Customers Reveal The Chain Restaurant Fish Sandwiches You Should And Shouldn't Eat - The Daily Meal (2024)


Customers Reveal The Chain Restaurant Fish Sandwiches You Should And Shouldn't Eat - The Daily Meal (1)

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ByJacob Smith|

Although it was not the first fish sandwichto be served in fast food restaurants across the United States, McDonald's Filet-O-Fish is most definitely the country's defining one, with over 300 million sold annually. Such success has seen other restaurants, especially chain restaurants, launching fish sandwiches of their own. Each of these has been met with varying levels of success. With the help of customer reviews, we highlight five chain restaurant fish sandwiches you should eat and, perhaps more importantly, three you should avoid.

Although uncomplicated in theory, fish sandwiches are difficult for chain restaurants to pull off. Due to the simple nature of the ingredientsthey require balance and quality throughout. What's more, they must be easily replicable and consistent across the U.S., which is no small feat when the quality of available fish varies widely. Finally, chain restaurant fish sandwiches must spotlight a type of fish that, while still carrying flavor, does not prove overwhelmingly fishy to the vast majority of the public.

Some chains manage to pull off their fish sandwiches, others don't. In this article, we highlight both, examining them based on their taste, texture, nutritional profile, and value for money. You can find more about our methodology below. Until then, let's dig into some of the best and worst fish sandwiches that chain restaurants have to offer.

Should: Seamore's

Seamore's is a small, upscale seafood chain that only sells sustainable seafood. Founded by restaurateur and entrepreneur Michael Chernow in 2015, Seamore's has grown to six locations across three states: Connecticut, Virginia, and New York. All but one of these locations serves a beer battered fish sandwichthat's served with tartar sauce and pickled vegetables and a few also serve a blackened catfish sandwich. Of these, the beer batteredfish sandwich is superior.

In-keeping with Seamore's sustainable ethos, the fish that's used in the beer battered sandwich changes daily depending on what is available. The chain often spotlights fish such as blackfish, fluke, and porgy, one of several underrated fish species that's well worth trying.

Despite the species of fish changing regularly, the quality of Seamore's beer battered fish sandwich remains constant, and customers often celebrate the freshness and sizeof the fish. That being said, the beer battered fish sandwich does not come cheap, costing $21. What's more, it's only available as part of the weekend brunch menu. Despite this, Seamore's fish sandwich remains one to try thanks to the sheer quality of the fish that it spotlights.

Should: Culver's

Culver's is a Wisconsin-based restaurant chain that was founded in 1984. Known for its ButterBurgers and frozen custard, the chain has steadily expanded across the nation, adding to its menu as it does. Fish sandwiches were one of these additions and today, Culver's serves the North Atlantic Cod Sandwich. This sandwich spotlights a hand-cut, hand-battered piece of fish that is served alongside tartar sauce, Wisconsin cheddar, and lettuce. All ingredients are placed inside a toasted hoagie roll.

Culver's fish sandwich is one of the best fish sandwiches sold by any chain restaurant in the United States. One of the sandwich's most celebrated features is the fish'scrisp crust,which provides a great textural contrast to the its juicy flesh. The importance of this crust cannot be overstated; many otherwise enjoyable chain restaurant fish sandwiches are made unappetizing by soggy breading. Culver's, on the other hand, always remains crisp, a characteristic that has seen customers call it the best thing that can be boughtat the chain restaurant.

As with most fish sandwiches in this article, Culver's North Atlantic Cod Sandwich is high in saturated fat and sodium. It contains 8 grams of the former and 750 milligrams of the latter, not outlandish numbers given that the fish is fried. The sandwich retails for just under $7, a very reasonable price for what is a delightful fish sandwich.

Shouldn't: Red Lobster

Red Lobster is best known for its Cheddar Bay biscuits, which you can even make at home,but, as one of the US' pre-eminent seafood chains, it is only natural that Red Lobster also offers a fish sandwich on its menu. The Crunch-Fried Flounder Sandwich was launched in 2022 and has since become a firm favorite of Red Lobster customers across the country. The sandwich features a hand battered filet of wild-caught flounder, served in a sesame bun alongside tartar sauce and coleslaw. Customers find Red Lobster's fish sandwich to be crisp and flavorfuland well worth its $17.99 price tag. The fish itself is flaky and well-cooked.

One of the major drawbacks of Red Lobster's Crunch-Fried Flounder Sandwich is its nutritional profile. The sandwich contains 17 grams of saturated fat and, more alarmingly, over 4,000 milligrams of sodium. This is nearly double what the Food and Drug Administration recommends adults consume in an entire day. With such an astonishing nutritional profile, it's not hard to believe that Red Lobster's Crunch-Fried Flounder Sandwich is the unhealthiest sandwich featured in this article by far. For this reason, we cannot recommend its purchase.

Should: Hooters

Outside of the brand's famous chicken wings, and its meatless alternatives, Hooters is not known for its food. Perhaps because of this, the chain's fish sandwich is often overlooked. This is a mistake as Hooters' Big Fish Sandwich is one of the better ones that's sold by chain restaurants.

The Big Fish Sandwich features a huge piece of codserved on a hoagie roll. The fish comes either grilled or fried and is accompanied by tartar sauce. Many customers celebrate both the size and quality of the sandwich as the following post on Reddit highlights: "It's been a while, but ever since I was young I've always ordered the 'Big Fish Sandwich' and it's excellent. You get a giant piece of fried white fish and it's delicious." What makes the sandwich even more appealing is that it can be bought for under $17.

Aside from its size and quality, the Big Fish Sandwich is also healthier than some other chain restaurant fish sandwiches, including the Crunch-Fried Flounder from Red Lobster. Both the fried and grill varieties contain less saturated fat and sodium than Red Lobster's offering. Surprisingly, the fried option is the healthier of Hooters' two sandwiches, boasting only 1 gram more saturated fat than the grilled Big Fish Sandwich and over 2,000 milligrams less sodium.

Should: Hook & Reel

Hook & Reel is a seafood chain restaurant with locations across the United States. The menu at this chain is extensive, ranging from clam chowder to seafood boils and even chicken wings. Po'boys are one of the chain's main attractions, especially the Catfish Po'Boy, a sandwich that retails around $12.

Customers are often surprised at how much fish is included in the Catfish Po'Boy. The sandwich is stuffed so full of well-crisped fish that it can hardly be closed. Thankfully, Hook & Reel backs up this quantity with quality; the catfish is firm but moist, well-seasoned and delicious. Everything is encased in New Orleans' French bread, adding further textural contrast to this already enticing sandwich.

When compared to fish sandwiches from the likes of Hooters, Red Lobster, and Seamore's, Hook & Reel's Catfish Po'Boy is a more affordable option. Combine this with the sandwich's evident quality and it's not hard to see why so many customers recommend buying it.

Shouldn't: Long John Silver's

Long John SIlver's is an established chain restaurant that's been serving seafood since 1969. Unfortunately for the chain, it seems little has changed since this time. The food remains decidedly unadventurous and the restaurant's design and interior are dated. More worrying, is the low quality food that's on offer at Long John Silver's, notably the chain's fish sandwich.

Long John Silver's fish sandwich is made from battered and fried Alaskan pollock. While a sensible choice, this fish does not carry much flavor, one of the reasons why many customers complain that the sandwich is bland. Another issue with the fish at Long John Silver's is that it tastes so greasy and saltyas to be almost unpalatable. Pickles and a passable bun are the only things stopping this sandwich from becoming an unmitigated disaster. Even at under $7this sandwich is not worth your money.

Should: Brown Bag Seafood

Brown Bag Seafood is a chain restaurant that boasts locations in three states: North Carolina, Illinois, and Georgia. The chain uses an alternative ordering system wherein customers design their own dish via a tick box menu. Alongside this design-your-own section, Brown Bag Seafood serves a number of set dishes, including the brand's Blackened Fish Sandwich.

This sandwich costs $16.75and is served alongside lettuce, pickles, tartar sauce, and herbs. Although more expensive than several other fish sandwiches mentioned in this article, the quality of Brown Bag Seafood's Blackened Fish Sandwich more than justifies the price. The fish is freshand the bread is light. Punchy tartar sauce proves the perfect balancer to the fish's strong blackening seasoning and results in a fish sandwich that's hard to beat in terms of flavor.

The only drawback of this dish is its nutritional profile. The blackening seasoning contains a great deal of sodium, pushing the dish's total above 3,000 milligrams. So while delicious, Brown Bag Seafood's Blackened Fish Sandwich is a dish you should only occasionally indulge in.

Shouldn't: Joe's Crab Shack

Customers Reveal The Chain Restaurant Fish Sandwiches You Should And Shouldn't Eat - The Daily Meal (9)


Joe's Crab Shack is a chain restaurant that has shrunk in sizeever since its parent company filed for bankruptcy in 2021. The chain is known for selling seafood dishes at cheap prices. Unfortunately, Joe's Crab Shack is also known for serving subpar seafood. Customers often complain that the seafood was clearly frozen for long periods of time before cooking with texture and tastesuffering as a result. On Reddit, one person summarized the chain: "Frozen seafood bought from the discard pile in bulk, deep fried in cheap grease, served with overpriced watered down drinks. It's like Red Lobster but with no self awareness."

The chain restaurant serves a fish and sausagepo'boy in some of its locations. This sandwich contains blackened fish, sausage, pickles, and a variety of salad. Unfortunately, customers say the Fish & Sausage Po'Boy is not a good sandwich; the combination of ingredients is jarring and its execution is poor. What's more, some locations price it as high as $16.99, far more than other fish sandwiches, including those from Culver's and Hook & Reel, which are of a much higher standard.


Customers Reveal The Chain Restaurant Fish Sandwiches You Should And Shouldn't Eat - The Daily Meal (10)

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We took into account a variety of sources when deciding which chain restaurants to include on this list. These included reviews published by professional critics in publications such as The Infatuation. We also examined amateur reviews posted by customers and bloggers to a variety of sites including YouTube.

When studying these customer reviews, we paid particular attention to the taste and texture of the chain's fish sandwich as well as its nutritional profile and price. Any sandwich that was found to be lacking in flavor, astronomically high in sodium or saturated fat, or priced too high was listed as a sandwich to avoid.


Customers Reveal The Chain Restaurant Fish Sandwiches You Should And Shouldn't Eat - The Daily Meal (2024)


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".

Where did the fried fish sandwich come from? ›

Kroc gave Groen the green light to place it on his menu. The sandwich was introduced to other McDonald's franchises in 1963 and have remained on the menu ever since. McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwich has roots tied to religion. Lou Groen never received any money for his creation, but in the end, he didn't need it.

Where did the grouper sandwich come from? ›

One of the last holdouts from the old plenty of the grouper seems to be the Tampa Bay area, where the grouper sandwich is said to have been invented, where places like Frenchy's Rockaway Grill, in Clearwater, and Dockside Dave's, in Madeira Beach, and the Sandbar, in Anna Maria, still consider the sandwich a signature ...

Who invented the fish burger? ›

The sandwich was invented in 1962 by Catholic businessman Lou Groen, a McDonald's franchise owner in Cincinnati. His store at 5425 West North Bend Road was in a predominantly Catholic neighborhood, which led to falling hamburger sales on Fridays resulting from the practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays.

Does Mcdonalds use real fish in their fish sandwiches? ›

We use wild-caught Alaska Pollock for our Filet-O-Fish® sandwich in the U.S., which is 100% sourced from sustainable fisheries. Why is sustainable fish so important to us? Because it helps protect our oceans—something that's important to you. Interested in learning more about the Filet-O-Fish®?

Who makes McDonald's fish sandwiches? ›

The Bering Sea is one of the best places to catch wild Alaskan Pollock. McDonald's is the other. From the dock at Dutch Harbor, Kenny Longaker sets out on his boat, the Defender, to catch the wild Alaskan Pollock used in our Filet-O-Fish® sandwich. Alaskan Pollock is a fast-growing species.

Did Burger King ever have a fish sandwich? ›

International fast-food restaurant chain Burger King and its Australian franchise Hungry Jack's have had a variety of fish sandwiches in their product portfolio since 1975. The Whaler sandwich was the first iteration, designed to compete with rival burger-chain McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwich.

Is McDonald's fish sandwich fried? ›

"Something about the Filet-O-Fish creeps me out. In my opinion, McDonald's meats are beef and chicken—Big Macs and McNuggets. Fish just doesn't fit into the equation. The sandwich is basically a deep-fried flat and wide fish stick, and some tartar sauce on a bun.

Is grouper fish good or bad tasting? ›

This type of fish has a very mild flavor (somewhere in between seabass and halibut) with a light, sweet taste and large, chunky flakes, almost like lobster or crab. Thanks to its subtle flavor that easily absorbs dressings and marinades, grouper is excellent however you serve it.

What fish is used as fake grouper? ›

We cooked our grouper in a little oil, and it was quite good, with excellent texture and flavor. Because of these qualities, grouper is frequently counterfeited. According to an Associated Press report, “Many restaurants in Florida have been caught passing off Asian catfish, tilapia or other cheaper species as grouper.

What kind of fish is in Portillo's fish sandwich? ›

The sandwich features a breaded wild caught, haddock filet on a fresh brioche bun with American cheese, chopped lettuce, and tartar sauce. You can order this freshly made sandwich at any Portillo's location or online at

What fish does Arby's use? ›

The Arby's Crispy Fish Sandwich. The Crispy Fish Fillet from Arby's: pollock with shredded lettuce and tartar sauce on a sesame seed bun.

Why is there only half a slice of cheese on Filet-O-Fish? ›

“We only use half a slice of cheese because that's exactly the perfect balance for the tangy tartar sauce and crispness of the Filet-o-Fish coating,” a representative for McDonald's Canada told an inquisitive customer in 2012. “We use a whole slice on our Double Filet-o-Fish.

Why is McDonald's Filet-O-Fish so good? ›

So, why is the Filet-O-Fish so beloved? Because of its simplicity and flavor. The Filet-O-Fish is plain and simple: a crispy breaded fish patty, McDonald's tartar sauce, American cheese, and a pillowy, steamed bun. It doesn't need the bells and whistles of lettuce, tomato, or pickles.

What is the most popular eating fish? ›

Most Popular Seafood: America's Top 10
  • Most Popular Seafood: America's Top 10.
  • 1 - Shrimp.
  • 2 - Salmon.
  • 3 - Tuna.
  • 4- Tilapia.
  • 5- Pollock.
  • 6 - Pangasius or Basa.
  • 7 - COD.

What kind of fish does Burger King use in their sandwiches? ›

Burger King Big Fish Sandwich | Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers.

What kind of fish does Dairy Queen use in their fish sandwich? ›

Made with crispy wild Alaskan Pacific Cod, the DQ. Fish Sandwich features crisp lettuce, a toasted bun. and a tangy tartar sauce that's sure to please every.

What kind of fish does Chick Fil A use for their fish sandwich? ›

The Traditional Fish Sandwich contains two pieces of breaded and fried cod with tartar sauce and dill pickles on a buttered and toasted bun, and the Deluxe Fish Sandwich upgrades this with slices of tomato, lettuce, and American cheese.


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