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Best Fish and Chips

I'll probably start some arguments with this one, but on our recent Villages of South England tour we had fish and chips better than I could have imagined. It was in the village of Swanage, at a place right on the harbour called "The Fish Plaice." Really. We ordered haddock, not cod, and it was great. Fresh, hot, crispy, flavorful, and the chips were perfect. And, as I recall, it was one of the least expensive meals we had in England. Cheaper and better than any of the other f & c we had (in pubs.) If you're in that part of the world, give it a try.

Posted by
7347 posts

Why do you think your post will start arguments?

Thanks for your recommendation.

Posted by
29636 posts

I always like to know of a good chippie.

Another good reason to pop Dorset back into the summer timetable.

Did they have any non fishie items like kebab meat (my wife will go with me but won't eat anything that swims or lives in the water)?

We need to get down to that part of the world soon anyway to have a search for Tufty, the red squirrel, on Brownsea Island.

Posted by
8889 posts

I wouldn't classify Swanage as a village, it is a small town (population 10,000). There is no legal definition, it is more to do with the character of a place, a town is a place that has shops that people come from the surrounding area to visit. But I would say a village is less than about 2500 population.
I was there a few weeks ago but it was typical English seaside weather, raining all day.
Haddock/cod is a geographical division, traditionally it is Haddock "oop north" and Cod "down south".

Posted by
27 posts

I would like to try to translate Emma's "chip butty" into American English. That would be a sandwich of French Fries.

Posted by
5523 posts

Nigel, I think they may have had sausages, but I'm not sure. Our guide had suggested several places right on the same corner for good fish, and we liked the looks of this place - no good reason, although it was less expensive than one of the other suggested places. All we were interested in was the fish, so I don't remember what else was on the menu.

Emma, thanks for answering the question about starting an argument. People everywhere are passionate about their food. Bar-b-que in the States is a good example. Or fried chicken, or even hamburgers. And definitely hot dogs.

Posted by
3493 posts


I will take any combination of the fish & chip options you list. EXCEPT ketchup or pickled egg. :-)

Could go for a large haddock right now from a real chippie.

Posted by
339 posts

Awwww, no ketchup? I like it on the chips, not the fish. On the fish, tartar (gasp!) or what? Malt vinegar?

Posted by
339 posts

Good to know, Emma. I've seen the vinegar and knew it went on the fish but didn't know it was for the salt.

Posted by
29636 posts

the only option should be mushy peas.

How DO they get that colour?

If eating just outside, a large fish please, salt and vinegar all round, - just a cone of chips please.

If taking it in a bag, a piece of fish please, I'll sort the salt and vinegar when I get home, thanks - just a cone of chips please.

BY THE WAY - today is National Fish and Chips Day - everybody down to the chippie, please.

(smaller piece to take home because home is where my wife is, and she'll see how big the large is. (No fish for her, maybe a jacket or a tray of kebab meat)

Posted by
879 posts

Emma --

Babies head? What on earth ... ?! :-o

I recently had the best cod and chips I've had in ages in Oban at the imaginatively named Oban Fish & Chips. Cheap and cheerful, and truly scrumtrulescent super-fresh fish in a delicate batter ... I wish I could teleport to Scotland right now!

Posted by
394 posts

Wait, wait, wait -- back the heck up here:

"Sausage, pie or babies head?"

You're telling me that I flew all the way from Seattle to England, walked around all over the place looking at assorted crap older than my nation, saw a soccer hool barf on himself and yet somehow didn't notice a delicacy called 'Babies Head'?!

How the hell did I miss this bit of culinary trivia? I've always wanted to eat a baby's head! I thought maybe I'd have a chance on Icelandair, but NOOOOOOOO, it's "illegal" to eat a baby on a plane -- despite the complete and total lack of in-flight meals. Yet a mere 10 hours away, our British cousins are feasting on infants and not sharing the wealth! Who knew cannibalism was so contintental?

Wait, this is one of those things that's not actually what it sounds like it is, sorta like "Spotted Dick", isn't it?

Posted by
6442 posts

OK, I am reluctant to reinvigorate a post that was answered. but I will be in London for the fourth time or so next week. I always seek out a chippie shop. Near where I am staying is Kerbisher and Malt (Hammersmith/Shepherds Bush) which I love, but have Hook, Golden Union, and Poppies on my radar. I do not really want to start a Cod vs Haddock war, but what other fish would you try? I want the Plaice, batter or matzo? I will probably do Coley (supposedly more sustainable)...probably battered. and I will seek out some less common options, Yes, the pies, somewhere jellied eels just for the experience (Poppies has them). Any thoughts for some one that appreciates quality and will try about anything?

Posted by
41 posts

If you're staying anywhere near the British Museum when in London, Gigs Fish & Chips, in Tottenham St, off Tottenham Rd, just around the corner from Goodge St Underground, is the ducks guts.