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LIVE Seafood?

I am looking for somewhere that can supply fresh seafood? As close to fresh as possible would be ideal, and saltwater fish would be heavensent, but unfortunately I am not having very much luck finding this. By the way, "as close to fresh as possible" can definitely mean having it butchered in front of me! (not squeamish)

I've tried Quality Seafood and MT Supermarket, but unfortunately have not found what I'm looking for taste-wise! :) Would someone be able to recommend a location? I have heard Fiesta has live tilapia from my Chow search, but haven't ventured there, in case there are better options.

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  1. If you're looking for something simple like lobster or crab, then Central Market is probably your best bet. The only other idea I had was that you might try talking to the folks at T&S seafood on N. Lamar - they might be able to work out a deal with you, or at least give you the name of their purveyor.

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    Central Market
    4477 S Lamar Blvd Ste 100, Austin, TX 78745

    10 Replies
    1. re: gilintx

      I'm actually looking for something fresh and preferably live, and unlikely but ideal if it were a saltwater variety or at least not farmed. :) Really I'd love something like sardines or herring. However, some great fresh clams would be lovely, as well.

      I've never been to T&S Seafood, but it looks amazing from the online reviews! Thank you so much, I'll definitely go check it out and bring a friend or two, yum.

      1. re: Nattomi

        Central Market has live clams of various sorts. They may be your best bet, with Whole Foods, of finding fresh, not frozen, salt water fish.

        Fiesta has tanks of various fish tha are alive when you buy them, but I'm not sure how they were cared for while alive. Same with MT.

        T&S and Ho Ho have live seafood in the restauraunt for menu consumption.

        The best bet is to find someone running redfish or speckled trout fresh from the gulf coast. But you will pay for that. I don't have a good connection right now.

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        Central Market
        4477 S Lamar Blvd Ste 100, Austin, TX 78745

        1. re: rudeboy

          Thanks for the recommendation! I did see some fresh saltwater fish at CM today, but unfortunately no herring or sardines. I could only find both canned at best, so instead made some amazingly tasty live clams. Thank you for the recommendation!

          Unfortunately my experience with MT was not very good, but I have yet to try Fiesta.

          I have heard great things about Ho Ho, so will definitely be checking it out, as well!

          Thank you for the tip, and I have been searching, as I am quite willing to pay appropriately for good quality seafood.

        2. re: Nattomi

          Never seen live sardine or herring in Austin (or in Texas, really), and I don't really don't know the provenance of the live stuff I have seen around. Very rarely, you'll see herring at Central Market, though not live. Basically, we're 4 hours from the gulf, so if you're interested in seafood, you'll really only find crab, shrimp, redfish, snapper, striped bass, and drum in the wild.

          1. re: gilintx

            I'll take as fresh (or frozen) as I can get sardines. I would even take fillets, if I could find any at all. Right now canned is my best option!

            I took a visit to CM and ended up buying some nice live clams, so thank you for the recommendation! Unfortunately, you were right about rather sparse choices with wild caught seafood. On the other hand, CM fish is very well kept--no spoiled fish smell at all.

            1. re: Nattomi

              Another option might be San Miguel Seafood at the downtown farmers market on Saturday. I haven't bought anything because the cost is prohibitive, but I believe it's a good option. He drives down to the coast every week and buys the best of the catch. He brings it up to Austin and cleans it himself and then puts it up for sale on Saturday mornings. He only deals with wild caught seafood, btw.

              The best and freshest wild caught seafood you'll get here is from the gulf. Everything else is flown in. There's a lot to appreciate about gulf coast seafood, but you won't get it live except if it's a good year for oysters.

              1. re: agoodbite

                I saw fresh whole sardines at Central Market Saturday (not live), and they looked nice. It's the South location, and they are really nice there.

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                Central Market
                4477 S Lamar Blvd Ste 100, Austin, TX 78745

                1. re: drdelicious

                  Fantastic, thank you! Unfortunately I visited the North Lamar location, and didn't happen to see any--but I'll take another look and head down South, as well.

                  1. re: drdelicious

                    Fantastic, thank you! Unfortunately I didn't happen to see any at the North Lamar Central Market location, but I'll check out the South location, as well.

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                    Central Market
                    4477 S Lamar Blvd Ste 100, Austin, TX 78745

                  2. re: agoodbite

                    Mmmm, this sounds wonderful. Hopefully the cost will be reasonable for fresh wild seafood.

                    You're definitely correct, and I have to say live oysters from the Gulf are delicious. Thank you!

          2. I saw nice looking sardines at quality seafood the other day, not live, but clear eyes and not previously frozen. I think their seafood is fresher than CM, where you can routinely "smell" the stand. Not at quality SF. Whole foods downtown is also better than CM. my $0.02

            1 Reply
            1. re: slowcoooked

              Thank you, but I've had a previous terrible experience with Quality Seafood, interesting. Maybe I'll give them another try, since they're highly recommended on here, apparently!

            2. I like CM and Quality Seafood, but Whole Foods' seafood department seems to have the best variety in town, especially with what you're looking for. I've bought sardines there several times for grilling, and they've always been nice and fresh. If you're into these oilier types of fish, I can also add that I've bought whole mackerel several times from WF, and the Branzino's always great if you want to take that flavor down a small notch. The guys/ladies who work the fish counter are all really nice and knowledgeable, and they're happy to tell you what are the best days to get the freshest shipments. I've asked before, but have since forgotten.

              As for finding live fish, I think you'll have a hard time other than MT supermarket, and besides... those fish swimming around in tiny cubicles have always looked a bit sketchy to me.

              3 Replies
              1. re: popvulture

                Thank you so much, I will head to Whole Foods to check it out. Unfortunately I didn't happen to see any whole fish at all my last trip to Whole Foods, but maybe it was not the best day for them. Oily fish taste best in my opinion, thank you! ;)

                The quality at MT Supermarket, and the smell, was just terrible--the fish barely looked alive, and I'd definitely consider many non-live options much fresher and healthier as a result of my experience. Unfortunately my experience with Quality Seafood was not good, either, but I may just have to give them another try.

                1. re: Nattomi

                  Hi Nattomi,
                  HannaLeigh Farm offers all natural tilapia raised right here in Austin. they are raised sustainably, utilizing an aquaponic growing method. Hormone and antibiotic free, these are sold whole and are harvested to order. http://hannaleigh.com

                  1. re: hannaleigh

                    Hannleigh - I looked at the website - cool! I like tilapia when it is fresh and raised apprpriately, but I've been burned so many times over the years I stopped eating it.

                    Approximately where is the farm on Lake Travis? I didn't see an address.