The Best Fish & Chips in Toronto
The best fish and chips restaurants in Toronto are either remnants of, or tributes to, the city's Anglo past. Some have been in business for decades, others have done their best to look like they have, while a couple are trying to revamp the venerable chippy for a new century. Some will wrap your take-out in newspaper, most serve haddock, halibut and cod, and all of them will swear they have the best chips in the city.
That's important, because most people actually judge the quality of their fish and chips by the chips, breaded, battered fish being just an excuse to scarf down a hillock of thickly cut, salted, deep-fried potatoes, one of the most gleefully unhealthy but undeniably tasty foods ever created.
Some of these places ignore this, and offer a broad menu of seafood to go with their fries; others double down on the Britishness and offer deep-fried Mars bars or mushy peas. I have a weakness for the latter, and consider their presence on a chippy's menu board as a welcome bonus.
Here are the best fish and chips restaurants in Toronto.
Note: This list was previously published on March 21, 2008. Comments below made up until March 3, 2011 are in reference to the old list. We've purposely kept the archived comments here because we believe they (mostly) add value to this topic. If you don't want to have to wade through all of them, simply hit the "sort by newest first" link at the top of the thread.
On a windswept stretch of Laird Drive on the fringe of Leaside, this pub-styled chippy has developed a fanatical following. The heating was down during my most recent visit, which meant the dining room was shuttered, though that didn’t deter the crowd who jammed the take-out counter at the back all through lunch hour. My crisply battered halibut comes with sturdy, fresh fries that demand a healthy splash of malt vinegar. Also – mushy peas. More »
This mini-chain of two locations offer fish and chips for hipsters – be prepared to be rocked while you wait to the chef’s latest passion in hip hop, hardcore or metal. (Even their website rocks the tunes.) The holy trinity of haddock, cod and halibut are on offer along with prawns and scallops, served in a Chinese-style takeout container that takes a bit of practice to excavate. Also – mushy peas (apparently.) More »
There’s arctic char and baramundi on the blackboard, which will make purists howl, as will the option of having your fish grilled, not fried. This King West chippy is clearly aiming to break the mold and serve a crowd that takes the health warnings about fried food seriously. The fish on offer is also sustainable, if your conscience stands between you and your hunger. More »
Duckworth’s on the Danforth is the epitome of an east-end chippy – long-lived (opened in 1938) and venerable (no visible makeover since Trudeau was Prime Minister.) And unlike many of the places on this list, there’s plenty of room for a seat, if you believe that fish and chips steaming in a bag robs them of their crispness. There’s some debate about the quality of the Danforth shop versus the Kingston Road chippy that shares the name, also in business for decades. More »
No, you probably won’t find a seat during lunch rush – such is the popularity of this chippy, where the locals will tell you the staff know their stuff. Halibut and haddock (but no cod) and they charge fifty cents extra to wrap your takeout fries in newspaper, which is weird. Barbara Streisand’s favorite city chip shop in the city, if that means anything. Also – mushy peas! More »
Tucked into the confines of a former garage, this U of T institution has been feeding the fried food needs of splurging students long enough to qualify for some kind of plaque. Service is quick and comes wrapped in newspaper, and if weather and timing favor you, the (somewhat pricey) fish and chips can be enjoyed on the picnic table outside, which probably deserves a plaque of its own. More »
Blink and you’ll miss this very popular chippy at Dundas and Coxwell, and its bare bones interior definitely encourages takeout. Portions are huge and the trinity of fryer fish are joined by shrimp, scallops and clams, though chippy fundamentalists will bridle that chicken swims in the same hot oil. More »
An old-school east end chippy (open for over eight decades!) recently given a Restaurant Makeover refresh, it has the most broad-minded menu (poutine, calamari, and chicken fingers for the kids) and a very attractive souvenir t-shirt. Reliable also expands on the holy trinity of fryer fish (halibut, haddock, cod) by adding salmon and catch of the day. Purists might be appalled, but this is the price of progress. More »
Far and away in a vintage strip mall in Don Mills, this is a steadfast outpost of unapologetic Anglo-ness right down to the stack of copies of The British Canadian newspaper by the door, and the full-featured menu with meat pies and sticky toffee pudding on offer. The service is excellent, as are the crisp, grease-free fish and chips. Also very tasty mushy peas! More »