‘Fish Friday’: getting the best takeout in Cambridge

Don’t be dippy – upgrade your chippy

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When we’re after a takeaway in Cambridge, we all tend to resort to the same bickering over whether Gardies or Van of Life has better cheesy chips.

(For the record: Gardies. #squidgychipsforlife)

Meanwhile, if the rumours are to be believed, Uncle Frank’s fries their chips in oil distilled from the tears of orphans.

And it’s true that the Trailer of Life, Uncle Frank’s, Gardies and Domino’s are pretty much your only options if you’re after a 3am takeaway to round off your night out; but shutting before 1am doesn’t mean that Cambridge’s other takeaway establishments aren’t worth visiting. Here are some other options to consider if you’re looking to upgrade your takeout fare.

I was going to review this place, but I couldn’t come up with a caption for the photo that didn’t make me hate myself.

Zi’s Piri Piri (36A Mill Road)

Best for a picky group: whether you’re after a ‘Mexican Meatlover’ pizza (here’s hoping it tastes as sexy as it sounds), stacked burgers, wraps or chicken wings, Zi’s has you covered. Its affordability and diversity make it ideal for a more casual soc/staircase night.

Perfect PIZZA (178 Mill Road)

Extremely highly rated and with constant deals, Perfect PIZZA is justly popular with the locals. Currently has several good offers on, including BOGOF and three large pizzas for £29.99. Lots of choice, and reputation for hot and perfectly cooked pizza. A good choice to replace your next Domino’s fix. Word has it that the milkshakes are delectable.

*Homer Simpson doughnut noises*

Taj Tandoori (64 Cherry Hinton Road)

The Taj is currently closed for refurbishment, but should reopen in early July 2017.

A good response to the well-justified wail of ‘Do we have to go Curry King again?’ Taj Tandoori is a touch far out but delivers (free over £15), and stakes a mean claim to be the best curry house in Cambridge. Prices are pretty in line with most other Cambridge curry places, with better quality: I’d recommend the Machli Bhuna, featuring tandoori fish fillets on a base of spiced tomato sauce, as well as their fluffy, fresh naans. Plus they quote Virginia Woolf on the menu, so they clearly know their audience.

The Sea Tree (188 Mill Road)

Why is there a tree in the middle of the sea? Who on earth decided on this colour scheme? Eat one of their crab cakes and such questions will seem suddenly irrelevant.

A chippy for hipsters (chipsters?), or, less pejoratively, a fish-based takeaway that focuses on fresh, quality fish and a more vibrant menu than your average chippy. This ‘alternative fish bar’ is a bit of a walk (over the bridge on Mill Road) but absolutely worth it. Or, for a romantic night out, skip the takeout option and take your partner to sit at one of the Sea Tree’s few tables, and split some scallops on rocket and parmesan salad, or perhaps some gilthead bream with crushed new potatoes. Plus, you can dine in fine style for under a tenner per person.

Carlos BBQ and Takeaway (70 Mill Road)

Hearty Turkish food; a Cambridge hidden gem with extremely friendly staff. Protip: Split the £13 Carlos Special between two people to sample the different succulent meats Carlos BBQ has to offer, including lamb chops, chicken and shish kebab.

Shelley and Sarah’s (Market Square)

By night: Romantic poet and consummate womaniser. By day: Breakfast sandwich entrepreneur.

I might be stretching the concept of ‘takeout’ here (I mean, technically, you can get takeout from Starbucks) but Market Square’s bright and vibrant breakfast van deserves a mention. The Tab has already picked up on the glory that is Shelley and Sarah’s bacon butties;  this cheery little red Market Square van is set up from morning to early afternoon, with glorious stuffed breakfast baguettes and slabs of cake. I’ll have to consult the medics, but I’m pretty sure that’s the ideal hangover cure.

And an honourable mention: Five Guys (Cambridge Leisure Park)

Just appreciating the mild irony of ‘PureGym’ being blocked out of view by the Imposing Food Block.

Sure, location-wise this one’s mostly for the Homertonians, but one Regular Fries will last you through a particularly harsh winter and their soda machine has 127 flavours. Are there even 127 flavours in existence?

(Update: I have discovered they sell Cherry Vanilla Coke Zero. BRB, moving to Homerton.)

Next week: Not food, but drinks! The best and weirdest drinks you can pick up in Cambridge – from May Week tipples to novelty milkshakes.