Matt and Cat\'s Isle of Wight Eating Out Guide
Matt’s got a heavy responsibility to shoulder- he’s got to do the chip shops, as Cat won’t ever go into them – well, hardly...

Matt’s got a heavy responsibility to shoulder- he’s got to do the chip shops, as Cat won’t ever go into them – well, hardly ever, anyway. But the problem with this task is that it does limit his access to fish and chip emporia which are not close to his home in East Wight – because a takeaway that’s been in the car for half an hour probably isn’t going to get a fair review.

Rainbow Fish Bar, Freshwater

So it was with pleasure that Matt recently took the opportunity to taste the wares of the Rainbow Fish Bar, a prominent feature of Freshwater’s busy Avenue Road. Working late out west, Matt needed to grab a bite before he went on to a meeting. He could have been sensible, and gone into the Co-op for some healthy wrap and a carton of juice. Or he could have pulled his jacket over his head and marched down Avenue Road clucking like a chicken – it’s about as likely. No, friends, it was straight to the chip shop he went.

On arrival there was a very cheerful welcome – and this amiable chat continued as Matt waited for his order. It was early in the evening so the hot cupboards were well stocked with sausages and the like. Pleasingly all the fish was cooked to order and Matt waited whilst his haddock was given the treatment. The Rainbow Fish Bar is a funny little place, a fish bar of the old school; spotless and gleaming, with a phalanx of smartly uniformed servers just itching to dish out fish.

Rainbow Fish Bar, Freshwater

When it arrived Matt was delighted by the size of the haddock and the generous chip allowance, all correctly wrapped in newsprint. Matt received his supper in a plastic bag, and, taking a couple of chip forks and serviettes, he set off to make his impromptu repast. Not wanting to sit in the meeting-hall scoffing chips, Matt settled in the car to listen to Radio 4 and dine alone.

Spread on his lap, the meal laid out before him was very pleasing. Crisp batter generously coated the haddock, which in turn was fresh and moist, with that everso slightly chewy texture that gives haddock a bit of edge. The chips too were piping hot and fresh, and like the fish did not stick to the paper nor show much sign of excess grease. A tasty treat for Matt, who set off for his meeting with renewed vigour. The Rainbow Fish Bar gets full marks.

  • Kevin says:

    Two great meals in a week! Thanks Rainbow.
    Fish & chips, Roe & chips. Cooked well, great quality & value. See you again soon!

  • Tony says:

    Great value and quality food!!
    Much better than the other fish shop I tried in the area!
    Welcome back Rainbow !!

  • Mark says:

    Would certainly recommend Rainbow Fishbar!
    Great food, well cooked, good value and served with a smile, what more can you ask for?
    Well done every one!

  • Ratty says:

    My fiancé and myself have come over to the island for a holiday at least once a year for the last 8 years. Whenever we are over we will always visit the Rainbow fish bar at least once. We have yet to have a disappointing feast from them. If I was forced to make a negative comment about the establishment, the only thing I could think of would be their early closing times. Given the quality of the food that they serve up I am happy to accept their current opening hours though.

    Keep up the good work and thanks for making us feel welcome ever time we come in.

  • Marie says:

    ***Excellent food***Excellent value***friendly, helpful staff***Will certainly be back again***Well done Rainbow***

  • Tony (From Dudley) Rose says:

    Best quality fish & chips, generous portions, cooked to order every time that I have been there.
    Staff very friendly, but then again you wouldn’t expect any less from Black Country folk.
    Good onya.

  • Maria & Kev says:

    Short and Sweet, BEST FISH & CHIPS ON THE ISLAND!!!

  • Ken says:

    Rainbow have been telling us about their planned refurbishment for years. The food is still good for take-aways but we still drive past, look at the closed rear restaurant and proceed to Totland Pier. In fact, we’ve only managed to eat in at Rainbow twice in the past 10 years! When are (or will they be) open for eat-in lunches?!

  • mattfromryde says:

    I had a great sausage and chips there last night, with very friendly and efficient service.

  • Fat Dave says:

    I think this is a very good fish and chip shop. Always seem friendly, chips good, fish good, price OK, no complaints whatsoever, except! How can a fish n chip shop only open until 8pm? Seems crazy to me. Very Isle of Wight. Other West Wight take-aways stay open until 10 or 11. Why not Rainbow?

  • Rainbow Fish Bar says:

    Hi Jane,

    Here are our winter opening hours:

    Tuesday to Saturday
    Lunchtimes 12-2pm
    Evenings 5-8pm

    Kind regards,
    Rainbow Fish Bar

  • JANE says:

    hello Rainbow Fish bar,
    Can you tell me your opening hours please – thanks 🙂

  • Maddie says:

    As always, service with a smile !
    Excellent food, value for money and friendly staff. Well done again.
    p.s. Love the ‘ New Look, old values, Rainbow ‘

  • Rainbow Fish Bar says:

    Dear Dan,
    We are very sorry to hear that you were dissatisfied with your meals. We completely agree that you should have immediately returned them, especially as you were parked just outside the shop for quite a while! We would have listened to your feedback first-hand and could have commented further, whilst of course offering a full refund and replacement meals if required.
    We can confirm that food served at the Rainbow is freshly prepared and freshly cooked for each opening session. As commented on, we do par-fry our chips, which does prove popular with our regular customers.
    Obviously our aim is to please all of our customers however we’d like to hope that should anyone be dissatisfied for any reason they let us know in person which, offers us the opportunity to listen to specific comments and directly address any matter raised.
    Our apologies that we were unable to do this following your visit.
    Best regards,
    Rainbow Fish Bar

  • dan says:

    having travelled from hailsham east sussex to deliver furniture to a house in freshwater, myself and the driver of our furniture van decided we would stop for fish and chips, it was around 1315 hours, today thurs dec 9th. we parked on double yellow lines,in the side street, we were watched by one of the friers as we left the van and entered the shop so he will know who we are. the greeting was good, and friendly by the guy on the till, and thats the best i can say about the rainbow. i had small fish ,chips and mushy peas, and my mate had a medium fish and chips, we both came to the same conclusion, BLOODY AWFUL, everything that fish and chips should’nt be, the chips were reheated, dry and crispy, the batter on the fish was wet and soggy, and the fish didnt seem to have a taste at all, being from the north of england, i wanted to take mine back and complain, but my southern softy mate would’nt let me, thats my review, i hate chips that were cooked the night before, not sold and reheated the next day, they had 2 stainless steel bowls of them on the side, they should be ditched, along with the fish, it should all be fresh, and this clearly was’nt.

  • fairfoodfairy says:

    Rainbows came highly recommended to us and we were delighted to find it all true! Large fresh quality portions and reasonably priced. We had it for dinner one night and lunch the following day – fabulous, if it wasn’t for the calories it would be more frequent still. If it had the calories of salad we’d eat there every day! Friendly staff and immaculately clean and the ‘one way’ system is fantastically logical! We make a special visit from anywhere on the island – it’s worth it! Keep up the great work! P.S. The mushy peas are fab too!

  • Grandma says:

    Having my twelve year old grandson come to stay, I asked what he would like for lunch. “Pie and chips please Grandma”, “ok” say’s I, “no problem”, but. . . “only from the best fish and chips shop on the island”, say’s George.
    “Right” say me, “where’s that?” “The Rainbow of course!!” say’s George ( silly me!)
    So being the dutiful Grandma, off we trekked from east to west to purchase these culinery delight’s !
    I, not being a lover of fast food, thought if George is happy, then so am I.
    George had his favorite chicken & mushroom pie & chips and I had scampi, peas and chips.
    After we had eaten, George said, “those were ace, I love their food”.
    Well, Rainbow has another convert, their food is ace and I also loved their food !
    Excellent portions, piping hot and really well cooked.
    All in all a super meal, served by friendly staff in a spotlessly clean environment.
    Me think’s Grandma may find her way there again 🙂


  • cheryl gerrard says:

    just come back from holiday
    Rainbow was recommended by our campsite (thought maybe just a bit of back scratching) but tried it anyway.
    We went there 3times in all.
    Friendly efficient and pleasant staff food brilliant fish and chips and chicken.
    prices reasonable, on a par with elsewhere really.
    Big pat on the back for Rainbow.

  • nigel tribe says:

    Why did you remove my comments about this fish &chip rainbows from your site.
    As i said small portions of fish did not like chips,generally not satisfactory.

    FIfar better fish &chips at ocean view Ventnor,&new potatoes served in boxes.If you are asking for comments you must be prepared for some crtiscism otherwise what is the point of asking for feedback!!!!!

    Matt and Cat respond: your comments were moderated by the editors, not by the restaurateurs. You were emailed to explain why.

  • Martin says:

    You might think that one chip shop is the same as another? WRONG!!!!!! while we were away earlier this year we tried the Rainbow Fish Bar and the food was excellent,the place was spotlessly clean, and we had service with a smile, the portions were very considerate. We liked the food so much we went back for lunch before we left for the ferry the next week!!! if Carlsberg did Chip Shops!!!!!!

    A+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ shame we live about 3 hours away

  • Rainbow Fish Bar says:

    Hello to all our customers from Rainbow Fish Bar.

    In light of the positive feedback we are getting from Matt & Cat’s site we thought this an ideal forum to provide a snippit of news, especially for holidaymakers who research eateries before travelling.

    We will be open for Monday evening sessions 5-8pm from 26th July through to Monday 30th August inclusive to cater for summer trade.

    Throughout the rest of the year we are open Tuesday through to Saturday, lunchtimes 12-2pm & evenings 5-8pm.

    At the moment the cafe facility is closed as we have begun a programme of refurbishment, however the take-away remains open as usual. Our apologies to any customers who would prefer to eat-in as opposed to take-away.

    A big thank you to locals and islanders who travel from all parts of the island for their continued support and positive feedback on our “New Look” Rainbow.

    We welcome orders from the many holidaymakers that visit the island – we’d love to see you and hear your feedback too. We provide a varied menu to cater for all tastes – so why not come along and see our progress and tuck in to good old traditional fish & chips whilst on your hols!

    Best regards from Lisa, Rob & all the team

  • Ben says:

    We drive from parkhurst to eat at this chippy, absolutely first class service & food.

  • Ken says:

    We agree with your comments on the food and have also heard others of the same opinion. However, we prefer to eat our fish and chips on the premises and have almost invariably found their back-room restaurant closed off – and have, therefore, carried on to Totland pier for their fish and chips.

  • Mark says:

    Just have to agree with Matt’s verdict on the quality of food, cleanliness of the shop and friendliness of the staff at Rainbow Fishbar, Freshwater.
    I regularly travel from the ‘East’ to the ‘West’ for their
    fish & chips. Probably the best on the island !
    Keep up the good work Matt & Cat, and all at the Rainbow.

  • Da yw Wyth says:

    Had been wondering about visiting this place as it’s got a good reputation. Was waiting to see the verdict on this site before venturing “all the way to Freshwater”, though! Glad to get the green light…..

  • Ed says:

    Thanks for that!

    It is great to know that you do this for fun and not for any kind of financial reward!

    Keep up the good work!!


  • Ed says:

    I was just wondering if you make any money from being Isle of Wight foot critics?
    Do people pay to advertise with you?
    Or do you actually lose money by hosting this website (and eating out ALL the time)

    Something I am personally interested in



    Matt and Cat respond:
    Hi Ed, thanks for your comment. We’ve never publicly criticised anyone’s feet, although Matt’s need a bit of attention! As for your questions – presumably about us being food critics – you can find out all about us by clicking here ‘About Matt & Cat, and FAQ‘ – the link can also be found in the column on the right. We think you may find all of the answers there.

  • Nick Churchill says:

    We are down in Totland over Easter and will deffinately give them a try on the strength of your recommendation.

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