It’s a no brainer that when in the UK, one should eat fish and chips. But don’t order this dish just anywhere. Diving into any old pub could leave you disappointed. While perusing menus, watch out for bread-crumbed fish. It’s just wrong. The correct way to make this local favorite is to baste haddock or cod in batter and deep fry it until it’s golden brown. Then, serve the fish with a side of mushy peas and thick “chips” sprinkled with salt and doused in vinegar. The dish has been part of British culinary vernacular for ages—it was mentioned in Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities and remained popular during WWII as one of the few foods not subjected to rationing in the UK. Even now, fish and chips are not to be missed. When the dish is well made, it’s ambrosial.
A popular take on fish and chips with locations in trendy Spitalfields and Camden, Poppies won the 2014 Best Independent Fish and Chips Restaurant in the UK at the National Fish and Chip Awards. Fish have been frying here since 1945, and the waitresses’ 1950s-inspired uniforms have been around almost as long. Don’t miss the live Doo-wop performance at the Camden branch.
Seashell of Lisson Grove
Close to Abbey Road, Madame Tussauds, the London Zoo, and Regent’s Park, Seashell is the perfect place to re-charge your batteries over golden cod and chips. But before heading over, check to see if it’s open. The kitchen’s cooking oil must be too hot because this restaurant has burned down multiple times. Fortunately for it’s loyal patrons, the eatery always seems to keep coming back.
The Golden Hind
On Marylebone Lane, The Golden Hind has been serving fish and chips for over a century. In an area of change, this café is an anchor.
Come 9 p.m. on Saturday night in Soho, it’s time to soak up some of that booze with Scottish fish from sustainable waters fried in house-made beer. Here, the milkshakes are thick and memorable. If after all that, you’re still thirsty for a pint, Golden Union is fully licensed. Not a fan of fish and chips? The cakes and pies are also highly recommended.
J. Sheekey Oyster Bar
For gourmet fish and chips, J. Sheekey is the place to dine. Situated in the heart of the theater district, it’s not uncommon to see Emma Thompson and Steven Fry having a good catch-up over oysters. The fried filet of haddock with chips and mushy peas may have a £18.25 price tag, but they’re totally worth it.