It’s a universally acknowledged truth that fish ‘n’ chips just taste better when they’re eaten with sand between your toes and waves lapping at your ankles. There’s something so perfectly complimentary about salty air and a bag of hot chips that you just can’t argue with it – it’s almost a science.

Maybe it’s nostalgia for the freedom of summer holidays, stiflingly hot afternoons and the joy of whatever your $2.50 of pocket money could get you – straight from the fryer and wrapped in brown paper – or maybe it’s the reward after a day spent burning energy in the waves. Whatever the case, fish ‘n’ chips on the sand is a summer rite of passage.

These days there’s a trend for fish ‘n’ chips that are less about the thickly battered, corner-store newspaper bundle and more about gourmet flavours, artful presentation or side orders of salad. And while the humble serve fish ‘n’ chips has gone gourmet, there’s also a genuine rising interest in serving produce that comes courtesy of sustainable fishing practices. But no matter what type of fish ‘n’ chip experience you’re into, we think that finding the right spot to sit and pick through the bundle is just as much a part of the fun. And with some wonderful beachside spots to catch the last of the afternoon’s rays, here’s our pick of the places to dig your toes into the sand and unwrap your crunchy gold.

1.The concrete steps at Manly beach with a parcel of goodies from Fishmongers Manly:
Grab your gourmet fish ‘n’ chips from Fishmongers Manly, complete with fried sweet potato, and then wander up Wentworth Street to the beachfront where the concrete steps fall away to the sand. Scoop up hot, salty chips and watch the last of the locals frolic in the waves.

2.Balmoral Baths with a take away box from Bottom of the Harbour:
You might have to queue on a Friday night, but grab a box of goodies from Bottom of the Harbour and then head over the road to dangle your legs over the side of the wooden boardwalk that skirts the Balmoral baths. It’s a great spot to enjoy your salt and pepper squid and aioli. Or walk further up the beach and see if any of the benches along The Esplanade are free.

3. The edge of walkway at Bronte Surf Life Saving Club with hot chips from Bronte Chippa:
It’s not big, it’s not flash, but this is when old school hot chips come into their own. Grab a big serving from the Bronte Chippa – and some fish to go with it if that’s your thing – and then head over the road, across the park and down to the sand in front of the Surf Life Saving Club. Swing your legs over the low wall down onto the sand, or unroll a rug on the beach.
491 Bronte Road, Bronte

4. Watsons Bay with take away from Doyles on the Wharf:
Crunchy beer batter, or grilled fish with salad, Doyles have a long history serving some of the best fish ‘n’ chips going. So what better way to enjoy them than to grabbing a takeaway serve from their wharf outlet before jumping down onto the sand to drink in that beautiful view over Watsons Bay and out across the harbour.

5. A Fish Called Coogee
Choose your fish and have it grilled to order at A Fish Called Coogee, then take your booty up the road to the beachfront at Goldstein Reserve. It’s for people watching as well as wave spotting. The place to be seen on a weekend, it only gets better when you’ve got hot chips to sweeten the deal.
229 Coogee Bay Road, Coogee