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Jun 27, 2009 05:43 PM

Would you buy a fish at Pike Place Market

I'm in town until tomorrow morning and am toying with the idea of buying some salmon at the Market to take home with me.

Is it worth it? Suggestions on the best purveyor?

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  1. Yes, the Market fishmongers are the real deal. I suggest either the place on the west side that's in the "middle" (narrow and deep space--sorry, can't recall the name...Pure Food?) or the one on the west side that's the farthest north. I'd stay away from the guys under the clock who throw the fish (Pike Place Fish), unless you specify that you want one from the case that isn't thrown--I've been told by a former fisherman that that bruises the flesh (although I think that's how they're transferred to the hold). I have no experience with Jack's, which is the fishmonger on the east side. I can personally vouch for the first two that I mentioned.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Erika L

      Jack's is fine, too. That's where I usually buy my fish if I am buying in the market - but Uwajimaya is still better, and Mutual Fish better still.

      1. re: terrier

        There are certainly better places to buy fish in seattle, but knowing what to look for is more important than where you buy it - even good places occasionaly have bad fish. If you buy a whole fish (and a whole sockeye is a good deal at most places right now) look for a fish with clear eyes, most/all of its scales intact and no obvious signs of bruising. Look in the belly cavity and around the gills to make sure there is no brown or black discoloration. A fresh sockeye will also have a nice coat of mucus (sounds bad, but isn't). For fillet look for no discoloration (and no red spots from bruising) and few if any tears in the meat. Of course giving it a smell is always a good idea - sockeye will smell faintly metallic but not fishy.....

      2. re: Erika L

        The fish throwing thing is just for show, they don't actually sell the fish that they're tossing around. They just throw the same one back and forth all day.

        1. re: Brunhilde

          ummm...I don't think so. They store the fish in tiers of iced tables, and if you order something from the front, they toss it to the back to be wrapped. And if no one is ordering fish, they don't throw anything. I don't think they sell the monk fish w/ the string attached, but unless a TV camera is there, the tossing is for real.

          1. re: bluedog67

            They do have "stunt" fish that they throw all day long when there are no orders. They will throw ordered fish, too, but much more gently only once.

            1. re: cocktailhour

              Yes, and throw it to you so that when you get home you can say that you caught that fish yourself.


      3. I'm in Indiana, but I buy my salmon from Wild Salmon Seafood Market.
        (1900 W. Nickerson St.) The quality can't be beat. I call them up and buy a whole salmon. They cut it up per my requirements, cryovac it, and I get it the next day.

        1 Reply
        1. re: pikawicca

          Wild Salmon Seafood Market is one of my absolute faves. They also have some counter space at A&J's Meats on Queen Anne.

        2. I have bought fish at several of the stalls and have always been happy with the quality. Even Pike Place itself--the fish throwing one. I have also sent fish that is properly packed (like they will do for you since you are from out of town). The receipients were happy.

          1. If you only can go to Pike Place, the fish is fine there. I think the quality is much better at Uwajimaya (Int'l District) and Mutual Fish (Rainier Avenue South) and both will pack for you as well.

            1. The guys from Wilson Fish who sell at some of the farmers' markets have amazing salmon, often just caught. I've gotten some nice stuff from Loki too.