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The Best Fish 'n' Chips in Seattle

By Leslie Kelly
July 14, 2014
Photo by: Claire Nelson

Seattle's signature summer dish has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Creative kitchens around town keep dreaming up clever ways to go for maximum crispiness and flavor. Here are our eight favorite takes on the British pub staple we've adopted as our own: fish 'n' chips. 

  • Photo by: Claire Nelson

    Etta's

    Why we love it: This Tom Douglas seafood palace at Pike Place Market is rightly famous for its crab cakes and big-ticket salmon preparations, but the fried true cod caught in Alaska is an outstanding and affordable option that's often overlooked.

    The details: Panko makes the breading super crisp, perfectly enveloping the juicy fish fillets that are not too thick or too thin. Shoestring fries are hand-cut, and the potato flavor comes through like a foghorn on a stormy night. Crunchy slaw is made to order, tossed in a malt vinegar-based dressing. 

    Know this: Add a couple of oysters and Baja shrimp for a killer combo plate.

  • Photo by: Claire Nelson

    Marination Ma Kai

    Why we love it: The generous pieces of cod are battered in a mixture that includes Stoup Brewing's special bitter, which gives it an amazing flavor. Two unique sauces — a miso-ginger tartar and a fiery tartar made with kimchi — bring out the best in the fish. 

    The details: After taking a dip in the batter, the fish is rolled in panko breadcrumbs to create a crunch you can hear across the cool dining room. Fries are hand-cut and made to order, ensuring they're hot and crispy.

    Know this: With a view of the pretty city skyline, this West Seattle hot spot's new outdoor beer garden is THE place to hang on a sweltering evening.

  • Nosh Food Truck

    Why we love it: London native Harvey Wolff knows his fish, literally. He sources true cod from an Alaska company, working only with boats that use a sustainable hook and line technique and pass on the exact day and time of the catch. 

    The details: The crew hand-cuts fish and fries daily. Each generous piece is cooked to order in a lager-based batter. After it emerges from the fryer, the fish rests for 30 seconds, so any remaining grease drains. Just before serving, it's hit with a dash of sea salt. You can taste the care that goes into it.

    Know this: A side of mushy peas comes with each order. Try 'em before you turn up your nose. They offer a bright counterpoint to the fried fish.

  • Photo by: Luuvu Hoang

    Pike St Fish Fry

    Why we love it: Besides exceptional late-night people-watching after the bars close, this small fry shop shines with its flavorful fish and a slew of right-on sauces like verde, chili mayo and lemon-y aioli.

    The details: Yes, the menu includes the ubiquitous true cod, but it's the Southern-style catfish that gets our motors revved. The thick fillet has that distinct fresh water flavor — a little like trout, yet milder than you think. Definitely go for the outstanding hand-cut sweet potato fries with a side of curry ketchup. 

    Know this: Tight quarters and counter seating mean this place can fill up fast. But Cal Anderson Park is just a block away for a great take-out picnic spot. Also, on Fridays, a two-piece order of cod is just $2.

  • Photo by: Claire Nelson

    Chippy's

    ​Why we love it: Chef Ethan Stowell's ambitious fish shack hits the mark with this simple dish done in high style and served in a fun, casual space in Ballard. It's next door to Staple & Fancy.

    The details: The fish — cod, salmon, rockfish, oysters or East Coast clams — is seasoned before its dredged in flour and beer-battered, which builds those layers of flavor fancy chefs are all about. The housemade tartar is heavy on the chopped pickles, a smooth move that keeps things sharp.

    Know this: If you're in the mood for the ultimate seafood experience, start with a King crab and Dungeness cocktail or throw in a bowl of the stellar smoked salmon chowder. The lobster roll here is pretty amazing too: the sweet chunks of meat are very lightly dressed.

  • Photo by: Facebook

    Ballard Annex Oyster House

    Why we love it: This likable place in Ballard takes an old-school approach to its fried fish, hitting the beer batter with Old Bay, a seasoning mix that includes celery salt, cloves and allspice. 

    The details: The flavorful beer batter clings to the flaky cod, making each mouthful a perfect mash-up of crisp, golden goodness and tender, mild fish. 

    Know this: There's an awesome happy hour — from 4:30 to 6:30 PM daily — that features $6 fish 'n' chips. 

  • Photo by: Leslie Kelly

    Babirusa

    ​Why we love it: This dish really should be called fish and chunks because the steamy fried spuds are superstars, especially when you hit them with the brilliant yuzu aioli. 

    The details: The batter is spiked with vodka in lieu of beer. Vodka has less sugar, so it doesn't burn at higher temperatures, allowing the kitchen to really crank up the heat. The result is a clean-tasting, ultracrunchy, truly remarkable fish.

    Know this: While the dish is a pretty good deal at $12, we were bummed that a mocktail was $7. 

  • Photo by: Claire Nelson

    Blueacre Seafood

    Why we love it: Hello, potato chip-encrusted cod! What a fantastic idea, chef Kevin Davis. 

    The details: Crushed Tim's thick-cut chips make this long-line-caught rockfish a real crunchfest. The treatment extends to the fabulous onion rings, making this dish a triple-fried treat. The hand-cut fries get an English accent from a sea salt and vinegar finish.

    Know this: Go all-in with an order of the incredible crab and bay shrimp tater tots, to start. 

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Places Mentioned

Etta's

Seafood • Pike Place Market

Food25 Decor21 Service23 Cost$37
 
 
 
Chippy's Fish & Drink

Seafood • Ballard

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Blueacre Seafood

Seafood • Downtown

Food25 Decor23 Service24 Cost$41
 
 
 
Marination Ma Kai

Korean • West Seattle

Food24 Decor14 Service23 Cost$10
 
 
 
 
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