Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fresco's: Come for the Fish & Chips but Stay for the Poutine!

Fresco's Fish & Chips
213 Augusta Avenue
Toronto, ON M5T 2L4
Dates Visited:  April 1 and April 8, 2014

Not many establishments like Fresco's have a Yelp score higher than 4 stars and over 100 reviews.  So the Urban Foodie wanted to check out what all the fuss was about especially with so many Yelpers claiming that Fresco's has the best fish and chips in town. 

Fresco's has a cool Beatles vibe to it as memorabilia grace the walls and Beatles classics play in the background of this cozy spot in Kensington Market.

Patrons can select cod, haddock or halibut as part of their fish and chips combo and each combo comes with 2 pieces of fish, fries, coleslaw, a slice of lemon and tartar sauce.  There is also an option to order the fish extra crispy which entails having Miss Vickie's chips incorporated into the original batter - ingenious!

In addition to fish and chips, Fresco's also offers poutine, chili, seafood po boy sandwiches, chicken wings, and an assortment of sides ranging from deep fried pickles to mozzarella sticks. 

The halibut combo was ordered with extra crispy batter and it came in white box that disassembled easily at each side which was perfect for sharing. The halibut was wrapped with a classic newspaper print and sat atop a mountain of fries. 

The chip batter on the fish was a fantastic creative touch.  It was crispy and wasn't too oily.  Unfortunately, the fish was not moist and flaky as one would imagine.  It was nice of Fresco's to give out three pieces for this particular order since two of them were noticeably smaller, but to be honest, these pieces didn't taste as good because the batter to fish ratio was too high.  So it was a disappointing visit to Fresco's.  Perhaps it was because the halibut was ordered over the traditional cod and haddock variations?  Regardless, the "best in the city" fish and chips claim is unjustified.  There are comparable places in the city if not better.

So why the return visit?  

Was it because of the free drink with any fish and chips combo with a check in on Yelp?

No... it was because the fries were so tasty!  They were these fat, fleshy fries with skin on them.  They would be perfect served as part of a poutine!

The $5 (taxes in) poutine and drink special was ordered.  First of all, what great value!  The poutine was a sight for sore eyes!  It was so beautifully crafted.  Piping hot steam radiated out of this poutine and the fries soaked up the rich and flavourful gravy.  Admittedly, the cheese curds were a bit cold when the poutine was first served up, but they became gooey and stringy!

The poutine was a perfect example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.  Yes, Aristole is being quoted... but it was just that good!  It was an amazing hodgepodge of flavours - a delicious mess!

The poutine rivals the likes of Smoke's and Poutini's House of Poutine.  The Urban Foodie will definitely be back if not for the fish and chips but for the poutine!

On a Yelp score of 5, this place is 3 for the fish and chips but gets a bump up to 4 for its poutine!

Fresco's Fish & Chips on Urbanspoon

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