Barb's prides itself on 25 years of business and being named the "Best Fish & Chips" several years in a row. I'll get to the food in a minute...
First off, the pager system is a pleasant convenience for people who'd rather mill about on the scenic docks of Fisherman's Wharf rather than the picnic tables and banquet tenting adjacent to the restaurant. While they'd get 5 stars for "location," dirty picnic tables at which you find yourself sitting with random people do not for great "ambiance" make.
While making my order, I overheard a woman who I suspect was a manager, name-tagged Sandra, talk about a piece of fish that had been sitting on the counter for over 5 minutes and the customer had not come back. She instructed her underling to use the fish in another order. Granted that a piece of deep-fried Haddock is going to have a quick turnover. However, if you're going to re-use someone else's order, at least don't talk about that fact right in front of customers.
I went to the side where they have unlimited fountain pop, and watched the kitchen in action. Production seemed smooth and they had ample employees. Despite the ostensible efficiency of pagers, the people being called were erratically out of sequence compared to the order they were in the line. If their service was based on how elaborate the order was, then my 1 piece of deep-fried halibut and fries should have taken less time than the 15 minutes it did. While waiting for the order, I witnessed someone ask a patio attendant where the recycling was and he replied that they don't recycle. I didn't confirm this, but I did note that despite being in the midst of "fresh-off-the-boat" seafood, Barb's Fish & Chips is not an Oceanwise Restaurant.
When my order was finally called I went over and turned in my pager. The counter girl, Gina, proceeded to give me two double orders of Haddock (the type of fish which was sent back earlier). I corrected her mix-up, and she was turning around to grab what was my actual order - a simple mistake - when Sandra, who was done sending back old fish for reuse and was now up in my face as if the double order of 2-piece haddock dinners was correct, and that I was wrong. She asked me to produce a receipt to prove otherwise. If I hadn't remembered my pager number, we may have been at some sort of bizarre impasse. Sandra as a manager might want to take some cues from her counter-girl, who realized the wisdom of the "customer is always right" when it comes to a mistaken order. It's not like I was someone who ordered a single piece of fish and was trying to scam myself two double-orders for one!
So finally: the FISH itself! Barb's Fish & Chips DO have the best deep-fried fish I've had to date in Victoria (although I've only been to Salty's, RedFishBlueFish, James Bay Fish & Chips and Fifth St Fish & Chips in Sidney). The batter was perfect and light on the oil saturation. The halibut inside was perfect. They get 5 stars for just the fish, and the fish ONLY.
The fries had the texture of freezer fries and had clearly been sitting out, and not even under a heat lamp as they had a sogginess to them that heat lamps tend to dry out. Flacid, flavourless, sandy-soggy freezer fry texture do not complete the "Best Fish&Chips" in town. I won't even get into the dill-laden coleslaw (was that a mistake on the part of an employee, or do they always make it like that) which was a total anti-climax to meal. If you nail the fish so perfectly, why can't you put a little effort into the rest?
There is an upside that, unlike other places, you can get individual pieces of fish without the fries and coleslaw - and if you want to try the best deep-fried fish in town - this would be the way to go. And take it up above fisherman's wharf away from the Barb's Fish & Chips dining area where there's tree-shaded areas far more pleasant to enjoy your meal.