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Apr 17, 2008 11:38 AM

Good fish monger in Seattle?

I'm relatively... (10 months) new to Seattle. I'm still in search of a good fish monger near or around the downtown area (I'm in Queen Anne right now). I'm a little tired of the people at Pike Place Market (a few bad experiences with all 3 fish places there have left me rather sour towards them) -- so where is a great place for fresh fish, good service, honest opinions and maybe service with a *gasp* smile in Seattle? Where do the locals go? Thanks!!


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  1. There are 4 fish mongers at Pike Place - the fish throwing guys, Pure Foods, City Fish, and Jack's. Of these, Jack's is by far the best.

    That said, I usually buy my fish at Uwajimaya. Usually more consistent quality and lower prices than any place in the market. (Remember they serve a population for whom fish is the staple protein.)

    Mutual Fish is the gold standard, but they're not downtown.

    3 Replies
    1. re: terrier

      If you are on QA, go over to Fisherman's terminal to Wild Salmon. Most of the guys there are honest about what's fresh, offer suggestions on how to cook differnt types (not that i always agree, but it's a nice touch), and will remember you at your next visit. They occasionally get some temp staff in the summer that is not as good, but not terrible. Prices are not cheap, but not as high as those in the market. i use the copper river price as my gauge, and they are always a buck or two lower per pound.

      They have an outpost at A&J on top of QA, but I don't find the staff as knowelgeable or the selection as good.

      1. I believe there are two gold standards in town, neither of which is downtown, but not all that far away. Mutual Fish (head on down Rainier Ave. South) and University Seafood & Poultry (on NE 47th in the U District across from Bank of Am., where the chicken, turkey, and eggs are pretty good as well). The former has its own parking lot, albeit small. The latter offers free parking for 10 minutes at a nearby convenience store/gas station (not the Chevron). Both are longtime family businesses with employees who have been there forever. I've been going to the latter since 1972 and they've never steered me wrong. I'm not impressed with the Market for seafood either.

        2 Replies
        1. re: PAO

          On the Eastside, it doesn't get better than Tim's in Kirkland Park Place. Tim keeps the place impecably clean and you never smell fish when you walk in there. Wild troll caught ivory king can be found here along with the regular salmon, halibut, sole, dry pack scallops and other delectables. Try their crab cakes - superb! Not cheap but always fresh. I rarely see farm raised fish in this establishment which is a huge plus. Try Tim's - you won't be sorry.

          1. re: PAO

            I agree with both of these suggestions. Mutual Fish and Univ Seafood and Poultry are my go to spots.

          2. Being in the Ballard, we usually head to the Fresh Fish company (80th and 24th). Pretty good selection. The only gripe I have is that when they moved into the Cascippio Bros. buildind, they only get the sandwiches option for a month. You used to be able to get a pretty mean hot pastrami there.

            1 Reply
            1. re: BallardFoodie

              We agree on that place. They are all fisher... persons. I don't have any comparisons, but think that their prices are quite good. Easy to get to by taking the Ballard bridge, turning right off the bridge, right again and again and then just keep on that road when it becomes Shilshole Avenue and becomes 24th when it crosses Market. At 80th st turn right and park - they are across the street to the north.

              On the way, two blocks up from Market, look for "Scooter's" just past the construction. Wonderful burgers, shakes - featuring avocado BLTs and peanut butter shakes. They only take cash, but you won't need much, comparatively.

            2. I found fresh fish in Ballard truly lacking in selection and would not reccomend it. I found Wild Salmon at the fisherman's terminal to have most everything I needed and quite helpful. As has been stated above, Mutual is definetly the best, if you can make it down to ranier. Since I live in the area and have that option, I don't feel bad saying that I find the seafood at Uwajimaya to be sub par. I get better at Dong Hing (the cheapest grocery store in the city), up jackson, or I just go to Mutual.

              1. I haven't had a problem with any of the fish guys at the market, but when I am home on QA, I go to the Fisherman's Terminal or the WIld Salmon outpost if I am want something more common. I would go to Mutual Fish if I wasn't so lazy. I got some really great fresh salmon at the Terminal last weekend.

                4 Replies
                1. re: cocktailhour

                  Thanks for the feedback everyone! I'll check out the Fisherman's Terminal next time I need some fish!

                  1. re: mateo21

                    and if it matters to you . I think that the fish at the Fisherman's Terminal is almost always NOT on the sustainable hit list from the Monterey Aquarium at both Uwajimaya and Mutual I've found fish on the no-no list quite often. Sustainable fishing practice doesn't seem to be their focus so if it's yours be sure to print up the list & take with.

                    1. re: oliveoyl

                      Thank you for that, Oliveoyl. I was so happy to see Pacific Halibut on the GOOD list, especially as Halibut is coming in right now.

                      1. re: mrnelso

                        for what it's worth the seafood at Madison Market on Cap Hill is from 100% sustainable sources, fish is wild caught etc .... but that list is really a great guide.