A fish fry in Western New York is something of a rite of passage for true home-towners, with generations of families often gathering at the same neighborhood pub on a Friday evening sharing stories and enjoying cold beer. These platters are almost as popular to our culture as the chicken wing, and everyone has their favorite style.
Anytime of the year is fair game to enjoy a fish fry, but during Lent, with the area's vast Catholic background, you'll find local establishments packed with hungry mouths craving that crispy haddock and creamy coleslaw.
Here are just a few places in Buffalo that will satisfy that craving, let us know your favorite with a comment.
674 Ellicott St, Buffalo, NY
Proudly claiming their half German-half Irish heritage, this recently renovated and reopened city landmark has the distinction of being Buffalo’s oldest continuously operating tavern/restaurant. Their generous fish fry has stood the test of time, and is offered with a choice of classic or German style sides- like potato pancakes and sauerkraut.
1672 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo
Often recognized as having arguably the premier fish fry in the city, Papa Jakes packs ‘em in on a typical Friday night and it’s definitely worth the wait. The fish fry is huge, with some of the best hand cut French fries you’ll ever have. Like I mentioned earlier, don’t be scared off by the wait. Get up to the bar and sample an impressive array of craft beers, and local favorites.
1435 Main St, Buffalo, NY
This hidden gem serves up the perfect mix of tasty cocktails and delicious food that you may not expect. Their fish fry offers variety as you can choose the classic fried haddock with beer batter, cornmeal, or country style; or opt for the broiled variety with jerk or curry seasonings. The not usually found crispy waffle cut French fries add a nice touch to compliment the meal.
534 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY | 1322 Hertel Ave, Buffalo, NY
Joe’s already serves up some of the best sandwiches around, and you may not think of them as a destination for a fish fry, but let me tell you- It is awesome! What makes Joe’s stand out is the freshness and homemade nature of the ingredients. A perfectly fried piece of fish, excellent hand-cut fries, mouth-watering sides, and homemade tartar sauce that’s better than most. While the classic fish fry is worth the visit, what put them on this list are the often served fish tacos. Just look at the picture above with all of that fish fry goodness all wrapped up just for you. Well done Joe’s, well done.
257 E Ferry St, Buffalo, NY
A long established reputation of serving fine soul food on the corner of Ferry and Jefferson, Gigi’s also offers a fish fry a bit different than most in the area. Different however does not mean any less remarkable. Try this southern style fish fry with a light cornmeal breading served with eggs and grits to turn your taste buds upside, and have you wishing for next Friday to come.
The Blackthorn Restaurant
2134 Seneca St, Buffalo, NY
Around for years in South Buffalo, The Blackthorn, formerly Early Times, is the type of neighborhood bar where it’s obvious the locals have been coming back almost their whole adult lives, and you know they must be on to something. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, so muscle up to the bar for a pre-dinner drink. This fish fry is of the classic variety with tender on the inside/crispy on the outside fish, and your usual sides with particularly good crunchy coleslaw.
1487 Hertel Ave, Buffalo, NY
This affectionately called hole in the wall in North Buffalo can argue that they have the best fish fry in the city. The fish is always fried just right, and the accompanying potato salad, macaroni salad, and coleslaw are fresh and top notch. Make sure you bring your cash, as that’s all they take, and don’t miss out on one of the most well stocked selections of hard to find of craft beers around. If you’ve never had a fish fry, or are looking for a great experience, this is the place to start.
145 Allen St, Buffalo, NY
An Allentown staple for years, The Gate serves up a nice beer battered fish fry perfect for those looking for a thicker batter on their fish. It’s moist and flavorful, and the portion is huge. I also suggest trying the fish sandwich for a change of pace, but no less delicious offering.
Central Park Grill
2519 Main St, Buffalo, NY
What a person who’s only heard about a fish fry may envision, CPG serves them up in the traditional way with crispy fish and awesome sides. The beer selection features many local varieties, and there’s a good chance you’ll hear some live music if you stick around long enough.
Washington Square Restaurant
295 Washington St, Buffalo, NY
Located downtown near Coca-Cola Field this pub has been around forever, and you can expect your standard fish fry offerings. They offer a variety of styles to have your fish cooked, but stick with the beer batter as it’s not too thick, and fried to a crisp.