Much like compiling a list of the best chicken wing places in Western New York, putting together a comprehensive guide for the best fish fry places in our region is an extremely challenging task. In fact, for me or anyone close to try and identify the very best of the best locations to enjoy a fish fry dinner and not face some type of great backlash or tremendous outrage is nearly impossible.
Simply put, Western New Yorkers love to satisfy their craving for a quality fish fry, especially during this time of the year as we proceed through winter and head into spring. With the Lenten season about to begin, we all know that on any Friday during Lent you can expect to see many people lining up for their favorite fish fry.
The following is a sampling of ten places located in the Northtowns region of Western New York that I have deemed among the best of the best. Just like with chicken wings, I know there are far many more great places to eat fish, but I strongly believe that a visit to any of these ten restaurants will result in a full belly and plenty of smiles around the table.
Listed in alphabetical order, here are your top ten fish fry places in the Northtowns:
BUFFALO JOE’S CAFE
8611 Main Street in Williamsville / (716) 276-3012
While this is not particularly a fancy establishment, Buffalo Joe’s serves up a great fish fry. It is a diner that provides excellent good at very affordable prices. The fish comes straight out of the kitchen golden and crispy and is served with a hearty helping of homemade potato salad and hand cut French fries. Very generous portions, and I strongly recommend a cup of clam chowder before you dig into your fish.
MEL’S CROW’S NEST TAVERN
315 Campbell Boulevard in Getzville / (716) 688-9814
Definitely a hidden gem, especially for people like myself who live in the Southtowns, this is the home of an awesome fish fry. What is defined as a “half order” of fish provides you with a beer battered piece of deliciousness that literally is the size of your forearm. Their outstanding side dishes include potato salad, coleslaw and a tasty macaroni salad that is served with crab meat.
HAYES SEAFOOD HOUSE
8900 Main Street in Clarence / (716) 632-1772
This is a great local place to go with the family for a fish fry. It is quite obvious the owners take great pride in not only their food but the aesthetics of their restaurant since they have made various improvements over the past few years, including the creation of a very beautiful indoor patio. This is a calm and welcoming place that serves a fish fry that is huge and very tasty. The breaded fish fry is a meal that features a fresh and flaky haddock nicely complimented by a thin layer of bread crumbs. I’m a fan of their coleslaw and each fish fry comes with a heaping portion of french fries.
669 Wehrle Drive in Cheektowaga / (716) 632-9896
This is an eatery where quality is not sacrificed for quantity. Everything is delicious. A recent visit there found a fish fry dinner consists of a large piece of breaded haddock with a smaller piece on the side. For most, that means dinner on Fridaynight and a fish sandwich for lunch on Saturday afternoon. In addition to the crisp French fries, they have perfectly seasoned pasta and macaroni salads and go the extra mile with the rye bread and, in a rather unique twist, also serve up some sliced beets.
MR. BILL’S RESTAURANT & BAR
1500 Cleveland Drive in Cheektowaga / (716) 634-0783
Another restaurant that knows what they are doing when it comes to serving up fish fry dinners. They give you fresh fish with side dishes that taste just like something your grandmother slaved over. The German potato salad gets rave reviews from many people I know, and I strongly recommend having a cup of their twice baked potato soup as an appetizer. Great customer service in a very cozy and comfortable neighborhood place, but make note that the fish fry is only a menu choice on Wednesdays and Fridays.
3972 Union Road in Buffalo / (716) 632-2035
Another place that may not wow patrons with the aesthetics inside, but they provide a comfortable place to sit down and dig into a traditional Friday night fish fry. Ordering either their beer battered fish fry or their broiled fish dinner will please your taste buds with perfectly cooked fish and hearty portions of delicious side dishes. Come hungry and leave happy.
984 Payne Avenue in North Tonawanda / (716) 692-7076
Very fun place to gather for a fish fry feast. They consistently offer a fresh haddock fish dish that is served with coleslaw, French fries and Italian pasta salad. Consider ordering your fish dinner “Cajun style” for a nice change of pace. Outstanding customer service, with plenty of experienced servers doing what they do best every Friday night.
POLISH VILLA II
1085 Harlem Road in Cheektowaga / (716) 822-4908
For a place that many people know and appreciate for their pierogies, sweet and sour cabbage and potato pancakes, they sure serve an outstanding fish fry. Everything is homemade, delicious and served with a smile. Fun place to dine, especially during the Lenten season.
200 Main Street in Tonawanda / (716) 694-6317
Another restaurant that those who do not live in Tonawanda may not be aware of, they serve up a fabulous fish fry. Nice atmosphere with a roaring fireplace to help warm you up on a cold Friday night. My friends that live in the Northtowns say their battered fish fry is the best in all of Western New York. The fish is always fried to perfection and served with coleslaw and two other sides that can include french fries, baked potato, traditional potato salad, German potato salad, tuna macaroni salad or macaroni and cheese. I can speak for the traditional potato salad and tell you it is definitely homemade. I don’t know what they put in it, but it is excellent and I highly recommend it.