Battle Fast-Food Fish Sandwich: Which One Should You Have During Lent?

Categories: Fast Times

Photos by Molly Dunn
This fish sandwich is the number one pick. Can you guess where it is from?
With fish being a choice food throughout the 40 days of Lent, many fast-food chain restaurants have added a fish sandwich to their menus, or at least brought them back. I decided to try five fish sandwiches and determine which ones are the best based on overall quality, taste and price.

You might be surprised which sandwiches flopped and which ones prevailed, but to help you make your fast-food fish sandwich choice, here is how I would rank them:

The BK fish sandwich is not the best choice compared to other fast food fish sandwiches.
5. Burger King's Premium Alaskan Fish Sandwich

I was quite disappointed with this fish sandwich. The ratio of bun-to-fish was disproportionate and the thick bread overpowered the fish, which didn't have that fresh fish taste you would expect after their advertisement in which they claim they use cold-water white fish. I was expecting the fish to be flaky and delicate; however, the entire sandwich just tasted fake. The deep-fried batter on the outside of the fish was extremely fake and reminded me of a bad fish sandwich I had in elementary school. With a combo meal, this $5.99 fish sandwich is not the best choice for fish Fridays.

4. Sonic's Fish Sandwich

You probably haven't noticed that Sonic has brought its fish sandwich back to the menu. I was excited to discover that Sonic offered a fish sandwich, but was not as impressed as I expected to be when I first tried it. Just like the burgers, the fish sandwich comes on a buttered and sweet bun. But unlike Sonic's burgers, the fish is deep-fried, adding more grease and fat. An overly buttered bun coupled with a greasy deep-fried fillet of fish was not what I expected from a fish sandwich. Normally, they are light and flaky on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside, but this one almost tasted like their tater tot coating, and instead of fluffy potato pieces on the inside, it was a mediocre fillet of fish. But if you enjoy a greasy fish sandwich, then this one is for you, and it's just $5.88 for a combo with a side item and a drink.

The Filet-O-Fish is small and delicate, but lacks flavor.
3. McDonald's Filet-O-Fish Sandwich

I grew up with the Filet-O-Fish sandwich. My mom always ordered them when we went to McDonald's. However, in comparison to the other fish sandwiches that have arrived over the years, it is not my number one pick. I like the dainty sandwich with the staple McDonald's bun, but the fish definitely needs a little bit of seasoning to compete with the others. With a little bit of tartar sauce and cheese, it does taste better, but by itself, it's quite plain. Although if you want a smaller fish sandwich, McDonald's Filet-O-Fish is perfect for you. The fast-food chain even offers a double-fillet fish sandwich for a heartier meal. This sandwich is one of the cheapest, though. For $3.33, you can even get two.

The light Panko breading on Wendy's fish sandwich made it stand out from among the rest.
2. Wendy's Premium Cod Fillet Sandwich

The Wendy's Premium Cod Fillet sandwich surprised me. This one offers some of the best fish among all the fast-food restaurants. Wendy's uses cod from the North Pacific, and it is super flaky on the inside, which is a great contrast to the crunchy panko breading. Unlike the other chains' sandwiches, the Wendy's sandwich is light and fluffy, staying true to a fish fillet, and the breading does not overpower it. Add a slice of cheese and pair fries and a drink with the sandwich for $5.59.

1. Arby's Reel Big Fillet

This sandwich surprised me as much as it probably surprises you. Who would have thought that the best fast-food fish sandwich would come from a place that specializes in roast beef sandwiches? I knew this fish sandwich would be great when it took awhile to get at the drive-through window -- the employee said I would have to wait while the fish cooked. The fillet of fish was not shaped in the standard square that most fast-food chains serve; it was in the shape of an actual fillet of fish, and it had a true fish flavor. The sesame seed bun complemented the fish fillet because it was the perfect size for the fish. This is a heartier sandwich than those at most other places, and with some melted Cheddar cheese on top as well as lettuce and tartar sauce, it's a complete meal by itself; you probably won't even need curly fries, but it's okay if you do. Make it a combo for $5.00.

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My Voice Nation Help

McDonalds fillet-o-fish are regularly $4 in my neck of the woods, though they are $1.79 during lent (they used to be 99 cents).

The Moby Jack was .79 cents back in the day and I loved those sandwiches.  I wish they brought it back.

I have to agree that the Arby's fish sandwich is the best choice from this list.  I was surprised and even a little shocked when the first time I ordered, I had tomatoes included in the sandwich.  No one ever puts tomatoes in a fish sandwich unless you specifically ask for it.  The next time I got the sandwich. it was from a different Arby's, but they did not put tomatoes in it.  So I'm not sure if it's supposed to be there or not, but next time I visit, I'll be sure to ask.


Are you sure Arby's has a fish sandwich or is just old roast beef that smells like fish. 


I tried Rally's yesterday and it was just as good as the Arby's but it 2 for $2 instead of 2 for $5  for the price you can't beat it.


i agree, there used to be a time when burger king had the best fish. ever since they changed fish. i find it sad that they got rid of the big fish. i went to arby's because there fish looks so good on the commercials. it was very tasty. i only get fish, fries, shake and the reuben at arbys.


@antoniocotto6567 omg, i totally ate the bk big fish ALL THE TIME as a kid. it was DELICIOUS. ever since burger king changed the recipe - fish is different, bread is different too, lettuce now comes in chunks......i stopped eating it and have been searching for the perfect fast food fish sandwich. i'm still searching.


I was bummed when Jack in the Box discontinued its Moby Jack fish sandwich (for the name and the fact that it helped get me through undergrad college). JiB brought a limited-time fried fish sandwich back for Lent, too. Pretty good. Wondering why some of the burger chains orphaned/abandoned/cheaped out on their fish sandwiches. BK's Big Fish was once my favorite. As much as I love Whataburger (Other than McD's, I think the only fast-food burger chain still offering a fish sandwich year-round), the What-a-Catch is What-a-Shame. Gotta try Arby's take; too bad the nearest Arby's is at Baybrook Mall . . . . Hot damn! Does Chick Fil A really have a fish sandwich?

FattyFatBastard topcommenter

Just heard Chick Fil A was giving out fish sandwich samples yesterday.  I might have to try it out tomorrow.


I'm thinking of trying Carl's Jr.'s fish sandwich tomorrow.  It's grilled and I have a coupon.  I hope it's edible.

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