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Aug 16, 2011 09:29 AM

Fresh fish market in Portland?

Hi yall -- where do you buy fresh, local (unprepared) fish in Portland? Is there a good local "fishmonger", or whatever, who sells fisherman's wares? Everyone always tells me "Hannaford", but they mostly only have stuff frozen in Norway, or whatever ... so I'm wondering if there's a local market people actually can get good off-the-boat fish?

Actually, it doesn't have to be from Portland, just something mid-coast even. I know of Simpson's up the road near the Hannaford outside of Wiscasset. I haven't actually been enormously impressed with them lately either. I'm looking for something that's actually quite active with boats coming and going, but selling something other than the ubiquitous lobster - haddock or cod or hake or, geesh, stripers smelt? or whatever happens to be hopping at the moment. I only mentioned Portland because, being a large coastal town, I would guess it would have the largest chance of finding the most active dock-side place, but if there's another I'd love to hear of it too.

p.s. puuulllleeeeze don't tell me "Whole Foods" as I was recently pointed to. I guess if that's really where it's at I'd be curious to hear that, but it's *really* not what I'm hoping to learn about!! Mostly, because even so, I don't think I could possibly go there.

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  1. Harbor Fish Market on Custom House Wharf in the Old Port in Portland is fabulous. The people are wonderful and knowledgeable and the selection is great.

    9 Replies
      1. re: hitpas

        Terrific -- thank you very much! For the record this appears to be their website (which is great): and their hours are M/Sa: 8:30-5:30; Su: 9-3. It appears you just get off the hiway at Franklin and turn right, briefly, at the water. Even I might be able to handle that. Hopefully it will be clear where to stash the car. Thanks again.

        1. re: aliris

          There's parking right in front of the store. If you're traveling a good distance, I'd suggest bringing a cooler and maybe a freezer pack or two to keep your purchase fresh.

          1. re: aliris

            Your directions are excellent AND right after you take the right from Franklin onto Commercial ST, swing in to Standard Baking Company. It's just past the Hilton on the corner. There's a sign on the street and the bakery is at the end of the parking lot. Just do it. You'll be very happy.
            After Harbor Fish, you might want to take a peek at Browne Trading Company which supplies the big chefs all over the country with their smoked fish.....coming out from Harbor, take a left on Commercial ST. You'll see Browne on your left several blocks down. They do have fresh fish as well (in a boutique sort of way) as well as cheeses, wine, soups, etc.

            Browne Trading
            260 Commercial St, Portland, ME

            1. re: hitpas

              Oh my - you *are* making me happy, just by the suggestion! I'm about to hop in the car right now... (kidding). Thanks for that terrific other information. Portland sounds like so much fun to explore -- and live in. sigh.

              1. re: aliris

                HFM isn't just a store, it's an experience. When you go, walk out the door to your left, and then go left onto the brick walkway that is next to the store. If you're lucky, you might see the resident harbor seal that knows where to get a yummy meal every day from what gets washed back into the ocean! I used to work right off that wharf and saw the seal (sometimes two) almost every day. You'll also see tons of seagulls and possibly a lobsterman offloading his boat.

                Look for the seal when he swims under the floating dock behind the market.

                1. re: soxlover

                  Oh! Who knew! Well, you. Do you mean if you're outside facing the front door, go along the right side of the building?

                  1. re: hitpas

                    And yet, of course it would be off to the right side as you face the front.
                    But so perfect to describe it (HFM) as an experience.