Row 34 is synonymous with oysters in Boston: The Fort Point restaurant (and a few other outposts) is co-owned by the venerable Island Creek Oyster founder, and is named for one of the Duxbury farm’s best varieties. But that doesn’t mean it’s strictly a raw bar that overlooks deep-fried comfort food: In fact, Shoestring Fries are one of our favorite things on the Row 34 menu. Order them up with Beer Battered Fish and Chips for a generous portion of fresh fish fillets. Set on sampling the specialty? Crispy Oysters with fries and tartar are a riff on fish and chips that’s absolutely worth the indulgence.
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Fish and chips may have originated across the pond, but Boston restaurants know their way around this winning combo. With fresh fish, crispy fried batter, and perfectly salted French fries, fish and chips is an ultimate comfort food. Next time you’re craving authentic fish and chips, head to one of these restaurants or pubs.
Authentic Irish pub The Druid is one of the best places to go around Boston for live Irish music and a proper pint of Guinness. When you’re craving all of that and classic fish and chips? No other place even comes close to this Inman Square gem. Wrapped up in food-safe newspaper, the Druid Fish and Chips contains hand-cut fries and large pieces of cod that are lightly battered but well-seasoned. Open the package and nostalgic aromas commence. Homemade tartar sauce and a splash of malt vinegar seal the deal on placing this one in the pantheon of local comfort foods.
The all-day menu at this Back Bay destination overflows with tempting seafood. Besides the theme of fruits de mer, another unifier of dishes on offer is that Saltie Girl knows how to dress things up with delicious condiments and sauces, whether it’s avocado oil of a crudo or sweet corn butter and spicy maple syrup drenching Lobster and Waffles. The Mini Fish and Chips—a slight misnomer, as this is a sizable portion of bite-size nuggets meant for sampling among other tasty plates—comes with well-seasoned fish and a house tartar sauce that’s rich, creamy, and bright.
Neptune Oyster has some of the hottest seats in the North End because the small raw bar and seafood restaurant elevates what people want. That includes Fried Ipswich Clams, a zhuzhed-up cornmeal pancake, and a pair of famous lobster rolls—but don’t overlook the humble fish and chips. The version here uses Acadian redfish, a type of fish with a mild, sweet flavor and tender-firm texture that’s perfect for deep-frying. The condiments up the ante, too, with malt vinegar-spiked aioli and pickles in place of traditional tartar sauce, and a bright sprinkling of fresh parsley.
Fish and Chips at Cusser’s may play second fiddle to the buttery, herbaceous lobster rolls or even the Roast Beef Three-Way, but if you stray from the expected course you will not be disappointed. This version features super-fresh, local whitefish and a crunchy beer batter, paired with hand-cut French fries and flavorful house tartar sauce and ketchup. It’s available from stalls inside Time Out Market and Hub Hall, as well as at Cusser’s casual bar in Back Bay, where you can match it with experimental cocktails by bartender Todd Maul every Wednesday through Saturday night.
Locals know this unassuming spot in East Cambridge boasts some of the most affordable, high-quality seafood around Boston. Courthouse Seafood Market has been around since 1912, and the family-run enterprise expanded with an ultra-casual restaurant in 1987. The same fresh seafood is fried up to order, from a $9 plate of the market’s choice to upgrades with haddock fish or Sole ’n Chips that still land under $15. (The excellent tartar sauce is included, of course.) It’s a deal, but the friendly customer service served alongside is why this is a favorite for more than a century. Note that Courthouse takes an annual summer break; it will be closed from June 20 through July 4 this year.
Scotland is a land of comfort food, so it’s no wonder Boston’s only Scottish restaurant has excellent fish and chips. The Fish Supper, as it’s called at The Haven, is a proper portion of beer-battered haddock and thick-cut potato wedges with house tartar sauce. Instead of a side like coleslaw, the Scots serve it up with minted mushy peas—hey, don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. We love to order up this classic with a pint of the smooth, rich Belhaven Scottish Ale. The Haven is temporarily closed in advance of opening a larger and upgraded location in the very near future.
JP Seafood Cafe
Pubs aren’t the only places in Jamaica Plain where you can find stellar fish and chips: It may surprise you that Korean restaurant and sushi spot JP Seafood Cafe makes some of the best in the city. A menu staple at a longtime neighborhood mainstay, this Fish and Chips gets well-deserved acclaim thanks to a batter that’s both airy and crunchy. The large portion is served with crispy French fries and a side of bright coleslaw, and is fit for sharing alongside a roll of salmon-filled Sunshine Maki brightened with lemon, cilantro, and cucumber.