The humble fish and chips has been a British takeaway staple since the 1860s and the craze has certainly caught on here in Dubai.
Despite its popularity waning since its 1930s heyday in Blighty, the big expat crowd in the City of Gold can’t get enough of that crispy batter, tasty tartare and chunky chips.
Although many places serve its deep-fried fish with French fries here, you really can’t beat a chip shop chip and maybe a portion of marvellous mushy peas.
Whatever version they’re serving, here are just a few of our favourite venues serving fish and chips in Dubai.
Aprons & Hammers
Such is the popularity of this Dubai-born seafood shack it now has three restaurants, each of which are in prime beachside locations. For years we’ve loved feeling the sea breeze wash over us as we hammer away at some crab at the JBR joint. But these shellfish specialists also fry up some fabulous fish and chips – or as they call it, ‘Breaded Sea Bass’. It’s not cheap but it certainly does make us cheerful and if you’ve never tried battered bass then it will make you think twice about ever ordering plain old cod again.
Dhs94. Various locations including The Beach, JBR: open daily noon-1am, apronsandhammers.com (04 456 7888).
With stellar views across the Creek – especially in winter when you can soak up the holiday vibes on the terrace – Boardwalk’s dish is popular for good reason. Hops-battered fish comes hot and fresh in crunchy casing, with a serving of classic chips, tartare sauce and, of course, malt vinegar.
Dhs105. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Deira (04 205 4647).
Bob’s Fish & Chips
If you ignore some of the more random menu options here (we’ll pass on the mushroom risotto and deep-fried pizza) then Bob’s offers all the old favourites from your local chippy back home. Pies, battered sausages, mushy peas, chips with curry sauce, pickled onions and gherkins, bread rolls for chip butties and even deep-fried Mars bars. The fish and chips are obviously the big seller here and Bob’s gives you the choice between cod, haddock and cream dory that you can have battered or spicy battered. The chips are very much of the chunky variety (none of your skinny fries here) and what we think is a nice touch is that Bob’s will bag you up some of those tasty scraps from the fryer (for Dhs5), just like you loved when you were a kid.
From Dhs47. Damac Hills and Dubai Marina. Open Sat-Wed 11am-3.30am, Thu-Fri 11am-4.30am, bobsfishandchips.com (055 425 3456 or 04 450 4262).
Bread Street Kitchen
From the hands of British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, you’d expect this offering from Bread Street Kitchen to be top-notch, and it is. It’s not cheap, coming in at Dhs120, but you’ll get a generous portion of the British classic, fried in a craft hops batter for a perfectly crispy coating. Plus you won’t find any bog-standard mushy peas here, this upmarket take comes with a side of minted pea purée. Fancy.
Dhs140. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeiah (04 426 2626).
For the residents of London’s trendy Notting Hill, the pandemic signalled the death of a cherished friend. Geales was the neighbourhood’s favourite fish restaurant but alas, having survived World War II, it was unable to shake off the effects of Covid. Nevertheless, its sister restaurant in Dubai is very much alive and kicking and knocking out some of the finest fish and chips available this side of the English Channel. Chef Alex Mobsby just gets battered fish. And whether you choose cod or sole or to have yours coated in hops, tempura, lemon and black pepper, chilli, Irish hops or gluten free batter the result remains the same – an elevated take on a much-loved meal. Geales is well worth pushing the boat out for.
From Dhs110-Dhs135. Open Sun 6pm-midnight, Tue-Thu 6pm-midnight, Fri-Sat 1pm-midnight. Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa, Al Mamsha Street, Dubai Marina, geales-dubai.com (04 316 5550).
Oh we do like to be beside the seaside… Mainly because that’s the best place to dig into some freshly cooked fish and chips. These ones might not be served in a polystyrene box to be prodded with a wooden fork, but they still come with the smell of salty sea air, as this eatery is right on the waterfront at Club Vista Mare. The fresh catch of the day (usually king fish) is cooked expertly at this top Lebanese seafood joint. The best news? You won’t need to wrap up against the British summer weather, either.
Dhs85. Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah (04 553 9575).
There’s nothing we love more than a proper British pub with proper British pub grub. JB’s comes pretty close to the real thing back home, offering a range of pies, bangers and more. This fish and chips is a good classic too, with hops-battered cod, hand-cut chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce. It’s belt-looseningly large, too.
Dhs99. Amwaj Rotana, The Walk, JBR (04 428 3084).
LDC Kitchen + Coffee
With its quirk-filled menu and joyful staff, LDC Kitchen + Coffee now has three venues in Dubai, the most recent to open being the gorgeous two-storey hangout at One JLT. Brought to you by the team behind London Dairy Café (now you know what the acronym stands for), these laid-back haunts are perfect for a casual chat and a hunger-sating meal with friends, colleagues or even your pets. There’s plenty of choice when it comes to the mains but we just love the crunch of the hop-battered Atlantic cod that comes with homemade tartare sauce and mushy peas and some hand-cut fries that are mid-way between skinny and chunky. Lovely, delicious cod.
Dhs70. Three locations including One JLT – open Sat-Wed 7am-midnight, Thu-Fri 7am-1am, instagram.com/ldckitchen (04 320 9669).
Where better to get proper fish and chips than a pub, right? McGettigan’s, as we’re sure you well know, excels in all the classic dishes, from pie and mash to sausages, by way of a hearty Irish fry-up. However, we can’t get enough of the fish and chips. The huge portion comes plated with traditional mushy peas and tartare sauce, and we love it any time of day, any day of the week. See you there.
Dhs99. McGettigan’s JLT. Open Sun-Fri noon-3am, Sat 11am-3am. Cluster J, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 378 0800).
The Manhattan Fish Market
It might not actually be from the upscale district it takes its name from but The Manhattan Fish Market does its level best to recreate the aromas and flavours of its inspirational home. Born in Malaysia and with branches across Asia and the Middle East, this place combines fresh ingredients with fresh ideas to bring you a taste of New York far from the Big Apple. It takes its fish and chips very seriously and we have delighted in discovering each of the five options available here. Pick from cod, dory, cherry snapper, Nile perch or salmon, all of which come in a beautiful batter and drizzled not with tartare but a garlic herb sauce. It’s different, but we like it.
From Dhs55. Open Sun-Thu noon-10pm, Fri-Sat noon-midnight. Food Court, Dubai Festival City, manhattanfishmarket.com/uae (04 286 6945).
The Irish Village
A popular watering hole in Dubai for good reason, The IV’s pub grub is equally excellent. Satisfying, tasty and when eaten outside with some live music and a pint, all the better. Cod comes in a hops batter, with chips and good old fashioned mushy peas. Veggie? No need for you to miss out, there’s a halloumi version that will be right up your street.
Dhs81. Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Garhoud (04 282 4750).
The Tap House
Just The Tap House’s location is enough to make you feel you’ve wandered along the seafront of a coastal town in the UK and stumbled upon a gastropub beckoning you in with the promise of hearty grub and good vibes. Fish and chips taste best by the seaside, fact. And at The Tap House you are an underarm throw with your wrong hand away from the shore. The fish might not be as gargantuan as that large haddock you so love at Toni’s Plaice back home, but this hunk of hops-battered Atlantic cod is enough to satisfy your chippy cravings. The homemade tartare sauce is a triumph, as are the mushy peas, while the chips have the perfect balance of crunch and inner fluffiness. All that’s missing are the pesky pigeons swooping down to try and nick them. We’re thankful for that, though.
Dhs110. Open daily noon-1am. Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah, thetaphouse.ae (04 514 3778).
The founders of this hom-grown, casual dining concept spotted a gap in the market for a modern fish restaurant serving up dishes that were as vibrant as its staff but that won’t break the bank. And with Urban Seafood they are clearly on to a winner as the brand now counts four branches to its name, with rumours of more to come. The fact the fish and chips here is one of the cheapest in our selection doesn’t mean that it lacks quality. You can’t argue with the concept, or the price.
Dhs29/49. Open Sun-Wed 10am-11.30pm, Thu-Sat 8am-2am. Various locations including The Outlet Village, urbanseafood.com (04 422 9478).