With Lent starting today, East Valley restaurants are bracing for their annual surge in seafood sales. And when it comes to seafood, few dishes are as popular — and inexpensive — as fish and chips. The fish, usually cod, haddock or flounder, is typically battered and deep-fried, and the “chips,” of course, are thick-cut potatoes more similar to French fries than potato chips. Whether you’re a strictly observant Christian or just someone who likes fried food, here are five East Valley restaurants to try for fish and chips:
Fibber Magees: The first place to look for good fish and chips is an English or Irish pub — the dish is, after all, a traditional favorite in the United Kingdom — and this Chandler favorite serves up some of the best in the Valley. The beer-battered cod is fried until crispy, then served with golden chips, mushy peas and tartar sauce. Get a lunch portion for $8.99 or a dinner portion for $13.99. 1989 W. Elliot Road, Chandler, (480) 722-9434, www.fibber
Murphy’s Law: This Irish pub in historic downtown Chandler boasts it uses fresh, hand-cut Alaskan cod, which it dips in house-made Harp Ale batter ($12.95, pictured). You get a choice of regular pub fries or sweet potato fries as a side. Murphy’s Law also offers another seafood entrée: a pan-seared Alaskan salmon steak in a sweet pepper almond sauce with roasted potatoes and vegetables ($12.95). 58 S. San Marcos Place, Chandler, (480) 812-1588, www.irishpubchandler.com.
Islamorada Fish Co.: Take a break from shopping at Bass Pro Shops to visit its in-store seafood restaurant. Beer-battered cod comes with a choice of thick-cut chips or seasoned French fries ($10.95). The fried section of the menu also features catfish, shrimp and alligator, but there are many non-fried seafood dishes — from grouper reubens to flame-grilled tilapia — also available. 1133 N. Dobson Road, Mesa, (602) 606-5500, www.fishcompany.com.
Joe’s Farm Grill: Every Friday, this retro-looking burger stand puts on a fabulous fish fry. Sit at one of the many tree-shaded picnic tables and enjoy panko-breaded cod, fries, cole slaw, house-made tartar sauce and corn fritters for $10.99. Also on the menu: fried shrimp ($14.99), grilled wild salmon ($12.99) and a grilled ahi tuna sandwich with Asian slaw and wasabi mayo ($11.99). 3000 E. Ray Road, Gilbert, (480) 563-4745, www.joesfarmgrill.com.
Pete’s Fish & Chips: If you’re in a hurry or strapped for cash, this Mesa-based chain of restaurants, which has eight Valley locations, has been reeling in hungry diners since 1947. Fine-food aficionados may turn up their noses at its drive-throughs and walk-up windows, but Pete’s Special Sauce is legendary. And you can’t beat the prices: $3.75 for two-piece dinner and $5.25 for three-piece dinner. 22 S. Mesa Drive, Mesa, (480) 964-7242, www.petesfishandchips.com.