Fish sandwiches in Alpharetta

Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday.

This week marks the beginning of the season of Lent. While I personally don’t observe this Christian tradition, many do and I respect that. Often those who participate abstain from eating meat on Fridays and of course Friday is the day we write about food here on Roots. So what happens if an observant, and hungry, Catholic stumbles upon our little blog on a Friday and reads about a juicy steak or delicious smoked barbecue? I don’t want to be responsible for breaking their Lenten penance!

rosa mia seared sole panini

Seared sole panani at Rosa Mia

Strangely enough fish doesn’t count as a meat for this Friday meal. So three years ago at this time we reviewed fish tacos. This week we’ll do fish sandwiches, one of my favorite lunches. There’s only one ground rule today – no farm-raised fish. Sorry tilapia, you’re a fish out of water in this article. Here are three choices that won’t leave that observant Catholic floundering.

Wade over to Rosa Mia in Johns Creek for their seared sole panini. Their menu touts it as a number one seller and I can see why. It’s a generous helping of pan-seared fish on pressed focaccia bread. Roasted red peppers also make an appearance as does a little, almost unnoticeable smear of pesto mayo. But the flavor of this flaky fish really shines through. The downside is its construction. Hard bread doesn’t work against a delicate fish filet. About half way through the sandwich it starts to disintegrate. It can also be a tad bit greasy. But don’t let this stop you from ordering Rosa Mia’s seared sole panini as it easily makes the medal podium today.

The fish sandwich isn’t on the regular menu at Wildflour on Windward Parkway, but they have it almost every day as a lunch special. And it’s hard to cast a net over this fish as the species changes everyday. One thing is for sure, chef Michael Fields uses only the best wild-caught fish in season. Recently it has been flounder, mahi-mahi, cobia and trout. Sometimes crustaceans scurry into their sammiches including scallops, shrimp and their popular crab cakes.

Whatever swimming critter they cook, fish sandwiches at Wildflour are always a winner. Occasionally they grill the fish which imparts a wonderful smokey flavor. Topped off with jalapeno lime sauce, this sandwich is terrific. And unlike most of Wildflour’s dainty lunchtime clientele, this sandwich is large and manly.

While certainly not large and substantial, South Main Kitchen‘s fish sandwich is far more refined. Downtown Alpharetta’s newest restaurant recently hooked this mahi-mahi sandwich onto their lunch menu and it’s decent.

I liked South Main’s chili lime sauce at the base of the bun. It’s a lot like Wildflour’s but with a little less heat. I only wish there was a tad bit more of it.

What I wanted less of was the pickled cabbage slaw on top. I liked its tartness and crunch for texture, but there was so much of it that it overpowered the delicate little fish underneath. And little should be emphasized. The piece of fish offered was pretty small, especially for the $14 price tag. It would have felt more at home on a slider bun.

Strangely enough the only thing generous here was their french fries. The plate was buried with their golden brown goodness. I was seriously impressed with these spuds, but that’s for another article. We’re fishing here.

There may be plenty of other fish in the sea, but these three shouldn’t disappoint. If you know of other sandwiches that are fishing for a complement, I’d love to hear about them. Leave me a comment.

12 Responses to “Fish sandwiches in Alpharetta”

  1. Ananth February 20, 2015 at 9:59 am #

    For a good pub style fried fish sandwich, I love Rick Tanners bar and grill in cumming/vickery. Especially paired up with one of their craft cherry street beers! Have a great weekend Rooters!

  2. John February 20, 2015 at 10:50 am #

    Not a sandwiches, but two of my favorite fish items are Grouper Gyro lunch special at Efendi and Barbaritos does fish every Friday as a protein.

  3. ATLTudor February 20, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

    Thanks for the article! As someone who only eats veggies and fish – and eats out several times a week in Alpharetta – I would like to see many more/better fish sandwich options served during both lunch and dinner. The “pickins-are-slim” if you’re looking for a sandwich that doesn’t feature some sort of meat or poultry!

    Salt Factory does have a tasty grilled salmon sandwich, although it’s only offered on the lunch menu.

  4. Liz February 20, 2015 at 4:43 pm #

    Thank you for not including farm-raised fish in your review, I try to only eat wild-caught fish. While I have not had Rosa Mia’s sole sandwich, their sole dinner entrée is the bomb!

  5. Marcus Oh February 23, 2015 at 8:45 am #

    How about Fry Me 2 the Moon? I was a bit surprised to find it wasn’t just fried food. You might want to check it out next Friday if you haven’t been yet.

  6. S Lee Guy February 24, 2015 at 9:45 am #

    @Marcus – I reviewed (with tongue firmly in cheek) Fry Me 2 The Moon shortly after they opened. If I’m not mistaken they are using basa in a lot of their dishes and probably in a sandwich. It’s a farmed fish from southeast Asia. No thanks.

  7. Marcus Oh February 24, 2015 at 10:54 am #

    I had the cod. I wasn’t familiar w/ what basa was so I avoided it. I heard the owner telling one of his customers that they should try the basa they next time they come in, indicating they’d really like it.

    Found it interesting after doing some research that basa fish is basically a catfish. It’s a concern for domestic catfish producers since it’s cheaper and according to some blind tests, taste better by 3:1. The interesting thing is, it was one of the more expensive items on the menu. Cheaper? Expensive? Weird. Hopefully the high price tag means they didn’t actually give me basa instead of cod.

    Anyway, it is a farmed fish, but not the traditional pens that we might consider farming here as they are river fish that might favor strong currents. Since the water doesn’t stay stagnate, the impurities are moved along resulting in a better taste. Of course, this still isn’t natural habitat farming since they’re “caged.”

    I prefer a wild, of course, all things being equal. If I had to eat something farmed, I think I might prefer it farmed like this.

  8. Alex February 24, 2015 at 11:39 am #

    You should check the Fish Sandwich at Spice Afro Caribbean. It a lightly battered Tilipia on Coco Bread. Just the thought of it make my mouth water.

  9. Greg February 25, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

    I’m not completely understanding the “no farmed fish” thing. What about farmed beef, chicken, pork, lamb, turkey, etc.? Not to mention farmed carrots, lettuce, mushrooms, corn, and such? Is there a reason to exclude just fish?

  10. Travis Allen February 27, 2015 at 8:22 am #

    I’m with Greg…I could care less if it was farmed.

    I’ll go with taste, and I’ll avoid tilapia, the McDonald’s beef of fish.

  11. Cool Papa Bell February 27, 2015 at 12:33 pm #

    Travis and Greg are right. Fry Me to the Moon is not bad for the price. However, I have not had the fish sandwich at the three places mentioned, all three are good restaurants so they probably have good fish as well.

  12. Nate March 2, 2015 at 10:16 am #

    “Farmed fish” are hit and miss for flavor, it depends on what they are fed as to how they taste. I know from growing up on a lake and eating lots of fresh fish that there is a difference sometimes in flavor between farm raised and wild. There is evidence that some banned chemicals — including antibiotics and fungal treatments (nitrofurans and malachite green) — are still used in Chinese tilapia production.

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image

Switch to our mobile site