12 Of The Best Fish & Chip Places You Can Eat In Essex



Fish and chips is a seaside staple, a Friday night fixture and the nation’s favourite gastronomic guilty pleasure.

If you’re staying at one of Essex’s best holiday parks and don’t fancy washing up, fish and chips should hit the spot – especially if you’ve worked up a hunger on one of the best walks in the county.

Fish and chips is a dish of mouthwatering simplicity – flaky fish in crispy batter, thick fluffy chips and marvellous mushy peas, all wrapped in paper, doused in salt and vinegar, and if you’re posh, eaten with a wooden fork (although greasy fingers are better).

For the finest fish supper and the perfect chippy tea by the sea, grab your pop, find a spot on the wall, shoo away the gulls (not that it works), and head for the best fish and chip shops in Essex.

Fish and chips washed down with a nice cold beer

Oldham’s, Westcliff-on-Sea

The seafront at Westcliff-on-Sea has lots of cafés and restaurants as it stretches along the esplanade. Oldham’s has been serving fish and chips here since 1967 and the family-owned chippy continues to win awards for its traditional seaside fare. All of the potatoes are sourced locally – and if you fancy a battered sausage instead of fish, they come straight from Jim’s Joint Butchers at nearby Leigh-on-Sea. You can opt to dine inside if you wish or the beach is just a short walk for an alfresco fish supper.

The Mersea Island Fish bar, Mersea Island

Mersea Island is famous for its oysters, with the season running from September to April. There’s a handful of places on the tidal island where you can sample this Essex speciality along with other highlights from the day’s catch. The Mersea Island Fish Bar is one of them, but also the spot if you have a hankering for fish and chips.  Take your box brimming with soft white battered fish and fat chips down to the nearby beach. (Ps – the homemade tartar sauce gets rave reviews too…)

Churchill’s Fish & Chips, Chelmsford

The great Winston Churchill himself referred to fish and chips as ‘the people’s companion’ during the Second World War. The dish was one of the few foods not subject to rationing thanks to its ability to lift spirits when the chips were down. If you’re looking to raise morale among your troops then Churchill’s is the place in Chelmsford. This family-run business was named Britain’s best chain of fish and chip restaurants not so long ago and also has Essex outlets in Romford, Pitsea, Stansted and Witham.

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The Fish House, Southend-on-Sea

A true institution in Southend, the family-owned Fish House has been serving customers in the town for over 30 years, not far from Southend esplanade, and round the corner from Roots Hall football ground. Before you visit the shop, understand a little-known fact about fish and chips among folks from the UK: Australians are big on the dish too. That’s pretty clear here, as the Fish House is owned by a couple who emigrated to Britain from Oz. Head fryer Sam Economou learned his trade – fish ‘n’ chips the British way – when he worked in his uncle’s chippy in London in the 1970s. For a real taste of Essex, try the local rock eel – it’s pretty popular in these parts.

Pull up a deck chair for fish and chips with a sea view at Southend (Phil Hearing on Unsplash)

Jolly Fryer, Burnham-on-Crouch

The Jolly Fryer is just a short walk from the River Crouch, the tidal estuary that runs through the Essex town which is a yachting mecca. The town’s harbour is awash with sailboats every summer and the annual regatta takes place around the August bank holiday. Jolly John Lord has run fish and chip shops for over 30 years and he makes up a frying double act behind the counter with his partner Liz. Quality is the key to the Fryer’s success: everything is cooked fresh to order in beef dripping, and John once shut up shop for a whole day when a poor batch of potatoes wasn’t deemed fit for his customers.

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Paul’s Plaice, Heybridge nr Maldon

Another family-run stalwart of the Essex fish and chip scene is Paul’s Plaice in the village of Heybridge, five minutes from Maldon. First-class fish and whopping portions of chips are the order of the day here. If it’s sea air you crave to accompany your salt-and-vinegar-soaked supper, take the five-minute drive from Paul’s Plaice to Mill Beach, a secluded quiet spot with views out over the Dengie Peninsula and Osea Island.

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Islanders, Canvey Island

A community chippy champion since the 80s, Islanders on Canvey Island returned to its original family fold a few years ago after having been leased out for a while. The takeaway and restaurant have been given a fresh modern feel but the place is still rooted in traditional fish and chip fare. If you fancy something different though, the dine-in menu has much more on offer such as wing of skate, salmon or sea bass. Or try an ‘Island Grill’: Canvey-style spam fritters and chips.

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Watch the seagulls don’t swoop – fish and chips on a bench at Canvey Island (Alistair MacRobert on Unsplash)

Geo’s Fishbar, Clacton-on-Sea

There’s something reassuringly unpretentious about the fish and chip shops in Clacton-on-Sea, where you can pick from John’s, Reg’s, Colin’s and Andy’s. But perhaps the pick is Geo’s Fishbar. Founded by Xenophon Georgiou in 1961 and now run by his sons, Geo’s was once a Greek restaurant and steakhouse before converting to a fish shop in 2000. Voted the best in Clacton by readers of the town’s newspaper, the fish portions are huge (though there is a smaller option for those who can’t manage the full dish). Geo’s is round the corner from the beach too for tea by the sea.

Take a traditional seaside holiday at these parks near Clacton-on-Sea

Pier One, Frinton-on-Sea

Now, there was a time when opening a fish and chip shop in Frinton-on-Sea was a controversial matter. Local residents had been concerned that a chippy would change the character of the quiet seaside town. In fact, it was considered that the lack of such an eatery in Frinton was what set it apart from some of the livelier Essex seaside resorts. That all changed when Pier One opened. It’s more fine fish restaurant than chippy but there is a good takeaway menu. Much thought has gone into the fish and chips here, including a painstaking process of perfecting the batter recipe and the twice-fried chips.

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Southend Pier Fish & Chips, Southend-On-Sea

Southend is the fish and chip capital of Essex and there’s something special about a fish supper out at sea (almost). Southend Pier Fish and Chips sits at the end of the 1.3-mile structure. The takeaway was opened in 2009 by Darren Latimer who had previously operated a beach hut food business. Once frying restrictions were lifted on the pier ravaged by fire in 2005, Darren moved in. His pier-end chip shop was nominated in the ‘best newcomer’ category by a trade body soon after. If you’re starving, speed along on the train that clatters along the hardwood decking before sauntering back to walk off a few calories.

Soak up the sun on a beach holiday in Southend-on-Sea

Yates Fishbar, Walton-on-the-Naze

A short walk from Walton pier and the beach, Yates Fishbar is the best-known chippy in the town. The portions are whale-sized and you can eat inside if the weather takes a turn. Order at the till and pop over the road to the Victory pub directly opposite if a pint is in order while you wait. The pair of long-standing Walton establishments go together like salt and vinegar for plenty of visitors to the traditional seaside resort.

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Ye Olde Chippy, Southend-on-Sea

Ye Old Chippy enjoys legendary status in Southend having operated in the town for decades with its former (very famous) turreted facade. The fish and chip shop even became a film set when Eastenders turned up. Britain’s soap staple spent two weeks in the seaside resort a few years ago, with two of the characters getting through six portions of the famous fish and chips while filming different takes for one scene. Ye Olde Chippy was forced to close its original premises when it was built over for development but triumphantly reopened ready for the 2021 summer season. The queues are as big as they ever were, and the fish and chips are as worth the wait as they always have been.

Explore the best of Essex followed by a chip supper for tea

Fish and chips taste all the better after a busy day out. Now you know where the best fish and chip shops are in Essex, you can plan a visit to one of the best places to visit in Essex safe in the knowledge that a tasty tea is sorted for later.