Sardines: the cool new fish swimming onto NYC menus

Diners are used to seeing salmon and tuna on menus, but there’s a new popular fish in town: sardines.

Though the word usually conjures images of oily little fellas in retro tins, several restaurants are sourcing fresh sardines and complementing their naturally mild but bright taste with equally fresh ingredients like herbs and vegetables, rustic bread and creamy butter.

“People like sardines a lot more than I thought they did,” said French Louie co-owner Doug Crowell, who has a smoked sardines dish on the menu. “Growing up, one of my favorite snack was always canned sardines on Triscuits. It turns out I’m not the only sardine lover out there.”

Fish is one of the healthiest foods you can eat too, thanks to all those omega-3 fatty acids, which are “known to promote heart health by lowering blood pressure and decreasing the risk for heart attack or stroke,” said Daniela Neman, a senior dietitian at Mount Sinai Hospital. “They also promote healthy brain function.”

And while omega-3s are found in all fish, fatty fish like sardines are an especially good source of the nutrient, said Neman.

“Because sardines are a smaller fish, they carry less contaminants like mercury, making them safe to eat more often — even up to two to three times per week,” said Neman.

With that incentive in mind, dig in to these five sardine dishes from around the city: