Food

It’s the Summer of Golden-Fried Fish Sandwiches. Here’s Where to Find the 6 Best Around DC.

Cheffy filet o' fish riffs, DC carryout classics, and more.

Fried-fish sandwiches have a long history around our area, from city carryouts to Mid-Atlantic seafood houses. But this summer they’re popping up in more places—and in more highbrow incarnations—than ever. Six we love:

1. The DC Classic

Whiting sandwich at Horace and Dickie’s. Photograph courtesy of Eve Mages.

Whiting sandwich at Horace and Dickie’s

6912 Fourth St., NW; 5601 Allentown Rd., Camp Springs

The original H Street institution closed last year, but you’ll still find giant, crunchy-crusted filets of whiting heaped atop a little slice of white bread at these spinoffs run by founder Dickie Shannon’s family. Grab some hot sauce and get to it.

 

2. The Slider

“Filet-o-fish” at Itty Bitty Sandwich City

2001 18th St., NW

McD’s serves as the inspiration for the puck-size creations at this sandwich pop-up out the Imperial in Adams Morgan. Some major differences: a slug of IPA in the batter, wild-caught cod instead of pollock, and no American cheese.

 

3. The Mid-Atlantic Classic

Crispy fish at the Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse

1356 Otis St., NE

The structure is simple—lettuce, tomato, tartar sauce—and the main elements are purely local: flaky blue catfish from the Chesapeake and a Lyon Bakery brioche bun.

 

4. The Crunchified Version

Cornmeal-crusted-fish sandwich at Pennyroyal Station

3310 Rhode Island Ave., Mount Rainier

The best thing about the sandwich at Jesse Miller’s eight-month-old Mount Rainier hangout is its bite, thanks to cornmeal-battered fluke, chunky housemade pickles, and toasted white bread. Also, tangy rémoulade and a dose of Mexican hot sauce.

 

5. The Fancy Filet-O-Fish Riff

“Fish filet” at Moon Rabbit

801 Wharf St., SW

One of the tastiest appetizers in the city right now is this Wharf restaurant’s Vietnamese-accented homage to the golden-fried McDonald’s sandwich. Panko-crusted catfish is scented with lemongrass and turmeric, finished with smoked-dill tartar and iceberg lettuce, and set inside a curry-milk bun.

 

6. The Secret Sando

Fried-dogfish sandwich at District Fishwife

1309 Fifth St., NE

The stackup of freshly fried dogfish, lemon mayo, pickles, lettuce, and tomato was once a fixture on this Union Market seafood counter’s menu. Now it’s only for those in the know: off-menu but always available. You’re welcome.

This article appears in the July 2021 issue of Washingtonian.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.