There are few things better than a fried fish sandwich. Luckily, we’re in that time of year when fast-food chains across the nation roll out their fish sandwiches to lure in those looking to go easy on meat for Lent. Seriously, everyone is getting in on the action — then Easter will pass and most of those chains will shelve their fish for another year.
It’s kind of bullshit if you ask us. We like fast food fish. So we’re going to focus on the chains (regional and national) that keep the fish on the menu year-round.
The beauty of a good fried fish sandwich is its seemingly simple construction. Fried whitefish filet (usually pollock but preferably cod) in either a breadcrumb crust or beer batter, a tangy tartar sauce, and a couple of other additions are all you really need. Still, the quality of everything from the fish to the bun to the tang of that tartar can vary wildly.
To help you pick the best fried fish sandwich available year-round (sorry Wendy’s and Arby’s fans and anyone who’s tried the new limited release Popeyes flounder fishwich), we’re looking squarely at the taste. This ranking doesn’t worry about price or even calories, though we’ve called those out to help you be more informed. The question is simple, which fast food fish sandwich wins in the flavor department?
Ready to find out?
Related: We Made McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish At Home — Here’s Our Recipe
9. Jack In The Box Fish Sandwich
The fish here is touted as “100% Wild-Caught Alaska Pollock.” The fish is then panko encrusted and fried to a nice crispiness. The bun is a standard warmed bun. A little bit of lettuce goes on the hot filet and the tartar is squeezed on top of that lettuce.
The pollack is fried well — you actually know you’re eating fish here. The bun is a standard Jack in the Box offering, which isn’t bad but it’s not great either. The tartar is more mayo-forward than tangy. The lettuce tends to be very wilted, especially if it’s past midnight and the line cooks have stopped giving a shit behind the scenes.
8. Burger King Big Fish
The fish is 100 percent White Alaskan pollock that’s coated in panko bread crumbs. The bun is a butter-toasted brioche. The tartar sauce is applied to the bottom and top bun with a layer of lettuce and pickle on top of the hot fish filet.
There’s nothing wrong with BK’s Big Fish, per se. It has the basic elements in place: crunchy fried white fish, tartar, lettuce, toasted bun. The thing is, it’s just okay. The fish is a bit listless and bland. The crunch of the coating wanes under the almost tasteless bun. The tartar is definitely more mayo than anything else. The lettuce might as well not be there.
All of that being said, the pickles do add a nice touch. Burger King has pretty solid pickles at the end of the day.
7. White Castle Fish Slider
These mini fish sandos are simplicity done pretty damn well. The mini filet is Alaskan pollock with a panko breading. The rest is just the iconic White Castle slider bun and a small slice of American cheese. That’s it.
These are decent. The slider eschews the lettuce and tartar for a slice of American cheese, which works. The only reason these aren’t ranked higher is that you’re really not getting a whole lot with this mini sandwich. You’re going to need two to four (which we know is the point of White Castle) and that really starts to heighten the ol’ calorie count.
6. McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish
The Filet-O-Fish is a classic example of a fast food fish sandwich. The combination of the steamed bun, tangy tartar, fried fish filet (yes, it’s Alaskan pollock), and a slice of American cheese just works.
There’s a softness to the bun that counters to the crunch of the fish coating nicely. The tartar doesn’t overwhelm but is there and is actually tangy. The cheese is the x-factor that adds a nice, gooey touch of savoriness.
We’re adding bonus points for leaving off the wilted lettuce, too.
5. Whataburger Whatacatch Sandwich
Yes, we’re including regional shops in this ranking. Starting… now!
The Texan fish sammie has a nice, crispy fish filet (can you guess which kind? It’s Alaskan pollock!). The top bun is covered in mild tartar with lettuce and tomato. The latter adds a nice layer of brightness to the whole fish sandwich concept and helps protect the lettuce from the heat of the filet.
More fish sandwiches should have tomato. Still, this is pretty lightweight with a decent tang to the tartar. The best aspect is the larger format fried fish filet that gives you more fish than bread. Well done, Whataburger.
4. Long John Silver Pacific Cod
Gasp! This is made from North Pacific Cod! We’re also getting close to sub territory with a long-format bun sandwiching beer-battered fish, pickle, and tartar.
It was hard not ranking this sandwich higher. The beer-battered fish filet really works in this sandwich. The addition of crunchy pickles adds that extra oomph that elevates the whole dish. LJS’s tartar has a great tang that feels like rich mayo by way of a ripe lemon.
Overall, this one is a winner. In fact, if this had a slice of American cheese, it might have been number one.
3. Captain D’s Giant Fish Sandwich
Okay, we’re hitting the big ones now. Tennessee’s Captain D’s makes a hell of a fish sammie. This is two whole pieces of their beer-battered dipped fried cod on a nice toasted bun with a little lettuce on top and plenty of rich tartar sauce on the top and bottom bun.
Let’s face it, we’re always looking for that extra dipping cup of tartar and Captain D’s delivers with sauce all around the fish. Plus, this fish is truly lush and fresh with a great crunch factor. The lettuce is applied late and with a light hand, so it doesn’t really have a chance to wilt and turn to mush.
2. Culver’s North Atlantic Cod Sandwich
Midwest mainstay, Culver’s, really kills the fish sandwich game. The bun is a hoagie roll which has a nice heft to it. The North Atlantic cod is beer-battered and fried well. Then there’s shredded American cheese (nice!), a touch of lettuce, and plenty of tartar on the bottom bun.
Their beer-battered cod is just well done all around with crunch and seasoning. That shredded American cheese under the fish filet gets a little melty and adds a nice x-factor to the whole sandwich. The lettuce is on the bottom but is protected (generally) by the layer of melting cheese. The tartar has a nice tang of lemon, pickle, and rich mayo.
If you’re near a Culver’s, don’t sleep on this sandwich.
1. Ivar’s Fish Sandwich
Calories: 560 calories
Price: $6.55 (with fries)
The wild-caught Pacific True Cod is the centerpiece of this sandwich. It’s panko-crusted and sandwiched in a hefty brioche bun. The filet rests on tomato slices which protect the lettuce underneath. Ivar’s signature tartar sauce is slathered on the bottom bun.
Seattle’s Ivar’s has a fish sandwich that is leaps and bounds above all others. First, there’s the bread. It has a hefty while actually tasting like bread and not just something out of an industrial plastic bag.
The overall sandwich combines everything we like in a fried fish sandwich: Cod instead of pollock, a filet that’s bigger than the bun, really good tartar, and tomato to brighten the whole experience. It doesn’t have the American cheese but doesn’t need it to take home the win!
What is the best fish for sandwiches? ›
Cod, a good white fish for frying: I like to use cod for this fish sandwich recipe because it's fairly inexpensive, and has a mild, flakey interior that takes on good flavor from a quick marination. Other good options for a fish sandwich are tilapia, halibut (though it can be quite pricy), snapper, or catfish.Does Sonic have a fish sandwich 2022? ›
Scoring 46 out of a possible 63 points and costing me $7.73 for a combo meal to include tater tots and a drink, I'm giving the Sonic Premium Fish Sandwich 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap Stars. It may be reasonably priced and yes it was crispy, but overall the sandwich was lackluster and is NOT worthy of a repeat buy.Does Wendy's have fish sandwich 2022? ›
Wendy's Bringing Back Crispy Panko Fish Sandwich for 2022 Lenten Season. The Crispy Panko Fish Sandwich is making its return to Wendy's.Does Popeyes have a fish sandwich 2022? ›
Arriving just in time for the 2022 Lenten season, the Flounder Fish Sandwich can be found at participating Popeyes locations nationwide for a suggested price of $4.49.Who has the newest fish sandwich? ›
Popeyes' new fish entrée comes in regular and spicy varieties on its signature white bread bun. The only difference between the two is the sauce.Is Wendy's fish sandwich real fish? ›
It includes a Wild-Caught Alaskan Pollock fillet coated in crispy panko breading topped with lettuce, a slice of American cheese, pickles and creamy dill tartar sauce, all served on our premium bun.Does Chick Fil A offer a fish sandwich? ›
100% White Alaskan Pollock with crispy panko breading, sweet tartar sauce, and crunchy pickles on a toasted brioche-style bun.Does Arby's have a new fish sandwich? ›
The newest pescatarian option is the Spicy Fish Sandwich, which has a crispy fish filet covered with spicy seasoning, and is topped with roasted jalapeños, shredded lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce, all piled on to a toasted sesame bun.Is Arby's fish good? ›
Arby's crispy, crunchy, light and tasty fish fillet is elevated by the spice, but it's never too much; the tangy tartar sauce and cool veggies counterbalance the heat in a delightfully pleasant way. It's a shame that this won't become a regular menu item, because I cod order it ever …
Is Arby's offering a fish sandwich? ›
King's Hawaiian® Fish Deluxe: Crispy Fish Fillet, Cheddar Cheese (Sharp Slice), Tartar Sauce, Shredded Iceberg Lettuce, Tomatoes, KING'S HAWAIIAN® Sandwich Bun.What fish is Arby's fish sandwich 2022? ›
Their Crispy Fish Sandwich is the same as it was back in 2018 and is a classically prepared Alaskan Pollock fillet crispy-fried to a nice golden brown, topped with tartar sauce, shredded lettuce and served on a sesame seed bun.Is Popeyes new fish sandwich really flounder? ›
This sandwich reels in a flounder filet that is dipped in breading full of Cajun-spiced seasonings and then sent for a quick swim in the deep-fryer. It is then put together with one of them fancy toasted brioche buns and crisp barrel cured pickles (not just any pickles, mind you, barrel cured pickles).Is the fish sandwich from McDonald's real fish? ›
We use wild-caught Alaska Pollock for our Filet-O-Fish® sandwich in the U.S., which is 100% sourced from sustainable fisheries.What is McDonald's new fish sandwich? ›
This McDonald's fish sandwich has fish sourced from sustainably managed fisheries, on melty American cheese and topped with creamy McDonald's tartar sauce, all served on a soft, steamed bun.What kind of fish does Sonic use in their fish sandwich? ›
A 100% Alaskan Pollock fillet fried in cripy panko breading and topped with crisp lettuce, creamy tartar sauce, crinkle cut pickles, and served on a warm, brioche bun.What kind of fish does Popeyes use in their fish sandwich? ›
While many people love that chicken from Popeyes, there is something new to catch on the menu. The Popeyes Flounder Fish Sandwich is back. Although there can be many fish in the sea, this one has caught many people's attention. Quick service restaurants entice guests with convenience and value.What kind of fish is the chick fil a fish sandwich? ›
Chick-fil-A's fish sandwich includes two lightly battered fried cod fillets between a warm, buttered bun. It also comes with cheese, lettuce and an optional lemony tartar sauce that "pairs perfectly with the flaky white fish."Does Burger King have fish sandwiches 2022? ›
Just as it was in 2018, it is NOT worthy of being a repeat buy in 2022. The Burger King visited on this occasion is located at: 4220 E Harry St, Wichita, KS 67218.Is Popeyes fish sandwich discontinued? ›
But now that Lent for 2022 is right around the corner, fish sandwiches across the board are beginning to make a comeback. And one of the first to the fish fry is Popeyes with the return of their popular Flounder Fish Sandwich, but with a twist.
What kind of fish does Long John Silver's use? ›
Long John Silver's wild-caught Cod and Pollack come from the icy waters of the North Pacific Ocean, one of the best-managed and most sustainable fisheries in the world. LJS fish is fresh-caught, and flash-frozen while still aboard the fishing boats to lock in the flavor.What kind of fish does Arby's use? ›
Arby's Crispy Fish Sandwiches are served with a generous Alaskan pollock filet that has a mild flavor, so it's not overwhelmingly “fishy.” Fried fresh, it's a great lunch option while on the go.Does Dairy Queen carry a fish sandwich? ›
Wild Alaskan Fish Sandwich | Dairy Queen® Menu.What is the fish sandwich at Burger King called? ›
It is currently sold as the BK Big Fish sandwich in the United States and Canada. Internationally the fish sandwich is also known as the BK Fish, BK Fish'n Crisp burger, Fish King and Fish Royale in those markets.What is a fish popular for eating in sandwiches? ›
Tuna sandwich, usually made from canned tuna combined with other ingredients, and which has been called "the mainstay of almost everyone's American childhood".What kind of fish is in a fish sandwich? ›
We use wild-caught Alaska Pollock for our Filet-O-Fish® sandwich in the U.S., which is 100% sourced from sustainable fisheries.Which fish taste the best? ›
- Cod. Taste: Cod has a very mild, milky flavor. ...
- Sole. Taste: Sole is another fish with a mild, almost sweet flavor. ...
- Halibut. Taste: Halibut has a sweet, meaty flavor that's widely popular. ...
- Sea Bass. Taste: Sea bass has a very mild, delicate flavor. ...
- Trout. ...
Firm, hearty fish like salmon, swordfish, tuna, snapper, and mahi mahi holds up great on the grill.Is Arby's fish sandwich really fish? ›
Their Crispy Fish Sandwich is the same as it was back in 2018 and is a classically prepared Alaskan Pollock fillet crispy-fried to a nice golden brown, topped with tartar sauce, shredded lettuce and served on a sesame seed bun.What kind of fish is Arby's fish sandwich made of? ›
CONTAINS: FISH (Pollock), SOY, WHEAT.
Is the fish sandwich at McDonald's real? ›
Dive into our wild-caught Filet-O-Fish®! This McDonald's fish sandwich has fish sourced from sustainably managed fisheries, on melty American cheese and topped with creamy McDonald's tartar sauce, all served on a soft, steamed bun. There are 390 calories in McDonald's Filet-O-Fish.Is Burger King fish sandwich real fish? ›
100% White Alaskan Pollock with crispy panko breading, sweet tartar sauce, and crunchy pickles on a toasted brioche-style bun.Which fish has no taste? ›
Tilapia – tilapia is arguably the mildest tasting fish there is. It's not fishy at all and has a mild sweetness. Tilapia is easy to prepare and goes well with a variety of different flavor profiles. Cod – cod has a mild flavor that's slightly sweet like tilapia.What fish tastes most like meat? ›
Swordfish is a mighty, meaty fish: eat it grilled and you'll almost feel like you're biting into a steak. Even non-fish-eaters tend to enjoy a good cut of swordfish, whose taste is somewhat similar to tuna.What is the best tasting fish to fry? ›
Best Fish to Fry
Typically, neutral flavored, white-fleshed, and lean fish are best for frying. Freshwater fish such as bass, trout, and catfish are excellent choices. Avoid dense and oily tuna, salmon, and sea bass.
#1 Most Expensive Fish: Platinum Arowana
The Platinum, also popularly known as the Asian Arowana or Scleropages formosus, sometimes incorrectly referred to as a Dragon Fish, it sells for up to $400,000, making it far and away the most expensive fish that can be bought for an aquarium.