Over the years, I've tried catfish at countless restaurants and have narrowed it down to the top 12 contenders. From classic Southern-style fried catfish to unique fusions with other cuisines, there's something for everyone on this list.

So grab a fork (or maybe just use your fingers) and come along as I take you on a tour of the best catfish in Chicago!

Hagen's Fish Market

Hagen's Fish Market
🗺️ 5635 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60634
☎️ 773-283-1944
🌐 Website
Sunday: 10 AM–8 PM
Monday: 10 AM–8 PM
Tuesday: 10 AM–8 PM
Wednesday: 10 AM–8 PM
Thursday: 10 AM–8 PM
Friday: 10 AM–10 PM
Saturday: 10 AM–10 PM
Best seafood
Fresh variety
Prepared to order
A la carte menu

When I first walked into Hagen's, the first thing that caught my eye was the display of fresh seafood. From shrimp to oysters to my beloved catfish, the variety was impressive. But I came for the catfish and boy, did they deliver! The catfish was prepared to order and served piping hot with a crispy golden crust. It was clear that only the freshest ingredients were used in the preparation.

One of the things I love about Hagen's is that it is a family-owned market, which adds a personal touch to everything they do. They are experts in their field and it shows in how well they prepare their dishes.

The a la carte menu also allows you to customize your meal according to your preferences. Whether you want a side of hushpuppies or coleslaw with your catfish, they've got you covered.

Overall, if you're looking for some of the best catfish in Chicago, look no further than Hagen's Fish Market. Their commitment to using fresh ingredients and preparing their dishes with care sets them apart from other seafood restaurants in town. Trust me, once you try their catfish, you'll never settle for anything less!

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Two Fish Crab Shack

Two Fish Crab Shack
🗺️ 641 E 47th St, Chicago, IL 60653
☎️ 773-855-8845
🌐 Website
Sunday: 1–6 PM
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 1–9 PM
Wednesday: 1–9 PM
Thursday: 1–9 PM
Friday: 1–9 PM
Saturday: 1–9 PM
Seafood Boil
Fried Lobster Tail
Attentive and Efficient Service
Delicious Catfish
Challenging Parking

First off, let me just say that Two Fish Crab Shack's seafood boil was a game changer. The blend of spices and sauces made my taste buds dance with delight. And don't even get me started on their fried lobster tail! It was so succulent and buttery, it almost made me forget about the catfish. Almost.

Speaking of catfish, I have to say that Two Fish Crab Shack did not disappoint in this category either. Their catfish was cooked to perfection - crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. It was clear that they used only the freshest ingredients in all their dishes.

One thing that stood out to me during my visit was their attentive and efficient service. Despite being busy, the staff made sure every customer felt welcomed and taken care of. However, be warned: parking around here can be quite challenging. So try to arrive early or take public transportation if possible.

Overall, Two Fish Crab Shack is definitely worth checking out if you're looking for a seafood restaurant in Chicago that offers delicious catfish as well as other mouthwatering dishes like their seafood boil and fried lobster tail. Just make sure you plan ahead for parking!

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Red Snapper Madison

Red Snapper Madison
🗺️ 5255 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60644
☎️ 773-287-6666
🌐 Website
Sunday: 8 AM–12 AM
Monday: 8 AM–12 AM
Tuesday: 8 AM–12 AM
Wednesday: 8 AM–12 AM
Thursday: 8 AM–12 AM
Friday: 8 AM–2 AM
Saturday: 8 AM–2 AM
Excellent food
Great service
Cool atmosphere
Recommended dishes

First of all, let me say that the food at Red Snapper Madison is excellent. Their catfish is cooked to perfection - crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. It's clear that they use fresh ingredients and take pride in their dishes.

The service is also top-notch. The staff is friendly and attentive, making sure you have everything you need for a great dining experience. They even gave me some tips on how to make my own catfish at home!

The atmosphere at Red Snapper Madison is also worth mentioning. The restaurant has a cool vibe with its unique decor and comfortable seating. It's the perfect spot for a casual dinner with friends or even a date night.

As for recommended dishes, I highly suggest trying their catfish po' boy sandwich or the catfish dinner with mac and cheese on the side - both were absolutely delicious.

Overall, I had a fantastic experience at Red Snapper Madison and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for some of the best catfish in Chicago!

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J J Fish on Kedzie

J J Fish on Kedzie
🗺️ 411 S Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60612
☎️ 773-265-1577
🌐 Website
Sunday: 11 AM–11 PM
Monday: 10 AM–12 AM
Tuesday: 10 AM–12 AM
Wednesday: 10 AM–12 AM
Thursday: 10 AM–12 AM
Friday: 10 AM–12 AM
Saturday: 10 AM–12 AM
Great seafood
Excellent service
Clean establishment

As soon as I walked into J J Fish, I was immediately impressed with the cleanliness of the establishment. The staff was incredibly welcoming and their service was exceptional throughout my visit.

Now, let's talk about the star of the show: the catfish! Let me just say, it was outstanding. The batter had a perfect crunch, while still allowing for the flavor of the fish to shine through. The seasoning was spot on, with just the right amount of spice to give it a kick without overwhelming your taste buds.

In addition to their amazing catfish, J J Fish also offers an impressive selection of other seafood dishes. From shrimp to crab legs, there's something for everyone here.

Overall, I would highly recommend visiting J J Fish on Kedzie if you're in search of some top-notch seafood. Their great food and excellent service definitely make them stand out from other restaurants in Chicago.

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Ina Mae

Ina Mae
🗺️ 1415 N Wood St, Chicago, IL 60622
☎️ 773-360-8320
🌐 Website
Sunday: 11 AM–10 PM
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 4–11 PM
Wednesday: 4–11 PM
Thursday: 4–11 PM
Friday: 4 PM–2 AM
Saturday: 11 AM–2 AM
Best gumbo
Large portions
Butter biscuits
Live music

First off, let me just say that Ina Mae has some of the best gumbo I've ever tasted. The flavors were perfectly balanced and it had just the right amount of heat to make my taste buds dance with joy.

When it comes to the catfish, Ina Mae did not disappoint. The portions were so large that I couldn't finish my plate - and trust me, I can eat a lot. The catfish itself was crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, which is exactly what you want in a good piece of catfish.

But what really stole the show for me were the butter biscuits. These babies were flaky, buttery, and downright addictive. I could have eaten an entire basket by myself!

To top it all off, Ina Mae offers live music which created a lively atmosphere that was perfect for a night out with friends or family.

Overall, I highly recommend Ina Mae for anyone looking for delicious catfish and authentic southern cuisine in Chicago. Whether you're a local or just visiting, this place should definitely be on your list.

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Troha's Chicken & Shrimp House

Troha's Chicken & Shrimp House
🗺️ 4151 W 26th St, Chicago, IL 60623
☎️ 773-521-7847
🌐 Website
Sunday: 11 AM–8 PM
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 11 AM–8 PM
Wednesday: 11 AM–8 PM
Thursday: 11 AM–8 PM
Friday: 11 AM–8 PM
Saturday: 11 AM–8 PM
Great taste
Juicy pieces
Chicago's Best show
Amazing shrimp
Traditional spot

First of all, let me tell you that this place is not just about catfish. The shrimp here is absolutely amazing and deserves a shoutout. But let's talk about the catfish.

The taste was out of this world! Troha's has a unique blend of spices that make their catfish stand out from the rest. Each piece was so juicy, it practically melted in my mouth. I'm pretty sure Chicago's Best show would agree with me on that!

I must say, Troha's is quite the traditional spot. It does not have a fancy décor or anything like that but who cares when the food is this good? It had an old-school vibe which added to the authenticity of the experience.

Overall, I'd strongly recommend visiting Troha's Chicken & Shrimp House if you are looking for amazing catfish or shrimp. The taste will leave you wanting more and the traditional feel will take you back in time. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you later!

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Lawrence's Fish & Shrimp

Lawrence's Fish & Shrimp
🗺️ 2120 S Canal St, Chicago, IL 60616
☎️ 312-225-2113
🌐 Website
Sunday: Open 24 hours
Monday: Open 24 hours
Tuesday: Open 24 hours
Wednesday: Open 24 hours
Thursday: Open 24 hours
Friday: Open 24 hours
Saturday: Open 24 hours
Fresh seafood
Decent pricing
Quick cooking
House-made sauce
Outdoor dining

First off, let me just say that the catfish at Lawrence's Fish & Shrimp is fresh and cooked to perfection. It's crispy on the outside but tender on the inside which is exactly how I like it. Not to mention, their prices are decent for the amount of food you get.

If you're in a rush, this place is perfect for you! The cooking process is super quick so you won't have to wait long. But if you have some time to spare, I suggest taking advantage of their outdoor dining area which provides a great atmosphere to enjoy your meal.

One thing that really stood out to me was their house-made sauce. It's got a tangy kick that pairs perfectly with the catfish. It's definitely worth trying!

Overall, Lawrence's Fish & Shrimp is a great option for those looking for some delicious catfish in Chicago. With fresh seafood, decent pricing, quick cooking and outdoor dining options - what more could you ask for? Don't forget to try their house-made sauce too!

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Snappy's Shrimp

Snappy's Shrimp
🗺️ 1901 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60613
☎️ 773-244-1008
🌐 Website
Sunday: Closed
Monday: 11 AM–10 PM
Tuesday: 11 AM–10 PM
Wednesday: 11 AM–10 PM
Thursday: 11 AM–10 PM
Friday: 11 AM–10 PM
Saturday: 11 AM–10 PM
Local ownership
Fresh, flavorful shrimp
Fair prices
Vegetarian options

First off, I was pleased to find out that Snappy's Shrimp is locally owned, which shows the care they put into their food. The star of the show here, however, is not the catfish but the fresh and flavorful shrimp. They have a variety of options to choose from such as garlic butter or Cajun seasoning that will make your taste buds dance with joy.

I also appreciated that they offer fair prices for their seafood delights which makes it accessible for everyone to enjoy. While this is a seafood spot, they even have vegetarian options available so even your non-seafood loving friends can come along and still be satisfied.

The atmosphere is casual and kid-friendly making Snappy's Shrimp a perfect spot for families and groups to gather together for some tasty bites.

Overall, if you're looking for some top-notch shrimp in Chicago, look no further than Snappy's Shrimp. It may not be solely focused on catfish but it sure knows how to cook up some delicious seafood dishes!

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Goose Island Shrimp House

Goose Island Shrimp House
🗺️ 1011 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60642
☎️ 312-642-3640
🌐 Website
Sunday: Closed
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 11 AM–7 PM
Wednesday: 11 AM–7 PM
Thursday: 11 AM–7 PM
Friday: 11 AM–7 PM
Saturday: 11 AM–7 PM
Delicious scallops and catfish
Fish is always worth it
Phone in orders suggested
Credit cards now accepted

First of all, let me tell you that the catfish at Goose Island Shrimp House is definitely worth trying. The fish is always fresh and cooked to perfection. But, what really stood out to me were the delicious scallops. They were so good that I almost forgot I was there for catfish!

I have to admit, ordering over the phone was a bit of a hassle but it's worth it because they get pretty busy during peak hours. Plus, with credit cards now accepted, payment is much easier.

Overall, Goose Island Shrimp House is a great spot for seafood lovers in Chicago. The only downside is that parking can be a bit difficult in the area so be prepared to walk a little bit.

If you're looking for some tasty catfish and amazing scallops, then Goose Island Shrimp House is definitely worth checking out!

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Duwell Fish Co

Duwell Fish Co
🗺️ 617 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60624
☎️ 773-826-9666
Sunday: Closed
Monday: 9 AM–5:30 PM
Tuesday: 9 AM–5:30 PM
Wednesday: 9 AM–5:30 PM
Thursday: 9 AM–6 PM
Friday: 8 AM–6 PM
Saturday: 8 AM–5:30 PM
5-star customer service
Best fish batter ever
Fresh fish available on site

First of all, let me just say that the customer service at Duwell Fish Co is outstanding. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable, making sure I had everything I needed to enjoy my meal.

Now, let's talk about the star of the show: the catfish! Duwell Fish Co has hands down the best fish batter I've ever tasted. It had just the right amount of crunch and flavor without being too heavy. And let me tell you, this catfish was fresh. They have a great selection available on site which means you can't go wrong with any choice you make.

What really sets Duwell Fish Co apart from other places in Chicago is their attention to detail when it comes to preparing their dishes. Every bite of catfish was cooked to perfection and seasoned flawlessly.

Overall, if you're looking for a top-notch catfish experience in Chicago, look no further than Duwell Fish Co. The combination of delicious food and exceptional customer service makes this place a must-visit for any seafood lover like myself.

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Calumet Fisheries

Calumet Fisheries
🗺️ 3259 E 95th St, Chicago, IL 60617
☎️ 773-933-9855
🌐 Website
Sunday: 10 AM–9:45 PM
Monday: 10 AM–9:45 PM
Tuesday: 10 AM–9:45 PM
Wednesday: 10 AM–9:45 PM
Thursday: 9 AM–9:30 PM
Friday: 9 AM–9:45 PM
Saturday: 9 AM–9:45 PM
Delicious smoked fish
Exceptional service
Limited seating
Cash only
Worth the journey

Firstly, let me tell you that their smoked catfish is out of this world! The fish is cooked to perfection and the flavor is absolutely amazing. I can confidently say that it's one of the best smoked catfish I've ever had in Chicago.

Apart from the delicious food, the service at Calumet Fisheries is exceptional. The staff are friendly and accommodating, making sure that every customer feels welcome and satisfied.

One thing to note is that seating is quite limited, so be prepared to wait or take your food to go. But trust me, it's worth the journey.

Oh, and don't forget to bring cash because they don't accept credit cards. But hey, it adds a little bit of an old-school charm to the experience.

Overall, I highly recommend Calumet Fisheries for anyone looking for some seriously good smoked catfish in Chicago. Trust me, you won't be disappointed - just make sure you bring cash!

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Whale Fish & Chicken

Whale Fish & Chicken
🗺️ 4955 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60644
☎️ 773-921-0889
Sunday: 10 AM–4 AM
Monday: 10 AM–4 AM
Tuesday: 10 AM–4 AM
Wednesday: 10 AM–4 AM
Thursday: 10 AM–4 AM
Friday: 10 AM–4 AM
Saturday: 10 AM–4 AM
Fresh fried fish and chicken
Great fries
Affordable prices
Good service

Firstly, I was impressed with the freshness of their fried catfish. The moment I took a bite, I could taste the quality of the fish. The crispy exterior and tender meat made for an exquisite pairing. Not to mention they also serve fantastic chicken that is just as fresh and delicious.

The fries were also a standout feature at Whale Fish & Chicken, with a nice balance of salt and crispiness. They added extra oomph to my meal.

Now let's talk about the prices - they're affordable. For a satisfying meal, it won't cost you an arm and leg. It's great to have found such a place that offers quality food at reasonable prices.

The service was good too - friendly and attentive staff made me feel welcomed and comfortable.

Overall, I highly recommend Whale Fish & Chicken to anyone looking for some top-quality catfish in Chicago. Their freshness, affordability, great fries, and good service make them stand out from the crowd.

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Alex Irvin

Alex enthusiastically explores her hometown of Chicago with an adventurous spirit and a pen in hand. As a freelance writer, Alex specializes in reviewing places in and around the city. From restaurants to theaters, Alex brings attention to interesting finds throughout the area. Along with her reviews, Alex writes articles on Chicago's neighborhoods, engaging events, and her own travel stories. When Alex can't be found behind a computer, you'll find her sampling the newest restaurant, attending a play or strolling around the city.