Everything you need to know about the deep-fried delicacy: fish and chips in Anstruther!
You may have heard some hype about fish and chips in Anstruther, right?
So what’s the fuss all about? Well, today I’m talking about the place to get fish and chips in Anstruther. It’s called the Anstruther Fish Bar and it’s something of a big deal. If you’re looking for the very best version of the deep-fried delicacy that is fish and chips then, my friends, this is the place to come. The queues outside pay testament to its popularity – because it’s always incredibly long!
However, I’d say the hype here is deserved. This place has won awards, is recognised all over Scotland, and it was even visited by Prince William and Kate Middleton recently. It was actually reported that they were regulars during their student days at St Andrews.
However, I should also mention that there’s more than one chippy in Anstruther. And I say that because the second last time I was in Anstruther I actually ended up going to the ‘wrong’ one. And this is why I would never dare to call myself a travel blogger!
More on that later, but in the meantime, let’s introduce Anstruther…
Anstruther and the East Neuk
You might not have heard of Anstruther before, so let me give you a quick introduction. Anstruther is a small fishing village in the south eastern corner of Fife in Scotland. This area is known as the East Neuk and it’s characterised by its traditional fishing village vibes.
Expect pastel-hued houses with red pan tiles and sash windows, a beautiful harbour, beaches and gorgeous seascapes… it really is just charming as it sounds!
Things to do in Anstruther
So what is there to do in Anstruther? You can wander around the picturesque harbour area, explore the Scottish Fisheries Museum, or take a boat trip out to the Isle of May where you can enjoy looking at all the seabird colonies on the island. All that touristing is hungry work, and so once you’ve done all that it’s the perfect time to order your fish and chips!
Things to do in the East Neuk
As I mentioned, Anstruther is part of the East Neuk of Fife, which also comprises a few other fishing villages in the area. Find out more about what to do and where to stay below…
- Things to do in Pittenweem in the East Neuk of Fife
- My Airbnb Pittenweem experience: the Old Net Store
What is the best chippy in Scotland?
It’s hard to get a definitive answer to this one because different lists say different things. There are definitely a few contenders that come up a few times… Frankie’s fish and chips in Brae, Shetland. Bay Fish and Chips in Stonehaven. The Fishmarket in Newhaven in Edinburgh. And, of course, the Anstruther Fish Bar tends to make an appearance too!
The chipper which sits at the very top tends to change around a little. For example, The Scotsman has the Anstruther Fish Bar as number one on their 2020 list of the best chippers in Scotland. But when I hopped over to VisitScotland to read their countdown of the best fish and chip shops in Scotland the Anstruther Fish Bar was only just in the top ten, ranking in ninth place overall. I guess the general vibe is this: it’s always in the mix.
But what actually is a chippy?
Back up, back up. It occurred to me that some people reading this might not know what this ‘chippy’ or ‘fish and chips’ thing I keep referring to actually is. I’d clarify, it does get a little confusing…
A chippy: a place that serves fish and chips ‘I’m going to the chippy now…’
A chippy: what you order at the fish and chip shop ‘This chippy is delicious…’
OK, what about fish and chips or a fish supper, what do we mean by that? That usually means a fish – usually a haddock but sometimes cod – deep-fried in batter.
It comes served with chips. And none of the skinny fries like the kind you’d get at McDonalds, no. These are big, fat, juicy chips.
Sometimes fish and chips is served with accompaniments such as mushy peas or a pickled egg. In its purest form, though, it’s simply fish and chips. The clue’s in the name, right?
How much is a fish supper in Scotland?
A fish supper will set you back around £6-£10. As an example, fish supper at the Anstruther Fish Bar costs £7.95 to take away and 10.65 to eat in at the restaurant.
What is a dressed fish supper?
That’s a very good question. I actually have a confession: this isn’t actually a term I’d heard before. However, ot seems to be one that’s used in other areas in Scotland. A dressed fish supper refers to a fish that comes in bright orange breadcrumbs, as opposed to batter. Where I’m from this would usually be called a special fish, but dressed seems to be another term for it. My personal preference is always batter but it’s definitely worth trying!
And while we’re here we might as well go into the salt preferences as well…
The condiment question: what to have on your fish and chips
Well, you probably wouldn’t have guessed that there’s a big regional divide in Scotland based on what you have on your fish and chips but, well, there is! Details below!
Salt and sauce
This is what people from Edinburgh have on their chips. As a Fifer, I’m not overly familiar with it but rumour has it that the chippy ‘sauce’ they speak of is a non-branded brown sauce. I’m not sure if that’s what you’ll get if you ask for it here but give it a bash!
Salt and vinegar
This is what people tend to have on their fish and chips throughout the rest of Scotland. It’s pretty explanatory I think so I’m not going to waffle on too much.
What did I have on my fish and chips?
Well, I’m a bit of an anomaly as I usually have salt, vinegar and tomato ketchup on my fish and chips. It’s not like you have to be too prescriptive with the regional stuff, right?
Now that I remember, I ordered some of the homemade tartare sauce at the Anstruther Fish Bar and it was absolutely delicious. So if you’re stuck order that!
Want to know more about foods in Scotland? I’ve put together a handy guide!
Now turn our focus to the Anstruther Fish Bar…
The Anstruther Fish Bar: everything you need to know
How long has the Anstruther Fish Bar been open?
The first incarnation of the Anstruther Fish Bar was actually in nearby village St Monans, where the owners ran a processing shop that supplied local fish and chip shops in the region. When the opportunity came to take over the Anstruther Fish Bar in 2003 they were there with bells on and it’s been doing a roaring trade ever since.
Who owns Anstruther Fish Bar?
The nosy ones amongst us may want to know who owns this place. Drum roll… the owners of the Anstruther Fish Bar are a couple called Alison and Robert Smith. Both of them come from a long line of East Neuk fishermen so the trade is very much in their blood.
What awards has it actually won?
I mentioned that it was award-winning at the top, and here’s the details…
- Best Fish and Chip Shop in Scotland (won four times)
- Seafish Friers Award for Excellence (won every year between 1996-2006)
- Café of the Year 2005 by Les Routiers
- UK Fish Shop of the Year 2009
Who else has visited the Anstruther Fish Bar?
I name dropped Prince William and Kate Middleton at the top, but they’re not the only famous faces that have been spotted ordering fish and chips in Anstruther. Tom Hanks and Robert De Niro have also made an appearance, which are pretty much as A-list as it comes!
Is there anything else I should know?
Well, one interesting thing about this fish and chip shop is that it has a restaurant with space for 52 covers. Although my favourite spot to eat is on the benches outside.
Oh! And their newspaper-style packaging is really cool!
Anstruther fish bar menu
Feeling hungry yet? If you want a regular fish supper at the Anstruther Fish Bar then you should order the haddock in batter on the menu. However, there are a few other things that tickled my fancy, including the lemon sole in breadcrumbs and Pittenweem prawns! They also so dressed crab, hot smoked salmon, and a variety of fishcakes – yum!
There’s also a specials board with all the catches of the day listed.
You can view the menu here
Does the Anstruther Fish Bar do delivery?
No, unfortunately it doesn’t – you’ll have to order it in-house.
Is the Anstruther Fish Bar open?
Yes, the Anstruther Fish Bar is open post-lockdown. Here are the opening times…
Anstruther Fish Bar opening times: 11.30am-9.30pm
Address: 42-44 Shore Street, Anstruther, KY10 3AQ
My review of the Anstruther Fish Bar
Well, we rocked up to Anstruther in a sunny afternoon in May just after lockdown had ended. It was surprisingly quiet in town which I think was mostly to do with it being a Friday. The last time I’d been there on a Saturday it was completely mobbed with people.
It was so quiet in town that there wasn’t even a queue at the Anstruther Fish Bar. I have memories of going there with my parents when I was younger and waiting in the car for nearly an hour while my poor parents had to stand in the queue. So that was a big tick!
What did I order then? Well, I went for a kids fish suppeer because I know I always get really full really quickly. The main difference between a regular fish supper and a kids fish supper is that with the latter you only get one piece of fish, with the former you get two.
As far as fish suppers go, this one was pretty flawless. The batter is light and crispy, the fish is as fresh as it comes, and the chips were fat, fluffy on the inside, and delicious. I also got the homemade tartare sauce to dunk my fish in which was a great addition!
As I mentioned, we sat on one of the benches outside to eat and it was just lovely. You have the beach right in front of you and the waves lapping at the shore – what could be better?
All in all, if you asked me whether a chippy from the Anstruther Fish Bar is as good as everyone says I’d give a very enthusiastic yes. Now, when can I go back for more fish and chips in Anstruther?
Fish and chips Anstruther
I said at the top that this is your complete guide to fish and chips in Anstruther. I also mentioned that I had a bit of a fail when I was in Anstruther and ended up going to a chippy that wasn’t the famous one! What can I say? I just saw a queue and stood in it!
Anyway, as part of this guide I wanted to include some brief info to the other chippys in Anstruther and the surrounding areas. They might not be as famous but that doesn’t mean they’re not good. Us Scots are all about the quality control when it comes to chippys!
The Waterfront Chip Shop
This place has been running since 2005 and is located on the high street. If it’s a busy day you’ll probably see the queue first. I ordered my usual kids’ fish supper and the good thing was that you get a free Capri Sun with your supper – way to win me around! We sat on the pier to enjoy our food which was super charming… but a little bit windy too!
Check out The Waterfront Chip Shop menu
The Wee Chippy Anstruther
There is one other chippy in Anstruther which is The Wee Chippy. It’s also located on the high street just a few doors down from The Waterfront Chip Shop. Just being totally transparent, I haven’t been here so I can’t give you a review of the food. However, it gets a five star rating on TripAdvisor so it can’t be too shabby!
Check out The Wee Chippy Anstruther menu
Where else can you get fish and chips in Scotland?
Pittenweem fish and chips
The fish and chip shop in Pittenweem came under my radar when we stayed at an Airbnb there for a couple of nights recently. It was mentioned in the notes from the host which said that it’s “better than Anstruther’s award winning shop in many opinions.”
Remember that VisitScotland best chippies in Scotland list I mentioned earlier? Well, the Pittenweem fish and chip shop also made the list – coming in at number ten! If you’re in the East Neuk and don’t fancy having to queue at Anstruther then you can head here instead.
Fish and chips near me (Dundee)
By near me I’m meaning Dundee. Yes, I live in the city of Dundee in Scotland which isn’t too far away from Anstruther. It might not have the cute houses and the coastal charm of the East Neuk of Fife but it does have a really good chippy! It’s called the Tailend and it’s amazing. If you’re visiting Dundee definitely pop in. There’s also one in St Andrews…
Fish and chips St Andrews
OK, so I haven’t been to St Andrews for fish and chips but as I mentioned above I have eaten at the Tailend, which has restaurants in both St Andrews and Dundee. The Dundee version even has a fancy sit-in menu with seafood delicacies like scallops – highly recommended!
The other one I’ve heard good things about is Cromars, although I’ve not been myself.