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Best fresh fish?

cups123 May 20, 2009 05:41 AM

I want to find a place where I can buy fresh fish for economical prices. Right now we are buying from whole foods and it gets pretty expensive over time. Anyone have any suggestions? As close to midtown as possible would be great but not necessary, especially if we can buy in bulk and freeze for later use.

Thanks for the help:)

  1. h
    Hurner May 20, 2009 06:52 AM

    My favorite fish markets, economically speaking, are:

    Sea Breeze Fish Market, 541 Ninth Ave. @ 40th St
    Lobster Place in the Chelsea Market

    1. u
      una mas May 20, 2009 06:52 AM

      Don't discount those (admittedly stinky) fish markets in chinatown. They are really good for freshness and price.

      I would like to piggy back on this thread and ask where one can buy the best fresh fish regardless of price. I'm not interested in Wild Edibles. Thanks.

      20 Replies
      1. re: una mas
        johnindabronx May 20, 2009 06:56 AM

        Agreed, chinatown can't be beat for price, variety and most all of the time, freshness. I always ask whats in season or from the day boats. Try the markets on Grand and East Broadway. They are often priced a bit better than the ones at the Canal and Baxter area.

        1. re: una mas
          MMRuth May 20, 2009 07:04 AM

          My new favorite fish monger is Dorian's on the UES - the owners used to own The Rosedale Fish Market. They deliver for free, as well, and I trust them to deliver high quality fish to me, without my looking at it first.

          The fish at Eli's is impeccable, but also v. expensive. I've done most of my fish buying from Citarella for the past six years, until I switched to Dorians. I would say, though, that my absolutely favorite place to buy fish is Randazzo's on Arthur Avenue - incredible selection and quality, and very good prices.

          I generally have not been pleased with the fish at Whole Foods, Gourmet Garage and Dean & Deluca. I rarely bought fish at Fairway - on the few occasions that I do go to Fairway, I usually would just get the fish at Citarella. I think the fish at Grace's Marketplace is quite good, and if I'm popping in there for some other particular reason, I don't hesitate to buy fish from them.

          1. re: una mas
            JungMann May 20, 2009 07:05 AM

            I live on the West Side so Sea Breeze and the Lobster Place are key places to shop when I want good fish for a fair price. When I can make the trek downtown, however, the fish mongers on Mott between Grand and Hester have the best prices for fresh fish.

            1. re: JungMann
              Hurner May 20, 2009 07:45 AM

              I second the fishmongers on Mott Street. In my opinion, Mott street between Grand and Hester is the Rodeo Drive of Chinatown fish buying.

              1. re: Hurner
                kobetobiko May 20, 2009 09:20 AM

                Third the fishmonges on Mott. Don't be afraid to ask them for the fresh fish, lobsters, and crabs still swimming in the tanks!

                Of course, if you want imported fish or fish in really pristine condition, Citarella is hard to bit (albeit expensive)

                MMRuth, totally agree that WF, Dean and Deluca, and GG have REALLY bad quality fish. I am surprised no one gets sick getting fish from them yet!

                1. re: kobetobiko
                  una mas May 20, 2009 09:27 AM

                  I third that re: WF, DD and GG. Was afraid to say it before out of concern of offending, but now that it's out there... I totally agree. Totally lousy.

                  1. re: una mas
                    MMRuth May 20, 2009 09:38 AM

                    Don't worry about offending by stating your opinion here! Which part of the city do you live in? (Think about your fish question.)

                    By the way, Citarella also delivers, but charges $6.00.

                    In terms of reasonably priced fish, I think there have been some posters who have been happy with fish from Fresh Direct, and I think their prices are pretty good.

                    Here's another thread on fish markets that I think is still relevant, and I'd forgotten about Pisacane over near Sutton Place:


                    I think I'm going to work on a list of fish mongers in Manhattan. Since I'm not so familiar with fish markets in Chinatown (actual names/addresses), if anyone has specific recommenations there, maybe post about them here, and I'll add them to my list.

                    1. re: MMRuth
                      MMRuth May 20, 2009 09:56 AM

                      OK - here's the list I made:


                      Any comments/additions will be entertained (grin).

                      1. re: MMRuth
                        una mas May 20, 2009 10:57 AM

                        Great list - I haven't been to most of those places. I live in Noho. I haven't been to Lobster Place - I'll check it out this weekend. Thanks!

                      2. re: MMRuth
                        JungMann May 20, 2009 01:48 PM

                        I noted the names of my favorite fish mongers during my last visit intending to make a similar list but have completely forgotten them. I will go this weekend to try and scope out an update for you. For now, I can recommend the fish market inside the Manhattan Bridge as a to-go spot for live shrimp, langoustines and razor clams.

                        1. re: JungMann
                          MMRuth May 20, 2009 01:57 PM

                          Thanks. I've also heard wonderful things about the fishmonger at the USQ market on Saturdays, but, the lines have been so long, that I've never bought anything. Apparently there is also a good one at the market near Lincoln Center on Saturdays.

                          1. re: MMRuth
                            JungMann May 21, 2009 05:52 AM

                            By the time that I get to the USQ fish monger around 1pm on a Saturday, he is almost completely sold out. I never see much more than a few filets of skate or bay scallops. I'll have to head straight down after awaking to try his wares soon.

                            Where is the Lincoln Center fish monger? The market in front of Barnes & Noble seems to rarely have more than a few vegetable/fruit stands and some baked goods.

                            1. re: JungMann
                              MMRuth May 21, 2009 06:12 AM

                              A friend of mine bought some lobster there around noon last Saturday - she said there was no line at that point.

                              I think the LC one is in the market you refer to - I was told they are there on Saturdays, and will, if contact them in advance, take special requests (like whole fish, which they usually don't have). Will double check w/ my other friend on this.

                              1. re: MMRuth
                                JungMann Jun 2, 2009 06:06 AM

                                I visited the USQ fishmonger just before noon last Saturday and again he was pretty much cleaned out. I ended up going to the fishmongers on Mott Street. I was unable to find the softshells I wanted, but the fish and shellfish at S&R and S&T were as fresh as ever.

                              2. re: JungMann
                                UWSEater May 21, 2009 09:10 AM

                                The lincoln center and 77th st greenmarket (Sat, Sun, respectively) have a fish monger there. Catch usually varies a little, but they usually have fluke, snapper, mussels, clams, razor clams, oysters, and tuna.
                                Above that they usually have a varied choice depending on what they were fishing that week. Had monkfish from them last week that was pretty good. The clams are always tasty, and oysters are hit or miss. I think they are the same fisherman, but not positive. I've bought from both, and quality is pretty good, and they are more than happy to discuss when/where the fish was caught.

                                1. re: JungMann
                                  ChefJune Jun 2, 2009 08:48 AM

                                  If you want a selection of fish at Union Square on Saturday, you need to be there by 10 am. (Unless it's pouring ;()

                                2. re: MMRuth
                                  financialdistrictresident Jun 2, 2009 06:13 AM

                                  If you go to USC at 8:00 am on Saturday it's not too bad. That said, I haven't bought fish there since last summer . . .BTW the Fulton Stall Market had a fish vendor. Unfortunately their whole fish had cloudy eyes.

                          2. re: kobetobiko
                            taboo May 20, 2009 02:01 PM

                            I agree that Citarella has great fish. I think it depends on the Whole Foods that you go to. Union Sq. usually has really good quality, but Bowery does not. Colombus Circle is hit or miss. I wish there were more on the East side 20s and 30s to pick from.

                            1. re: kobetobiko
                              kathryn Jun 2, 2009 04:05 PM

                              After two very bad experiences with WF Bowery's fish/seafood (no graphic details necessary), I don't buy from there any more.

                        2. re: una mas
                          ChefJune Jun 2, 2009 08:45 AM

                          Yes, discount the "stinky" fish markets in Chicatown, but DO browse the neighborhood and find yourself a place that does NOT stink. They do exist.

                        3. c
                          cups123 May 20, 2009 07:07 AM

                          I'm completely unfamiliar with the area so which one would be closest to midtown or easiest to get to? I like the idea that Dorian's has free delivery so I may look into that.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: cups123
                            JungMann May 20, 2009 07:11 AM

                            Sea Breeze is the only one listed above in Midtown.

                            1. re: cups123
                              MMRuth May 20, 2009 07:42 AM

                              Midtown East or West? Which WF do you usually shop at?

                              1. re: MMRuth
                                cups123 May 20, 2009 07:47 AM


                              2. re: cups123
                                MMRuth Jun 10, 2009 07:05 AM

                                By the way - my Dorian's habit is getting very expensive, so I don't recommend it as a cost effective option for fish.

                              3. f
                                FrankieLymon May 20, 2009 09:06 AM

                                chinatown off the main drags

                                1. NYCkaren May 21, 2009 06:40 AM

                                  For those who are downtown, the Tribeca farmer's market has fish on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Saturday vendor, Blue Moon Fish, has great stuff including, this summer, lobster. You do have to go early for the best selection.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: NYCkaren
                                    ChefJune Jun 2, 2009 08:46 AM

                                    The Union Square Greenmarket has excellent local vendors selling fish on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, that I am sure of. (maybe friday, too).

                                    1. re: ChefJune
                                      small h Jun 2, 2009 08:49 AM

                                      (Friday, too. Got some flounder from Pura Vida last week.)

                                      1. re: ChefJune
                                        kathryn Jun 2, 2009 04:00 PM

                                        I have the Spring/Summer 2009 handout from the USGM info booth which says:

                                        PE & DD Seafood, Suffolk Co., NY

                                        Blue Moon, Suffolk Co., NY
                                        Max Creek Hatchery, Delware Co., NY

                                        Pura Vida, Suffolk Co., NY

                                        PE & DD Seafood, Suffolk Co., NY

                                    2. MMRuth May 22, 2009 09:15 AM

                                      I just found this site, which seems to have a good list of seafood markets:


                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: MMRuth
                                        financialdistrictresident Jun 2, 2009 06:18 AM

                                        MMRuth a recent thread on fish near Union Square:


                                        1. re: financialdistrictresident
                                          MMRuth Jun 2, 2009 06:20 AM

                                          Thanks - I've added some of the places there to my list, w/ the caveat that I haven't tried them myself. I need to figure out how to add some of the fish vendors at the various farmer's markets. Maybe I should make a similar list for butchers?

                                          1. re: MMRuth
                                            financialdistrictresident Jun 2, 2009 06:41 AM

                                            There are so few independent butchers left (I remember a thread about this last year). Downtown we have WF, Jubilee, Zeytuna, Jeffrey's at Essex Street, Chinatown (never tried any). It's really hard to find smoked duck downtown. WF doesn't carry it. I get it at Jubilee (so overpriced as is everything in FiDi).

                                            1. re: financialdistrictresident
                                              MMRuth Jun 2, 2009 06:58 AM

                                              Uptown - Holland Court, Schatzies, Ottomanelli, Lobel

                                              Village - Florence Meat Market, Ottomanelli

                                              Sutton Place - there is one that moved from near Ideal Cheese - don't know the name of it.

                                              Not completely independent, but "local" chains or butchers in grocery stores: Citarella, Fairway, Grace's Market Place, Dean & Deluca, Eli's

                                              I know there are one or two in Chelsea - always forget those names too, but I'm going to try to find that thread.

                                              1. re: MMRuth
                                                erica Jun 2, 2009 07:26 AM

                                                Simchick moved to First between 54th and 55th, east side.

                                                Pisacane is an excellent fish market on First next to Ideal Cheese, between 52nd and 51st, east side of street. If you do not see what you want in their case, ask. Some fish, for example, monk, are not displayed. They sell wholesale to many upscale restaurants, and retail. Lovely people, in business for generations.

                                                Also have prepared soups, fish salads, fish stock, fish dishes, vegetable dishes.

                                              2. re: financialdistrictresident
                                                ChefJune Jun 2, 2009 08:47 AM

                                                They cut meat at Jubilee? Butchers? really???

                                                Have you tried Pino's on Sullivan Street just south of Houston? Now, THAT's a butcher. Also Florence meat market in the Village.

                                                1. re: ChefJune
                                                  financialdistrictresident Jun 2, 2009 09:40 AM

                                                  Jubilee's butcher has pre-cut, will special cut and does special orders (call a day ahead). Call 212-233-0808 and ask for the butcher.

                                        2. t
                                          thecitycook Jun 2, 2009 01:29 PM

                                          Someone here has mentioned my web site, TheCityCook.com and we have a searchable database of food merchants across the city. In Manhattan I'd agree with the recommendation for Sea Breeze, in Hell's Kitchen. Big selection and probably the best prices in Manhattan. They also wholesale so their fish and shellfish are acutely fresh due to their big turnover. It's not fancy -- it's a water-on-the-floor kind of place but the guys are smart and it's top quality. I also agree with the recommendation for The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market, with a small outpost on Bleecker Street. By the way, there's no pay-to-play on our database -- we try to only include the best. Hope this helps. Kate McDonough, Editor, TheCityCook.com

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: thecitycook
                                            financialdistrictresident Jun 2, 2009 02:40 PM

                                            Does the database include endangered fish (blue fin tuna, etc.) or does it take a more sustainable view?

                                            1. re: financialdistrictresident
                                              thecitycook Jun 2, 2009 03:09 PM

                                              We make a point of finding merchants, like Wild Edibles, who are informed on this important issue. We also have done articles and a podcast on the topic of sustainability so that we as consumers can ask for better choices from our fishmongers.

                                              1. re: thecitycook
                                                financialdistrictresident Jun 2, 2009 04:01 PM


                                            2. re: thecitycook
                                              NYCkaren Jun 3, 2009 09:13 AM

                                              Thanks for the Sea Breeze recommendation. I stopped by after work yesterday and they seemed to have a good selection considering that it was right before closing time. I didn't buy any lobsters (I bought shrimp) but I will next time. They were $7.99 a pound.

                                              1. re: NYCkaren
                                                ChefJune Jun 10, 2009 08:27 AM

                                                ;( wish I were closer to Sea Breeze. would love to be able to shop there. are they open Saturdays?

                                                1. re: ChefJune
                                                  NYCkaren Jun 10, 2009 08:58 AM

                                                  Yes, they are open Saturdays until 5:30. The place is definitely not fancy but it's worth checking out.

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