It’s hard to get this humble British dish right – but we’ve scouted around to find the places that do a mean chippy supper.
Ah, sweet summertime. A season of salads, pre-beach diets and escalating swimsuit anxiety – or, in our case, the perfect time to reacquaint ourselves with our favourite seaside foods: fish and chips. Yes, this most British of dishes is not the most sophisticated thing you’ll ever eat. And no, your waistline, arteries and cholesterol levels won’t thank you for scarfing a chippy supper on a too-regular basis. But there’s nowt so nice as sitting on the seafront, greasy wrapper in hand, seagulls whirling menacingly overhead, while you gobble a choice bit of haddock enveloped in melt-in-the-mouth batter. With that in mind, we asked our readers to recommend their favourite fish and chip shops, added in a few of our own – and here they are. Do you want salt and vinegar on that? Oh yes, yes please.
1. Foster’s Fish & Chips, Manchester
There are many things to recommend this 19 year-old chippy: three branches, a credit crunch lunch, gluten-free batter, prosecco n’ chips (its two sit-down restaurants are both fully licensed) and chipped-on-site potatoes. They’ve an eye on cod stocks, too, offering alternative such as John Dory and hake. Their local popularity is undeniable: when Foster’s celebrated its tenth anniversary with a £1 deal on fish suppers, the queue apparently stretched for a quarter of a mile. Fosters Fish & Chips, branches in Bramhall, Didsbury and Alderley Edge.
2. Seniors, Blackpool
This fish and chip shop is actually one of four – Seniors is a name you’ll hear often if you’re mooching along the Fylde coast. It’s little wonder: the family-run Thornton branch won Best Independent Takeaway Fish & Chip Shop in the national chippy awards in 2012. Even the Daily Mail loves a bit of Seniors’ battered best; last summer it reckoned it was “nothing short of a Morecambe Bay miracle”. We’d never normally agree with anything printed in the Daily Fail… but on this occasion we might just have to. The fish specials change day to day, while responsibly sourced fish and local potatoes come as standard. Seniors Blackpool, 106 Normoss Road, Blackpool, FY3 8QP.
3. Quayside, Whitby
No mention of seaside fish and chips is complete without a nod to Whitby, the home of the Magpie Café and mega fish portions that even the well-hardest of seagulls would have trouble nicking off an unsuspecting tourist. But while the Magpie is good, the family-run Quayside chippy a few doors down may well have stolen some of its deep fried thunder. Like the Magpie, you can eat in or out; it’s housed in a 19th century former library where Bram Stoker apparently researched the novel, Dracula. Whether you go for a table that overlooks Whitby’s ruined, brooding abbey high up on the hill, or go for a take out, it’s worth noting that the secret-recipe batter won Quayside Best Independent Fish and Chip Takeaway in this year’s national chippy awards. Quayside, 7 Pier Road, Whitby, YO21 3PU.
4. Betty’s Fish & Chip Shop, Uppermill
Another sit-down place (also licenced), this time in the pretty Saddleworth village of Uppermill; if you don’t fancy eating in, the park opposite is a good bet for al fresco eats. High Street, Uppermill, 0L3 6AF (no website).
5. Fish Tram Chips, Llandudno
We are rather taken with Llandudno’s fading charms, and one of the reasons is this little chip shop. Sitting at the foot of the Great Orme, the tatties here are blanched before frying, while the batter is made to the shop’s own recipe. As the name suggests, Fish Tram Chips is just opposite the station for the Great Orme Tramway, which hauls tourists up the 650-foot headland for views that can, on a good day, stretch as far as the Isle of Man. Back at the bottom, be prepared to wait; everything is cooked to order. Fish Tram Chips, 22-24 Old Road, Llandudno LL30 2NB.
6. Yorkshire Fisheries, Blackpool
One of the oldest on the block, this 100 (or so) year-old chippy may have changed hands over the years but it has happily served generations of the Blackpool masses. Its location has something to do with its longevity; the sit-down restaurant is a short walk from the seafront. King size, half size, kids portion or standard, the fish comes in pretty much any dimension you care to ask for, while service is consistently good. Yorkshire Fisheries, 16 Topping Street, Blackpool FY1 3AQ.
7. Leo’s Fish Bar, Manchester
Who hasn’t at one time or other ended up in Leo’s after a night out in Manchester? No? Well, you might want to walk Oldham Street way next time you find yourself tottering home: within unprepossessing surroundings “first class” food is found, according to one of our contributors. The readers of the MEN agree: they voted it one of the city’s top ten fish and chip shops. Leo’s Fish Bar, 12 Oldham Street, Manchester M1 1JQ.
8. The Good Catch, Liverpool
Originating in Manchester (with branches in Hale and Flixton), the Good Catch has four branches, including this one at the St. John’s Shopping Centre – good news, as decent chippies in Liverpool are thin on the ground. With a sustainable stance, the sibling-run takeaways are notable for specials that include beer batter, homemade fish fingers, calamari, haddock and orange fishcakes, and mackerel barms; gluten-free fish is also available. The Good Catch, St John’s Shopping Centre, 125 St. George’s Way, Liverpool L1 1LY.
9. Bretts Fish Restaurant, Headingley, Leeds
Set back from the main road, a sweet, sunny garden and ivy-clad frontage lend Bretts a curiously village-like feel. The slightly cramped, oak-panelled restaurant fills up quick sharp with cricket commentators (and fans) on match days – Bretts is close to the Headingly cricket ground – and though the chippy has just changed hands, it’s unlikely to fall from anyone’s favour soon. Restaurant and takeaway are separate; there’s a covered outdoor seating area for eating on the hoof. Brett’s, 12-14 North Lane, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 3HE (no website).
10. The Swan, Southport
Southport’s oldest fish and chip restaurant may be tucked down a side street, but it’s arguably the seaside town’s best chippy. Fresh, light batter, and chips that even the (ahem) fair and unbiased reviews on Trip Advisor give the thumbs up to make it worth sniffing out. Like many of the best-loved chippies, it won’t win prizes for its rooted-to-the-spot-in-the-70s décor but, really, of the moment interiors are not what we want from a chip shop. Good chips, tasty mushy peas and great batter is what we want – and what you’ll get here. The Swan, 52-54 Stanley Street, Southport PR9 0BS.
Thanks @dconfusion, @louisebolotin, @cmbend, @nic-fletcher, @nikgrounds and others for their tips and suggestions.