Toronto Life - The Dish

The latest buzz on restaurants, chefs, bars, food shops and food events. Sign up for the Dish newsletter for weekly updates. Send tips to



Kensington Market’s Fresco’s fish and chips get Ocean Wise seal of approval

A little over a year ago, Michael Fresco took over the Kensington Market fish and chip joint Something’s Fishy. He jazzed up and expanded the menu to include four styles of poutine and crab cakes, perfected the fries (going through about 300 pounds of spuds in his quest) and developed a unique crispy crust courtesy of crushed Miss Vickie’s sea salt and malt vinegar chips. Most impressive of all, however: Fresco’s managed to become the only fish and chips joint in the city to earn a splashy blue Ocean Wise logo for its storefront.

Ocean Wise is in the business of encouraging restaurants and consumers to move from buying the cheapest option to choosing a sustainable one. And the best way to do this, Fresco tells us, is to let restaurateurs take the time they need to transition from a conventional menu to 100 per cent Ocean Wise. “I’m starting with my halibut and salmon,” he says. “Haddock and cod will take a little longer to source and so will the crab and shrimp.” But Ocean Wise keeps tabs on progress and Fresco is obliged to replace one conventional fish with a sustainable substitute every three to six months.

As well as netting the much-coveted Ocean Wise cred, Fresco has other eco tricks up his sleeve—his used oil is picked up by a bio-fuel company, and all containers and utensils are biodegradable.

Fresco’s Fish and Chips, 213 Augusta Ave., 416-546-4557.

  • Adam

    As one who has tried every notable Fish & Chip spot in the city, I have to say that I really like Fresco’s a lot. I’ve been there a few times and was very impressed with the quality as well as his (Michael Fresco) delightful presence.

    This unassuming little spot has more dimensions to it which have gone unrecognized to the reviews – and that’s the prevalent Beatles theme in the restaurant. From the music to the decor, it’s all Beatles. As I sat there one sunny afternoon and enjoyed a basket of Halibut & perfectly fried chips, I asked Michael about the decor and his connection with The Beatles. A warm glow came over him as he paused, replying that when he was a kid, working in a fish & chip shop cleaning the hood vents and fryers, he saved up the money he made to buy Beatles 8track cassettes which he would play every night while cleaning. This gave him so much joy that when he opened his own shop he wanted to capture and carry forward that same youthful excitement and nostalgia.

    For me that propelled this place to one of my favourites as I love a good Toronto Life story.

  • Matthew

    Went here on Thursday after reading this article.


    It didn’t hurt that it was a beautiful day but I ordered the haddock and chips and it was perfect. Not too much batter and the fries were done to my liking.

    If someone from Toronto Life reads this, the owner is wondering if any write-up will be in the magazine.

  • Marcy

    f*&$# I hate the beatles. that turned me off.

  • tasha

    It’s the best fish and chip place around love the portions of fish and the poutine is to die for love it!!!!
    great friendly service

  • Honstarr


  • Rachy

    I use to live in very neighbor and I am vegetarian with an occasional ventures to where I have to say this is best-est Fish & Chips that I ever had, even my vegetarian-turned boyfriend agrees. The owner is wonderful and treat every of his customers well.

  • WalterP

    Pootine and Fish & Chips? Heresy to one who remembers when Friday was a mandatory Fish & Chip day and they came in a newspaper container and the chips came out of the chopper into the oil. Having said that I was planning on giving it a try probably next week. The Black Kat and The Fisherman have been around for years and have always met expectations…

  • 4D NAtiON 4EVER

    damn you.