A much-loved national dish, fish and chips is a British tradition that we can’t get enough of. The homely, satisfying combination of fresh fish wrapped in crispy batter and paired with golden chips, tartar sauce and mushy peas is hard to beat. It is undoubtedly the dish we’re best known for, but regular consumers will know that in spite of its apparent simplicity, this is a dish that varies enormously in its quality.
There’s a lot more to mastering the art of the perfect fish and chips than meets the eye, and if you’ve had your fair share, you’ll be aware there’s plenty that can go wrong. The batter needs to be perfectly crisp and not oily, the fish moist and flaky, and the chips thick cut but crispy round the edges. Proportions are a contentious issue too– not just the quantity of chips in your paper parcel – we’re talking the ratio of batter to fish. Too much and it’s greasy, too little and we feel cheated. Even the choice of fish is a divisive matter; the majority of vendors will use cod and haddock but other variations of white fish include pollock, hake or coley, plaice, skate, and in Ireland ray is a particularly popular option.
A lot of people would argue that the best fish and chips in the UK is found on the coast but London also has plenty of brilliant spots which serve commendable versions of the national dish. From traditional chippies to restaurants serving their own takes on fish and chips, the Capital certainly isn’t short of places to get your fix. If you’re wondering where to go for a brilliant fish supper in London, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a guide below to ultimate fish and chips spots, so that you don’t end up with oily batter and overcooked fish.
What: With sites in Marylebone, Covent Garden, and Piccadilly, FishWorks is renowned for being the place to go for some of the freshest seafood in London and that extends to its fantastic fish and chips. Boasting an on-site fishmonger at each branch, customers at FishWorks are able to pick their fish from the counter and enjoy it just the way they like it. Opt for a classic cod or try something a little different with monkfish.
Where: 89 Marylebone High Street, W1U 4QW; 2-4 Catherine Street, WC2B 5JY; 7-9 Swallow Street, W1B 4DE
Poppie's Fish and Chips
What: After the flagship Spitalfields outpost of Poppie’s became so popular that it was struggling to cope with the crowds, the decision was made to open two new branches in Camden and Soho. This means that it’s easier than ever to try some of Poppie’s legendary fish and chips. Arriving fresh from Billingsgate, the fish is filleted on site, with everything from staples like cod and haddock to jellied eels on offer.
Where: 6-8 Hanbury Street, E1 6QR; 30 Hawley Crescent, NW1 8NP; 55-59 Old Compton Street, W1T 1DB
What: Having now been open for over 100 years, we think the success of this long-established venue comes down to the warm, welcoming atmosphere and its traditional setting in Marylebone Village. Of course, the fish and chips at the Golden Hind are a big draw too, with plenty of options to try including skate wing, rock salmon and scampi.
Where: 73 Marylebone Lane, W1U 2PN
What: It may come as a surprise that not every outpost of Wright Brothers actually serves fish and chips, despite its seafood-dominated menus. However, the Battersea branch most certainly does and it’s definitely a winner in our books. All the fish is sourced by Wright Brothers’ wholesale team in Billingsgate and on the coast at Brixham meaning that fresh fish is guaranteed.
Where: 26 Circus West Village, Battersea Power Station, SW8 4NN
What: As much as a traditional chippy is hard to beat, there’s something particularly comforting about fish and chips at a good pub. Beer battered hake and chips with tartar sauce and pea puree is a long-standing favourite among guests at The Tommyfield in Kennington, which was named after the nineteenth century market which was home to Britain’s first fish and chip shop.
Where: 185 Kennington Lane, SE11 4EZ
The Fryer's Delight
What: Everyone should know by now that when it comes to good fish and chips, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Make that mistake at The Fryer’s Delight and you’d be depriving yourself of one of London’s finest fish and chips. The Holborn spot, which is a favourite among cabbies, is as unpretentious as it gets but its crispy battered cod and thick-cut chips fried in beef drippings are worth making the journey for.
Where: 19 Theobald’s Road, WC1X 8SL
What: Nestled away in the heart of Soho, Golden Union is a quintessential British chippy. The restaurant features charming retro interiors and a menu of fresh fish delivered daily and wrapped in homemade batter, alongside crispy golden chips and homemade fish cakes. Priding itself on keeping things simple and providing fantastic food, served quickly, this is definitely one for the traditionalists out there.
Where: 38 Poland Street, W1F 7LY
What: Jason Atherton’s Fitzrovia restaurant may not sound like the obvious choice for fish and chips but if you like the idea of having your fish supper in stunning surroundings, it could be just the spot you’re looking for. Enjoy battered Cornish haddock with triple-cooked chips, crushed peas and tartare sauce while sitting in the Berner's Tavern's ornately decorated dining room.
Where: 10 Berners Street,
Lady Abercorn’s Pub & Kitchen
What: Found inside Liverpool Street’s Andaz Hotel, Lady Abercorn’s Pub & Kitchen not only brews its own IPA, called Lady A, but it then uses it in the batter for its fish to give it a beautifully beery flavour. Coming served with all the trimmings including chunky chips, the battered cod fillet is naturally best enjoyed with a Lady A, available both in a bottle and on tap.
Where: 40 Liverpool Street, EC2M 7QN
What: Fish and chips is a favourite fixture on The Lighterman's menu, and what better setting to enjoy it than out on the venue’s sunny wraparound terrace with a glass of something cold. Available both for lunch and dinner, the Coal Drops Yard gastropub’s crispy breaded haddock is served with crushed peas, homemade tartare sauce and wonderful skin-on fries.
Where: 3 Granary Square, King's Cross, N1C 4BH
Rock & Sole Plaice
What: If there was an award for the best pun, it would have to go to Rock & Sole Plaice but this spot is about so much more than the name. Open since 1871, it’s one of the most well-known chippies in the Capital. Fish and chips are made using a 145-year-old recipe and served alongside thick-cut chips and tartare sauce. The Covent Garden restaurant also benefits from a lovely terrace area which is great for al fresco dining during the warmer months.
Where: 45-49 Endell Street, WC2H 9AJ
What: Any fish and chips which has been conceived by Gordon Ramsay has to be worth trying, doesn’t it? Ramsay’s London pub The Narrow, which has stunning panoramic views over the Thames, serves beer-battered, line-caught haddock, with mushy peas, tartare sauce and triple-cooked chips. It’s nothing overly complicated, just the classic fish and chips done brilliantly well.
Where: 44 Narrow Street, E14 8DP
What: Bursting with charm, Muswell Hill’s Toff’s has been serving up wonderful fried fish to the people of North London since 1969 and little has changed about the family-run business since then. Priding itself on serving only sustainably sourced fish, battered options at Toff’s include eel, sea bass and rainbow trout, alongside more traditional fish such as haddock and cod.
Where: 38 Muswell Hill Broadway, N10 3RT
Not bothered about whether your fish is battered and comes with chips? Check out our guide to London's best fish and seafood restaurants