Magpie Cafe, Whitby
Everyone talks about it. Food writers write about it. What’s the fuss about the Magpie Cafe? If you’re looking for a rubbishing or a recommendation for a better chippie in Whitby, it’s not going to happen here. It. Is. Historic. I’ve been a regular for 25 years and never had a bad do. I don’t even mind the queues, I’ve had some cracking conversations in them and ear wigged some Bennett-esque belters. Even in the drizzly mist it’s worth it.
Service is second to none. They’re no nonsense north east lasses, friendly without being chatty. Haddock or cod and chips, home made tartare sauce, mushy peas and sliced white bread is really the only dish you need to order. Pot of tea? Not for me – the wine list is surprisingly good, and not a bank-breaker. From time to time I’ve dabbled with lemon sole and the like, but like dating a bad boyfriend, I’ve always come back; they serve the best fish and chips in the land. End of.
Save room though for a starter; Whitby crab salad is fab – huge, succulent, fresh as fresh. The scallops too, despite their appearance on every menu in the country. It started here. On a summer night, looking out over the quay with the lights on the other side of the estuary, you could be in Italy. Give or take the Middlesbrough chavs eating crabsticks on the pavement outside.