Fish and chips is both a seafood favorite and a classic pub menu item. Typically deep fried, the battered fish is usually a cod and traditionally served with French fries. Orange County neighbors the Pacific Ocean, which is one of the area’s best resources for local seafood. Restaurants and seafood shacks in the OC are putting their own spin on fish and chips, from using sustainable fish sources and secret batter recipes to specialty tartar sauces and kale slaws. For the best of the best fish and chips, OC has five local spots you will want to visit right away.
Big Fish Tavern
540 S Coast Highway, Suite 200
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Big Fish Tavern is one of the best restaurants by the shore for fish & chips. Chef Marcos Vargas breads cod and serves the house specialty with tartar sauce, kale slaw, freshly cut potato French fries and the chips, of course. Made of a mix of kale, green and red cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, peppadew peppers and cilantro, the kale slaw is tossed with a homemade white balsamic basil ranch dressing. Big Fish Tavern’s fish and chips is always good with a cold beer — the restaurant offers rotating taps, craft beers and a beer sampler too. Other Big Fish menu faves include Peruvian style crab & shrimp ceviche, bacon wrapped scallops, lobster fondue and fish tacos. There are plenty of non-seafood items offered too, for the land lubber.
19696 Beach Blvd.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Eating fish and chips at Slapfish is quite the seafood experience. Inspired by a “boat to plate” philosophy, Executive Chef Andrew Gruel takes msc-certified Hoki, a mild flakey white, and dips it in his very own tempura style batter prepared with sparkling water and his signature version of an old spice seasoning. Slapfish is OC’s modern and very casual seafood shack, which grew from Gruel’s food truck success in 2011. Customers enjoy Gruel’s bold flavors and seafood sourced from eco-friendly suppliers (a passion of his). His ocean-fresh menu features lobster rolls, chowder fries, baja fish tacos, lobster toast and East Coast style lobster rolls.
Muldoon’s Irish Pub
202 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
For the family-run Muldoon’s Irish Pub, fish & chips is one dish they hold close to their hearts. Ron and Sindi Schwartz and daughter Marissa Armstrong are celebrating the pub’s 41st year in business and receive guests every day who come just for the restaurant’s special fish and chips recipe. Made with wild caught snapper, the fish is cooked in a delicious beer batter and served with hand-cut pub fries and a homemade tartar sauce complemented by malt vinegar and fresh lemon. This dish is available for lunch, dinner and during Sunday brunch as an entree or as a pub plate (“Chippers,” as the appetizer portion is called at Muldoon’s).
Related: Best Irish Pubs In Orange County
Blue Water Grill Seafood Restaurant
2409 Park Ave.
Tustin, CA 92782
Blue Water Grill at The District at Tustin Legacy, the area’s newer entertainment, shopping and dining destination, is a perfect spot for sustainably caught seafood. Definitive entrees such as fish and chips bring patrons in for a classic seafood lunch or dinner. Blue Water’s fish and chips is prepared in a beer batter and fried just to the right crunch. Freshly-made cole slaw and the customer’s choice of French fries or house made potato chips is served right along the fish. Other menu favorites include panko calamari steak and Ipswich fried whole belly clams, an East Coast specialty. Patio seating is popular, especially since this place is pet-friendly.
Jon’s Fish Market
34665 Golden Lantern
Dana Point, CA 92629
For some of the best smoked fish and chips, Jon’s Fish Market is a casual Dana Point spot that both locals and tourists alike to visit. The fish and chips dish is served with the traditional French fries and coleslaw, and the menu extends to offering scallop or shrimp and chips too. Each entrée includes a half-pound portion of fish. The fish market has a fresh selection of Pacific-caught seasonal seafood such as red snapper, salmon, Bluefin tuna, swordfish and local yellowtail. The market recently added a lobster case, too.