A plate of New England fish and chips (fried fish fillets with french fries), served with tangy tartar sauce, is one of the most popular dishes at many seafood shacks. This delightfully informal meal originated in Great Britain in the 1800s, but it has graced New England menus for decades, particularly along the seacoast. Yankee contributor and seafood expert Mike Urban, author of Clam Shacks (Cider Mill Press), has eaten more than his fair share of fish and chips from Maine to Connecticut. Here are his 10 favorite spots for New England fish and chips.
10 BEST NEW ENGLAND FISH AND CHIPS
Westfair Fish and Chips
Located behind a strip mall on Boston Post Road in populous Fairfield County, Westfair has been serving up its signature fish and chips for more than 30 years. Cod fillets are battered in a mixture of flour, water, and seasonings; fried to a puffy crispness; and served with thick-cut fries. Fried sole may be substituted for the cod, if desired.
Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock
New London, CT
This seafood mainstay in southeastern Connecticut serves up a terrific plate of fish and chips — which may be surprising, because Scott’s is known primarily for its lobster rolls. The cod, haddock, or fluke (“whatever’s freshest that day,” says the owner) is wet- and dry-battered, fried to perfection, and served with thin, crispy fries. The one-piece serving is fine for lunch; go for the two-piece at dinner.
Housed in a glass-front building that used to be a Carvel ice cream stand, this Mystic, CT, mainstay serves up some excellent fish and chips. Showcasing fish from the nearby Stonington docks, Sea Swirl’s lightly battered fillets are crunchy and sweet. The fries are thick-cut and equally crunchy outside and tender within, indicative of fresh cooking oil and a deft touch with the deep fryer.
Buttonwoods Fish and Chips
This homey little restaurant anchors one end of a strip mall in a residential Warwick neighborhood and is a bit of a hidden gem for lovers of fish and chips. The battered cod fillets and square-cut fries taste best when given a light dousing of malt vinegar. Though the portion size isn’t huge, the quality of the food and the loving preparation make for a fine meal.
Amaral’s Fish and Chips
Amaral’s resides in a small box of a building on a side street in a working-class section of Warren. This family-owned Portuguese-American mainstay has been serving up home-cooked fare for more than 30 years, and fish and chips is its most popular dish. The sweet-tasting fillets (haddock or cod) are coated in a crunchy batter and served atop a bed of crispy fries. Try some of the home-baked Portuguese sweet bread if they’re baking it the day you’re there.
SEE MORE: Amaral’s Fish and Chips | Local Flavor
Sir Cricket’s Fish n’ Chips
Joined at the hip to a top-notch Cape Cod seafood market, Sir Cricket’s is known far and wide for its great fried seafood, especially its fish and chips. The battered fillets and expertly fried chips come in regular and large sizes. Plus, Sir Cricket’s has the look and feel of an authentic British fish and chips shop, with its colorful wall menu, cramped quarters, and cheerful service.
SEE MORE: 10 Best New England Seafood Markets
Captain Frosty’s Fish and Chips
This mid-Cape institution offers daily “specials” on its fish and chips: fresh Chatham cod or locally caught flounder. Either way you can’t go wrong. The battered fillets have a crispy, crunchy coating that seals in the fish’s fresh flavor. The fries are equally crispy, and the slaw on the side makes for a nice palate-cleanser. Be sure to try one of Captain Frosty’s many ice cream treats, too.
SEE MORE: The Best Cape Cod Lobster Rolls
Stop here for a plate of fish and chips, and you’ll be rewarded with a massive, melt-in-your-mouth piece of breaded, fried haddock that’s as fresh as can be. Crinkle-cut fries and a dinner roll with butter round out the fish and chips platter. (Tip: go for the homemade tartar sauce over the Kraft version.)
Located a few miles inland from the famous waterfront in Portland, ME, Susan’s pulls fish-and-chips enthusiasts from downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods. Casually housed in a former service station, Susan’s breads and fries its seafood in full view, just behind the order counter. The haddock fillets are firm and fresh, and the fries are hand-cut. Hands down, this is one of the best places for fried seafood in Portland.
Bet’s Fish Fry
This place is legendary, housed in a galvanized-roof shack just off the main road leading into Boothbay, ME. Namesake owner Bet Finocchiaro uses locally caught haddock, which she breads and fries to crispy perfection. The hand-cut fries come from Maine potatoes, making Bet’s a farm-(and sea-)to-table operation long before such a thing was cool. The portions are huge, the price is unbeatable, and the characters running the shack are unforgettable.
Where’s your favorite spot for a plate of New England fish and chips?
This post was first published in 2018 and has been updated.
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