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Olde Yorke

Posted by Simon Yau / Reviewed on April 11, 2011 / review policy

Olde Yorke TorontoThe Olde Yorke Fish & Chips is a throwback in the very best sense of the word. Walking into the dining room I am surrounded by dark wood, (now) vintage carpeting, a traditional island bar and red vinyl booths. The Olde Yorke very much resembles a run-of-the-mill British pub, but unlike other establishments of this ilk the main attraction here isn't nachos or flat screen televisions.

To be blunt, the Olde Yorke isn't very cool in the trendy sense of the word. There is no PBR on tap here and Radiohead isn't playing in the background. This place is not you wearing your grandpa's vintage clothing. It's your grandpa, wearing... his own clothes.

Olde Yorke TorontoBut classics are classics for a reason, and for the past 14 years at The Olde Yorke that's meant traditional British fish and chips. Long lines are a staple at this family owned restaurant for both the dining room and separate take-out counter, often spilling out onto the sidewalk at lunch and dinner rushes.

I elect to have a late lunch this afternoon and the dining room is roughly a quarter full as I wander in. Due to my opportune timing I am seated immediately and cheerfully. The crowd is slightly older but it only adds to the family vibe the Olde Yorke seems to have with its longtime neighbours.

The owner floats around the dining room pleasantly, chatting at seemingly every table with familiar, regular customers. The air in the restaurant smells vaguely of malt vinegar. To me, these are all good signs.

Equally promising, the menu is as simplistic and unpretentious as the ambience -- fried fish and lots of it. Starters include additional seafood staples such as calamari and clam chowder.

Olde Yorke TorontoI eschew an app or the more layman option of haddock ($10.45), instead hankering for an order of halibut with fries and coleslaw ($12.45).

The halibut arrives as two generous pieces of golden fried fillets. Lightly battered and cooked in vegetable oil, the fish is fresh, meaty and slightly flaky without being overcooked. The batter is simple and unseasoned, providing a satisfyingly crispy coating that succeeds in helping the fish itself stand out.

Importantly, the meal is relatively un-greasy, each piece of fish looking almost matte in appearance and leaving no pools of oil on my plate.

Surprisingly the dish does not arrive with tartar sauce. The stuff is available upon request but I'm not sure if this is oversight or par for the course at the Olde Yorke.

The chips are doled out in an equally rustic portion, old school and thick cut from fresh potatoes; slightly soft on the inside. They arrive unseasoned as well and are promptly doused in vinegar. The results are simple and spectacular.

The slaw comes in a tiny plastic thimble and is fresh if not particularly notable, lacking any real flavour to speak of. I eat it all anyways though, each tiny mouthful an oasis from my plate of deep-fried goodness.

Beer is available; largely domestic options with bottles starting at $4.25 and Mill St. Organic on tap for $5.66 a pint.

More homely than hype, this East York staple is quietly one of the neighbourhood's little gems and has been for 14 years.

Other restaurants may get more ink but until they too can start producing daily line-ups out the door, The Olde Yorke will keep chugging along fuelled by classic English fish and chips and, perhaps on occasion, a fried candy bar here or there (yes, that's on the menu).

Olde Yorke TorontoHours: Mon-Sat (11 a.m. - 9 p.m.)



Shartin Mort / April 12, 2011 at 09:23 am
This place is always filled to the brim with old white people. I prefer the 'scene down at Chippy's for sure.
Stephen Allen / April 12, 2011 at 09:50 am
It would be nice if the location map in the sidebar for the reviewed site could be saved to one's Google Map account.

Good review -- I've been attempting to find a good authentic Fish & Chip joint so thanks for this.

The stupid comments above are from silly children. Who gives a shite if it's old white folks or not, it's about the food kids!
haha replying to a comment from Shartin Mort / April 12, 2011 at 10:06 am
Dawn Mills replying to a comment from Shartin Mort / April 12, 2011 at 10:11 am
You are an ass.
Tim W replying to a comment from Shartin Mort / April 12, 2011 at 01:21 pm
Effortless trolling 10/10

This place looks good! being a Londoner (the real one, not the crazy one here) I'm always on the look out for a good fish and chip shop.
Roctop replying to a comment from Tim W / April 12, 2011 at 01:41 pm
You are the crazy one, Timmy-boy. Keep moving along as you are looking long and far. Try Nunavut for sure.
snort replying to a comment from Shartin Mort / April 12, 2011 at 01:42 pm
Stay downtown! Don't need your poser ass at a real fish and chip shop.
Lindsay / April 12, 2011 at 03:10 pm
Chippy's is always 'out' of stuff.
Went there on Sunday, in fact. They were out of Halibut AND coleslaw :(
Jack Wagon replying to a comment from Shartin Mort / April 12, 2011 at 03:19 pm
The 'scene down at Chippy's? You, sir, are a moron.
Matahtak / April 12, 2011 at 03:19 pm
Great place! My roommate raved about it. Penrose on Mt. Pleasant is another good choice for a nice family run fish and chips store. $10.25 for halibut and chips there (it's down the street from me and I frequent it).
marko / April 12, 2011 at 03:21 pm
Why can't people handle the truth..
The original poster is VERY correct... It is full of old white people, picking their teeth, and farting.

The hottest girl is an 83 year old named Martha.. She was a beaut, during the great war!

On the food.. Meh.. It did not taste too fresh to me. For a pub that specializes in this kind of food, I was surprised that it was not better (2.5 out of 5). I also asked for well-done, and apparently, Martha's hearing aid, wasn't working properly.

I will stick to my own pub, where the smell of death, is not in the air!
hammy / April 12, 2011 at 03:26 pm
old white people is the perfect thing to see if your going for good fish n chips.


Stella / April 12, 2011 at 06:00 pm
TOTALLY agree with Stephen Allen. Would really appreciate you at least providing an address. Sometimes we are reading these on the go, and it would be nice to have more useful information. Why WOULDN'T you post an address, ffs?
Jimbo / April 12, 2011 at 07:02 pm
"The hottest girl is an 83 year old named Martha.. She was a beaut, during the great war!"

Marko, the Great War (1914-1918) ended 10 years before "Martha" was born. Thanks for playing. Maybe you'd do well to try hanging out with some of our older citizens. You just might learn something. Like, history. Or math.
Vince / April 12, 2011 at 10:37 pm
a word about that 2nd pic of fish and chips in the middle of the post, you managed to make that piece of fish look like dried, tough, overcook chicken breast. Based on that pic alone, it didn't inspire me to try this place at all... .and the over-saturation/blurring post processing didn't enhance anything.
lonewolf / April 13, 2011 at 12:37 am
Old Yorke lives up to its lineups,always consistently good when I do take out in the area! They even do take out right,never had the same condiment container melt down like I did with Chippy's.Also,the main thing I wanted to try at Chippy's,the halibut wasn't good,fish cake was.The guy at the counter at Chippy's on Queen was nice considering he was solo,and ended up with 6 + orders.
Bill / April 13, 2011 at 04:25 pm
Chippy's scene??? hilararious.
Always wondered what this place was like. looks great!
The Liquor / April 14, 2011 at 06:06 pm
mushy peas or STFU
EricM / April 15, 2011 at 08:36 am
Umm...when is PBR ever cool!?
emojerks replying to a comment from EricM / April 15, 2011 at 08:43 am
When you're a skinny jean wearing douche along Queen West.
JohnNMack replying to a comment from hammy / April 19, 2011 at 03:10 am
what he said
Mike / April 30, 2011 at 06:25 pm
Just went there today and grabbed a take-out halibut n chips. I made sure to ask for tartar sauce as I'm hearing that most places don't automatically include it which is ridiculous. I've never heard of anyone having fish n chips without tartar sauce. Anyway i got home and sure enough (NO TARTAR SAUCE) and it upset me cause it really was the best fish n chips I've ever had. I don't know how they can mess that up, Next time i go back I'm definitley gonna hassle them about that.
Mike / May 2, 2011 at 08:10 pm
I forgot to include. I mentioned to the mature lady at the take out counter how they are #1 rated for fish n chips online. She gave me a half hearted smile and took my order like a robot/ Normally older people would be delighted to hear this as she is probably a manager or involved in ownership (she wasn't wearing the uniform). I was extremely polite but i got the impression that they aren't thankful for the buisness of 1 or 2 patrons.
lookup mobile number / May 10, 2011 at 08:52 am
Many thanks for your information! Honestly I have never seen anything that interesting.
Andy replying to a comment from Mike / February 9, 2012 at 08:25 pm
Oh poor old Mike. I've never heard of anyone having fish n chips without tartar sauce. Travel the world and don't be so ignorant. Fish and Chips is a UK tradition so don't mock it. Bell end. You guys have burger and fries and fish and chips from the same place so don't talk about silly things like tartar sauce. CHIPS/FRIES Explain!
Deb / June 19, 2012 at 01:09 pm
Sad people can be so unkind - and so much easier when you're not eye to eye. And remember, if you're lucky you'll be old one day. As they say - it's better than the alternative. Somehow this following statement seemed appropriate.

"How much kinder would we be if at the end of the week we knew we'd be shown our 5 ugliest moments toward other people... on film? "
Scott / June 25, 2012 at 10:29 am
Martain Short: If you have a problem with white people or old folks perhaps move to an island where nobody lives and make sure that you bring your fishing rod and you can eat all the fish you want without looking at old white people.
Scott / June 25, 2012 at 10:31 am
Wow Mike, you sound like a big crybaby. Boo hoo you didnt get your tartar sauce. Go cry like a big baby. There are poor kids in India that would die to have some Fish and Chips, you spolied brat.
Richard / August 20, 2012 at 05:15 pm
Most "trendy" restaurants (despite what the babbling, supposedly pro multi-cult progressive urbanites would have you believe) are always WASP enclaves. In other words, they are horrible.
Garry / October 15, 2012 at 12:16 pm
Dating a girl that works there and therefore eating more than once or twice I can say the place is a clean, no nonsense "can I say almost too stoic?" establishment with above average fare. Outside of no beer batter and no included tartar sauce the meals do themselves justice by being light and crispy in taste. My Canadian taste buds tend to want more flavor and that's more a problem with the processed food habits I have acquired over the years but I'm quite positive that if I put a few competitors side-by-side and did a taste off they'd more than likely would come out at or near the top.

Oh and if you ever decide or are asked to eat on their patio on a hit humid summer day tell them to turn on the damn A/C! I'm hot, their employees look like moist towels and it steals away from a nice experience. Frankly the cheapness (or is that the British way of being pragmatic?) makes consider going whenever I want to drop in for a bite.
Garry / October 15, 2012 at 12:18 pm
***makes me reconsider going***
penelope / October 26, 2012 at 04:30 pm
This is the best out of all the places I've been (even the many restaurants in England.

Tartar sauce isn't usually served in England with Fish & Chips (nor Ketchup for fries!), just malt vinegar and salt.

Chippy's has no flavour, no service and bad music.
Natalie / February 28, 2013 at 02:02 am
I wanted to convince my mom to go here with me, but we usually go to Len Duckworth's on Main and Danforth. It's cheaper on Mondays. It's delicious and not too greasy like most fish and chips I've had. Suggestions?
Perry / March 15, 2013 at 06:40 pm
user-pic far the absolute best fish & chips in Toronto!!
I've been to them all from Pickering to Mississauga.
sartin / July 11, 2013 at 01:08 am
this has too many white folks
Zoe / August 8, 2013 at 12:01 am
...because we all know that PBR on the menu and Radiohead in the background is the sign of an establishment worth visiting.
Duckers replying to a comment from The Liquor / March 23, 2014 at 10:41 pm
Yep. And I can tell you (without a doubt) that Chippy's has the shittiest mushy peas I've ever had. Who spice-fucks mushy peas!? Leave your hipster dust off that pls
Jodibearz / September 7, 2014 at 11:21 am
The BEST fish n chips in Ontario hands down. Always fresh, fries are sooo good. For the person complaining about not getting tarter sauce, they ask you and load the stuff in the bag in front of you, how could you not notice. I've been getting take out from there for years and never had an issue, other than it being really busy, but call ahead and place your pick up order before hand. As for the old people comment - it's not a pick up joint, if you're looking for hot chicks, go to a club jerk!
Marty replying to a comment from Shartin Mort / March 1, 2015 at 08:04 pm
Nothing wrong with old people.
Sam / March 1, 2015 at 10:23 pm
I have been to them all, but OLD YORKE is by far the best in the city! Great service and food all around!
Bella / May 2, 2015 at 12:22 pm
Chippy's is garbage. I was there once, and I wound up throwing half the meal in the garbage. Fish was half cooked,and fries, well that's if you can refer to them as such, were greasy. However, if that's your scene, hey go for it........

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