By: Jim Bamboulis
When I was a kid, I remember going to a fish+chips take-out spot down the street from where I lived. It was run by a Greek guy who noticed I was coming in every week to eat. After a while, he’d always give me a bit more fries and an extra piece of fish. I didn’t grow up with fish+chips but I got hooked on it soon after I took my first bite. If I wasn’t going for a slice of pizza or fried chicken, I was in Gus’s restaurant chowing down on Scottish food.
As I got older, I learned that Toronto was a big fish+chips town. With so many Scots, it always had been. Gus closed his shop years later, which forced me to find another spot to get my fix. There was no shortage of great places and everyone had their favourite spot. Over the years, I found my favourites too, with one new addition. Here they are and please, if you have a favourite (or completely disagree with my spots), please leave your comment below.
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Olde Yorke Fish + Chips
Growing up in Toronto’s east end and depending largely on public transport, this place was a bit out of my way but that’s what friends (with cars) are for. Located in Leaside, northeast of the downtown core, we’d go here and leave happy. Every time!
The owners of the Olde Yorke have a long history with fish + chips, having been in the art of perfecting it since the late 60s. They opened this place in the 80s and it’s packed for both lunch and dinner ever since. If you think getting take-out is going to save you some time, think again. That section’s busy too. Waiting for fish + chips here doesn’t irritate people here, it makes them more eager to bite into authenticity!
For more info about the Olde Yorke including menu, hours and location, click this link.
When Donna and David Wolff told friends they were thinking about opening a Scottish Pubic House and Whiskey Bar that would serve authentic fish + chips, they were supportive. When they mentioned that they thought about opening in Little Portugal, friends started to get skeptical. Some thought opening a Scottish restaurant in the area wouldn’t work. Well, it did. Since opening in 2010, The Caledonian has been packed, complete with lineups. In my opinion, one of the best places to eat and drink in Toronto’s west end and it happens to have some of the best fish + chips in town too.
Donna herself is from the Scottish Highlands and knows a thing or two about making Scottish fare truly delicious and authentic. The beer battered haddock and Yukon Gold fries are a hit and just a heads up – if you go to The Caledonian on Monday nights, fish + chips are 2 for 1.
For more info about The Caledonian, hit up this link.
St. Andrew’s Fish + Chips
As an east-ender, this place was always a go-to. It was close to home, inexpensive and really good. St. Andrew’s has been around since the mid-80s and although it’s located in an often overlooked strip mall in central Scarborough, it’s a destination for those who love the taste of haddock and chips.
Named after the town of St. Andrews in Scotland, the patron saint of Scotland itself and the legendary golf course, the owners knew that the true flavours of the old country would be popular in this part of the world. Still family run and still making fish + chips as authentic as ever, people pop in not only to just say hello, but to sit down and enjoy the traditional meal, prepared the traditional way.
For more info about St. Andrew’s Fish + Chips, please refer to the following link.
There are dozens of amazing fish + chip shops in Toronto. Which one is your favourite?
I spent 15 years in the broadcast media world before starting up Travel Mammal, a site dedicated to travel, food and cultural experiences.
Travel Mammal isn’t about the selfie or checking things off a list. It’s about experiencing both the journey and the destination. To breathe, learn and really absorb what’s around you, in the moment and experiencing in a way that is both memorable and meaningful.
Cheers and happy travels!