The creamy, tangy taste of tartar sauce, the moist flakiness of fresh fish, and the delightful, delicious crunch of hot crispy batter straight out of the fryer – ah, the tastes of fish n’ chips, melting in your mouth. I LOVE fish n’ chips. Out of all the different types of classic pub fare out there, fish n’ chips is my ultimate favourite. I don’t have it often. Twice a year at best. But when I do? Heaven on earth. And believe it or not, amazing fish n’ chips places are hard to find simply because not all fries are created equal (and I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we’ve all had a less than stellar experience with subpar French fries at least once in our life) and some places just aren’t very, well, scenic. I know we’re eating pub fare and all but I’d like to feel at least somewhat comfortable in a space that doesn’t look like a janitorial closet married a cheap take-out joint.
Lucky for me, I’ve had some fab experiences with great fish n’ chips and battered fish dishes in and around the city including my personal favourites, King’s Table on Queen East in the Beaches and Jakes Pub & Grille in Markham on Main Street Unionville. The latest addition to the list? The One That Got Away Fish House on King Street West!
Even though I’m introducing The One That Got Away for the first time on Ate by Ate, the fish house and I go much further back. Over a year back. Which actually isn’t that long ago, but you get the point. I have such fond memories of my first few meals from here simply because I had them in the company of my fellow icing sugar queens during my time at Le Dolci! The old studio was literally just around the corner off of King West and Portland Street so every now and then Lisa, Miya, and momma Dolci Linda (and later Irina) and I would grab some delicious fish n’ chips and fish meals from here for lunch.
I still remember the very first time I had fish from The One That Got Away. It was my first day at the studio and the decision on what to eat for lunch was unanimous: fish! We all ordered fresh grilled fish wraps with a side order of chips (fries) and thus began a beautiful friendship and journey, not just with the fish house, but with Lisa and Miya and the studio itself. We had fun eating, talking, and trying very hard not to dribble fish sauce down ourselves. It simaltaneously feels like yesterday and light years ago. They were happy memories though and that has what has kept me coming back.
The One That Got Away Fish House is such a seafood, fish n’ chips powerhouse. Not only do they offer a number of battered fish n’ chips options (haddock, cod, halibut, arctic char, and pickerel), they also offer all of those types of fish in grilled form! Battered fish, grilled fish…battered fish, grilled fish…I know, it’s a hard decision to make at times. And to add to the indecision, let’s throw in salmon burgers, fish tacos, seafood chowder, Manhattan chowder, fish and seafood baskets, fish wraps, fish sandwiches, fish and salads, calamari, and crab cakes. Have I made you salivate yet? Because I sure am. Their menu is fantastic!
And prices are pretty average for fish n’ chips and pretty on par with other spots more or less. Prices for battered fish n’ chips range from $8.99-$13.99, fish wraps, tacos, and sandwiches are $8.49-$12.49, fish with salads are $9.99-$14.99, and chowders and soups come in at $4.99.
It’s a small space, but I enjoy eating here because the people are really friendly and hey, the exposed brick walls have submarine windows on them giving them a cute aquatic feel! The meals are presented on silver trays covered with cute printed wax paper made to look like fish stories on newspaper. The quality of food is absolutely fantastic. The fish is flaky and moist, the batter is crunchy, crispy, light, and buttery, and it’s always accompanied with great salad or fries. I know everyone has their own personal preferences when it comes to fries (level of saltiness, crispy vs. mushier, beefy wedges vs. shoestring, and so on) but I love their fries simply because they’re never dry or too starchy and I just love the texture and softness, not to mention the herbs and flavour.
I’ve had their battered fish with salad (pictured in the photos; battered haddock with salad), grilled fish with salad, battered fish in a sandwich, grilled fish in a wrap, and their seafood chowder and I love them all. If I had to choose my favourites though I’d have to say that the fish sandwiches are great bang for your buck (these things are HUGE! They’re like fish subs), the seafood chowder has so much warmth and flavour, not to mention potatoes and chunky seafood (if you love a hearty, chunky chowder, you’ll be head over heels over it), and the grilled fish with salad is a wonderful, healthy alternative to the battered fish. I know, I haven’t really narrowed it down to the best of the best but that’s only because it’s all so scrumptious and delicious!
They change up their salads every once in awhile (there are always mixed greens, tomatoes, shredded carrots and sunflower seeds but every so often there will also be yellow beets and other veggies mixed in) and I love the fact that you can choose whether you want battered OR grilled fish. Oh! And if you love sauce like I do, you absolutely MUST get your hands and tastebuds on their spicy chipotle mayo and seafood sauce. HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL. Hands down one of the best sauces EVER. It’s spicy with kick, it’s creamy, it’s savoury, and it is just yummy beyond comprehension. There’s so much more I want to try – pickerel, fish tacos, a fish basket, and more – so this first post on The One That Got Away is just the beginning!
The One That Got Away Fish House is located at 581 King Street West at the corner of King and Portland Street. They are open 7 days a week: Monday to Friday 11am-10pm, Saturday 12pm-10pm, and Sunday 12pm-7pm. You can visit their website HERE for more info.