This city was built on fish and chips – well, it wasn’t, but can you imagine London without it?
A dish that rose to popularity back in the 19th century, it has become as iconic a part of London as its fellow Victorians Big Ben and Tower Bridge. The city’s restaurant scene may have diversified significantly in more recent years, but plenty of plaices (sorry) still serve up superb, sustainable fish and chips.
The pandemic may have robbed us of some favourites – it hurt to see Bonnie Gull go, and both the Mayfair Chippy and The Chipping Forecast lost outposts – but there are still plenty of seaside-inspired spots to enjoy.
From retro restaurants to luxury seafood hotspots, here’s where to find some of the best fish and chips in London right now.
This Soho chip shop's sustainable fish selection is cooked to order in its homemade batter and fried to perfection in a blend of oils. The chips really are exceptional – fantastically fluffy and as golden as the restaurant’s neon logo sign would suggest. If you don’t fancy fried fish – old-school options coley and rock salmon line up alongside usual suspects – the fishcakes and steaming hot pies are made in-house daily too.
38 Poland Street, W1F 7LY, goldenunion.co.uk
Poppies has a whole lot of history. Founder Pops started working in the fish and chip business back in 1952 – he opened his first solo restaurant half a century later, but the restaurants have been retro-styled to take diners back to early 50s East End London. But it’s quality not quirk that counts, with hefty fillets of fish, supplied fresh on a daily basis by a third-generation Billingsgate fishmonger, and crunchy batter making a good impression. The original Brick Lane location has proved so popular that it’s been joined by branches in Spitalfields and Soho.
E1, W1, NW1, poppiesfishandchips.co.uk
Since opening in 1968, this Muswell Hill chippie has been repeatedly voted among the UK’s best fish shops. That’ll be due to the crunchy batter, juicy fish and fluffy-centred chips — plus the unbeatably warm welcome. Traditional cod, scampi and skate are on offer, but the extensive fish menu also includes rainbow trout, rock eel and Dover sole. Ice cream from Marine Ices – another vintage London favourite – is a perfect way to top it all off.
38 Muswell Hill Broadway, N10 3RT, toffsfish.co.uk
Olley’s Fish Experience
Olley’s Fish Experience may sound like an aquarium attraction, but it’s actually a Herne Hill chippie named for the mention fish and chips gets in Oliver Twist. The Dickens references extend to the decor, modelled after the mid-1800s (even if the chippie actually opened in 1987). Olley’s may look to the past, but it’s reputation is rightly near bulletproof.
65-69 Norwood Road, SE24 9AA, olleys.info
The takeaway menu at these independent restaurants is chip shop through and through – you can even enjoy your rock and chips with a pickled wally. Super-fresh fish is fried to order, served with pillowy soft chips. The original restaurant is perfectly located for an al fresco lunch in Victoria Park, while eating inside comes with the chance to kick things off with starters of battered tiger prawns and calamari, or opt for zingy fried fish tacos. Fish House also has a location in Stratford.
E20, E9, fishouse.co.uk
Sutton & Sons
A Stoke Newington favourite from a family who run a fishmongers on the same street, this chirpy chippy now also has branches in Hackney and Islington. As well as excellent crisp-battered fish and fluffy chips, do try the homemade pickles and tartar sauce. The chip shop now also boasts a whole vegan menu at all locations, with a varied selection of fried “fish” including banana blossom, tofish and “scampi”, alongside a mock “prawn” cocktails and a fishcake with no fish.
N1, N16, E8, suttonandsons.co.uk
The Mayfair Chippy
Proper chip shop priorities and contemporary seafood dining collide at The Mayfair Chippy. First and foremost it’s all about fish and chips – condiment fans should plump for the “Mayfair Classic”, which serves up fried cod or haddock with chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce, with a choice of HP gravy or curry sauce. Elsewhere on the menu, less traditional dishes include a soft shell crab burger, kedgeree fishcakes and a vegan fish and chips made with jackfruit and tofu.
The Chipping Forecast
The Chipping Forecast already gets brownie points for having one of the most pun-tastic restaurant names in the capital, but its guarantee that the fish on your plate was swimming around in Cornish waters no more than 48 hours beforehand is possibly more impressive. Both the fish and chips are fried in either beef dripping or rapeseed oil, with the fish coming in your choice of beer batter, gluten-free beer batter, panko breadcrumbs or simply grilled.
Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill
A few rungs above your traditional chippy on the luxury scale, Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill offers a high end take on the Friday night stalwart. The legendary Mayfair restaurant specialises in fine seafood with contemporary, worldly cooking across the menu, but Michelin-starred chef Richard Corrigan has a keen eye for comfort food and the merits of a British classic. Fish and chips is on offer every day of the week, but comes with a glass of champagne included in the price when ordered on a Monday.
11-15 Swallow Street, W1B 4DG, bentleys.org
Kerbisher and Malt
Fish and chips are an obligatory part of a seaside day trip – but if you can’t get past the M25, Kerbisher and Malt brings the breezy beach house vibes closer to home. There are modern quirks to be found on the menu: chips are double-fried, there’s a calamari menu and you can get your fish fried in a matzo crumb. Must-trys include creamy mushy peas and a homemade tartare sauce. The high-end chippie may have fewer locations than it did a few years ago, but it’s still a go-to, and even recently nabbed a coveted spot in Victoria Market Hall food court.
W6, SW1, kerbisher.co.uk