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Orange County Fresh Fish Help

So I would think fish would be easy to find everywhere here in so cal but that is not the case.

I am looking for a good fish market in Southern Orange County (Irvine, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo) to pickup to cook for dinner.

There has to be a place close by and I'm am just completely missing it. Help!!!

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  1. I can't think of anything great in that area, but here's a start.

    Top choices are Marukai and Mitsuwa, both in Costa Mesa. Pierson's Port in Newport Beach, followed a long way back by Santa Monica Seafood in Costa Mesa.

    99 Ranch in Irvine (the newer one on Walnut & Jeffrey, not the older one on Culver & Irvine Center Drive) is ok, but it's really hit or miss depending on the stock available that day. Some fish is reasonably good. Other fishes look partially dessicated and mummified. Some days are better than others. It seems Fridays is a good day based on deliveries dropped off for the weekend.

    Good luck, and report back if you find anything on the order of Marukai in South County.

    EDIT - Just last week I went to Mission Ranch Market in MV. It's a Persian market. They had a limited selection of fish (mostly filets). I just glanced at it, and it didn't totally turn me off, so I probably ought to take a closer look next time. You might go have a sniff and see if it works for you. Stop by the bakery a couple doors down and pick up a big sangak flatbread. Really good!

    Marukai Market
    2975 Harbor Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

    Pearson's Port
    100 E Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA

    Santa Monica Seafood Co. - CM Retail
    154 E 17th St, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

    Mitsuwa Marketplace
    665 Paularino Ave, Costa Mesa, CA

    5 Replies
    1. re: Professor Salt

      Dry Dock Fish has a stand at the Saturday morning UCI farmers' market...

      1. re: Das Ubergeek

        Dry Dock is also at the Laguna Hills Farmers' market on Fridays. The lady is a dear, and she always has oysters. They have a good selection; I've even seen John Dory, although I didn't try it. Prices are good, too.

        1. re: tintinmilou

          tintin, you must try the John Dory..it's great! One of my favorite fish, thanks to Dry Dock.

        1. re: Professor Salt

          I third Pearson's Port.

          Pearson's Port
          100 E Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA

        2. Good question since the closing of the MV Bristol Farms which used to be our go to.

          1. If you can get away with a basic selection, and you can use up fairly large portions quickly, Costco might work. They have the basics: farm raised salmon filets, wild halibut filets, farmed catfish, farmed whole rainbow trout, shrimp, tilapia filets, crab legs, and a few other assorted things.

            It's not sashimi grade fish by any means, but if you're a Costco member, it might work for you.

            There's one in Laguna Niguel on La Paz and Cabot.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Professor Salt

              Thanks Professor, yes that is right in my neighborhood.
              Man I hate where I live sometimes.
              I have been to that Persian market several times and never picked up the fish. I'll give it a try.
              Thanks all!

            2. I am interested in the responses here because I have to buy`fish for my parents who will not eat anything farm raised, especially salmon.

              They have no problems if I buy from Sprouts, Henry's, Whole foods or Gelson's. If I feel like splurging I will go to the Bristol farms next to the Newport Beach library.

              They won't eat anything that comes from the 99 market on Culver (i thought that was the newer of the two) because the entire store smells of rotten fish.

              1 Reply
              1. re: tgmm

                Costco has wild salmon and halibut in season, and often ahi or another wild choice as well.

              2. FRESHEST FISH...

                - The stand in Dana Point near the whale watching booth. See http://www.danapointharbor.com/JonsFi...
                - Dory Fleet on 20-something street in Newport-Balboa. See http://www.doryfleet.com/index2.htm
                - Pearsons Lanmding in Newport. See http://www.yelp.com/biz/pearsons-port...

                These places have the freshest fish you'll ever see in Orange County because it's been caught the day before, usually, and sometimes that same day.

                Good luck, and if you find any other places, let us know.

                1 Reply
                1. re: EclecticEater

                  The Dory fleet is DEFINITELY caught the same day, and you'd better get there early if you want selection, or any fish at all. They go out, they catch it, they sell it. When it's gone, it's gone. Lots of the local restaurants supply themselves there, so they get there early. I'd suggest 7AM.

                2. Oh, and Fresh and Easy on Moulton near Ridge Route often has some quite good fish. I've had excellent scallops,tilapia, and even halibut at very reasonable prices. Since they put honest expiration dates on their packages, you might find them worth going to.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: EclecticEater

                    Yes, I've found good fish at that F&E several times... albacore in particular. They always seem to have a couple of wild choices.

                  2. I have the same problem. I recently found The Bear Flag Fish Company in Newport Beach. It's a shlep, but it's worth it if you're in the area. I wish there was a place in So county..you'd think there should be with Dana Point Harbor and San Clemente s close by. I'm even thinking of opening a place!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: columbo1

                      I was not impressed with Bear Flag. Their selection is weak, and their prices are through the roof. You're better off at the Santa Monica fish market on 17th street in N.B. They're not much cheaper, but they have better selection and the store is a lot more pleasant. They have several varieties of oysters and a lot of prepared foods, too.

                    2. The Gelson's in Dana Point always has a nice selection of good fish. Prices are somewhat lower than those at Santa Monica Seafood, and the quality is very nearly equal.

                      1. It is a little past Irvine, but the Whole Foods at the District is quite well stocked and fresh, though not inexpensive.

                        Whole Foods Market
                        2847 Park Ave, Tustin, CA

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: ocshooter

                          Our nearby ocean is far too polluted for commercial fishing. Fresh fish from Mexico may be available seasonally, however I am told that most SoCal merchants, be it Johns, Whole Foods, Gelson’s, Von’s, ect - all receive their fish from the same place – imported from Seattle’s wholesale fish markets!

                          Seattle is the main fresh fish distributer for the West Coast. - A dirty secret of the retail industry is that many fish today are flash frozen at sea, then sent to China where they are thawed, cleaned and cut. These processed fish are then packaged and re-frozen, then sent to US markets where they are re-thawed for display.

                          Pink florescent case lights and an hourly light misting of water make the product look nice and fresh. . . . Beware of any faint smells of diluted bleach (which is an old butcher’s trick so as to move the older product by masking off spoilage odors).

                          1. re: jbermo

                            @ Jbermo, I thought fish or any other meat for that matter can't be defrosted and refrozen. It seems like a lot of trouble to send out to China...
                            I've had some great fish caught off the coast of South Orange County. Having once been a boat owner, the deep end was no more polluted than Seattle waters, I would think.
                            It's been years since I had my boat, so I may be wrong...

                            1. re: jbermo

                              That's simply not true. We don't have a large variety of fish in So Cal because the continentnal shelf drops off steeply, and there isn't much habitat for fish, not like the East coast. The Dory Fleet in Newport beach goes out daily and brings back fresh, healthy fish. The West coast is not polluted, certainly not relative to Mexico. We have much more stringent controls. There is a major fishing fleet that comes into San Pedro every day. Go to the Ports 'O Call and you can buy fresh fish, caught that day.

                              1. re: tintinmilou

                                Actually, the Mexican coast is not very polluted at all and the seafood caught off the coast of Baja is of a quality unobtainable in SoCal.

                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                  I recall in having observed lots of surf fishing along our south county beaches back in the sixties. Not so anymore. Larger fish and good catch numbers were also observed when fisherman came off of the sport boats back 40 years ago when they were docked at San Clemente pier before Dana Point harbor was built.

                                  Much less development and a far smaller human population gave great local fishing yields back then. Surf clamming at low tide was also good before the multiple treated sewage outlets came along with coastal overdevelopment.

                                  My guess is that cleaner water is much further out to sea these days.

                          2. I also read that the Bear Flag Fish Company would be opening on PCH in Orange county soon. If you know where Trader Joe's is, BFFC will open in that shopping center near Newport Center.
                            I think there's a Javier's in the center, it's right on PCH, but not sure of the exact name of the center.