Food & Drink Aug 27, 2014 at 4:00 am

The Fish 'n' Chips Face-Off

Ivar’s, the Seattle classic, above; Chippy’s, new from Ethan Stowell, below. Which one looks better? Kelly O


I'm hungry!
It's either been Ivar's on Pier 54 or Spud Fish 'n' Chips on Greenlake, traditionally, for me. Oh, the memories!
*sigh* I can no longer eat deep fried foods for health reasons, but everybody enjoy some killer fish 'n' chips and tartar sauce for me!
Then go to Haggen-Dazs afterwards.
Ok, here's the thing. Nowhere serves just one piece of fish with fish and chips. Much less for $15! Two pieces is stingy, one is a slap in the face. But all that might be forgivable if those fries weren't the worst kind of pre-frozen red robin steak fries. Uuuuuuuugh. Ethan Stowell, I'm a fan, but no. Not acceptable.
Skip it and go for the lobster roll.
The price reflects the use of fresh fish - I think this may the only fish and chips place in town that doesn't use frozen stuff. Also, I think the commenter above has it backwards - most of us prefer pre-frozen fries, as they tend to come out crispier - the ones at Chippy's are obviously made from fresh potatoes.
I've lived on Whidbey Island since 1975, so chewing on fish 'n chips in the Mukilteo ferry line has been a big pastime. Always liked them. Prior to Whidbey, I lived at Green Lake, near Spuds -- and I loved that place. I've yet to try Ethan's new chip joint in Ballard, but it's on my list. As far as pricing, my husband and I just returned from Scandinavia, and for lunch we say down by the waterfront in Oslo and ordered two fish 'n chips and two beers at a very un-fancy outdoor food stand with picnic tables. Price? $100 US! Everything seems quite cheap since returning home earlier this week. Chip on, Ethan and Ivar!
Any review (nay, competetion!) of fish and chips MUST include whther the fish is breaded or battered. Even though the review of Ivar's says "batter," I know it's breaded. While the picture makes Chippy's choice fairly obvious, I think it's important distinction that should not be missed.
I recently heard this distinction described as NW Style vs English style. It's true. Most F&C in the northwest is abysmally breaded, and my heart sings with joy when I see decently battered fich & chips. Chippy's, get in my belly.
And no mention of malt vinegar?!? It's not fish 'n chips without malt vinegar. If I have to ask for it, I'm not going back.
This ad looked almost like a real article.
Doesn't seem fair to compare a walk up window to an expensive sit down. Ivar's even? Have you been to Seattle?
@1- Laughed. Bottom line, food is good. I've been wanting to try Chippy's.
@HappyHippie: YOU'RE A MORON.

Anyways, been to both but Ivar's is the reliable standard. Long after Ethan Stowell has moved on from Seattle ascends the Chef Ladder, Ivar's will still be here pumping out great fried fish.

Atlantic Crossing in Roosevelt for the best fish n chips. Big portion, hand cut, plus booze and beer. 20 times better than Spuds, which is awful and expensive. I like Ivars okay. Have not tried hipsters, I mean chipsters or whatever.

Only in Seattle.

Sunfish on Alki. Seriously.
As a Brit, I much prefer large, soggy chips to "fries". Fries go with a burger, soggy chips go with battered fish.
@10: except it will be closing for 9 months in September.
Pike Place Chowder has the best. I understand the sentimental attachment everyone has to Ivar's, but really, PPC has much better fish 'n' chips and much, much, MUCH MUCH MUCH better chowder.
Hello!!? Bait Shop?!!?
@6 is exactly right: battered, NOT BREADED.

The George and Dragon does a good one. Soggy chips are essential, but quality fish is not, particularly.

And the presence of "dad rock" will keep me from ever going inside. If I ran the world it would be illegal to play Led Zeppelin in a public place.
@6 Excellent point about breaded vs. battered. I worked at Spud (no "s" everyone) during high school, and as weird as it sounds actually delighted in battering the fish (the puns are working against me here). Breaded is for jerks.

@17 Love that place, glad to know it's still there.
@17 and myself.. waaaaaaaait, is Pike Place Chowder that dirty little spot opposite the Market entrance that's basically a bar around a deep fryer? That's the place I like, whatever that place is. My research isn't serving my terrible memory well.

Also, I'm not sure "delighted" is the word I'm looking for in working fast food, possible "enjoyed more than other things I did there" is more accurate.
@21, how many years did it take for the fry oil smell to come out of your hair after you quit?
@22 - I did actually shave off my long hair shortly after quitting. I thought I was just tired of it, but my subconscious might have been telling me something my olfactory had become numb too.
Chippys is great. The fish is fresh and the batter is light and crispy, NOT BREADED. God how I hate the panko crusted abominations that call themselves "fried fish" in the PNW. The fries do need work though, and I would like a larger portion of tarter. I mean the slab of fish is so large there, a little more tarter woudl go a long way. Also - excellent beer selection.
Spuds! I also enjoy the Ivars on Aurora

Also had some excellent fish n chips at The Virginia Inn last week :)
Ugh. Part of the joy of fish and chips is the goddamn covering (battered over breaded yes, but something and not too thick). One big honkin' piece of cod no matter how good means less covering. Give me three or four pieces of Ivar's anyday over one huge slab'o'cod.
@26, you can actually get a lot of joy from stray globs of batter that get fried with no fish in them at all. But yeah, small pieces = more yummy batter.
@27 oh I agree. My issue is with a couple of places around town where they layer the batter on really thick and don't cook it properly. If they properly fry it, I'm a damn happy camper.
@ #6 Scotsman chiming in here. For the uninitiated supper if you order a "fish supper" in Scotland(don't know about the rest of the UK)you will get battered fish and chip. If you order a "dressed fish supper" you will get breaded fish and chips. Both will likely be made with haddock not cod and are equally tasty but the dressed fish supper is often seen as being a bit hoity-toity...

For the best Fish and Chips, I think you should go to Bys on Fourth Ave South across the street from the Elephant Super Car Wash. You can follow the garbage trucks heading for the dump next door. Despite the gritty locale and the unpretentious character of By's, the Fish at Bys is both excellent and unique in seattle, the chips are not as exceptional as the Fish but they are good enough. They also hand make the best milkshakes I have had lately, served with straws that don't plug up with fruit chunks. The aptmosphere is plain old industrial worker lunch joint. It is a well worn one of a kind family owned burger joint that just happens to have exceptional Fish and Chips for a lot less than Ethan Stowell. When I want to feed Seagulls I go to Ivars. When I want Fish and chips to eat, I go to Bys They have the best fish in Seattle.
Damnit, woman! No mention of the most important thing - TARTAR SAUCE. Look, I have been known to bring my own tartar sauce in my fucking purse if a place has great fish but lousy tartar sauce (the Only Seafoods in Vancouver was one of those). Is it more dilly or more lemony? Is it too smooth (abomination!)? We need to know!
@6, Miss Britt, right on! I thought Ivar's looked breaded too. Batter is better!
BTW, if you find yourself in East Sacramento jonesing for F&C, hit Cape Cod Fish and Chips on Fulsom. They do some crazy tempura batter and HUGE planks of fish.

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