Fish and chips are a must-try when you visit London, as evidenced by the fact that more than 250 million fish and chips meals are sold in the UK every year. But where can you find the best fish and chips in London? In this post, I’ve teamed up with some other hungry travel blogger friends of mine to share with you our favorite places to visit for London fish and chips.
But first, did you know that fish ‘n chips is not the actual national dish of the UK? Even though we think of it as quintessentially British, the honor of the national dish actually goes to chicken tikka masala.
Also, did you know there is some controversy around the origins of the dish? Many believe the dish was created in the north of the country, selling the first fish and chips at Mossley market in Lancashire somewhere around 1863. Others believe a Jewish immigrant was the first to start selling the iconic dish in East London around 1860.
But no matter who started selling the dish first, it has gone on to become loved by almost all, and everyone has their preferred way of eating it. Do you add vinegar and salt to yours? If so, salt first or vinegar first? Are you dipping yours in ketchup, tartar sauce, mayonnaise, or even in some parts of the world, chippy sauce? Do you prefer cod or haddock? Do you order the “scraps” (extra crunchy bits) with your order?
No matter your favorite way to enjoy it, no visit to London would be complete without at least a serving of the ubiquitous dish so we’ve put together this list ensuring you’ll find the best fish and chips shop in London!
Visiting other destinations in Europe? Check out our other delicious guides:
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- What is Traditional Swiss Food?
- 13 Best Reykjavik Restaurants
- 12 Must-Try Places For The Best Hot Chocolate In Scotland
- The 15 Best Мichelin Star Restaurants In London
While in London, don’t miss out on activities that will help immerse yourself with the city (hurry while they’re hot!):
- Magical London: Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour
- London: Tower of London and Crown Jewels Exhibition Ticket
- From London: Ticket to Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio with Transfer
- London: Climb The Roof of The O2 Arena
- The View from The Shard: Direct Entry Ticket
- London: Westminster to Greenwich River Thames Cruise
Top 5 Can’t Miss Places Serving Up the Best Fish and Chips in London
Borough Market, Cathedral St // +44 20 7407 3803
Occupying prime space at Borough Market, the largest food market in London, you’ll find Fish! serving up beer-battered fish with smashed (mushy) peas and tartar sauce on the side if you like.
Fish! is so good that they were in fact named the winner of the 2017 National Fish & Chip Awards. You can decide between haddock, cod, or hake but whatever you decide they’re all served with a generous side of chips.
There’s usually a fairly long line outside the shop but it moves quickly. Also, be aware there’s not much in the way of seating but grab yours for takeaway and wander around the rest of the impressive market, exploring the stalls.
49-51 Lisson Grove // +44 20 7224 9000
Suggested by Teresa of Brogan Abroad
Even though fish and chips are one of the traditional British dishes par excellence, it is quite hard to find a good quality fish and chips restaurant in London. That’s why I was so happy to found The Sea Shell of Lisson Grove in Marylebone!
They’ve been serving traditional fish and chips for over 60 years now and have a great reputation in London. The shop’s origins actually date back to just after the First World War, where they started serving cooked fish as a humble business. They’ve evolved quite a bit since.
The restaurant is split into two parts, and you could almost say they are two separate restaurants. One part follows a formal sit-down format, while the other is designed for taking away with high tables and a small terrace where you can enjoy a quick bite.
You can order all sorts of fish from their menu, and it’s all cooked to order. Traditional fish and chips are always cod, but many prefer haddock’s more intense flavor.
The portion of chips is extremely generous, and one portion can definitely be shared between two people. I personally always add both salt and vinegar, quite a bit of both, and order a side of tartar sauce. Their tartar sauce is homemade and absolutely delicious!
Suggested by: Michelle of Greedy Gourmet
Everyone has their favorite secret place in London that they think makes the best fish and chips. If you hold a debate with your closest London friends, each one would have a different answer and argument about why their place is the best. But the fish and chips at Real Greek are unlike any other, and you won’t find anything like them on other menus.
Although a Greek restaurant may seem to like an odd choice at first, I promise you won’t be disappointed. When it comes to delivering quality over price – the Real Greek restaurant is a winner. They serve some of the best fish and chips places in all of London, and you also can’t compete with the setting of this dynamic and buzzing Mediterranean-style restaurant. Somehow, this same energy and excitement come through in the food.
You’ll immediately notice the undeniable freshness of the fish. As a Mediterranean restaurant, this place prides itself on high-quality seafood, and you should expect nothing less. Accompanied by a delicious and crispy batter, you won’t be able to resist another piece. Should you still be hungry, they also serve plenty of finger foods and local delicacies.
38 Muswell Hill Broadway // +44 20 8883 8656
Suggested by: Faye of Delve Into Europe
I used to live in a first-floor flat overlooking Muswell Hill Broadway. Whenever I opened the living room window, the unmistakable aroma of fish and chips would waft in from the street. My next-door neighbor just happened to be Toff’s of Muswell Hill, a restaurant that’s been voted Fish & Chip Shop of the Year.
Toff’s is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, and many proclaim it the best chippy in North London. The regular portions of fish are always huge, and the large too much for me (but not for my husband).
The chips have always been fantastic, chunky yet light. Some other nearby places in East Finchley serve great fish and chips as well, but Toff’s fish and chips are the best because they’ve refined it into an art form. They also fry in refined ground nut oil, which they change daily.
Their takeaway menu has all the British classics, with cod, haddock, and plaice prominent. They even serve skate and rock eel, something you don’t often see outside London. It all tastes best with salt and vinegar, the classic British condiments. Even in Australia, 10,000 miles away, I can still sometimes smell Toff’s cooking.
Suggested by: Noel of Travel Photo Discovery
One of the best places to go for delicious fish and chips is Poppy’s on the East End of London. Well known and rated as one of the best fish and chips joints in London, they serve everything fresh, hot, crispy, and tender on the inside. I loved how perfectly crisp and moist the fish was. It made a wonderful impact on the taste and texture of both the fish and fries overall.
The interior of Poppy’s is wonderfully decorated in vintage diner memorabilia. Even the waiters dressed in nostalgic diner clothing added to the overall dining experience. The nostalgic interior touches include jukeboxes, 50s collectibles, and banquet seating along with cool music covering the hits of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. That really added to the whole vibe and experience.
If you want to have an exceptional fish and chip experience, you definitely need to visit Poppie’s on the East End. Check out my post on visiting London’s East End on a food tour, which included a visit to Poppie’s for some excellent fish and chips.
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Which of these best fish and chips in London do you most want to try? Let me know in the comments section below!
Travel writer and owner of the blog. My work has been featured on Fodors, Eater.com, International Living, and Great Escape Publishing, among many others. My story? Nearly six years ago, I left my job at an Oklahoma City law firm and embarked on a journey around the world. At the time, I thought I would only be gone for 6 months, but the more I traveled, the longer my bucket list became. Flashpacker describes how I travel. Rather than traveling as the normal world wise backpacker and staying in hostel dorms, I prefer a more comfortable experience, and typically stay in private rooms, take Ubers instead of taxis, and now use a suitcase instead of a backpack. Foodie, on the other hand, describes one of the key reasons why I travel. I love to pick a central “base camp” and then explore the surrounding area, really immersing myself in the culture and interacting with the people, and enjoying and exploring the food of an area is an essential part of this experience.