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Best fishmonger in Pike Place Market?

Tried running some searches, but the search terms were too common and I couldn't find the answer:

Is there a recommended fishmonger in the Market? I know to stay away from places that are more show than substance, but does anyone in the Market offer truly great fresh seafood?

It occurs to me that a running "Best of the Market" thread would be a cool way of swapping notes on chow in the Market. I'm new to the area and have little to contribute but will share my knowledge as it grows!

Thanks for the help!

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  1. I like jacks fish spot the best for both raw fish and the fish and chips.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dagrassroots

      I've cooked in the Market since 1994 and I have always been a Pure Food Fish customer. One good test is to use your nose when you walk in/past a fish market... I think Pure Food keeps their space very clean and their seafood well-iced. I will buy from Pike Place Fish, the 'guys who throw the fish', but I walk up and they hand me the fish as opposed to chucking it across the counter. (With Pike Place Fish, I use the Sushi bar rule: if it's that busy, it has to be fresh)

    2. Jack's is my choice in the market 9 times out of 10. (Note that Jack's is the only market vendor with live tanks.)

      I will go to Pure Foods every now and then, Pike Place Fish when I must. Never City Fish - the area around their stall smells fishy.

      (Most of the time, though, I buy my seafood at Uwajimaya.)

      1 Reply
      1. re: terrier

        I have once heard that live tanks are actually detrimental to quality. Animals stop eating once caught, and flesh deteriorates in flavor. but they can remain alive for weeks in a tank. thus, the fish or crab you buy on ice was actually in open water more recently and will taste better.

        is this true? sounds reasonable, but i have no idea!

      2. Check this out - some good comments about the market.......

        Jacks, Jacks, Jacks.........

        1 Reply
        1. re: tilt

          If we happen to be in the Market, we get our fish for home grilling and smoked salmon for shipping back east to family and friends from Jack's Fish Spot. Jack's version of salmon and chips are good, or a combo bowl of the steamed mussels and clams, or the cioppino - heck, it's all good. Messy and happy eating, elbow to elbow at the bar.


        2. I've had good product from all of the fish vendors at the market. Although I will say that I don't like my fish thrown around any more than it already has been during transport, so that usually narrows down my options a bit.

          3 Replies
          1. re: whaaaapsh

            The guys who throw the fish just throw the same "throwing fishes" over and over. While I appreciate this practice means I won't get a needlessly bruised fish, I also think it's wasteful & their "show" clogs the market with gawkers (not shoppers.)

            I have been pleased with the quality of the actual fish, but I don't like supporting their antics.

            1. re: terrier

              Actually, I think they only throw a fish if someone buys it. Am I wrong?

              Anyway, I've always bought my food from Pike Place Fish, the (fishthrowing) guys by the pig. Admittedly, I buy from them because my mother bought from them, but my mother knows from good quality ingredients. I've gotten some great fish there. With so many of you advocating for Jack's, though, I'll have to check them out.

              1. re: terrier

                This is what they say if you ask them. However, I have personally seen them throw a fish, and wrap said fish up for a customer. I'm sure if you ask them not to, they won't throw it; but the fact that they do at all bothers me greatly.

            2. I make it to Seattle 4 or 5 times a year for work and ALWAYS go to the Pure Food Fish market to take fish home. Their smoked salmon and lox is fabulous and their fish always looks and tastes fresh. I usually ask the guys what they recommend or what came out of the water most recently. The staff is patient and ready to offer advice or give you a sample of the smoked fish (never turn that down). I always spend way too much but love every bite.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Sushiqueen36

                Can't speak to the fresh, as I have gone to Jack's for years (partly, I suppose,, to avoid "spend[ing] way too much) , but love the PFF smoked salmon. Costs an arm and a leg, but is worth at least the arm...

              2. To the folks who don't like the fish throwing - sorry maybe I'm cranky today, but really? Bruised fish? Have you been on a fishing boat lately? The fish gets treated alot worse than a toss and catch while it is on the boat, and in the hold, and during cleaning and even going into the display in the case. Plus although the clogged traffic is annoying for regular shoppers, all of those tourists are putting money in the pockets of Market purveyors and that is helping to keep the market strong and vital.

                That said I really like the fish and service at Pure Food and their smoked salmon is wonderful.


                1 Reply
                1. re: cburnsi

                  Just because worse stuff happens doesn't make throwing the fish good. Lets say you got punched in the face today at work, does that mean I should kick you in the balls and it won't matter?

                  I can accept that their is going to be some amount of damage done to the fish before it gets to me. But I don't have to accept anyone who does any additional damage.

                2. For what it's worth, I try to avoid the Market altogether and buy my fish at Mutual on Rainier S. Quality seems to vary quite a lot at all the market fishmongers, which makes sense when you consider that a big part of their business is putting on a show for tourists.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Finspot

                    Jack's, he is also a super nice guy as well.


                  2. We've been shopping at the market for over 20 years and we've always bought our fish at Pure Food Fish. I ask them what's the best today and then I buy it. They have the best smoked salmon, not the packaged stuff, but chunks that are moist.