Kingsway Fish and Chips
Kingsway Fish and Chips has been serving some of Toronto’s best fish and chips since 1972.
The smell of frying beef tallow envelops the restaurant on a bustling Friday.
Customers sit in booths and line up at the cash for takeout orders.
The usual kitschy fishing decor plasters the place, but in addition to that there’s also some major sports memorabilia, including boxing gloves signed by Toronto legend George Chuvalo.
Fish tacos ($11.90 for an appetizer order of two) are a more recent addition to the menu that dips a toe into the contemporary food scene.
Flour tortillas could use just a light toasting, and the big crunchy bed of cabbage, carrot, red onion and cucumber is almost an overload, though it elevates the fish visually and can’t stop the flavour bomb that is a crispy strip of fried halibut here.
They’re finished off with a drizzle of moistening cusabi dressing that balances fiery wasabi with cooling cucumber.
All high-grade fish are butchered from whole right in the shop, skinned, deboned, cut and filetted, and they chip their own potatoes.
The family batter recipe here has been passed down through generations, and it's very simple and light. The key is apparently a thin, airy consistency to the batter and clean oil.
Of course, the fact that they fry in ultra-flavourful beef tallow here (actually the original method of preparing traditional English fish and chips) makes a considerable impact on the flavour.
Halibut, Salad & a Few ($19.90) is a very typical dinner here, many making the relatively unusual choice to balance out their fish and chips with a side salad rather than, say, coleslaw or mushy peas (though house coleslaw is also legendary).
All fried filets are halibut by default, but you can knock a dollar off each portion of fish by opting for haddock instead.
I’d discourage this: I’m sure the haddock is similarly divine, but I’ve never seen or tasted such flaky fried fish as the halibut, sweet, silky and light.
Upgrade your Caesar or garden salad with this combo to a seasonal salad for a 75-cent upcharge, this one spring mix topped with feta, red onion, dried cranberries and apple, and I opt for a candy-like raspberry vinaigrette over plain balsamic.
Tartar sauce is made from scratch in house as well, the creamy, slightly sour, chunky condiment presented in paper cups accompanied by lemon wedges in true retro fashion.
Onion rings are an acceptable substitution for or addition to chips, the batter utilized to full crispy, perfectly uniform effect to encase juicy onion.
Finish off your meal with a scratch-baked butter tart ($4.25 with ice cream)…
...and wash everything down with a frosty pint of Steam Whistle ($7.25).