Where to find the best fish and chips in Cornwall

Date Posted: 11 Mar 2024

Where better to enjoy the classic British dish than from the ultimate seaside destination? Kirstie Newton casts her net wide to find the best fish and chip restaurants and takeaways in Cornwall.

Food historians claim that Brits have been pairing fish and chips since the 1860s. Nowhere does it taste better than by the self-same waters where the fish was caught, and that’s where Cornwall comes into its own, with its day-boat fishermen working hard to bring in their catch for your supper.

Here, we’ve selected 10 of our favourite chippies around the coast (and maybe the odd one inland). Whether you slather yours with lashings of salt and vinegar or curry sauce, batter bits or mushy peas, there’s bound to be something here that floats your (day) boat. Some are superior suburban chippies, others well-to-do restaurants that serve F&C with a slice of lemon and a glass of white wine rather than a a slosh of gravy and a tin of Vimto.

1. Potters

Cod & Chips: £12.50

Oly and Nikki Clarke opened Potters restaurant in early 2020 – just before the pandemic. Having made it out the other side, they decided to focus on fish and chips, using the finest local ingredients to create a menu showcasing the best local ingredients. The Potters van now tours North Cornwall – check out the Facebook page for dates and locations. Meanwhile, awards and recommendations have poured in for the restaurant: Taste of the West, Michelin Guide, Restaurant Guru and Travelers Choice all rate this place. Pair the fish of your choice with hand-cut chips, or truffle and parmesan fries – vegans will love the beer-battered banana blossom. Eat in for a three-course meal including starter – such as frickles (fried pickles) and glazed pig’s cheek – and dessert (tonka bean panna cotta).

2 Lansdown Road, Bude, EX23 8BH

pottersbude.co.uk

2. Stein’s Fish & Chips

Open daily
Cod & Chips: £16.95

According to celebrity chef Rick Stein, “The heart of a British seafood restaurant should be great fish and chips.” He especially likes his fish fried in beef dripping, accompanied by freshly-cut chips “which have never been near a freezer”. As you’d expect from a town renowned for its fishing boats, cod and haddock feature alongside countless other species, including hake, bream and lemon sole, plucked fresh from local waters. Everything is cooked to order and available grilled or battered, including gluten-free. For every cod and chips ordered, Steins donates a school meal to a child in poverty. Check out the Family Feast (£45) – enough food for two adults and two children, including lipsmacking starters: halloumi saganaki (drizzled with honey, black sesame seeds and oregano).

Unit 1, S Quay, Padstow PL28 8BL

rickstein.com

3. Seasmiths

Open Thursday to Saturday, 4.30pm to 8pm
Cod & Chips: £12.50

When Jonathan Smith had the idea of opening a coastal fish and chip shop that celebrated the sea and kept things simple, Seasmiths was the answer. The takeaway launched in Porthtowan in 2019, and weathered the pandemic by means of preorders and socially-distanced queues. The takeaway thrived and a second Seasmiths opened in Wadebridge in 2022, complete with award winning restaurant, owned and run by daughter Elsie and partner Connor. No walk-ins at the takeaway – a click-and-collect system in still in place to ensure nobody waits longer than a few minutes for their perfectly cooked F&C. The fish hails from Matthew Stevens of Newlyn, while the potatoes come from Saltash. Chow down on yours over a spectacular sunset – head up the coast path for a strategically placed bench, or stroll on the Blue Flag beach (remember to put your rubbish in the bin).

Beach Road, Porthtowan

seasmithsfishandchips.com

4. Harbour Lights

Open daily, noon to 8pm, for takeaway, sit-in and home delivery
Cod & Chips: £11.60

Sustainability is the keyword at this popular Falmouth chippy, which was a finalist in National Fish and Chip Awards in 2019. There’s always a variety of Cornish fish from Newlyn on the menu, and customers are encouraged to be brave and try something other than cod, to take pressure off the stocks of the most popular species for the protection of the oceans. Cod, haddock and South Atlantic hake are all Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified, while the chips (made from the finest Cornish potatoes) are cooked in RSPO certified sustainable palm oil. Eat in, and you’ll be rewarded by some of the best restaurant views in Falmouth, over the scenic harbour. Eat out, and you’d best watch out for the seagulls. Vegans will die for tofu marinated in lemon juice and seasoning, wrapped in nori, battered and deep-fried.

Arwenack Street, Falmouth TR11 3LH

harbourlights.co.uk

5. Fisherman’s Chippy

Open daily
Cod & Chips: £11.10

The south coast port of Mevagissey is proud of its fishing fleet, and The Fishermen’s Chippy is located on Oliver’s Quay, a stone’s throw from the scenic harbour. Fish is MSC certified, potatoes selected from Cornish farms and even the packaging is made from recycled and recyclable materials – not a polystyrene box in sight. If you’re down with a large party, it’s worth considering that a fully equipped fish and chip van is available for catering chez vous.

Oliver’s Quay, Mevagissey

thefishermenschippy.co.uk

6. The Sardine Factory

Fish and chips: £18.50

Where better to eat your fish and chips than a genuine sardine factory, where Cornish pilchards were once processed and canned straight off the fishing boats?  In 2018, a £1.7 million restoration project by Looe Harbour Commission breathed new life into this 19th-century, Grade 2 listed building. The first floor is dedicated now to a restaurant celebrating the fruits of local waters, with harbour views that enable diners to see the day’s catch being landed. Award-winning chef Benjamin Palmer has snagged a number of awards and honourable mentions, including a Michelin Bib Gourmand, inclusion in the Trencherman’s Guide and a place in the quarter-finals of Masterchef: The Professionals. Among the abundance of sustainable fish dishes are the SF Fish & Chips, served with condiments and caramelised lemon for extra zing. Check out the Looe Harbour Heritage centre while you’re here.

Quay Road, West Looe, PL13 2DD

thesardinefactorylooe.com

7. Fraser’s Penzance

Cod & Chips: £11.60

From the same stable as Harbour Lights, with a further outlet at the Turnpike in Helston, Fraser’s on Penzance’s picturesque promenade bears the name of the couple behind the business: Pete and Sue Fraser, who have been in the trade for over two decades. That Fraser’s made The Times’ top 10 best fish and chip shops in 2022 speaks volumes about the skills they have amassed in that time. All fish is sourced responsibly, under the guidance of the MSC and the Cornish Good Seafood Guide, while Colwyn Farm at Perranwell Station is the principal potato supplier. Click and collect is available, as is home delivery.

Western Promenade Road, Penzance, TR18 4HH

frasersfishandchips.co.uk

8. Francine’s, Newquay

Open Monday to Saturday.

Cod & chips: £11.90

If you want to find the best fish and chips in town, ask a local. We did just that, and the response came back in a heartbeat. It would seem from online reviews that Francine’s is well worth seeking out in its tucked-away shopping arcade, with people setting their sat-navs or hiking over from Fistral for post-surf tucker. Customers go weak at the knees for chips cooked in beef dripping – pair it with spicy curry sauce and a pickled gherkin, with pineapple fritter for dessert.

5, Chesterton Place, Chester Road, Newquay TR7 2RU

9. Porthminster Beach Cafe

Fish & chips: £23.00

The location is the star here. A multi-award-winning restaurant located right on the beach, it’s no surprise the Porthminster specialises in fish and seafood, much of which is sourced sustainably from St Ives Bay, or small day boats operating from Newlyn, Looe and Mevagissey. The fish varies depending on the market but is likely to be cod, haddock or dover sole, served with homemade chips, crushed peas, lemon and tartar sauce – best enjoyed with a glass of chilled white wine.

St Ives, TR26 2EB
porthminstercafe.co.uk

10. Charlie’s

Open Tuesday 4pm to 8pm, Wednesday to Saturday, 11.30am to 1.45pm and 4pm to 8pm

Cod & chips: £11.70

It’s always tempting to keep one’s personal favourites to oneself, lest one should find a mile-long queue the next time one doesn’t fancy cooking. But I’ll make an exception for my local, Charlies, which deserves to be praised from the rooftops. Tucked away in Truro’s Tregurra estate (close to Waitrose), Charlies is run by father-and-son team Parney and Charlie Manoli with 45 years of frying experience between them. No whistles and bells, just good old traditional fish and chips, cooked to order using locally sourced ingredients from renewable sources. It’s one of the city’s best-kept culinary secrets – just don’t tell anyone I told you.

Pensilva Road, Truro, TR1 1RS

charliesfishandchips.com

Categories: Food & Drink