This really is an unfair game here, seeing as it is Seattle and all, and really, how can you screw up deep-frying fish in a batter and serving it with fries, salt, and tartar sauce? But some just stick out head-and-shoulders above the rest--they've got a little edge of some sort. We know this is opening a can of worms (*ba-dum-ching*), but at some point, it's time to narrow down the heap and call out those places that we'd stage a sit-in for, if ever they were endangered.
With all the talk these days about sustainable seafood, which is growing in awareness like recycling circa 1995, this could be a touchy subject. Where are each of these places getting their fryables? While we haven't pulled a fake sting on each to get the skinny, we urge you, oh powerful reader, to taste, test, and ask this summer! Here now are the current top 5 fish 'n' chips joints across the city.
5. Too Cool for School: Pike St. Fish Fry (Cap Hill)
They serve it oh-so-hip, and there's barely a seat to sit in, and yet, Capitol Hill residents just keep flocking back for more. With ling cod, halibut, and catfish always on the menu, plus a fresh fish-of-the-day and a host of other bites, the Fish Fry is worth the trip around the corner before hitting your drinking hole of choice. Where else are you going to get deep-fried asparagus and frito misto that you can plunge into a cup of smoked chili mayo? Nowhere.That's where. Plus there are lots of sauces to dip everything in, and since fried things are primed for dipping, it's a match made in hipster heaven.
Pike St. Fish Fry
4. Fancy Pants: The Six Seven (at The Edgewater Inn)
Not only was this swank-as-hell joint named the #1 bar in Seattle last summer, it's also in the hotel where the Beatles stayed when they came to the Emerald City decades ago (which my mom totally raved about when we went here for Mother's Day brunch). We got the fish and chips, because we're smart like that. The beer batter is out of this world--light, crispy, and with just enough oil to give your heart a run for its money. Served with fries that somehow pack twice the fry flavor in every pencil-thin, golden stick, it'd be a crime to not order this and sit at the window, eating away all your troubles.
3. Classics Never Die: Spud's (Alki, Greenlake)
If you were a lucky kid growing up in Seattle, your parents may have taken you (albeit in some dirt-brown Econoline van full of siblings and cheesy beach gear) to Alki on a hot summer day. By the time dinner rolled around, your parents had had enough, and just herded you over to Spud's for a memory-making extravaganza full of batter, white fillets of heaven, and loads of greasy fries and tartar. You can still recapture that feeling, even if it's no longer guilt-free, knowing you'll be pulling weeds for weeks to burn this off.
2. Grab 'n' Go: Little Chinook's (Fisherman's Terminal, Interbay)
If you're not in the mood for an enormous latte and fresh scones with orange butter, or if it's a cold, brisk day in October and you happen to be driving down 15th during lunch hour, you absolutely must pull over for Little Chinook's. Just outside and around the corner from the sit-down restaurant, you'll find a walk-up, totally unassuming window and a few picnic tables. There will also probably be a freaking boatload of seagulls (aka "sky rats") flocking to grab your fries out of your hands, so watch out. There's a reason the vermin hover here, waiting for their next victim. The two-bite fish nibbles and large-cut fries will steam up your mouth, tummy, and the inside of your car, if they last that long. You may want to play it safe and do a pre-emptive double order to go.
1. Crowd Favorite: Lockspot (Ballard)
An unofficial poll (read: literally asking random strangers on the streets of Seattle, combined with social-media question blasts) reveals that the current crowd-pleaser out there is the little neighborhood cafe that could. The Lockspot doesn't screw around; the fish is fried to perfection and served scalding hot, and when you hit it during happy hour, you can pair that dream come true with a tub of tartar and a domestic draft beer for $1.75--last we checked. Why don't we meet there to double check, 'kay? (If you can't find it, then you don't deserve the fish n' chips.)
Honorable mentions: The Pacific Inn (Fremont), Elephant and Castle (across from the 5th Avenue Theater), The Barking Dog Alehouse (Phinney), Skipper's, Ivar's (on the pier), Owl n' Thistle (Pioneer Square), and Chandler's (Lake Union).
The Pacific Inn (Fremont), Elephant and Castle (across from the 5th Avenue Theater), The Barking Dog Alehouse (Phinney), Skipper's, Ivar's (on the pier), Owl n' Thistle (Pioneer Square), and Chandler's (Lake Union).