Fish and Chips from the Anstruther Fish Bar

In the first of the new ‘Days Out From Edinburgh’ section the Anstruther Fish Bar was visited by The Edinburgh Blog.

Anstruther was originally a small fishing village in the Kingdom of Fife, but has now adapted into a tourist town. Anstruther is home to the Scottish Fisheries museum, pleasure craft that moor in the harbour, interesting architecture and narrow streets that are pleasant to the eye. It’s also located on the Fife coastal path. A car journey from Edinburgh to Anstruther will take around 90 minutes (there is lots of free on street parking) or you could opt for the train to St Andrews followed by the short bus tide to Anstruther.

Though I wasn’t visiting Anstruther for the buildings nor the museum: their award winning fish and chips were my sole sightseeing attraction. The Anstruther Fish Bar has won Scottish Fish and Chip shop of the year three times, including recent victory in the 2006/2007 awards. It’s been served numerous quality awards, featured in several newspaper columns and television programmes and has even been visited by Tom Hanks. Much evidence of these endorsements can be seen on the restaurants interior walls in the form of newspaper cuttings. After getting the final nod of approval from some friends who had made the homage from Edinburgh to the Anstruther Fish Bar I finally decided to set forth on my journey.

Queueing is a fact of life at the Anstruther Fish Bar, with waits of an hour not uncommon. When we arrived just after 2pm the queue snaked outside the entrance door and far down the road. A waitress walked down the queue asking who was for takeaway and who wished to eat inside. We were assured the queue would take no longer than 20 minutes, but it turned out to be just over 30. Our choice to dine at the table proved a wise one, as some persons who joined the takeaway queue at the same time of us were only just leaving with their fish and chips as we were finishing our meal. The Anstruther Fish Bar is never short of trade and I did feel slightly sorry for the fish and chip shop further up the road who was serving only a handful of customers.

Haddock, chips and mushy peas from the Anstruther Fish Bar Anstruther Fish Bar exterior

I sat on a chair firmly fixed to the floor, a slight inconvenience as I felt too far away from the table; I sat slightly angled away from the door to the ice cream parlour entrance as it continually thrust open, blowing the fiery wind into my face, before the door slammed shut; I sat with a polystyrene cup infront of me and a can of coke by it’s side. But just as my annoyances with the surroundings were about to boil over along came the waitress. There they sat in a cardboard tray, glistening in the light and exhibiting themselves like a catwalk model. Thick cut chips, each one of them perfectly formed, along with two pieces of haddock in a pristine looking batter. The taste was out of this world. As the first chip hit my tastebuds the table suddenly seemed a perfect fit for my body shape; the wind became a gentle breeze, with the doors constant slamming a mere vibration; the polystyrene cup became a golden chalice. As the fish entered my mouth I became even more absorbed. I was now totally oblivious of my surroundings and could only concentrate on devouring this healthy sized portion of fantastic fish and chips worthy of celebration. The two pickled onions (12p each) and mushy peas(75p) I had ordered as extras were also excellent, but nothing could and nothing will take away the brilliance of the Anstruther Bars fish and chips.

The haddock and chips I ate cost £6.55, but this included a cup of tea plus bread and butter. I also ordered a couple of tomato ketchup sachets, that really weren’t needed, though at 20p each their price was excessive. The Anstruther Fish Bars menu is fairly extensive with lemon sole, crayfish and crab available on the seafood side together with a range of chicken dishes, burgers, sausages and pies composing the more traditional options. From looking at other tables choices and mine there seemed, with little wonder, no divergence from the famed fish and chips. The Anstruther Fish Bar also serve Scottish produced wine that seemed quite popular with many of their diners. Service was friendly enough, with a young workforce kitted out in matching white uniforms.

So the journey and the waiting had been worth it. At long last I had discovered some truly memorable fish and chips in Scotland. These were perhaps the best fish and chips I have ever eaten; over the years I’ve eaten quite a few. I rounded the meal off with a very pleasant takeaway ice cream cone from the parlour located inside the Anstruther Fish Bar.

If a trip to Anstruther just for fish and chips seems a little over the top (it shouldn’t!) don’t forget that Anstruther is a pleasant enough place to spend a few hours looking round and also has many pubs to occupy your time. A popular option is to call off at Anstruther Fish Bar for a fish and chips dinner after spending the day at St Andrews, which is only 9 miles away.

14 Responses to “Fish and Chips from the Anstruther Fish Bar”

  1. Best fish and chips bar none. You were lucky only having to wait for 30 minutes. I’ve been an hour and a half in that queue.

  2. Tried to take some visitors there last night, but the whole of Fife had decided to go out for their tea, so the queue was over an hour long. We had been told the other fish and chip shop was also good, so we ended up having haddock and chips at the outside tables at the Waterfront chippie and it was pretty good. I can’t honestly say it was as good as the Anstruther Fish Bar but a good alternative if you can’t face the queue. They also have a restaurant next door, but the wait for a table there was two hours.

  3. Visited the Anstruther Fish Bar today. As usual the fish and chips were great. I have never tasted a fish supper that can come anywhere near as tasty. I’ll be back !!!

  4. Dont know what the fuss is about. It was OK, but I’ve had better. Chips were overdone and the portion wasn’t massive. As long as you get the fish fresh out of the fryer, even one of my local chippies offers a tastier supper. My personal favourite-that one in Oban that Rick Stein likes-is miles better (although wasnt quite as amazing the last time I went).

  5. we have given up eating in at Anstruther as it is so uncomfortable and the tABLES FREQUENTLY LEFT A MESS.

    PITY AS ANSTRUTHER IS SUCH A LOVELY PLACE BUT WE WILL FIND OUR SCOTTISH FISH ANMD CHIPS ELSEWHERE IN FUTURE. TRIED BIGGAR LAST WEEK - AND THE F & C were excellent. but not only was the location not a patch on Ansruther but the service left much to be desired despite the notices on the Wall.

  6. left st andrew’s on our way back to edinburgh at 5 pm. had no idea about this celebrated place but our scottish mate promised us that we will be having fish and chips for dinner. we arrived at ds practically desserted town, just the hum of d bells from d harbour and d occassional humming of a passing car breaking the eery silence. d restaurant was quiet,none of the queues mentioned above. it rather looked ordinary but with a signage announcing d best fish n chips shop hereabouts it must be something. ordered our food + irn bru. ate outside and it was very chilly. ds is mid winter so what can u expect. but for an overseas student scrimping on a budget ds was the best option (the added cost of eating inside was just 2 much). nways, one bite of the fish revealed its freshness. the chips were well seasoned 2. loved the sourness of the vinegar delicately flavoring d (i suspect pre marinated fish and chips) calorific fish and chips. Yeah it was superbly delicious. Some sort of a nirvana to the tastebuds.

  7. chippy-connoisseur on August 21st, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Queued for almost an hour, got an overpriced, small portion of fish and the worst chips we’d ever tasted. Total waste of money. I reckon the people who award the “chippy of the year” prizes must be the kind of people who never eat a chippy themselves, because this was rubbish.

  8. PITY AS ANSTRUTHER IS SUCH A LOVELY PLACE BUT WE WILL FIND OUR SCOTTISH FISH ANMD CHIPS ELSEWHERE IN FUTURE. TRIED BIGGAR LAST WEEK - AND THE F & C were excellent. but not only was the location not a patch on Ansruther but the service left much to be desired despite the notices on the Wall.

  9. Excellent fish and chips, bettered only by a fish bar on Stonehaven waterfront, and perhaps run close by the beautiful ‘breaded’ haddock in small takeaway in Arrochar. Sorry, cannot recommend any F&C’s in any of the main cities in Scotland. Benny T’s near Falkirk is very good without being exceptional, and Dunfermline (f&c just round from under the bridge) hosts a fairly decent fish bar. Further north; Wick, Thurso etc they tend to leave the skin on their battered fish - and for that reason ONLY I won’t recommend it - but you can make your own mind up. On the western side of the highlands it’s probably best just to drive straight thru places like Ullapool - even if your starving (look for roadkill; preferable). At the south of Scotland in the Borders from east to west just think ‘lard’ lard, lard. Hope this info is helpful, but it’s only my opinion, gained over the last fifty-odd years, and remember - many chippies have changed/are changing so they could be better/worse now. Enjoy!

  10. I would rather highly recommend the Waterfront chip shop just along the road, cheaper, quicker and better cooked food. Ive told many friends about the chip shop and they return to it as our family do again and again

  11. went to the anstruther fish bar in the summer i have to say it was the most delightful taste.highly reccomend it to all top class service. felt a little sorry for the waterfront chipshop so i sent my wife in to get a fish supper to try. then i quickly relised why no one was queing it was fckn disgusting i could of pickd a anstruther fish supper out of the bin and it would still have ben better.

  12. Worst. Chippy. Ever.

    Not really, but very overrated. Ive had plenty of better suppers, even some of the big city chippys which are usually rubbish are better than this place.

  13. Good fish and chips, very difficult to ensure there is that consistancy, good job

  14. Tried this place early June 2011, because of all the hype. I think they are trading on their reputation as I could only have cut the haddock thinner by using a razor. Very disappointing

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