Fast Food Review: Filet-O-Fish from McDonald’s

The battle for fast food fish supremacy continues today with the leader of them all.  A classic that’s been around since 1962, the Filet-O-Fish from McDonald’s.

Filet-O-Fish from McDonald's (box)

While it’s true that a fish sandwich isn’t at the top of my list when I’m looking for a quick bite, I do recognize their importance in the industry.  You would figure that a place like McDonald’s, with their “Billions and Billions Served” claim, would step it up a notch with it’s offering.  We all know that McD’s isn’t known for the highest quality offerings yet still remains top dog.  Like it or not, they have brand recognition and still lead the pack.  To give McDonald’s credit, I have noticed positive changes in terms of quality (more than before anyways).  I think a lot of people just stick to what they’re used to for the most part and that has helped with it’s success.  McDonald’s is a place that most people grow up with if they are exposed to fast food as children.  I think the exposure is a top reason why McDonald’s remains #1 even with so many alternatives around these days.  I don’t frequent McDonald’s much at all and when I do I’ll usually go for the Fruit and Walnut Salad and a BBQ Grilled Chicken Snack Wrap.  

Filet-O-Fish from McDonald's

The last time I had a Filet-O-Fish was about 5 months ago and I recall it being pretty average, just like I remembered from years passed.  On my most recent purchase I noticed how small this sandwich has gotten.  Am I crazy or has this thing shrunk?  I’m 5 ft 11″ and 175lbs and felt like Shaquille O’Neal holding this sandwich.  It’s your standard battered whitefish patty, a half slice of processed cheese, a heap of tarter sauce with dill relish mixed in all on a steamed bun.  The fish patty is pretty simple and nothing too different than what you’d find in a frozen food section at a supermarket.  It is a breaded square patty that tastes decent and is pleasantly moist with a very subtle crunch. The slice of cheese seems like less than half a slice to me but that’s probably a good thing.  I’m not too keen on cheesy fish.  The tarter sauce is tangy and tasty and the bun is always soft and fresh.  At regular menu price of $3.09 it is among one of the worst values I’ve come across.  I swear this thing isn’t any bigger than the $1 McDouble.  It’s not filling at all for the sandwich alone.  If you have a big hunger, be prepared to order some extras.  All that being said, I enjoyed the Filet-O-Fish a lot more than the BK Big Fish from Burger King in the taste department.  I’ll give the Wendy’s Premium Fish Fillet the advantage in taste and size.  Please McDonald’s, I know the economy is bad but $3.09 for this sandwich alone is robbery.  I was pleased to see it offered at $1.19 for a limited time in the Washington DC Metro Area.  That special price will go away once Lent is over though.

Are my hands getting bigger or is the sandwich getting smaller?

Filet-O-Fish in hand

I hate to tell McDonald’s what is working and what’s not.  They are the fast food giants for a reason.  From a consumer standpoint that is completely open to the options around me, this goes under the “few and far between” category for me.  This sandwich has stood the test of time and it’s simple and successful.  Overall, the Filet-O-Fish is pretty average and would definitely be improved by being a better value.  We all know McDonald’s isn’t going to mess with the 40+ year classic taste.

  • Pros– I like the simple, soft steamed bun.  Tasty tarter sauce with pickle relish.  It’s a classic.
  • Cons– Terrible value.  Seems to be getting smaller.  Lower quality than Wendy’s Premium Fish Fillet Sandwich.

Filet-O-Fish Collage

Taste: 6.25/10

Value: 4.75/10

Grubbing on the G0: 7.50/10


GrubGrade: 6.00/10 (Average)

(Overall GrubGrade is not an average)

Price: $3.09

Nutrition Facts – Filet-O-Fish

Filet-O-Fish Nutrition Info



17 responses to “Fast Food Review: Filet-O-Fish from McDonald’s

  1. Recently had one (shared the 2/$1.00 with my husband) and it was as I remembered it. I hadn’t had one in at least 20 years, since I much prefer the Whaler…BK Big Fish, as far as fast food fish burgers go.

    I have to agree that the bun at McD is great. I will always remember my compulsion to pat it because they are so perfectly smooth and cute. The size factor over time doesn’t seem so drastic in comparision to the BK Big Fish though. That thing was a monster when I was a kid, and I know haven’t grown THAT much. What edges out the BK BF over FoF is the lettuce, for me.

    Even though it seems like wasteful packaging, I was impressed with the nutrition facts on the packaging.

  2. Take away the tarter sauce and cheese and this is actually one of the healthier fast food deals you can find. I’ll have to check it out!

  3. It’s been $3 for 2 for the past month here in nyc. They’ve always reminded me of the fish in school, that had the cheese already inside.

  4. Great review (haha on the Shaq reference). I’ve never tried one of these but wouldn’t mind one. I just never got by the weird feeling of eating fish at a fast food place.

    I think the Filet-O-Fish have a cult following just like the McRib and will always do good.

    This is spot on, “I think a lot of people just stick to what they’re used to for the most part and that has helped with it’s success. McDonald’s is a place that most people grow up with if they are exposed to fast food as children.” At least very true for me.

    I DO think McDonald’s is trying somewhat…look at the salad offerings, the chicken selects, the kid’s meals with the apple slices and the nutrition facts right on the packaging!

    I do find it hilarious though when people dump tons of Ranch dressing (mayonnaise; buttermilk) on top of their cheese and bacon topped salads and think they’re healthy. When will they learn?

  5. I don’t know…the idea of eating fast food fish has always freaked me out. If I go to McDick’s I’m for sure getting a burger, hand-down. Have you seen what they serve overseas, though? It’s crazy!

  6. Yeah, McDonald’s in other countries has some bizarre stuff. Anyone interested…check this out:

  7. Pretty much all fish served in restaurants has been frozen so no big deal eating it in a fast food place, probably a lot safer than chicken.

  8. Here’s a much more comprehensive list of strange McDonald’s menu items:

  9. I do not agree with the outcome of this review.

    The Filet-O-Fish is my most favorite menu in my view it still is the best deal at McDonald’s

    OK you can be unlucky. Like one time my bread was hard and then the time that the cheese was on top of my bun 😦 read about it here

    But for me the fish burger gets much higher points!

  10. They are sorta inconsistent – I’ve had some good and bad FoFs before. I have to agree that it’s the price that needs to stay around $1.50 or so instead of three bucks. The worst thing for me about it is the constant over-tartaring. I’ve often thought about telling them to go easy, but there are too many stories of “problem orders” resulting in a Spit-o-Fish sandwich in my neck ‘o the woods…

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  12. I dont have them very often here in the UK, kinda have to be in the mood!

    Never had a bad one though, but I hold the sauce or swap it for Maccy’s curry dip 😀

  13. this is the commercial they play in the DC area

  14. I don’t care for the fish filet, but I do love their tarter sauce for my french fries!

  15. I love this sandwich – but I always ask for it without cheese. Cheesy fish? Yuck. Thanks for the review.

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