8 good places to find delicious fried fish for Lent: Mimi’s choices
Where do you find the best crispy fried fish – whether in a sandwich or as a starter – in central Pennsylvania? Check out these restaurants, diners and cafes.
Fish fries are centuries-old traditions in many communities, especially during the Lent season, as various Christian denominations refrain from eating meat. Whether you follow the custom or not, here are some delicious fried fish dishes that will get you hooked.
6108 Carlisle Pike, Mechanicsburg, 717-458-8105
This favorite Carlisle Pike eatery has a heartwarming American menu with dishes ranging from their Garlic, Cheese, and Garlic French Bread ($ 7) to Blackened Chicken Alfredo ($ 13 / $ 18) and Rib beef au jus ($ 26). The name here actually implies “Come as you are, whether it’s a black tie or a blue collar”. And indeed, diners show up for curbside pickup or indoor dining in whatever they’re comfortable zooming in.
The pesto mayonnaise adds a herbal richness slipped over Texas toast for the grilled salmon BLT ($ 12) Lightly sprinkled and browned fresh haddock, tomato, lettuce and creamy citrus sauce under a solid bun make a delicious sandwich to taste. Be sure to order a short-style side dish, crispy fried onion rings.
81 Main Street, Quentin, 717-272-4700
This century’s historic red-brick mansion is a well-established neighborhood haunt. For now, the menu has remained the same since the restaurant changed hands in August 2020, but expect a tidy new interior as construction ends later this year.
Bought by Funck brothers Matt and Alan (they also own Funck restaurants and the Rising Sun Kitchen & Bar in Campbelltown), the place is sure to leap up once the restaurant’s mandates grow to 100% capacity. Open to 50% of indoor businesses and offering take-out meals, vacillating sandwiches are particularly popular. Baked in citrus butter and lightly sprinkled with seasonings, the haddock is stuffed in a sub-roll (Dock of the Bay $ 15.99) with crab meat, chopped lettuce and red onion . The Faroe Islands Grilled Salmon Wrap ($ 16.99) and Yuengling Breaded Haddock Sandwich ($ 15.99) are also great choices.
1104 Carlisle Road, Lower Allen Township, 717 412-7302
This unique soul food restaurant can be found at the old Cru Pizza & Deli, in the shops of Cedar Cliff. “We get a lot of support from black, white and Asian communities. It’s like a rainbow here. While we are above the water we continue to walk, ”said owner Joe Hobbs.
Nothing comes out of a box here. Everything is homemade, from puffs and macaroni and cheese to sweet potato pies, banana pudding cakes and peach cobbler. Joe’s brother Tony Hobbs makes all of the store’s baked goods, including the lemon or strawberry Bundt cake slices. Barbecued turkey wings ($ 18.50), southern oxtails ($ 21.75) and seasoned baked chicken wedges with a two-sided star ($ 11) on the menu.
For fish fry, choose from catfish ($ 10.50), flounder ($ 10.75), and whiting ($ 11.99). A generous portion of boneless, seasoned catfish is delicately breaded and fried. Try the fish with a side of fresh, hand-chopped, steamed collard greens and a scoop of Pepper and Cheese Mac n cheese.
1037 Paxton Street, Harrisburg, (717) 236-2719
Founded in 1980 by Doug and Debbie Krick, their son, Chef Dougie, took over in the kitchen. Featured in the Food Network series “Restaurant Impossible”, the place got a second chance to woo the declining audience. The relaxed, updated main dining room and streamlined menu rekindled customers’ love for this family-friendly steak-focused menu.
The famous oven-baked onion soup ($ 6) and grilled fillet tips with mushrooms ($ 14) are house favorites. The restaurant also offers one of the best fish sandwiches in the region. The hoppy, subtle flavor of mild ale permeates fried cod in a golden batter nestled in a toasted brioche bun ($ 9) and served with a homemade tartar sauce and seasoned fries.
2151 S. Queen St, York, 717-900-1996
I recently spent quite a bit of time in the Primanti Bros. women’s washroom.
The walls feature framed photos of all of Hollywood’s sexiest dudes with and without their shirts. But don’t let me distracted. I was here for their awesome and totally huge sandwiches. The “fat” abounds here. You have to have a mouth that opens wide to take any type of bite from these tottering sandwiches. A slice of soft, chewy Italian bread is three times more puffy than a regular white bread.
The Colossal Fish and Cheese ($ 9.79) takes two hands to curl up tightly to eat. Pollack is the super meaty white fish that is wrapped in a crispy, fried flaky crust. Sliced tomatoes, fries and a cole slaw drizzled with vinegar pile up on the long fish that protrudes at each end between the big Italian slices.
1104 Carlisle Road, Camp Hill, 717-307-9075 or 717-307-9070
This recently opened low-key restaurant, hidden away at Cedar Cliff Mall, is located in the former Cliff’s Tavern & The Underground Live (and before Gullifty’s). The full menu has no shortage of breakfast options: assorted omelets and drafts ($ 9.99 to $ 10.99), large egg cookie and gravy ($ 9.99), avocado toast thick grains ($ 9.99) and brioche French toast ($ 10.99) and Belgian waffles ($ 10.99). Gourmet sandwiches are served with fresh cut fries, a fresh house coleslaw and a pickle. The Big Bob Fish Sandwich ($ 10.99) features a generous serving of haddock and lettuce, tomato, and Yuengling’s homemade tartar sauce under a toasted brioche bun.
215 N. 2nd Street, Harrisburg, 717-236-2599
In the heart of downtown Harrisburg, Café Fresco beats at two different rates when not in a pandemic. Fast-paced, sit down early in the morning and the lunch setting creeps into a cool, slow groove vibe as the lights go down and waiters emerge for dinner and the bar crowd late into the night. The American menu offers choices of sandwiches and pizzas, but also appetizers and salads with Asian accents, modified Chinese entrees, noodle and rice dishes. For lunch, fried golden haddock slips under a toasted brioche bun ($ 10) and this fish sandwich is served with fries.
449 S. Front St. Wormleysburg 717-730-4443.
Rebuilt after the July 2018 fire, the impressive interior features a lodge-style wood-accented vibe and an open-air theme. The huge rectangular bar counter with seating for two dozen is vacant right now due to the pandemic, but diners are sitting in remote booths safely throughout the restaurant. Guests are amazed by the view of the Susquehanna and the plentiful and generous American menu.
The Yuengling Beer Breaded Fried Fish Sandwich ($ 10.95) is as big and juicy as anything else made here. Even the onion rings ($ 8.95) are oversized, sliced into thick slices, then hand breaded and fried. New Orleans remoulade sauce goes well with both.