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August 19, 2008

Top 10 places for fish and chips

FishnChips.jpgThis Top 10 started out as a request from Dave for places to find good fish and chips because I didn't think we'd ever come up with enough to make it a Top 10.


What I didn't want to make this was simply a repeat of our Top 10 Irish pubs list. I was impressed that the combined efforts of readers, reviewers past and present, and Midnight Sun Sam (who had done a carryout column on fish and chips) produced a legitimate 10 that were mostly pubs but not mostly Irish pubs. Some are Irish restaurants, and some are neither.

Note: They are in alphabetical order, not ranked. No, Galway Bay is not No. 1. It's a "G." 

A great order of fish and chips marries flaky, mild, white, very fresh fish (golden-crusted, natch) with hot, fresh, crisp-edged fries. You know a lot of grease must be involved, but you don't notice it because they are so well done. 

I'm hungry. Let's eat.

Here's the list: ...

* Galway Bay in Annapolis

* Koco's Pub in Lauraville

* Life of Reilly in Butchers Hill/Patterson Park 

* Mama's on the Half Shell (2901 ODonnell St., 410-276-3160) in Canton

* McCabe's (3845 Falls Road, 410-467-1000) in Hampden

* Mick O'Shea's in Mount Vernon

* Nick's Fish House in South Baltimore

* Red Brick Station in White Marsh

* Ryan's Daughter in Belvedere Square

* Slainte in Fells Point


(Photo by Gordon M. Grant/Bloomberg News)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 4:22 AM | | Comments (45)
Categories: Top Ten Tuesdays


Can I hold out until dinner or will it have to be lunch? I LUV fish and chips. Just something about that combination done right. There is a place in Rehoboth with wonderful batter; the fish is not that memorable, but that batter is the stuff of dreams. It is located on the main drag. The name escapes me at the moment.

If you get the Fish and Chips at Mick O Shea's you better go hungry. The portion was monsterous, enough to feed an olympian. And it was pure heaven, I felt guilty for not eating it all.

Regina - If you're referring to the place right next to (one of the MANY) Grotto's right on the boards it's called The Big Fish... and you're right - they have the BEST batter!!!

I have to say that I'm surprised Koco's made this list. Perhaps they have improved their fish and chips, but I remember a processed fish filet, like the kind that may come out of a box in the freezer section of the supermarket (suspiciously uniform in shape). The chips, however, I will gladly stand behind!

another reason to mis dizzy izzys....

John Stevens Ltd. in Fells does a pretty good one.

Fish-Tales in OC has great fish and chips, and awesome atmosphere as well

Gosh, now I'm hungry and at the same time missing those great Friday Fish Fries in Milwaukee. (I'll bet jl remembers them fondly.)

No one's mentioned the James Joyce yet? Yes I KNOW it's Irish, but their fish and chips are darn good -- confirmed by a British friend of mine. I'm not even a big fan of fish and chips (too many bad versions out there) but I do LOVE the way the Joyce does it.

I love good fish & chips. Having gone to college in the UK and living there for a number of years, I really came to appreciate them. So when I noticed that Koko's Pub was on your list, I thought that I would share my recent experience with their fish and chips. They where among the worst fish and chips that I have ever had! They came to the table like hockey pucks and you could tell that the grease that they had used to fry them in hadn't been hot enough because there where pools of grease on top of the "pucks". You could also tell that the fish had just come out of the freezer because the batter was so thick and flavourless that they where difficult to cut even with a knife.

EL wrote: Note: They are in alphabetical order, not ranked. No, Galway Bay is not No. 1. It's a "G."

Something tells me that, within a fairly short time after the Top 10 makes it to the print edition, restaurants will change their names in the fashion of the Yellow Pages listings, such that the next Top 10 list of fish-and-chips places will list "AAAA Slainte" ahead of "Galway Bay". Also, "Red Brick Station" will complain about why they're listed behind "The Life of Reilly" (think of the New York Times theatre listings).

I think the guiness beer batter used in the fish/chips at Mick O'Sheas is just too heavy for cod. It makes for a thick oily crust that overpowers the subtle flavor of the fish.

I have had a similar batter on a fish/chips using fresh pacific salmon which was delicious.

Wait, betsy, what happened to Dizzy Izzys?

The WORST fish and chips I've had were in tiny restaurant in a little village in Scotland. It was past our lunchtime and we were hungry--we had had a slow drive pushing our way through herds of free range cattle and sheep. We finally came out of the countyside and stopped at the first restaurant we saw. It was spotless with flowers in window boxes outside. We ordered from the very friendly owner. The fish and chips came and looked great! Perfectly fried, a large portion, piping hot! But yuck! The fish and chips had been fried in mutton fat! Well, it was Scotland!

I know this is a chain restaurant, but Uno's Pizzeria has very good fish and chips...large portions with enough to share. Also The Greene Turtle does a good fish and chips too.

Cynthia's in Severna Park has the best fish and chips I've ever had. Super light and not greasy at all. Served with a yummy roasted jalapeño aioli with just enough kick. Nice portion size. Save room for dessert there too!

I missed the earlier posting requesting top tens but the Midtown Yacht Club has good Fish n Chips. They make a limited number each day though. Surprised no one else mentioned it, especially with it being near to the paper's offices.

i had some at Midtown Yacht Club in March that were pretty good....
course, I was sitting vigil at Mercy grief causes great hunger...
and hunger is great sauce!

hunger is great sauce!

Marry me!

Hey, Owl Meat -- you're usurping Hal VoR's prerogative to make the first comment on all typos, malapropisms, and spoonerisms!

I went to the Catonsville Gourmet (at your suggestion, I think) and had good F&S there. Now how about some places to get great fresh made fried chicken?

Okay, the power of suggestion at work; went to Ryan's Daughter for lunch; had the fish and chips; it was very tasty; well-seasoned and piping hot. The batter was thinly applied and allowed the flavor of the fish to dominate. The side of cole slaw was easily forgettable. Service was attentive without being overwhelming.
I would say 2.5 stars for the food.

hmpstd, huh? I didn't comment on any of those. I think "hunger is a great sauce" is brilliant.

Has anybody ever thought about the absurbity of half a star? Isn't that like half a tear? Or half a careless whisper?

Owl Meat -- my bad. I assumed that Meghan had intended to use the word "solace" instead of "sauce" (as in finding solace in feeding one's hunger), but now I see that "hunger is great sauce" is actually a corruption of a Cervantes quote.

Has anyone been to Eamonn's in Alexandria? I realize that Alexandria is outside of the area, but I've heard lots of good things about this place. I've never been, but I've been to Restaurant Eve, which is owned by the same people, and if Eamonn's is half as good as Eve than I would think Eamonn's would at the top of this list. Well, since it begins with E it would be at the top of the list...but I digress.

you're usurping Hal VoR's prerogative to make the first comment on all typos, malapropisms, and spoonerisms!

I'm not really that bad, am I?

Oh well, I'll have a hozen doney-hips please.


1) So much for the "shadows" - you're now in danger of being printed. HUP.

2) Didn't you read her blog? She's already married

3) No, I'm not jealous. I'm not. Really. I know I said I was a little in love with you after that Emperor of Ice Cream brilliance, but that was July. Or June.

hmpstd, I think it goes back beyond Cervantes.

Just for example, here it is in Gaelic (you can probably find the thought in Greek and Latin as well):

Is maith an t-anlann an t-ocras.
Translation: Hunger is a great sauce.
Meaning: If you’re hungry, everything tastes good.

Pianorob, from WI here, yes, the Friday night fish fry is a wonderful way to end the week.

I was actually going to mention Eamonn's as I was there about a month ago. I was in town for work and walking around looking for place to grab some food. I see it and decide to check it out.

It was pretty good. They had 4 or so types of fish and a bunch of dipping sauces you could get. I thought it was a bit steep at ~$23 for some fish, fries, and a beer. Especially not being a meal with a waiter or anything. It was kind of fast casual style.

Ironically, I read the Washington Post while waiting and it was the day that the Baltimore farmers markets were being spotlighted.
(is that ironic or just a coincidence?)

Bill, we did a turn on fried chicken a while might even be able to search it within D@L.

Food homilies in Gaelic.

Is this the best blog in which you've ever commented or what? "Sandbox" doesn't begin to do it justice.

Have you done a buffalo wings top ten yet?

Not yet. But its time is coming. EL

Bourbon Girl, come on baby, why you gotta be like that? I was weak. I'm weak for a good metaphor. It won't happen again. I didn't even look at her blog.

Corruption of Cervantes? Gaelic? Look at all these big brains. Kudos.

Dahlink -- the notion of hunger as a sauce does appear twice in Don Quixote. In Part 1, Ch. 19, after Don Quixote and Sancho Panza attack a funeral procession, there appears the phrase "y, tendidos sobre la verde yerba, con la salsa de su hambre, almorzaron, comieron, merendaron y cenaron a un mesmo punto" (translated: "and, stretched upon the green grass, with hunger as a sauce, they breakfasted, dined, lunched, and supped all at once"). The more famous quote, in Part 2, Ch. 5, is said by Teresa to her husband Sancho Panza. “La mejor salsa del mundo es el hambre, y como ésta no falta a los pobres, siempre comen con gusto.” (Translated: "The best sauce in the world is hunger, and as the poor are not lacking in it, they always eat with relish.")

True, Cervantes could lifted the phrase from the Irish, just as plausibly as vice versa -- but, given the paucity of written Irish Gaelic literature of that period, we may never know for sure.

hmpstd, I yield to no man in my love of Cervantes and other greats of world literature. (My yearbook quote was something about being a "bastard child of the humanities"--can you find the source for that?) But I'm just saying that the thought didn't originate with him--it had become proverbial, and you can probably find similar thought in many languages and literatures.

Hello, Mrs Lucky - Great to hear from someone in the homeland. Where in WI are you? Native of MKE, here. I'd be hard-pressed to come up with a Top Ten Fish Fries in the MKE area, and when you include the entire state, forget it!

Dahlink -- further digging indicates that the original proverb likely originated prior to Cicero, who, in a (truncated) quote from De finibus bonorum et malorum, said, "Socratem audio dicentem, cibi condimentum esse famem, potionis sitim." (I hear Socrates saying that the best seasoning for food is hunger, [and] for drink, thirst.)

Huzzahs for hmpstd

Not only is the Sandbox knowledgeable about food and restaurants and cooking, it is multilingual, intellectual, and fond of (sick) humor. Furthermore, we are more than willing to share our various areas of expertise and research. "Sandbox" to me is a perfect metaphor ... even if the nickname "doesn't begin to do it justice" as Rob't stated.

Simply said, I love D@L. Now, where should I have lunch?

Well I haven't been able to get out of bed since Bourbon Girl hinted that I've been phoning it in since June or July. Now I just have my manservant Adobo Karilli type it in for me. Oh, Adobo says "What up, holla!". I can't believe that girls on trampolines is an Olympic sport now. Let's see what's on Lifetime ... Adobo, are you still typing? Stop it. No, really stop typing and get me a Jell-o pudding pop please.

Never liked "Sandbox". I guess it just brings back bad memories. My grandmother felt that playing was for rich children and simpletons only. I remember playing in a wheel barrow full of sand when I was very young. Which is odd because we lived in the mountains. It turns out it was for grandfather to make concrete. Then she beat beat me with a wooden sppon. Good times.

PR--don't you have a doggy bag in the back of the fridge?

Zoinks, I think Socrates wins for oldest reference unless someone can find some old hieroglyphs. Surprised to see Owlie out of the loop on this one. And that he clearly falls in love too easily (or was that a reference to the girl on Arrested Development who redirected every probing question with "Marry me!"?). It seems to be a pretty well known expression. I'm glad that Meghan brought it up. Although she's probably worried about stalking owls now. There's a recent album by English band Saltpeter called Hunger's the Best Sauce.

How's that for a shallow capper to some serious thinking?

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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