I just had to have a fish sandwich, and I could see what I wanted in my mind’s eye. We were driving to Pensacola, Florida, fleeing the bitter cold, in January, 2024. A quick google search for “best fish sandwich Pensacola” had The Fishing Hole as the first listing.
When we finally saw the restaurant, I was really close to asking Steven to just keep driving. It’s in a strip mall and it has the words “fish sandwich” (among others) painted on the front window. It is nowhere near the usual tourist haunts and I could not image who would be eating in such a place. But, I’m used to disappointing Steven with my food choices, so I just stayed quiet and in we went.
Inside, it was cozy and well appointed, with nice, soft lighting even though outside there was blazing Florida sun. It was fairly busy, with most tables occupied with, surprisingly, folks who looked like they were having business lunches. Busy as it was, the staff seemed genuinely glad to see us – we had two waitresses who were very attentive. We both got Arnold Palmers, and I barely had to look at the menu before telling Mia that I wanted a grilled Mahi Mahi sandwich, hold the cheese, with a side of butter beans (I call them limas) and an extra side of hush puppies. Steven had the same (with cheese) and a side of coleslaw. We really could have gone for any sort of seafood , as the lunch menu was quite full (but, I was on a mission) and it all looked great.
The sandwich was divine. The fish was cooked perfectly, the tartar sauce was tangy and delicious, and it was served with sliced red onion (hooray!), tomato and lettuce. The fish fit the bun and I ate it with my hands, the way God intended. I made Steven taste my limas to confirm that they were seasoned just right (he did) and the hush puppies were large and not too dense and in every aspect exactly as they should be. They never let us run out of Arnold Palmer.
I can’t wait to come back to Pensacola when it gets cold again to try whatever seafood I am craving that day at The Fishing Hole.
Melanie and Steven