I’m going to be honest with you: I have not tasted every fish sandwich in Bermuda. However, I have had many a fish sandwich over the course of my life and this is easily the fairest of them all. (I’m open to pushback here, but I doubt anyone will prove me wrong).
The best part about this best-ever fish sandwich from Art Mel’s Spicy Dicy, is that it comes from a non-descript hole-in-the-wall joint on a non-descript street in a candy-colored residential neighborhood, and if you didn’t know it was there, you might miss it. It’s tiny, there are no seats inside and you order from a counter and get your sandwich wrapped in foil and paper bagged.
Fish sandwiches are a thing in Bermuda. It’s a menu staple and everyone has their own version, from low-key roadside bites to gourmet-ized types. If you’re a traveler, then you know by now that the smaller, less fancy the place, quite often, the better the food.
The Art Mel’s sandwich seems pretty straight forward: it’s just hot, fresh, perfectly seasoned fried fish with tartar sauce, hot sauce if you want it and coleslaw if you like (I tried with and without coleslaw and preferred it without), sandwiched between two slices of toasted homemade raisin bread. But it’s the way all those flavors play together to create magic in your mouth with each bite that makes Art Mel’s the best fish sandwich in Bermuda, and the best fish sandwich of my life.
People will try to tell you the sandwich is soooo big and should be shared, but don’t listen to them. The sandwich is big, yes. But I promise you don’t want to share. And if you do, you’ll be mad at every bite the person you’re sharing with takes. Don’t do that to yourself. Eat. the. whole. thing.
Put it to you this way, every time we told a local we had just been to Art Mel’s they all had the exact same reaction: Ooh Art Mel’s, oh man I haven’t been there in a little while. Now you made me want one. I’m going to have to go this week. When locals all get the same warm glow and salivating look when you bring up an eatery, you have to know it’s good. That’s why people who love Art Mel’s have been upgraded from just fans to disciples.
One other thing. In keeping with Bermudian tradition, a fish sandwich should be washed down with a ginger beer for the full effect.
I know I say this a lot (and those of you who follow this blog should know that I really, really love food) but I would travel back to Bermuda just to eat this sandwich. It just has that way of calling you, pulling you, making you come up with legitimate reasons to be back in Bermuda so that you can also happen to stop by Art Mel’s for a sandwich.
Bermuda is tiny, so if you’re going to miss this when you go, you might as well stay home.