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The Top 10 Fast Food Seafood Items Across The USA, Ranked

Fast food seafood has gotten a bad rap over the years, and it’s easy to understand why. Nobody ever put respect on fish’s name, leaving their sole pescatarian option to be overcooked, mushy, and not too pleasant.

Times have changed, though, and with that, the quality of the industry’s fishy fare has shot up. Whether it be whole fish filets or irresistible pieces of shrimp, there’s a lot more being offered than before. The fish sandwich may still dominate, but it’s gone from being overlooked to getting a ton of attention.

These are the best of what fast food seafood has to offer, from timeless fish sandwiches to seafood staples that could dominate for years to come.

When making this list, only items from major fast food chains were looked at and ranked on quality, popularity, and flavor. There will be some big names not on this list (sorry, Ronald), but that’s just indicative of how some newer chains have risen to the challenge and created seafood items that are just… well, better.

10) Tuna Pie, Jollibee

 

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The fried chicken icon of the Philippines is no one-trick pony, as its entire menu is straight fire. When it comes to seafood, it’s a little harder to find at the Bee, but this Lenten LTO is the best they have to offer. While the fact that it’s basically canned tuna in a cream sauce makes it less appealing, you have to appreciate its zesty, peppery flavor, and flaky pastry crust.

9) North Atlantic Cod Sandwich, Culver’s

 

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To make it on this list as a standard fish sandwich, you need to get some basics right: a crispy exterior, intriguing fillings, and a well-cooked piece of fish. Culver’s hits on all of those marks, with the mixture of shredded cheese and lettuce and a light amount of tartar sauce (McDonald’s, take note) accentuating the flavors of the cod. It does need a bit more seasoning, however.

8) Fish Slider, White Castle

 

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The phrase “simple is better” definitely applies to White Castle’s Contribution to the fast food fish game. They don’t church theirs up with tartar sauce or lettuce, using just a slice of American cheese to top their Alaskan pollock. While the fish choice itself is “meh,” given how ubiquitous and overcooked pollock tends to be, their flavor is extraordinary given the slider’s size.

7) Cajun Fish Sandwich, Arby’s

 

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Arby’s would be a lot higher on this list, to be honest, if they had decided to bring back the Nashville Hot Fish Sandwich from the LTO grave. That version had a ton of kick and was a tasty contribution to the fast food game. Sure, the Cajun remoulade on this version has some zest and punch, and gives the massive filet of pollock an extra hit of flavor. It’s no Nashville Hot, though.

6) Shrimp Po’ Boy, Popeyes

Popeyes knows how to do fried shrimp proper. They’re coated with the same seasoning as Popeyes’ top-notch fried chicken, elevating the crustaceans to a new level of flavor. Add in the fact that you get a pretty generous amount per baguette-sized sandwich, and you have a satiating meal of seafood that does more than most fish sandwiches in the game even attempt to do.

5) North Pacific Cod Sandwich, Wendy’s

Who does the generic fish sandwich the best? That answer, as said by several others in the past, has to be Wendy’s. It’s something about the punchiness of their tartar sauce, how the cod is cooked decently, and how the fish has the right crunch. It’s more of a quality thing than a “we put other stuff on it” that makes their variant as good as it is. Of course, it is just your standard fish sandwich, and while it’s a damn good version of it, there’s other things out there that showcase seafood better.

4) Jumbo Shrimp Tacos, Del Taco

 

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Del Taco’s take on the Baja-style seafood taco is surprisingly solid. The shrimp are coated with just the right amount of seasoning, and the crisp lettuce and tomato offset it perfectly in terms of contrasting textures. The white sauce and fresh lime on top elevate this option into the top 5, because they provide the acidic punch and creamy consistency of tartar sauce with just a fraction of its heaviness. This is my personal go-to option for a seafood snack during the Lent season.

3) 2 Cod, 6 Shrimp Platter, Long John Silver’s

 

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Those looking to treat themselves to a seafood feast need to track this down. Being one of two fast food seafood specialists in the country, Long John Silver’s knows how to give cod the appropriate TLC, keeping it crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside. The seasoning is a little too close to KFC’s, but few can compete with their batter, or the size of this platter.

2) Giant Fish Sandwich, Captain D’s

 

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In the duel of the fast food seafood specialists, Captain D’s is the people’s choice. Folks regard it as better because of its taste, and this Giant Fish Sandwich shows it off best. The fish pieces themselves are massive in terms of both length and flavor, and an appropriate amount of tartar sauce helps make this one of the most decadent sandwiches you can get in fast food. It’s better than its fishy rival and arguably the best fast food seafood item out there… save for one that honestly, nobody even comes close to touching.

1) Honey Walnut Shrimp, Panda Express

 

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Cue the Thanos snap. Seriously, watching the rest of the fast food seafood game compare to Panda’s signature shrimp is like watching the Avengers trying to KO Marvel’s Mad Titan at the end of Infinity War. How can one compete with its sweet, savory flavor, balanced with the crunch and slight bitterness of walnuts? Nobody has been able to create something within reach yet, so until the fast food seafood universe gets its own Captain Marvel, Honey Walnut Shrimp will tower over anything else that tries to one-up it.

By Constantine Spyrou

Constantine's life revolves around eating, studying, and talking about food. He's obsessed with eggs, gyros, and the future of food.