How do you have your fish’n’chips? Regular salt or chicken salt – or both? A squeeze of lemon or a splash of vinegar? Grilled or fried? Flake, rockling, barra, or something else entirely? And just as important – where do you get it?

We asked some of Melbourne’s top chefs for their go-to fish’n’chippers, as well as their usual orders. Some are loyalists, while others enjoy scallop, crabstick and even lobster on the side – but all seek out super-fresh, high-quality fish and ultra-crisp batter.

Alejandro Saravia, Farmer’s Daughters
“My favourite place to go and grab my fish’n’chips has to be the Apollo Bay Fishermen’s Co-Op restaurant. The whole experience is amazing, tucked in the back of the Apollo Bay Fishermen’s Co-Op processing space. And the view of the bay sets the perfect scene for the freshest fish straight from the boats to the batter, to the fryer and to the table. Alan, the Co-Op manager, is a legend, as well as the rest of the team – make sure you say hi and you might get a look at the lobster tanks in the back or an entertaining story.

“The fish selection is coming directly from what the fishermen have caught on the day and from the Bass Strait – super fresh, and the clean taste of the fish is well complemented with a light and crispy batter, served on a greaseproof paper and [with] thick chips. For me, adding vinegar and pepper and overlooking the bay is just magic. My go-to order has to be the traditional fish’n’chips with a side of the delicious lobsters which Apollo Bay is famous for.”

Coskun Uysal, Tulum
“My favourite fish’n’chips is from Pipi’s Kiosk. It’s on the Albert Park foreshore, right on the beach running towards St Kilda Beach. It hits all the right buttons: fresh, hot and very crispy batter. And the chips are so tasty, crunchy and dusted with saltbush powder – same same but different.”

Jerry Mai, Pho Nom and Bia Hoi
“My wife loves fish’n’chips! We go to our local fish’n’chip shop, King George’s Seafood and Oysters, on Station Street in Fairfield. It’s a small family business and the batter is light and crispy. My wife always goes for the flake, and I love getting fried crabstick and a fried hotdog. If I’m having dirty fish’n’chips, I go all the way!”

Zoe Birch, Greasy Zoes
“Our go-to fish’n’chip place is the Port Albert Wharf Fish & Chips. We enjoy an annual summer camping holiday every year out in East Gippsland with friends and family. It has become a tradition of ours on our way home to stop into the Port Albert fish’n’chippery and grab an ever-expanding order for our growing family. The menu is simple and small, based on what has been caught that day. The batter is perfection – thin and crisp, not oily at all. The tartare sauce is made in-house and super tasty. We always grab a selection of what’s fresh: a couple of different pieces of fish, calamari, scallops and minimum chips. But be sure to get there early, there’s always a line and it sells out fast!”

Lisa Valmorbida, Pidapipo
“My favourite place for fish’n’chips is Fish by Moonlite in Anglesea. I’m not really into the traditional old-school fish’n’chip shops, but Moonlite is so good as they always have the best selection of fish and the batter is the most insanely crispy and light thing; it's really unlike any batter I’ve had. The fried calamari is so yum too, and they make their sauces properly.

“You also can’t go past Donovans or Stokehouse for their fish’n’chips. Pretty good having fish’n’chips on the beach!”

Josh Fry, Poodle Bar & Bistro and Rocco’s Bologna Discoteca
“For old-school Friday-night fish’n’chips, I head to Flakes on Sydney Road in Brunswick – nothing fancy here! My usual order is a minimum of chips (with chicken salt, of course), a couple of potato cakes, a fried dimmy for good measure and some battered flake. Their ‘The Lot’ burger ain’t bad either – it’s one of those classic fish’n’chippy burgers.

“When I’m feeling a little fancy I head to Argo Fishop in Fitzroy North. You can also buy great-quality fresh fish to cook at home. They have some great grilled fish on the menu, which they cook over coals. You can’t go wrong with their Argonaut’s Basket: blue grenadier, chips, potato cake and a dimmy. They also make a killer Greek fish soup.”

Nicola Dusi, The Hardware Club
“We normally go to The Kiosk d’Asporto at Williamstown Beach. They are not exactly a fish’n’chips spot … they also serve all sorts of absolutely delicious things such as crusty ciabatta rolls, freshly baked pastries and some amazing Italian coffee. The variety and the quality of everything they do is always amazing. They make standard fish’n’chips and make no variation to the order, so you know it’s going to be good. You can order … and go sit on the beach five metres away. They also have a couple of pizza shops that make my absolute favourite pizza in Melbourne.”

Maria Kabal, Spensley’s
“My favourite place in Melbourne is Pipi’s Kiosk in Albert Park: fresh, tasty and the perfect location to sit on the beach and enjoy. In regional Victoria, Fish by Moonlite in Anglesea is a must!”

Daniel Southern, Smith St Bistrot
Ripponlea Fish Supply: a family-owned and operated fish’n’chips shop since the ’70s. I love supporting locals and they are very friendly, the fish is always fresh and the chips are always cooked in clean oil. I can always purchase my fresh fish fillets or whole fish there too, as they have extensive selections – from rockling, king dory and barramundi through to spankingly fresh tuna for me to throw on the barbeque.”

Barry Susanto, Warkop
“My favourite place for fish’n’chips in Melbourne is Off the Pier in Williamstown. You can’t beat an old school fish’n’chip shop. I usually go for the family pack and share it with just one other person. Why hold back when you’ve already committed to eating a deep-fried meal anyway? And don’t forget about the extra helping of chicken salt.”

Daniel Pineda, Superchido
“My favourite place is Pines Fish and Chips in Altona on Pier Street. Their food invokes strong memories of my good times as a young teen, chilling at Altona Beach, without any cares. They’ve been offering good, solid fish’n’chips for ages.”

Find the 2020 edition of this story here.