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“Not a great catch”

English Bay Fish & Chips
Ranked #99 of 503 Restaurants in Oakville
Price range: $10 - $15
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Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Reservations, Takeout
Description: So much more than just a Fish & Chip shop, English Bay offers full table service in a warm and comfortable setting. Everything is home made, including fabulous desserts and soups. Choose from a nice selection of wines and local craft brewed beers. Take-out also available. Free WiFi.
Reviewed September 26, 2013

I went to lunch with my mother because both of us love seafood. And we both love a good plate of fish and chips. My mother suggested we try this place because she had seen some ads for it recently.

The restaurant is small and a bit cramped. Since I had my 1 year old daughter with me, I had to bring her stroller. And pushing it by the chairs and tables was a bit challenging.

Everything was neat and clean. The menu wasn't extensive but it never has to be in order for the food to be good. Our waitress came and took our drink orders. I also requested a high chair for my daughter which she brought. However, by the time we finally sat down, she was standing and requesting our orders before we had a chance to look at the menu.

I ordered the battered halibut with a garden salad. My mother ordered the breadcrumb halibut with a Caesar salad. As we were waiting, my mother mentioned to me that this place received some great reviews so we were really looking forward to some great fish.

When our entrees arrived, we dove in. Unfortunately, we were sadly disappointed. My battered fish was chewy like chicken and not good at all. Because of the chewiness, I suspected the fish had been previously frozen and probably cooked from its frozen state immediately. The tartar sauce tasted like it came from a jar. The salad was extra, extra large iceberg lettuce leaves with three slices of cucumber and only 2 small pieces of tomato. The raspberry vinaigrette dressing was really sweet and tasted like fruit punch.

My mother said her fish was very chewy as well and her Caesar salad consisted of only lettuce with no croutons, bacon or cheese. The dressing barely existed too.

We ate our entrees and asked for our bill. We went to use the washroom down a very narrow hallway (again challenging because of the stroller). The bathroom was clean but sadly no change table was available for me to change my daughter on.

All in all, definitely not a place I would visit again. I've had much better fish at a regular pub and at other fish and chip places. And they will continue to receive my business.

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Thank C K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark M, Owner at English Bay Fish & Chips, responded to this reviewResponded September 27, 2013

Hello CK, thanks for taking the time to share your experience. I certainly wish that it had been more pleasant. If I may, I'd like to clarify a few things in your review which may give other readers the wrong impression.

First, my love/hate relationship with halibut has been well documented in my blog, which appears on our web site. The fact is, when deep fried, halibut is less moist and more "chewy like chicken" than the other six fish on our menu. Those who are willing to pay the premium price for halibut do so because they prefer their fish that way. The pubs who are serving "better" fish & chips than us are most certainly not serving halibut, it's just too expensive to deal with. Most of those places use either cod or haddock, which is the fish I always recommend at English Bay (when asked).

The halibut comes in frozen, but we never cook it from that state. In fact, it's nearly impossible because the batter or breading doesn't stick to the fish. FRESH halibut is completely unavailable in December, January and February when the fishery shuts down. It's hit or miss for much of the rest of the year too. That's why restaurants who have halibut on the menu use frozen product. It is available all year and consistent in quality. I also feel that just because a fish has never been frozen doesn't make it "fresh". Halibut is caught primarily in Alaska, which is awfully far away!

Yes, our restaurant seems small and cramped, we wish it was larger too. If we tried to fix this by taking out any tables, we would have a line-up at lunch and dinner most days. And nobody likes line-ups.

Both the men's and women's wash rooms have padded benches which we put there for the purpose of changing diapers.

It's a shame you didn't let us know that you were not enjoying your meal at the time, we would have replaced it for you immediately. I sincerely wish you would visit us again and try a different fish, I think you would find it to be much more to your liking.

Sincerely,

Mark McFadden

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27 - 31 of 55 reviews

Reviewed July 15, 2013

Wonderful Fish with Chips or any other sides you would like. You can also get half potions of sides as i, half salad and half portion of potatoes, cooked anyway you like. I would recommend half green salad and half sweet potatoe fries

Thank derrybrien2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2013

We had a special birthday to celebrate and decided to go to English Bay as our special guest was born in England! We went for lunch and everyone enjoyed their meal. From the fish cakes to the traditional fish and chips, mushy peas and sweet potato fries, everything was very good.
Service was efficient. Overall a good experience. Lighting could be a bit brighter though but no complaints about the food!

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Thank Ana905_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2013

My boyfriend is really picky when it comes to food, he's use to the finer things. But I was craving for some fish and chips. So I read numerous reviews not only here but on Yelp and Urbanspoon too. English Bay was the highest rated place on all forums. I had breaded Sole and he had battered Haddock and Halibut. The sole was overdone but the breading was okay you would expect a little seasoning. The battered fish was hard and cut your mouth open, but the fish itself was okay. Fries were soggy by the time we got back (take out). So still looking that hidden gem fish and chip place in Oakville. Don't listen to the reviews this place is nothing special. Mediocre at best.

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Thank 101amt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark M, Owner at English Bay Fish & Chips, responded to this reviewResponded January 14, 2015

When I was in university I dated a girl who was really picky about food and was used to the finer things in life.

So I understand.

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Reviewed May 22, 2013

We wanted fish and chips and read the reviews from English Bay Fish & Chips so decided to go and try it out.
The halibut fish was fantastic but the fries were still crunchy because they weren't cooked. When the waitress came to our table ,we told her the french fries weren't cooked and her comment was "Oh that's unfortunate."
I don't think I would go back because she has no customer service skills.
When she brought us the bill she asked if we would like to share an order of fries when we were all done. NOOOO! she should have asked us that when we first told her they were uncooked.

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Thank Brenda5557
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark M, Owner at English Bay Fish & Chips, responded to this reviewResponded May 28, 2013

Hello Brenda,

Thanks for taking the time to write your review, it has helped us address an obvious issue with our service.

When you pointed out that your chips were undercooked, your server brought it immediately to the attention of the "manager", who that Sunday was actually the cook (my wife and I had taken the day off). They discussed it and came to the conclusion that they should offer some new chips, but they took WAY too long to reach that decision.

It's a shame you won't be returning for our "fantastic" halibut due to this isolated incident. These are very good young people learning the business, and unfortunately they messed this one up.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

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