13 Best Fried Fish Sandwiches In Wisconsin

To many Americans, the quintessential fish sandwich is the fried up and constantly available Filet-O-Fish sandwich from McDonald's. It comes with a steamed bun, tartar sauce, some Alaska Pollock (in most places), and a half slice of American cheese. Though this fish sandwich is famous, especially during the Lent season, many restaurants across Wisconsin offer fresher and more flavorful sandwiches than the mass-produced Filet-O-Fish.

The popularity of this delightful sandwich all goes back to another Wisconsin tradition: the Friday night fish fry. Travel Wisconsin explains that this quintessential Midwestern experience originates from three primary factors, including the mandate that Catholics avoid meat on Fridays, the prohibition of alcohol, and the state's ample access to delicious fish. Since Catholics from Poland and Germany initially settled the vast majority of Wisconsin, they needed to avoid eating meat on Fridays. When it came to Prohibition, Wisconsin was able to sell fish in places like taverns and pubs to stay in business.

With Catholics now only avoiding meat during the Fridays of Lent and the end of Prohibition, these fish fries remain a staple of Wisconsin culture because they're delicious and offer the perfect opportunity to visit with family and friends. Of course, you'll have access to a fish sandwich during the typical fish fry. However, these sandwiches are so beloved that many dinner clubs, taverns, and restaurants across the state offer a fried fish sandwich without the massive fish fry.


When it comes to Wisconsin institutions, Culver's is certainly one of the more popular ones. This fast-food franchise strives to bring warm Midwestern hospitality to all guests, both in service and in food quality. You'll find a wide variety of items on the menu, from the famous Butterburger to fried cheese curds.

While Culver's is considered a popular burger joint, it also offers an excellent collection of meals from the sea. Amongst these items, you'll find a North Atlantic Cod Filet Sandwich. This tasty sandwich features North Atlantic Cod that gets a light hand battering and is cooked right when you order it. The fish sits atop a bed of shredded lettuce, Wisconsin cheese, and a nice amount of tartar sauce you'll love. The bun is a golden hoagie roll. You can order this sandwich on its own or as part of a value basket. As part of a larger meal, you can order many different sides. Personally, it's always hard for us to pass up those fried cheese curds, so that will almost always be our pick. Though it seems simple, this sandwich is often hailed as the best fried fish sandwich in Wisconsin, even if it is offered in other locations throughout the country, even down to Florida.

Toby's Supper Club

Wisconsin may very well be the home of the supper club. According to Wisconsin Supper Clubs, such restaurants were once places like taverns and even dance halls that transformed the environment into a restaurant that would feature favorites such as the fish fry, prime rib, and delicious drinks.

Toby's Supper Club operates as one of these traditional supper clubs and specializes in all the usual staples, plus a drink you may not immediately connect to a Wisconsin restaurant: a Key Lime Pie Martini. Warm and inviting, this place is the perfect spot for a warm meal during those deep and chilly Wisconsin winters. Toby's has been at it for over 50 years and has plenty of favorites, but the fish sandwich is stellar. The cod is fried to a perfect golden color and partners with lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce. We are a big fan of the fact that Toby's uses a brioche bun for this sandwich because the bun's buttery quality pulls out the sandwich's smoothness perfectly. For a side, we recommend french fries, but you'll need to order them separately as they come a la carte.

River's Edge Pub & Grub

The Wisconsin Dells is a popular tourist destination for families across the Midwest. With great resorts, restaurants, and leisure activities throughout the area, there's plenty of fun for families and quick weekend getaways. River's Edge Pub & Grub says its customers call it "the best kept secret in the Wisconsin Dells area." The restaurant has a rustic, cozy atmosphere that is as welcoming as its food is delicious. River's Edge is located just two miles from the downtown area, and it's a great place to grab dinner or lunch during your stay.

Here, you get two fish sandwiches to choose from — the Flaky Walleye Filet Sandwich or the Broasted Cod. Since you normally see chicken broasted, it's a delicious change to see broasted fish as well. Both are lightly breaded by hand and served alongside tarter sauce on a roll. You'll also get some fries and coleslaw to enjoy with your sandwich. We love the choice between walleye and cod; there's not a bad choice to choose. When they say lightly breaded, we are impressed with how true that is. The walleye is especially perfectly breaded, without feeling heavy or overly crusted.

St. Paul Fish Company

In downtown Milwaukee, you'll find a thriving market called the Milwaukee Public Market. Here, you can find everything from excellent vegan foot to fabulous sushi and even some of the best fish sandwiches in Wisconsin from the St. Paul Fish Company. This stop has been serving great seafood since 2005, and Milwaukeeans and restaurants source fresh fish from this company for superior seafood.

For something different, we recommend beginning your meal with an Oyster Shooter, a fresh oyster in a shot glass, alongside Bloody Mary Mix and Schlitz beer. Bloody Marys are one of Milwaukee's foods you have to try, after all. St. Paul's offers fried walleye, grouper, and lake perch for different variations of the fried sandwich. These options come on a kaiser roll with the same accompaniments of lettuce, tomato, and onion, as well as that of the tastiest of condiments: tartar sauce. St. Paul's also has a couple of fried po' boy sandwiches served on a hoagie roll along with remoulade, lettuce, and tomato. For these, you get several fish options, including two fried options of oyster or catfish. Though there are several places with a catfish po' boy throughout Wisconsin, you won't find many other fried oyster ones.

The Thirsty Whale

Wisconsin is full of rural towns that offer a little escape and respite from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Families tend to build cabins, camp, or enjoy hotels in their same little getaways each year. One of these towns is Minocqua. Since it's just off the water, you probably won't be surprised to learn that there are some excellent places to grab seafood; among these places is The Thirsty Whale.

The Thirsty Whale offers two excellent fried fish sandwiches: The Whale and the Canadian Walleye Sandwich. If you're interested in The Whale, you'll be treated to a sandwich with grouper that you can have either blackened or pa fried on a hoagie roll. The walleye is deep-fried and then served on a hoagie roll with its sandwich accompaniments.

While the sandwiches are great, the view is also outstanding. There's plenty of seating out by the water, and if you're there in the right season when sitting outside is comfortable, it's the perfect place to enjoy dinner.

Tucker's Hamburgers

Not every restaurant has an incredible origin story, but Tucker's sure does. This local, beloved restaurant in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, comes from the heart and kitchen of founder Rudy Sang. In fact, one of Tucker's most popular dishes is its chili, which can trace its origins back to the Navy Cook Book from when Sang served during World War II. While chili and hamburgers may be Tucker's calling card, we recommend this joint for its fish sandwich.

Though the menu is pretty trim, the Beer Batter Cod Sandwich certainly stands out. You can order this one as a sandwich all on its own or even as a meal with sides and a beverage. Of course, to get the full feel of Tucker's, you should get chili on the side of your fish sandwich. While these two don't usually go together, if you want else something truly Wisconsin, consider adding on some cheese curds, which Tucker's lists as "Cheddar Nuggets."

Henkel's Town Pump

In speaking with the owner, we learned that this small-town restaurant is in Rhinelander, Wisconsin and it has been owned by the Hankel family in 1979. Inside, you get a comfortable setting that is rich in wood and rustic artifacts. Even during the coldest of winters, Henkel's Town Pump offers a warm welcome with delicious food and Wisconsin hospitality.

Though one of the most popular items on the menu at Henkel's is the Wally Burger, we think the fish sandwich is also delicious. It's rather simple but definitely delicious. You'll get a platter with the breaded fish in a bun alongside some potato chips and a pickle. This humble sandwich may not look unique, but the flavor and texture of the fish are what really makes this one outstanding. On first appearance, the difference in size between the fish and the bun may throw you, but don't let that scare you away from Henkel's sandwich.

K.K. Fiske Restaurant

When it comes to adventuring in Wisconsin, there's no better place to do it than Washington Island. Destination Door County explains that this little island getaway in the beautiful Door County region is a short ferry ride from shore and offers visitors delicious food, fabulous shopping, and breathtaking scenery. Here, Door County says you'll find over 40 miles of roads to travel, as well as museums and even lavender farms. Among the natural wonders, you can also enjoy incredible restaurants, like K.K. Fiske Restaurant.

On the everyday menu, you can order a Fried Fish Sandwich made from your choice of walleye or whitefish. You'll also enjoy lettuce and tartar sauce with a toasted bun. Occasionally, the restaurant will offer a Walleye Po'boy. This will include a healthy piece of fried walleye on a big hoagie with several veggie accompaniments, including lettuce, onion, and tomato. It also includes a Cajun remoulade sauce

When available and fresh, the restaurant also offers a fried lawyer sandwich. If you've never had lawyer, we wouldn't be surprised — many fishers discount it as a bottom feeder not worthy of cuisine, so you don't often see it on menus. Destination Door County calls it a poor man's lobster because they taste similar in the right cooking conditions. This bottom feeder lives in the cold waters like those surrounding Door County, and Ken Koyen, owner of K. K. Fiske and resident fisherman for over four decades, has helped make the fish popular.

Joey's Yardarm

Joey's Yardarm opened in 1990 and has since become one of the best places in Racine, Wisconsin, to find some of the best fish fry options in the state. The menu offers a slew of fabulous choices, but despite the massive selection, we love and are naturally drawn to the authentically small-town Wisconsin fish sandwiches. You can enjoy a cod, perch, walleye, tuna, or even mahi-mahi sandwich, though only a few options come fried. The mahi-mahi and tuna, for example, do not come fried.

The standby fish sandwich options on the everyday menu are excellent, but the restaurant also frequently offers a fish sandwich special like the Catfish Po'boy. This Louisiana-inspired dish comes with red beans and rice on the ride and all your sandwich makings right on the bun. For the latest intel on specials, be sure to stay in touch with Joey's Yardarm on Facebook.

Patsy's Bar and Grill

When it comes to having great fish in a historical location, look no further than Patsy's Bar and Grill out of Washburn, Wisconsin. The late 1800s saw the opening of the original bar here, and in 2006, the space was purchased by Barb and Wally Englehard. They remodeled, rehabbed, and brought the place back to life.

Now, you can find some of the best burgers in the state there, but you'll also find one of the best places in Wisconsin to enjoy that classic of Wisconsin traditions: the fish fry. On these days, Patsy offers fish in many different forms: fish dinners, tacos, a firecracker fish sandwich, a more traditional fish sandwich, and even the occasional shrimp taco. We love this because not everyone likes their fish the same way, so Patsy offers it in many different ways to help keep the whole family satisfied and ordering something they'll love.


The next time you find yourself in Milwaukee looking for some quality Southern cooking, look no further than Maxie's. This restaurant has been offering delicious southern hospitality since 2007, in addition to its delicious raw bar, excellent collection of microbrews, and select imports. From 4-6 p.m., during Maxie's "Happiest Happy Hour," you can even enjoy $1 oysters.

While we love fresh oysters and exclusive brews, the Catfish Po'boy here is next level. You can choose to get this one fried or blackened; both are delicious. Alongside your fish, your bread gets tarter sauce and veggies. We think this catfish is perfectly fried, and we loved the breading as well. Since many fried sandwiches use cod as the fish of choice, we found catfish to be a delicious change. For your fries, you'll get to choose between Cajun and regular fries. The Cajun makes sense if you're getting blackened catfish, and regular fries probably work best for fried catfish.

North South Seafood & Smokehouse

When you think of fish, you probably aren't immediately looking for a smokehouse. Instead, you're hoping to find more of a restaurant that specializes in seafood. Don't let those preconceived notions make you turn a blind eye to North South Seafood & Smokehouse. At this smokehouse, you'll find the warming smells of delicious smoked meat as well as great fish.

Here, you'll order the classic Fried Cod Sandwich. It comes with a cod patty that gets hand-breaded and topped with melted cheddar along with lettuce and tartar sauce on a tasty and toasty bun. On the side, you'll enjoy fries. Plus, there are three different locations around Wisconsin to find this great bite: Madison, Verona, and DeForest. Like other places in Wisconsin, North South also offers a fish fry that is widely beloved, so if you're looking for something more robust than a sandwich, that may be an excellent option. Plus, your meat-eating friends have delicious smokehouse options at their fingertips. This is definitely a place to meet the needs of many different diets.

Boat House Pub & Eatery

The next time you're looking for an excellent fishing spot, we recommend packing up your gear and heading for Fox Lake. Travel Wisconsin calls it one of the best places to go fishing in Wisconsin. Plus, we have the perfect mid-day lunch stop for you: the Boat House Pub & Eatery.

Right off the shores of this beautiful lake, you'll find a great place to dock your boat and settle in for a delicious fish sandwich. This cod sandwich is fried and sits atop a nice Kaiser roll with American cheese, lettuce, and, of course, the perfect amount of tartar sauce. There's just something about the view of the lake and a tasty drink in hand that makes something as simple as a fish sandwich all the more delicious. Plus, the Boat House is just a fun place to be. There are events throughout the year to keep you coming back, and even in the winter, the fun doesn't stop with winter golf outings and ice fishing tournaments.