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Jul 17, 2010 12:08 PM

Chowdown Report: Mel’s Fish & Chips in Santa Rosa

On Tuesday, two chowhounds and a guest ‘hound indulged in a fried seafood frenzy at Mel’s Fish & Chips. Overcast when we started, soon the sun came out to shine on our outdoor table. Our view of the parking lot can’t really compare to the fish shacks on Bodega Bay, but not bad for a quick weekday lunch.

What to say about a basket of deep-fried stuff? Not sure, as this was not the fish and chips of my dreams, yet decent enough. Mel’s has oysters as one of the seafood options, as well as artichoke hearts.

Here’s the fried oysters with supplement paid for fried artichoke hearts instead of french fries. The one oyster I tried was a bit past prime. I liked the artichoke hearts dipped in ranch dressing.

We also tried the Combo #1 - calamari, prawns, fish, and fries with extra pieces of fish to share round. This comes with coleslaw that tastes freshly made, if dripping with mayonnaise. Steak cut fries were on the mealy side. Nice thick slabs of cod were cooked to a T, just starting to flake and still a little translucent and soft. Cocktail sauce barely had a whisper of horseradish.

Maybe the best item, the Fresh onion rings, shown here. Golden brown batter was a bit on the soft side, but the onion kept a bit of crunch.

With tax, cost was about $11 per person for a lot of food and our extras.

Mel's Fish & Chips
1016 Hopper Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

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  1. was there about a year ago. had the 3 piece fish and chip (9.75). fish portions were huge but the fish was tasteless. doubt the fish was cod. probably wasn't at that price. fish heavlly battered. maybe freshness was an issue.

    -steak fries crispy on the outside, mushy on the inside.
    -cole slaw watery..ok

    the 2 ladies there were very nice and friendly though.

    1. Y'all come down to Jonathan's in Menlo Park sometime.

      1. Ah Melanie...Melanie. Will you westerners never learn. Oysters just don't taste right out of season. There is a good, historical reason for the "r" requirement. Simply colder waters doesn't do it. Same for dungenesss crab. It just don't taste right.

        3 Replies
        1. re: OldTimer

          In the summer time, oysters do get flabby, even from our local colder waters. But I still enjoy them cooked -- on the grill or fried -- where the texture change is not as critical as raw. This one lacked freshness.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            many fish & chips places use mrs. fridays breaded oysters.(available at smart & final). perhaps you got this or something similar.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Arrggh...nothing quite as bad as a stale oyster. I had a few in Tampa years ago and thought I was having a heart attack. Cooking does overcome the taste of summer oysters, but beware the Tomales Bay runoff. The county has tried to control it, but you can only do so much when when it rains four inches in an hour. I understand Hog Island Co. screens the oysters for contamination...but better to be VERY careful. There was a time when the locals would not touch Johnson's Oysters. Took a long time to get back on track. And Drake's Estero does not get a big runoff.