Cuisine experience number one in Wisconsin is a Friday-night fish fry. Its exact origins are unknown, but it’s certainly no coincidence that in a state contiguous to two Great Lakes, featuring 15,000 glacial pools, and undergoing waves of Catholic immigration (Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent), people would specialize in a Friday-night fish-eating outing.
Fish fries are myriad — it’s so popular that even the local fast-food restaurants have them; the American Serbian Hall serves 2,500 people at a drive-through; Chinese, Mexican, and other ethnic restaurants get in on the act; and even Miller Park has fish fries at Friday Brewers  games.
Everybody has an opinion on who has the best fish fry, but, truthfully, how many ways can you deep-fry a perch (or one of the other species variants — haddock, walleye pike, and cod)? (You can find broiled options at time.) I've always preferred church basements.
Generally set up as smorgasbords (sometimes including platefuls of chicken, too), the gluttonous feasts are served with slatherings of homemade tartar sauce and a relish tray or salad bar. The truly classic fish-fry joints are packed to the rafters by 5:30 p.m. — and some even have century-old planks and hall-style seating.
Consider yourself truly blessed if you get to experience a smelt fry. This longtime tavern tradition has pretty much disappeared; in the old days, smelt — milk-dipped, battered, and even pickled — were the thing.
A few of my favorite fish fry restaurants in Milwaukee include Turner Hall  in downtown, American Serbian Hall  to the south, and Tanner Paull Restaurant  to the west. The Classic Wisconsin website  maintains a list (and reviews) of fish fries throughout the state.