5 Fantastic Fish Fries You Have to Try

It’s not just a Friday night tradition in these parts, but the foundation of some of the most satisfying food comas.


1. Erv’s Mug

130 W. RYAN RD., OAK CREEK | 414-762-5010

Beer aficionados and fry lovers mix and mingle here over two things – craft beer and the bar’s beer-battered lake perch, which has a golden, crackly shell protecting the tender fish. With it comes a choice of potatoes (the fries are crisp and good), coleslaw, rye bread and tartar sauce. $19. 

2. The Farmstead

W62 N238 WASHINGTON AVE., CEDARBURG | 262-375-2655

Flaky, firm and yet delicate at the same time, bluegill is a hard-to-find fry treat. And here, you get a half-pound of these small filets coated in a wispy breading that keeps the fish as the centerpiece. It comes with soup or salad, hand-cut fries, coleslaw and rye bread. $17; served Wed and Fri.

3. Palomino

2491 S. SUPERIOR ST. | 414-747-1007

I like everything about this fry – the mild, meaty haddock covered in a tantalizingly crunchy Pabst Blue Ribbon beer batter, the tender-crisp, skin-on fries, sweet slaw, grilled lemon, tartar sauce and fluffy, moist cornbread. $17. 

4. The Packing House

900 E. LAYTON AVE. | 414-483-5054

A dependable fry featuring meaty, breaded cod filets, coleslaw, tender rye bread, tangy homemade tartar sauce and either fries or (the better bet) golden, crisp potato pancakes. $15 cash-only drive-thru; $17 dining room, includes clam chowder. 

5. Tess

2499 N. BARTLETT AVE. | 414-964-8377

The intimate East Side bistro has two options – panko-breaded perch and tempura-battered tilapia – and I highly recommend the former. The fish is delicate yet firm and encased in the light, crispy panko. A clean flavor, not fishy at all. The sides are great, too – an Asian-inspired coleslaw, crisp, pillowy sweet potato fries and good marble rye. $18. 


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This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s December issue.

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Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.