There are so many raw fish eaters here, so I figured, despite the fact that you're mostly non-Japanese (or entirely), you all probably know about fresh fish.
My mom's been buying her sashimi at Marukai in West Covina, and it sucks. Prior to that, she'd been buying at Tozai (near home, in Rosemead; often just okay) and Pacific Supermarket (far away, in Gardena; it's usually good). But, lately, it's been Marukai, and they suck.
So, we need to explore our options. Is there a fish buying resource online that we could use to plan out some buying trips? Are there stores that are known to have good raw fish at reasonable prices? Do the restaurants end up getting all the good stuff before it hits the markets?
I work in Sherman Oaks, so going west and then east again isn't entirely out of the question. Distance is not that much of an issue, because I can just take a cooler.
Many of the best sushi chefs in Los Angeles buy their fish from International Marine Products, located at 500 E. 7th (corner of E. 7th and S. San Pedro St.), south of Little Tokyo. During the week, IMP is limited to the restaurant trade, but I understand that it is open to the public on Saturday mornings. Other more accessible sources for sashimi are the Yaohan Supermarkets. One is located off Alameda St. between 3rd and 4th Sts. The market is not visible from
Alameda St., only the entrance to the parking garage, so it's easy to miss. (The great sushi restaurant, Shibucho, is located on the 4th floor of the adjancent Yaohan plaza). There is also a Yaohan market located on Western Ave. south of the I-405. I believe that the name of the Yaohan markets has recently changed, but I can't remember the new name. Next time I shop there I'll supplement this post with the new name. Anyway, the quality of the sashimi there is usually within acceptable boundaries, although not as good as I get at the best sushi restaurants in town. You can also get a lot of other hard to find Japanese grocery items at these markets, especially the one on Alameda, such as fresh yuzu.