on wait. After watching people have to take money to cashier because they could not get someone to collect at the table, people coming in ordering right away and people who waited for god knows how long not be asked, poor show. Get my order, pick up bag containing curry sauce, feels empty? Open container, very little( a la coleslaw I fear) Ask is this all you get? Yes is the answer- that is our serving. Could I get some more? I ask. Enjoy your meal with a walkaway as the response......that was the camels back. I love fish and chips and food wise I enjoyed the fish, sold, white and flakey. Chips did not stand up to 10 minute drive home. Curry sauce----congealed cr*p and somewhere around 1/3 of a cup...yes I measured- I was ticked............But not a badly as the people who got the glass of red spilled on them by their server. I felt sorry for them. I don't know if the owners were on site, I hope they weren't because then I can hope for improvment. They have a great niche and huge demand from a big expat community down the South, but if the service and speed doesn't pick up, oh dear. I know I will wait for a lot of sparkling reviews before I'm back

                                      1. re: bluther2

                                        While your experience (and that of the customer who had their drink spilled on them) wasn't positive I imagine a lot of the snags can be chalked up to being open all of two weeks and by the sounds of it, being busy a lot of the time... nothing puts the kitchen in the weeds like the combo of being newly open and busy. If it were me I'd give them the benefit of the doubt.

                                        As for chips lasting 10min on the drive home... I don't doubt they weren't as good as fresh cooked but really... chips are meant to be consumed minutes after being removed from the fryer.

                                      2. re: slingshotz

                                        Magner's cider isn't available in Alberta yet but Bulmer's cider (which was once brewed in the same brewery as Magner's) is available.

                                        1. re: drinkkid

                                          Yeah I know about Bulmer's, just thought it would be cool if they offered it there as well.

                                          I talked to a friend that visited the chippy on a busy Sat and he said they had three guys in the back and a bunch of servers but yet the wait time still was like +20 minutes. I don't get it, in all the chip shops in the UK, I've never had to wait more than 10 minutes and with less staff. Something is seriously wrong with their operational procedures if 3 guys in the back can't keep up.

                                          I used to work at a Little Chef in the UK and I would solo the back even on bank holidays, it was nuts but doable.

                                  2. I finally got to check this place out on a weekend. Fish and chips are decent. Nice to have a proper place for that here in Calgary.

                                    However, my gripe is the lack of clear directions for first-time customers. When we got there the tables in the eat-in area were all full and we didn't see any servers. So we assumed that it was one of those places you go order at the counter then seat yourself.

                                    We stood at the counter for 10 minutes and watched the cashier help a table of 8 pay for their separate bills. When I finally started to order with her, she said, "Take-out right?" I told her no, we wanted to eat in.... and she said, "Oh then you can just sit down and someone will be right with you."

                                    We sat down, and waited. And waited. While the tables around us were cleaned.

                                    The same cashier girl walked past us and I said, "Excuse me, can we order?" And she looked at me like she had never seen me before and said she'd send someone right over.

                                    We felt like we were in a episode of the Fawlty Towers DVD that was playing on a loop on a TV in the corner!

                                    Once we got our order in with the friendly male server, we were OK. (There is a wait but we knew this coming in and they do have notices warning of waits of up to 55 minutes)

                                    All we need is a SIGN when you first come in!
                                    "Eat-in: please seat yourself.
                                    Take-out: proceed to counter."

                                    Although if you're reading this, then at least you know now. :-)

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: alau2

                                      IMHO the wait times is getting way out of hand. They have to fix it or they'll start losing customers. Friend at work said he's not going back even though he liked the food and lives locally. I remember when the Fish and Chip place in Deerfoot mall was still run by Brits and they cooked to order, everything fresh, took ONE guy at the fry station 5-10 min to cook up the orders. That was when there was 10 people lined up as well. C'mon, 55 minutes?! I can fillet/skin a whole fish, mix a fresh batter up and cook it in that time.

                                      1. re: alau2

                                        good advice some eateries reallly need signage. Another one that needs signage is Famoso PIzza Edm SC. Haven't been there since they opened so they might have signage or maybe not.

                                      2. Yes, but have they got mushy peas? and do they do pukka pies?

                                        1. One of your questions is answered right in the original post.

                                          1 Reply