Harbord Fish & Chips
So everyone already knows Chippy's . We've tasted it. It does the trick... if you can get passed the obnoxiously loud music and the servers who "sing" along even louder. These days though, I tend to gravitate more towards a far less pretentious fish fry joint, run by a lovely old asian couple who do one thing and do it well. The place, as I'm sure you've already figured out, is Harbord Fish & Chips. No gimmics. No pretention. And newspaper packaging for take-out orders. What more do you need, right?
Hidden on the South side of Harbord just West of Spadina, this cozy little fish & chips joint is my favorite "I'm too lazy to cook dinner tonight and I just want something salty and deep friend" take out place. Of course, they do have some stools inside if you feel like eating in and snuggling up to a stranger, as well as picnic tables outside.
So here's my usual order... the standard really. Halibut and chips, served simply on a sheet of newsprint, doused in malt vinegar and sea salt. An amazingly crispy batter, a more than healthy portion of fish, and crispy, delicious fries. The ideal deep fried meal in my mind. Another nice little part of ordering take out is when they pile the fries down on newspaper, then lay the fish on top, they let you salt it and vinegar it up just the way you like it. And only after you've deemed the seasoning just to your liking will they wrap it up for you to take home. Nice to be included in the whole process, don't you think?
So obviously there's no such thing as the PERFECT fish and chips in Toronto, right? (well maybe there is... someone want to prove me wrong?) My one little quibble with Harbord Fish & Chips is their lack of real homemade tartar sauce. Now, this isn't a big deal to me, as I usually eat my fish and chips with just vinegar and sea salt... but I know quite a few people who LOVE to slather their fish with the weird mayo-relishy stuff. So ya, if you're one those people, at Harbord you'll probably be disappointed by the fast-food style tartar packages... they've got great malt vinegar though!
My advice: go grab the sauce from Chippy's, and order the fish from Harbord. Now THAT would be a perfect Fish & Chips meal, no?