Fish and Chips in London

Fish and chips is a British food institution, and the nation’s capital has no shortage of fantastic places to find fish and chips of the best quality. 

Whether you want a cheap and cheerful option for takeaway or you’re looking for a sit-down dining experience in a restaurant, you’ll find it in London. 

Here we take a look at the history of our beloved national dish and give you some recommendations on where to find great fish and chips in London.

And if you’re looking to explore London’s foodie scene even further, please have a look at our range of London Food Tours

Traditional British Fish & Chips

The History of Fish and Chips in England

When we think of English cuisine, the one dish that comes to everyone’s mind is fish and chips. And like a lot of (read, most!) English food, the dish initially came to our shores with the arrival of refugees. 

Yes, folks, our most famous dish isn’t entirely British. However, the internationalism of the UK food scene is unquestionably its greatest strength. (Take our London East End Food Tour to learn more about London’s multicultural culinary landscape.)

In the 16th century, Spanish and Portuguese Jews arrived in England after fleeing persecution in their homelands. With them, they brought a dish called “Pescado Frito”, which literally translates as “fried fish”. 

The fish used was typically cod or haddock, which are plentiful around our shores. The fried fish was described as being cooked in “the Jewish fashion” (coated in flour before frying).

In the 17th century, London welcomed another group of refugees, this time French Huguenots. This group of Christian Protestant immigrants (also fleeing persecution in their homeland) brought the tradition of frying potatoes with them to England.

It was in 1860 that a Jewish man called Joseph Malin opened a shop right in the heart of London’s East End that combined the two delights – fish and chips was born! 

Fish and chips is so important in our culinary history that in both WW1 and WW2, the British government safeguarded the dish from rationing. It was believed that a good portion of fish and chips would keep the people’s morale high.

Today, the dish sits alongside pies, tea (another long and winding history!), cooked breakfasts, and the Sunday Roast, as a quintessentially British foodstuff. 

If you’re travelling in the UK for the first time, you must indulge in a portion of fish and chips. If you’re a UK native enjoying some time in the nation’s capital, don’t miss out on some of the best fish and chips you’ll find in the south. 

British Fish & Chips Board

Where to Eat Fish and Chips in London?

Our Eat the East End Food Tour features some truly delicious fish and chips!

We visit the famous East End fish and chip shop Poppies. The boss, Pat “Pop” Newland, has worked in the fish and chip world since 1952. The original Poppies is located in Spitalfields, but you can also find them in Soho and Camden. Although Poppies offers wallet-friendly prices, all the fish is cooked to order. We’re here regularly, and it never disappoints!

If you’re in Soho, you can also try Golden Union. These guys have been serving fish and chips since 2008, and they estimate that they’ve served almost 2 million customers. Known for their mammoth portions, you won’t leave this Soho favourite hungry. 

Want to dive deeper into the world of fish and chips? Have a read of Timeout London’s Best Fish and Chips Restaurants and discover a further nine top-class fish and chip shops! 

Explore London’s Food Scene

If you’d like to explore the back streets of London, trying out some of our favourite dishes, book a food tour with us!

Our popular Eat the East End food tour explores Shoreditch, Brick Lane and Spitalfields.

Additionally, we also have Team Building And Corporate Activities In London – organise a truly unique London experience for your colleagues or friends.

On each of our tours, you can try a fantastic array of dishes while learning about London’s fascinating history and culture.

Shoreditch fish and chip shop