Fish and chips with British husband
- Brynda Aug 27, 2003 09:21 AM
My husband (who is from Yorkshire and has only lived here a year) really misses good fish and chips. We live in Detroit and he keeps trying to find the real thing in the US, but nothing really compares. We will be in Toronto for the weekend soon and I hope we can find some good fish and chips for him. I read the thread below, and it seems opinions are mixed on Chippies, so I was hoping you guys would help out a homesick Brit and suggest somewhere else.
We are staying at the Sheraton downtown, but are willing to drive or take public transportation for some really good fish and chips.
At the risk of being flippant, fish & chips in the UK have been simply awful for almost 10 years now, so I'm not sure what to recommend. However, if I go back to my tenderer years, some spent in Leeds, then I recall a different era. That evolved into what we used to call "Chinese Fish & Chips" (based on the ethnicity of the owners) before the grease brigade took over. In Toronto, my favourite is Harbord Fish & Chips - a litle bit too far to walk from the hotel, but street parking (follow University north past the Parliament buildings and take the left lane which loops around to Harbord - well signed). It's about a km west from University on the south side, a few blocks west of Spadina. They cut their own fries too. Only four stools inside and a couple of picnic tables outside.
Upon revisiting Chippy's, I'm going to agree with the others; it's gone downhill since they first opened. However, it's one of the few places that will give you the British style sides like mushy peas.
Harbord (definitely Chinese fish & chips, as mentioned) is the best I've had here. But when I was last in London, a place called Two Brothers (link below) was clearly a cut above North American F&C, and is Jamie Oliver's favourite.
Al's Fish and Chips in the Village by the Grange is within easy walking distance of the Sheraton. I personally love their fish and chips. The fish is fresh, they use their own batter instead of using pre-battered frozen junk, the potatoes are fresh and cut on the spot, nopt the frozen mush that's seved in a lot of places.
All in all, a very decent chippie in the downtown core. As well, it's as good as, and better in some cases, anything I've eaten in London or York, England.
I agree Al's Fish & Chips on McCaul st is by far the best fish & chips place in Toronto. Freshly prepared Halibut, Haddock or cod in a homemade thin crisp batter it just melts in your mouth. The decor and design is also suberb as they have a glass block bar with a fish tank it the middle. The staff and service is also exceptional.
You're in luck. Toronto has a lot of options in the fish and chips department. And people are quite passionate about it. One of the first big discussions on this relatively new board hid a thread on fish and chips. Just follow the link at the bottom.
My own recommendation to you would be Harbord Fish and Chips. I like their good fish in a not-too-heavy batter and crispy chips, although not everyone agrees with me. It's just west of Spadina on Harbord. Driving fron the Sheraton drive is easy and takes little time. Go up University, loop around Qeens Park and then west along Harbord. There is always at least on parking spot available out front. By public transit you can take the street car that runs up and down Spadina to Harbord and then walk a couple blocks west. It's on the south side.
Harbord Fish & Chips
If you intend to visit the Science Centre then you might want to drive up or down Jarvis/Mt. Pleasant Rd. Drop by Penrose which is a couple blocks north of Davisville. Although I haven't had it for a while, many of my friends say it is still as good as when I knew it as one of the best F & C in North Toronto.
600 Mt. Pleasant Rd.
Chippies is fine if you're in the neighbourhood, but it's not worth driving to far for a visit. IIRC the prices are a little higher. It is nice that they thought to have them, but the mushy peas familiar to me. They were brown rather than the Australian version's bright green. Perhaps in the UK they're different than those to be found in Australia?
Do note that most F & C places in Toronto are take-out centric. Usually the decor is spartan and there is not much more to sit on than a couple of stools. Have a great visit and let us know how your trip went chow-wise.
You may have seen this discussion too:
You could try White Brothers, at 2248 Queen St. E. (just east of Beech Ave.).
The menu there is very short, basically just halibut plus whatever the fish of the day is. You can have it with fries, with salad, with cole slaw, and that's about it. I think they may also have a soup, but I'm not sure.
They have a small seating area, something like 6 tables for two, or you can get take-out and walk down to the beach and sit on a park bench.
To get there on public transit, take the Queen street car. The trip is about 45 minutes from downtown, longer during rush hour. Go early, they close at 9pm.
You can get a coffee and pastry at the Remarkable Bean next door for dessert.
I can second the recommendation for White Bros - try their tartar sauce! Afterwards go to Ed's Real Scoop (just west of Beech on the north side) for some really wonderful Ice Cream!
Beech Street is actually quite far along on Queen - my recommendation is to ask the driver on the 501 Queen car to let you know when you are at Beech. I find that they often will announce the stops anyways. I believe that that stop has Quigley's is on the north west side of Queen Street. White Bros is east of Beech on the north side.
Also, you can always go to the TTC site and take a look at the maps there - Beech is just a bit west of Victoria Park.