If you ever get sick of the regular, same old burgers, don’t worry, fish sandwiches have come to your rescue. Fish sandwiches are also perfect for those with dietery restrictions who aren’t ready to give up the goodness of fast-food just yet. So, take the plunge as we list the Top 10 Best Fast Food Fish Sandwiches.
10. Dairy Queen Fish Sandwiches
While Dairy Queen is well, the queen of all things dairy things, in the last couple of years, they’ve been getting more and more into the savory side of things. From fried chicken baskets to greasy burgers, everything is designed to be a perfect complement to your favorite Blizzard. However, their first attempt at a fish sandwich was not exactly a success. It promised a “crispy fish fillet topped with fresh green leaf lettuce and tartar sauce, served on a toasted sesame seed bun.” However, it was more of a mushy, heavily breadcrumbed piece of fish served on a heavily chewy bun with translucent lettuce-flavored bits. Not exactly off to a great start. But, DQ quickly learned from its mistakes and came back stronger than ever with the Alaskan Pacific Cod Sandwich. As a seasonal offering, the Alaskan Pacific Cod Sandwich meets all the criteria its predecessor failed to meet. This time, the wild-caught Alaskan pollock is only lightly coated, which leaves a crunchy outside and a tender inside. It also has some real, fresh lettuce and a better version of tartar sauce, all on an actual well-toasted bun. Sadly, this new-and-improved fish sandwich is not available all year long, so, make sure you reel one in as soon as you can get your hands on one. This is a catch that’s sure to hook any fish sandwich connoisseur.
9. Steak-N-Shake Fish Sandwich
Much like Dairy Queen’s option, Steak-N-Shake’s Fish Sandwich isn’t around year-round. So while it’s not a regular everyday item, you can definitely still get it during certain times of the year. You might even find a random Steak-N-Shake carrying it outside of the usual spring season, but that’s pretty rare. Steak-N-Shake’s standard fish sandwich usually comes with lettuce and tomato. You have the option of going without lettuce and tomato, however, but veggies are suggested – it just gives the sandwich that je-ne-sais-quoi. The two triangle-ish pieces of fish come on a chewy bun, and obviously, with a good dose of tartar sauce. Now, we know what you’re thinking; it’s called Steak-N-Shake, not Fish-n-Shake! And, while this is definitely true, the results are surprisingly quite delicious. There are a few production problems from time to time, but that’s to be expected from any fast-food place that doesn’t specialize in fish. Despite some reviews saying that there’s a tad too much tartar sauce, like, enough for the fish to swim in, if that’s the biggest problem this sandwich has, then is it really a problem? Isn’t too much better than not enough? In any case, Steak-N-Steak’s fish sandwich deserves at least an A for effort.
8. Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. Redhook Beer Battered Fish Sandwich
Depending on where you live, you might know this restaurant as either Hardee’s or Carl’s Jr. In either case, the fish sandwich is the same at both locations – as well as 99 percent of everything else on the menu – so we’re grouping them together. The Redhook Beer Battered Fish Sandwich is one massive sandwich that’s pretty representative of everything the chain carries. After all, that’s what they do best, isn’t it? Serving over-the-top large menu items designed to make you full just by looking at them. Let’s just put it this way; the first thing that comes to mind when you see this beast is how humongous it is. If Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. were a state, they’d be Texas, no doubt about it. As the name suggests, the fish is battered using Redhook, a real beer of the “craft” variety. It’s flaky, perfectly crispy, and oh, so satisfying. Thankfully, the fish also tastes like it actually comes from the sea – instead of some fake, modified piece of mock fish. The standard order should come with lettuce, tomato, and a generous portion of tartar sauce. Maybe a bigger bun would be useful to support the giant piece of fillet, but other than that, there are no complaints. If you’re hankering for a sandwich from the sea, this is a perfect choice.
7. Burger King Big Fish
When it comes to fast-food fish sandwiches, things can get a little complicated, especially when it comes to preparation. Freshness is key, and for this reason, most fast-food restaurants prepare their fish sandwiches to order – which is what makes everything even more special. The Burger King Big Fish sounds like everything a fast-food fried fish sandwich should be, featuring “100 percent White Alaskan Pollock, breaded with crispy panko breading and topped with sweet tartar sauce, tangy pickles, all on top of a toasted brioche-style bun.” While it sounds like literal perfection, there are still some little bumps in the road, here and there – but nothing that can’t be managed. For instance, the fish could use a little bit more crispness and a little less tartar sauce – something we never thought could happen. Like many other fast-food fish sandwiches, it can sometimes be hard to measure just how much tartar sauce is too much, but for the majority of the time, the amount is just right. And what it lacks in consistency, it compensates for in flavor. We simply can’t deny the greatness and the considerable power that Burger King’s pickles can have on a sandwich. So, don’t worry, you’re sure to enjoy a good fish sandwich at BK, no matter what.
6. Chick-fil-A Fish Sandwich
Normally, during the season of lent, most fast-food restaurants will try to promote their fish products even more. While you wouldn’t expect a place like Chick-fil-A to jump on the bandwagon, a fish sandwich offering is available for 40 days at select locations. Obviously, “select locations” means that not every outlet will carry it, but don’t be fooled, it does indeed exist. And even if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one, the recipe differs from one location to another. Some places will put pickles and some won’t, or the usual three pieces of fish will be reduced to two – there’s just no real way of knowing what version of the sandwich you’re going to get. The only consistent thing about it; it’s always going to be delicious. The triangle-shaped cod patties are always perfectly battered and fried, paired with the standard bun, lettuce, and tomatoes. It goes without saying; fish is not Chick-fil-A’s specialty and this sandwich was probably created more out of courtesy for some of their customers – but still! They did a pretty good job for a fried chicken joint. The fish can sometimes taste like something you would pick up from the frozen aisle at the grocery store, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you order this battered classic with a side of iconic waffle fries, you’ll soon forget about any of its shortcomings.
5. Culver’s North Atlantic Cod Sandwich
Culver’s already had a much wider selection than other fast food restaurants. There aren’t many places that offer pork sandwiches or pot roast sandwiches. Well, they’ve expanded their selection to include fish sandwiches as well! More specifically, the North Atlantic Cod Sandwich. And let us tell you, when it comes to the fish sandwich game – they are in it to win it! Just as Culver’s serves up their chicken untraditionally, the cod is laid out differently than most. Sitting on a buttered hoagie roll (but not super long, sort of a mini-hoagie) the fish, the lettuce, shredded cheese, and a unique tartar sauce are all mixed together to create a tasty, perfect sandwich. The North Atlantic cod is beer-battered and fried to perfection. With a very mild tartar sauce made with olives, capers, and sweet relish, it feels more like light mayonnaise, but it is delicious. What makes Culver’s so special is that everything is cooked to order, so you’re going to get a super fresh piece of cod, and it’s a nice healthy size. You could even say that this North Atlantic Cod has one of the best buns used in any fast-food sandwich. The only downside – if we can even call it that – is that some customers have reported the sandwich to be a little bit on the bland side, seeing as there is not a lot of flavor going on with the crunchy coating. But, pushing this mild inconvenience aside, this is still one fine option to satisfy your hunger for fish.
4. Arby’s Crispy Fish Sandwich
Like most of the other fish sandwiches on this list, the Crispy Fish Sandwich from Arby’s isn’t always available at every location all year long. However, unlike some of the more questionable offerings, when this limited-time item returns, it’s definitely worth giving it a go! Because many fish sandwiches are made fresh-to-order, you might have to wait a little while longer before you can dig into this tasty sandwich, and we’re here to tell you that it’s worth the wait. When you open the bag for the first time, a fog of sweetly-scented seafood steam bursts out of it. Surprisingly, the sandwich almost looks exactly like the picture on the menu, which is high praise for a fast-food sandwich. The enormous fish fillet has a natural shape and tender layers of flaked fish that pull apart slightly with each bite. The only downside to the otherwise delicious fish is that it’s simply not consistent. Some bites are mild, while others are super fishy for some reason. Plus, the tangy dressing can be a bit overwhelming, causing some people to put down this sandwich for good. But, aside from that, the sesame-seed crusted bun is so soft and gooey, that you forget all about the imperfections. The filling and tasty sandwich has just the right amount of crispiness to its bite, making it the perfect alternative to their usual roast beef sandwich.
3. White Castle Fish Slider
White Castle is no stranger to experimentation, so it’s no surprise that they’ve added a Fish Slider to their menu. This fast-food fish sandwich is made of Alaskan Pollock and topped with your choice of either American, Jalapeno, or Smoked Cheddar cheese, on their traditional slider bun. While it might come as a shock that a burger chain has made such a good fish sandwich, we definitely aren’t going to complain about it. I mean, what could a chain made famous by steamed onion burger bites possibly know about the fried fish sandwich game? The tiny pucks of minced Pollock are crispy and flavorful, without an excessive amount of breading. And, that’s a good thing because, on a slider-sized sandwich, the bun itself tends to dominate the rest of the flavors present. This is one of the only fish sandwiches where the tiny slice of cheese actually goes hand in hand with the rest of the sandwich. The cheese adds a much-needed creamy balance of flair to the slider. There are only a few complaints, the first one being that the tartar sauce comes on the side (and you need to ask for it). If you forget to ask, your slider will be more than a tad dry. The second complaint is the calories; at 350 calories per slider, it’s not exactly the most calorie efficient thing on the menu. That being said, if it’s accessible to you, this is one heck of a good sandwich.
2. McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish
As one of the first fast-food restaurants to feature a fish sandwich on their menu, it’s not surprising that McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish still holds up after 60 long years; it’s a classic example of a successful fast-food fish sandwich. While it might never win any beauty contest, the taste compensates every time. This sandwich is made with a minced puck of Alaskan Pollock, topped with a half-slice of melted American cheese and drenched in a tangy tartar sauce. But, the thing that really makes the Filet-O-Fish is its steamed bun. Each bite brings the customer soft, steamy goodness, and it compliments the rest of the ingredients in the best way possible. The cheese adds a nice, gooey touch of savoriness, while the softness to the bun counters to the crunch of the fish. The most refreshing thing about McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish, though, is how it isn’t trying to impress anyone. The Filet-O-Fish doesn’t hope to compete with the artisanal-sounding ingredients found at other chains, and it never forgets what it is – a taste of mild, crispy fried fish, topped with a quart of tartar sauce and served on an angel’s kiss of a steamed bun – and in that simplicity comes bliss. If you get one that’s been freshly made, you’ll be in heaven for the rest of your day.
1. Popeyes Seafood Po’boy
Contrary to popular belief, Popeyes is more than just fried chicken. The chain once again surprises customers with its rarely talked about po’boy series. It features your choice of hand-breaded chicken strips, fish fillets, or battered shrimp, dredged in Popeyes’s signature blend of herbs and spices and crisply fried to perfection. Popeyes Seafood Po’boy has two fillets of battered fish served New Orleans style on a French-style baguette that perfectly balances a crispy outside with a fluffy, slightly chewy inside. The fish is decent for fast-food — it’s crispy and flaky, although the trade-off for crispiness is more breading than fish. But with two fillets, there comes a delicate balance between fish and batter. There’s a sprinkle of crunchy lettuce, and thankfully a proper, civilized amount of tartar sauce, which is much appreciated by fish sandwich enthusiasts everywhere. The highlights of this sandwich are the bread – gooey, crispy, and delicious – as well as the enhanced flavors of the fish. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, there’s also a shrimp version that is said to be just as good!