Poor Filet-O-Fish

McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish has always been the ugly duckling of McDonald’s menu.

Yet for some reason, as I looked for a quick meal at the McDonald’s on Bank at Sparks, I ended up ordering it. I can’t recall the last time I did that, and can’t really explain why I did. Perhaps it was the price? The Filet-O-Fish is the cheapest of McDonald’s big sandwich selection. At 410 calories, it is also the, ahem, healthier choice.

The Filet-O-Fish was the first non-hamburger offered by McDonald’s. It was created in 1962 in Cincinnati and at first, was offered only on Fridays to attract practicing Catholics – According to church canon, Catholics being required to abstain from meat on Fridays. Along with the Hula Burger (grilled pineapple with cheese on a cold bun), McDonald’s tested the two non-meat-catholic-friendly-on-Fridays sandwiches, and clearly nobody cared much for the Hula Burger.

Yet, not a lot of people care for the Filet-O-Fish either, and McDonald’s even removed the Filet-O-Fish from its menus in the United States in 1996. Surprisingly, people complained, wrote letters and signed petitions, and McDonald’s brought back the Filet-O-Fish in 1998.

McDonald’s describes it’s Fish Sandwich like this: “Fresh from the deep, cold waters of Alaska’s Bering Sea, this light filet of Alaskan Pollock is all yours. Pure temptation on a lightly steamed bun, topped with processed cheddar cheese and tangy tartar sauce.”

How can you not be tempted by pure temptation?
And this is how it looked out of the box:


Bun. One half slice of processed cheese. Fried Breaded Fish Patty. Tartar sauce. Bun.

That’s it, folks. The Filet-O-Fish.

A pretty standard battered whitefish patty, very, very mild flavour. I thought the fish was surprinsingly flaky – I was expecting mushy. It could have more crunch, I’d say. I suppose they wanted their sandwich to be delicate, and light – such as it is. I’m not quite sure why they add cheese to this, and why they only add half a slice. I suppose a full slice could be overwhelming? The tartar sauce is nothing special, a little tangy. There wasn’t a lot of it, I suppose if there was more, it could be overwhelming? No lettuce, no onions, no pickles – I guess the vegetable here whatever pickle is in the tartar sauce. The buns were nice and fresh, fluffy and warm.

So all in all, not that bad.

So why does it have such bad rap? Why do you never see anyone ordering it? Why did I hide in the most obscure and isolated corner of the restaurant to eat it?

So many questions. So many mysteries.


  1. I love the Filet-O-Fish! Order it all the time!

  2. I love the filet-o-fish too. While I don’t order it all the time, I get it at least 1/3 of the time.

  3. Isaac Cockburn

    You should get it to the next level with bacon. Bold flavours.

  4. Ian Gillespie

    Can Waffleites (Wafflers?) expect a review of Ottawa’s 16 new food trucks?

  5. I do plan to try and review them, though I was unable to go to the launch

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