Dante’s Weird Fish

I was looking for a place in the Mission to have dinner before a friend’s bday party. Criteria: not Mexican food, not too expensive, not a huge wait, good food. Somehow, Dante’s managed to hit all these points. Apparently Yelp isn’t just a place for people to complain about trivial things.

Dante’s was great. Apparently it used to be called “Weird Fish”. It closed, and re-opened as “Dante’s Weird Fish”. Per this article, they added the word “Dante’s”, and took some crap off the walls. Otherwise, it’s reportedly the same.

Me 'n Dante.

Me ‘n Dante.

It’s a small place right on Mission at 18th. I have walked by it many times and never noticed it. The inside is cute, the menu is great, and the food is yummy. Actually, look at the menu. It’s funny (see: “condemned to fry”), cute (see: “sand-witches”), and I want to order everything (see: everything).

Two things:

  1. They have vegan options. Seitan or tofu “fish” ‘n chips, fried seitan sandwich, seitan or vegan chorizo tacos. So awesome.
  2. They have white wine sangria. Pretty much one of my favorite things ever.
"The Catch" with slaw, dips, all over regular and sweet potato fries

“The Catch” with slaw, dips, all over regular and sweet potato fries

White wine sangria -- yum!

White wine sangria — yum!

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), my lady friend and I were both in the mood for OG fish ‘n chips, so we ordered the same thing. Two pieces of fried fish, home made potato and sweet potato fries, and home made dips. With sangria, of course. It was fab. And totally filling, as you might expect. Now I just need to go back to try the rest of the stuff on the menu.

Weird Fish on Urbanspoon

London Fish ‘n Chips

Atmosphere: 1/5   ♦   Service: 2/5   ♦   Food Quality: 3/5   ♦   Value:4/5
Times Visited: Once  ♦   Will I Return?:  I’d honestly rather go to Jay’s

london fish 'n chipsLondon Fish ‘n Chips can be found across the street from Kennedy Park on Hesperian Boulevard in Hayward. It’s inside a dingy, dated shopping center that characterizes miles and miles of territory along that route. I’d never even seen the place, much less heard of it; my friend Jon introduced us, touting it as an old family favorite of his. And so we went.

This place is pretty classic as far as fish ‘n chips go. Old, dark, not modern, no atmosphere to speak of. It’s very small, so I was able to photograph the entire place in just a couple shots; see for yourself.

front counter

Frount counter at London Fish 'n Chips


Seating area in London Fish 'n Chips.

The menu was simple and pretty cheap. I was there with a few people and we all seemed to keep it standard and order some classic fish and chips. It’s an order at the counter place and they do actually have two beers, I believe, on tap. the entire place is so simple it’s almost hard to find enough to type about.


Menu at London Fish 'n Chips.

The food was good, probably about on par with Jay’s; the only reason I’d choose Jay’s over London is that (a) the atmosphere at Jay’s is far superior and (b) there’s a choice of type of fish at Jay’s that far surpasses that of London. I think London was cheaper though, which was kind of amazing.


Fried fish!

fish n chips

Fish 'n Chips from London Fish 'n Chips in Hayward.


Atmosphere: 3/5   ♦   Service: 3/5   ♦   Food Quality: 4/5   ♦   Value:2/5
Times Visited: Once  ♦   Will I Return?:  If I’m in the neighborhood

Fish, period. That’s what they call themselves, punctuation and all. And what’s not to like about Fish.? Unless you’re a true vegetarian. Or you’re allergic to seafood. Or you just don’t like fish.

But I suffer from none of those deterrents, so I liked my fish at Fish. This place is way out of the way for most East Bay folks, nestled into the harbor-y area in the north part of Sausalito, but people around those parts seem to flock to Fish. We happened to be over there with Boyfriend’s mom and were looking for a good place to dine — we were happy to find one.

Fish has mostly… fish. As you might imagine. And they tout the sustainability thing too, which is refreshing. A large signboard in their dining area describes the virtue of sustainability in fishing and their website mentions that they only receive their salmon from “wild, sustainable sources” and never buy farmed fish. And they do use the word “poop” as a reason why farmed fish are bad — kudos to them for that. It takes balls to talk about poo.

Inside Fish. Restaurant

Inside Fish. Restaurant

Inside Fish. Restaurant

Inside Fish. Restaurant

The restaurant is right near the water and overlooks the harbor. The building is nondescript from the outside (we would have never found it without the Yelp app on my phone), but nicely done with high ceilings, polished timber picnic-style tables, and a huge glass wall that faces the ocean. We arrived in time to grab a table and avoid the huge line that formed; apparently this place is quite popular among locals.

Crab dip

Crab dip from Fish. Restaurant

Fish 'n Chips

Fish 'n Chips from Fish. Restaurant

Crab Sandwich

The Crab Roll Sandwich from Fish. Restaurant

The food was very good — we had two orders of Fish ‘n Chips at our table, along with some Crab Dip and a Crab Roll Sandwich. The Dip was fine; I’m not the hugest fan of Crab Dip, so I won’t pretend that I’m a good person to discuss this with. The Crab Roll Sandwich was highly Yelped, and Boyfriend seemed to enjoy it. My Fish ‘n Chips were heavenly though the breading (which was amazing) was a bit much compared to the amount of fish inside. The homemade tartar sauce was spot on.

Fish. Food

Fish. Food

The only real downside to this place was the prices. Everything was around $15-$20 a plate, which was a bit on the high side for an order at the counter chippy*. However, you do get what you pay for, and if I’m paying extra for healthy fish populations that are kept sustainable over time, I suppose that’s fair enough.

Also, they have a tiny counter with fish you can buy to take home, in case you want some real, fresh, sustainable fishiness at home, yum!

*See definition #1.

Family House of Fish & Poultry

Atmosphere: 1/5   ♦   Service: 2/5   ♦   Food Quality: 3/5   ♦   Value:2/5
Times Visited: Once  ♦   Will I Return?:  Boyfriend likes it… so, yes.

Family House ExteriorDude. Family House of Fish & Poultry. Let’s not even begin to think this place has its own website. Or that you’ve ever heard of it, even if you’re a Hayward local. Since we went to FH a few weeks ago, I’ve been asking friends if they’ve ever been there. Not one of them even knew the place existed.

Family House is located centrally and prominently on Mission Boulevard in Hayward just south of Carlos Bee. Anyone who knows the least bit about Hayward could easily find it. Yet no one knows about it. It’s the quintessential example of an Overlooked Establishment.

Nothing stands out about the exterior. Actually, while I had noticed this place before I went (I do have a food blog, after all), the exterior only really discouraged me from ever setting foot in the place. It’s beat up, run down and the main signage consists of a bar of soap scribbled on the windows*.

Not my type of place.

I do, however, have a food blog (as mentioned) and therefore a duty to boldly go where no one has gone before. And so we went.

Because I could type about this forever, let’s quickly get to the main points of Family House:

  • Order over the counter, to-go only.
  • No decor on the walls or counters.
  • Old, crummy, run down interior.
  • Folding chairs in the tiny lobby area are placed for you to wait for your order.

    Inside Family House

    The view of the front counter from the folding chairs waiting area.

They’re clearly not banking on atmosphere in any way, so how about the menu, food and service? Obviously something must appeal to someone since they’ve been in business quite a while.

Family House Menu

Menu on the wall at Family House of Fish & Poultry

The menu is mostly fish and some chicken, and includes lots of combos. The food is surprisingly expensive for the locale, patronage and decor. A 6-piece fish and/or chicken combo runs about $17, though it can feed 2 “normal” eaters. Combos include whatever meat you ordered (they offer fish, shrimp, oyster and chicken combos), 2 slices of bread (like, white Wonder bread), and 2 sides (fries, macaroni salad, potato salad, or cole slaw). It’s not freaking health food, ok?

The service is ok; the lady at the counter was nice enough. And as for the food: we have mixed reviews. I thought it was ok. The fish really tasted like chicken to me, which was sort of strange. The batter they use is totally not the English batter I’m used to (go to Jay’s for that), but was more like the spiced, dense batter on Burger King chicken nuggets.

The boyfriend loved it though.

Fish 'n Chips

Fish over Chips from Family House

The sides are fine: fries are the fat steak kind, salads come in tiny plastic ramekins and are probably from Costco. And I totally do not want Wonder bread with my dinner, that went to the birds.

Bread and Macaroni Salad

Bread and Macaroni Salad with our Family House Combo meal

All in all, Family House seemed like the kind of place that certain people absolutely love and the rest of us really have no reason to go to. Take your pick if you want to try it out.

Oh! Do note that they sell Sugar Mommie cupcakes at Family House, which are fabulous. It’s almost worth stopping in just for that.

*Or whatever they use to write on windows, but FH is all in crappy handwriting and not done nicely like you might see at a Walgreens or whatever.

Family House of Fish & Poultry on Urbanspoon

Jay’s Fish & Chips

Atmosphere: 3/5   ♦   Service: 3/5   ♦   Food Quality:4/5   ♦   Value: 4/5
Times Visited:  Once   ♦   Will I Return?:  I’d love to

Jay's Fish & Chip Shop, HaywardHow many times have I passed Jay’s?  Well, it’s on Foothill Boulevard in Hayward just off Highway 238, so I’ll say probably about, oh, 900 times in the past few months.  The building that Jay’s occupies is just next to the Walgreen’s at the corner of Grove Way and used to be a variety of other restaurants over the years, as Hayward establishments are wont to do.  Notably, I remember a Chinese restaurant; my mom says it was an all-you-can-eat buffet*, though I have no recollection of eating there.  No matter, Jay’s is now the big cheese and I was pleasantly surprised by what we found inside.

I’m not trying to be rude when I say that the exterior is a standard run-down Hayward restaurant.  It’s old, it’s not particularly nice, and the pink paint job over the 70’s rock facade is only a marginal improvement.  It’s the kind of place you pass a million times and never really notice.  All this had led me to expect a teeny tiny, grubby, grease hole inside and I was only hoping that the food would be tolerable.  Since they don’t have a website, I had to rely on the folks at yelp.com to help me out with evaluations, and, though it’s a veritable freak show over there, I did get an idea that most people think the place is at least decent.

Upon entering Jay’s, I was pleasantly surprised.  The place isn’t a palace, but it’s cleaner than a doctor’s office (I had my check-up today, so I know first hand) and the amenities are more than adequate.  Tables, chairs, a front counter with posted menu, modest decorations.  I do not require fancy, but I enjoy clean and hospitable, Jay’s certainly is.  I was totally happy eating there; nothing wrong with this place at all.

Jay's Fish & Chips, Hayward

The interior of Jay's Fish & Chips in Hayward.

I like fish and chips, and I’ve been fortunate enough to experience them in the proper British-owned countries from which they hail.  I won’t say I’m an expert, but I’ll say that I have certain expectations when it comes to both fish and their chips.  I think the menu at Jay’s goes above and beyond what a standard shop offers – but not so far beyond that I thought they needed to reign it in at all.  They generally keep it in the family, offering five different types of fish and four other seafood that can be mixed and matched within a fish and chips combo, or ordered by themselves.  Their selection of side orders pretty much seems to include anything that can be bulk purchased at Costco** or thrown into a deep fryer, which is impressive if for no other reason than their dedication to stocking all things breaded and frozen.  I’m sure these items are as delicious as they are bad for you, but we didn’t have any this time so I can’t verify the former just yet.

Front counter and menu at Jay's in Hayward.

Front counter and menu at Jay's Fish & Chips in Hayward.

Other than the deep fryer, they also use the grill to offer grilled fish or chicken (if you feel that your arteries deserve better), BBQ Korean beef and ribs, and ham-/fish-/chicken burgers.  They also have a couple special plates: teriyaki chicken or salmon with rice and a salad for $7/$10, respectively, and one or two other things hand written on signs posted near the menu.  I think they have really good choices, firstly regarding selection for the main thing they offer (fish & chips), and then also for variations on those offerings to include some variety and healthier options.  In the way of full vegetarian fare, a non-meat-eater will be stuck in the deep fryer with the cheese sticks and fried zucchini, etc., so if you don’t at least eat the fishes, I’d recommend moseying on by.

We decided to split a six piece mixed fish plate (chips included) and requested two pieces each of cod, salmon, and sole for our order.  I would like to mention that mix and match is one of the most awesome concepts ever and I’m extremely glad that Jay’s has applied it to their fish dishes.  I love to choose my own fate in all the variety that I desire.  They also sell beer in a refrigerator and soda on tap (no free refills, boo!) which is very reasonably priced.  If we had all three been hungrier, this six piece meal would not have sufficed, though I would have been fine with a three piece meal to myself had I been a bit more empty-stomached.  But for our hunger levels, the six-piecer was just fine.  Six pieces of fish, chips, a soda, and a beer for just under $18.  Not too shabby.

It arrived at our table promptly, and it looked…well, it looked fried, what can I say.  I’m used to being overwhelmed with the amount of french fries at typical F&C places, and this isn’t how Jay’s does it.  Jay’s gives you fish over a very modest amount of very generously salted chips, and that’s that.  The fries are the kind we call “steak” fries, I believe – the fat kind that are about an inch wide and hold salt like a little boat.  I am not biased against any kind of fries, and for that matter, any form of potato, so I was pleased with these chips.  The fish is very well breaded, and you have a choice of regular beer batter or corn meal batter, which is pretty neat.  I’d be curious to try the latter, but we just went with the traditional since it was our first time.

Fish n Chips

Our 6-piece mixed fish and chips order at Jay's Fish & Chips in Hayward. The chips are under there somewhere.

The consensus was that it was all quite good.  Surprise: deep fried things are tasty.  Seriously though, it is very possible to screw up fish and chips though it might seem foolproof, and I was happy with what Jay’s cooked up.  Cod is the standard fish in “fish and chips” and theirs was certainly good.  It was mom’s favorite, especially with an added gallon of vinegar.  The salmon took a bit of getting used to, but was also quite good, especially generously slathered in the heavenly tartar-type sauce they provide.  The sole was my favorite as it was very flaky and buttery-tasting, and was also great with some vinegar.  The boyfriend thought it was a tie – he liked all the fish and thought they were all good in different ways.  He’s so PC, you know?

The little Korean ladies behind the counter weren’t terribly talkative, but they keep a clean shop and know how to cook up some good fishies, so kudos to them.  Though I try to moderate my intake of entirely deep fried meals, I have a feeling we’ll be back to see Jay in no time.

Empty plates

See? We cleaned our plates at Jay's.

*I suppose this is redundant.

**I really have no idea if they get their stuff from Costco specifically, I didn’t even try the potato salad, macaroni salad, or coleslaw to which I am referring with this comment.