My first after-school job was cleaning up fish guts out the back of the local seafood shop – which is ironic because I had a white-hot hatred of seafood at the time. But after three years working for the shop’s Greek owners (who spent months trying to “cure” me by throwing hot-battered flathead in my direction like I was a seal at the zoo), I now love fish in all its forms.

And ever since Josh Niland slid a tranche of crumbed garfish between two soft-white slices, I’ve been obsessed with fish sandwiches. It turns out I’m not alone – a school of top Sydney chefs have been dipping their toes back into the genre recently.

“I love fish sandwiches. Or seafood sandwiches in general,” says Love Tilly group’s Scott McComas-Williams, who counts eating bocadillos de calamares in Madrid as one of his favourite food memories. The exec chef’s OG Darlo wine bar serves a guindilla-spiked sanga with shredded cos and Kewpie for just $8 during happy hour.

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“We use a lot of oilier fish types in the group. Mackerel, sardines, anchovies, etc. I think they make the best filler for an excellent fish sandwich. Particularly when crumbed and fried to order, jammed inside some fresh white sandwich bread. Tip Top, of course.”

Over the hill at Bar Copains, owner-chef Nathan Sasi prefers King George whiting (or “KGW”) between Wonder White slices for the bar’s superlative sammie.

“The secret is in its name, it wears the crown for good reasons,” Sasi tells Broadsheet. “It’s a soft, sweet-fleshed fish that, when freshly crumbed and fried, really holds its own in a sandwich, where other fish might get lost among the other flavours.”

Sasi says there are two more pillars that make the holy trinity for him: “[The bread] must be the toast variety, which is a little thicker than the sandwich variety. And finally, a tartare sauce that is made with fresh ingredients. Not the jar variety, which is as far removed from real tartare sauce as you can get.”

Swillhouse’s Isobel Whelan-Little – who now oversees the kitchens at both Caterpillar Club and Alberto’s Lounge – is also a card-carrying fan of the fishwich.

“Fish sandwiches have really popped off – they’re everywhere. And the Le Foote fish sandwich is so good,” she says, with love for the white bread manoeuvre. “It can’t be on anything else – with the crusts cut off. The crusts have to be cut off, which Le Foote does. I think it’s cute how it comes cut in half, but you have a whole fish fillet in there.”

All these examples stick to one lane, but the genre zags depending on where you look. We also love the conservas and potato chip sandwich at Continental Deli; the fish finger sandwich at the Duke of Clarence; and the beetroot-stacked number at Splash. Honourable mention goes to Khan Nguyen’s fish finger bao at King Clarence, an Instagrammable pillow stuffed with canary-yellow cheese and salmon caviar.

Looking for more sandwich inspo? Check out our guides to the best sandwiches in Sydney.