56 Northumberland Street, Alnmouth NE66 2RJ
Proving that not all Donalds are narcissistic sociopaths, the Donald who runs Beaches is a lovely man with deep understanding of seafood. Get the full experience via the five-course tasting menu on Saturday night. If you’re in a rush to get to the beach, grab something quick from the tiny Beaches Shack next door. The smoked haddock mac and cheese and handpicked crabmeat sandwich are both great, and you can get a half lobster in mornay sauce with chips for £9.95. Amazing.
COLMANS SEAFOOD TEMPLE
Sea Road, South Shields NE33 2LD
0191 511 1349
Opening on the second May Bank Holiday weekend was a very bold gambit, given that the new Colmans Seafood Temple has been so feverishly anticipated. Its Palladian building is now home to the same stonkingly good fish and chips as its sister restaurant on Ocean Road, but with added cocktails, an oyster bar and sea views.
LONGSANDS FISH KITCHEN
27 Front Street, Tynemouth NE30 4DZ
0191 272 8552
Being crowned as winners of the Best Newcomer award at the National Fish and Chip Awards this year caps off a really strong first two years for this understatedly chic place. Alongside the traditionally fried cod and haddock, there are esoteric, international flavours here like the spicy shrimp burger with pickles, cucumber and mint raita.
RILEY’S FISH SHACK
King Edward’s Bay, Tynemouth NE30 4BY
0191 257 1371
Because OBVIOUSLY. The secret’s long-since got out about Riley’s (thank you very much Michel ‘Blabbermouth’ Roux) so you might be in for a little wait if you head down, but there are few places in the North East which are more worth waiting for. It’s all seasonal, but you can generally get fish wraps, chargrilled squid, lobster, and turbot, and mains like wood-roast cod on puy lentils, pancetta and Parmesan crumb from their wood- red oven.
THE LITTLE FISHY
Fish and chips is the original street food (we’re not counting Cornish pasties as there aren’t any streets when you’re down a mineshaft), so it makes sense to take it into a van as The Little Fishy have. They put gastro twists on things here, with their Cajun-spiced panko crumb cod and halloumi fries the standouts.
Lower Promenade, Saltburn TS12 1HQ
You can practically eyeball the delicious little beggars from the al fresco area here – it’s pretty much on the beach. ‘Soon, you’ll be mine,’ you’ll whisper to nobody in particular, staring out at Neptune’s bounty. ‘Enjoy your seaborne frolicking while you can – it will not last.’ You’ll probably get moved on at that point, but do take your fish and chips with you. They’re too good to waste.
22 Main Street, Seahouses NE68 7RQ
This is the kind of place which has saved generations of desultory days at the beach – it’s hard to be grumpy when you’ve got a whacking great bit of battered cod, haddock or plaice in front of you, mushy peas to your right hand, a vinegar’d chip in your left and a pot of tea brewing too. It’s the very marrow of the English summer.
CLEMS FISH RESTAURANTS
Spennymoor, Chester-le-Street, Sunderland, Shildon and Bishop Auckland
0191 389 0737
After more than 60 years on the North East’s fish scene, you’d expect the fish from these family-run fish restaurants to be absolutely spot on, and spot on it indeed is: it’s the Platonic ideal of your honest-to-goodness Friday night fry-fest, with fat, fluffy chips and perfectly flaky fish.
LINDSAY’S SEAFOOD TO GO
Grainger Market, Market Street,
Newcastle NE1 8AF
Like so many of the flabbergastingly excellent food joints in the Grainger Market, this is one of the quiet heroes of Newcastle’s food scene. The seafood noodles are brilliant and everything, but they’re not what we’re here for. We want batter. We want crunch. We want that briny tang. We want Lindsay’s whitebait and chips.