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Photograph: Poppies
Photograph: Poppies

London’s best fish and chip restaurants

Where to find freshly fried fish, golden chips and mushy peas galore – the ultimate takeaway food

Edited by
Alice Saville
Written by
Time Out London Food & Drink
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Fish and chips is London's quintessential fast food. It originated with the fried fish sold by Sephardic Jews in the 17th century, before being refined over the centuries into the golden, battered, crispy delight we know and love today. Traditionally, it involved cod, which used to be as cheap as, well, chips. But these days, dwindling cod stocks means that London's fryers are getting creative: you'll find halibut, hake, calamari and more on your average shop's menu.

When done well, fish and chips is a welcome, stodgy godsend, ready to be drenched in salt and vinegar, and dipped into a delicious pot of mushy peas. When they're bad, it's just a load of brown stuff, innit. So let’s take the element of risk out of it. Here are the best places to get your fry on in London. 

Recommended: London's best seafood restaurants

The best fish and chips in London

  • Restaurants
  • British
  • West Hampstead

Basic chip-shop batter is off the menu at Nautilus – everything is coated in matzo meal, fried in matzo meal and egg, or grilled. No worries, because this no-frills outfit is renowned for the sheer quality and freshness of its output. Servings are generous, with fish overlapping the plate and just enough room for the chips. The chippy is opened all day, which makes for a smart choice for a family supper with the kids (there are mini portions too).

Toff's
  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Muswell Hill

A true one-off, this wood-panelled Muswell Hill chippy bears all the hallmarks of a long-running family business that knows what it’s doing. Not much has changed here since the place opened in 1968, although using traceable, sustainably sourced fish is a sure sign that Toff’s has its finger on the pulse. Everything is battered, fried or grilled to order – be it skate, rock eel, halibut or sea bass. There’s fish soup to start, and spotted dick to finish. 

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  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Soho

Forget the chain upstarts around Oxford Circus and head towards Soho for some proper old-school fish and chips. Golden Union looks like a cross between a retro chippy and a breezy American diner (complete with jukebox), but its approach to beer-battered sustainably sourced fish is bang on-trend. Provenance is king here and everything is cooked to crispy perfection, while puds include soft-scoop ice-cream sundaes. Our advice: drop by for a slap-up dinner – and commandeer that jukebox while you wait.

Seventeen Fish & Chips
  • Restaurants
  • Fish and chips
  • Balham
  • price 1 of 4

If you fancy fish and chips in Balham but want something a bit trendier than your average local chippie, this quaint little spot should tick all the boxes. Bearing all the hallmarks of a hipster paradise, the décor at Seventeen combines white tiled walls with distressed wood floors and dangling lights. But it’s not a case of style over substance: the battered fish is among the best in south London. Other hits include calamari, onion rings and a fish fillet burger.

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  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Marylebone

In 2014, the Golden Hind celebrated 100 years’ service as a trusty purveyor of fish and chips to the residents of Marylebone. Every detail is spot-on here, from the grease-free batter and chunky chips to the well-seasoned mushy peas – not forgetting a choice of fish that runs from fried cod, haddock and ‘rock’ to steamed plaice and salmon. There’s booze in the house too, and the restaurant has reintroduced its BYO offer.

  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Victoria Park

Part traditional chippy, part contemporary seafood restaurant, Victoria Park’s favourite fishy haunt is a minimalist space with a huge close-up of octopus tentacles covering one wall. Eat in from a creative menu that moves from moules marinière to a teriyaki-baked salmon bowl with quinoa, avocado, radish and crispy kale or stick to wrapped-up carry-out portions of the chippy classics. There’s a branch in East Village (E20) and another offshoot within the Virgin Queen pub in Hackney.

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  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Holborn

A real-deal chippy of the old school, The Fryer’s Delight has been serving London well since 1962. It may look like a London cabbie’s hole-up (Formica-topped tables, long benches, old-school menu), but fans come from far and wide to sample its battered cod, rock, skate, saveloys, fishcakes and pies with mushy peas and ‘wallies’ (gherkins). Owner Osvaldo ‘Ozzie’ Bartolo is particularly proud of his chips, which are thick cut (about 18mm) and fried in beef dripping. 

Fish Lounge
  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Brixton

Keenly upholding a singular British tradition, this super-spotless Brixton chippy gets everything right: each piece of fish is delicately battered, chips are pleasingly thick and delightful staff treat everyone like lifelong friends. Eat in or takeaway from a menu packed with the usual suspects – from cod, rock, skate and plaice to pies (including Jamaican patties), battered sausages, burgers and chicken. ‘Gluten-free Mondays’ are in tune with the times too.

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  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Stoke Newington

Sutton & Sons are London fishmongers of repute, so freshness is guaranteed at this high-end chippy across the road from its Stokey shop. In addition to the usual battered suspects, hungry locals are rewarded with freshly shucked oysters and moules marinière, while Mrs Sutton’s homemade cakes and Hackney-brewed Crate beer are further reasons to be cheerful. There’s also a full menu of plant-based imitations involving everything from banana blossom to Japanese potato starch. Branches in Hackney and Islington. 

  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Spitalfields

Nostalgia rules at Pat ‘Pop’ Newlands’s legendary Spitalfields chippy, which comes decked out with a pick ’n’ mix assortment of shiny British kitsch (a jukebox, newspaper cuttings, model aeroplanes, wartime memorabilia). It may look like some fantasy trip, but there’s nothing airy-fairy about the food: fish comes fresh from Billingsgate each morning (have it fried or grilled), and the menu encompasses everything from jellied eels to hot seafood platters. Poppies also has outlets in Soho and Camden.

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An unexpected gem in Harrow, the Every Fish Bar was spotted by industry experts Fry magazine. Owned by Mohammed Gbadamosi, this place does the traditional stuff (with fish sourced from Billingsgate) but also fusion Caribbean and African cuisine featuring jerk flavours and joloff rice. 

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