Renee and Steve

Review Restaurants in the Twin Cities Area

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Mac's Fish and Chips

Larpenteur and Hamline

St. Paul

     •     Fish and Chips (2 pieces of Halibut with Fries, slaw, bread, and beverage) $8.47

I can not even count the number of times I have driven past this place and wondered what is it like in there. If only I had stopped in earlier, I would by now be a regular.

They easily had the best fish and chips I have had. I don't order them often, but these were far above any that I have tasted. All Mac's Fish and Chips does is fish and chips. O.K. they do have shrimp, chicken and clams. But as we watched people order, most everyone simply ordered the fish and chips or just the fish. And after tasting the fish it was little wonder why, the fish was amazing perfectly crisp, but moist and flaky on the inside. The fries are acceptable and tasty, but the fish, oh the fish. The restaurant itself is not a place to bring your best client, in fact it may be a bit scary for some. But if you do stay and eat there, you get to listen to some great conversations, such as the one next to us, but who is the absolute worst actor in Hollywood. (They were arguing about whether it was Ben Affleck or Nicolas Cage.)

Obviously this is not a place to go if you are watching your cholesterol or your weight, but on occasion and in moderation, Mac's Fish and Chips is a great place to go.

     •     Fish and Shrimp Basket (1 pieces of Halibut and 3 shrimp with Fries, slaw, bread, and beverage) $8.47

People ask me all the time, "Have you reviewed McDonald’s yet?" My answer is no, of course. We try to avoid reviewing chain restaurants when possible. We also try to avoid fast food, a category that Mac’s skirts, though all the food is made-to-order. It reminds me of some barbecue restaurants where you order at the counter and you can get your food to go or eat in. You have no idea whether you are about to have some of the best food in the city or some of the worst.

Mac’s Fish and Chips is one of those places that you pass a hundred times and wonder if it’s any good. The cars in the parking lot can be a good proxy for quality, though that can be deceiving, especially with fast food restaurants. Very few food critics would stoop to mention, let alone review, a lowbrow restaurant. It’s the kind of place you just have to go to.

You really should go. It’s great. The dining area is spooky, though some would claim that adds charm. I would just say that it keeps their prices low and keeps them in business, which is a good thing. With low prices and tight quarters, you never know who you're going to sit by. We overheard a conversation about Hollywood actors and their relative talent. On the other side, what appeared to be a father and son each flipped through auto magazines, mostly sharing awkward silence.

As far as food recommendations, their basket dinners have a bed of fries topped with your choice of fish, chicken, or shrimp, and a small cup of coleslaw on the side. The fries are enough for two to share. Even though they were good, I did not finish my fries. I had the fish and shrimp combo basket, which included one piece of halibut and three large shrimp, both breaded and fried. The fish was especially good - the perfect marriage of a good piece of fish, light breading, and deep fried in fresh oil at the right temperature for the right length of time. I was extremely impressed. The shrimp did not disappoint, either. The breading was coarser, though that works with deep-fried shrimp.

Mac’s Fish and Chips is definitely not low-cal. But in moderation, this is the place to go in the Twin Cities for fish and chips at a reasonable price.









November 30, 2002