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Fishmongers in Miami

Looking for the best fresh fish markets in Dade County.
Priorities are places that have a good variety of the fish / seafood available, along with freshness of the fish, and cleanliness of the market.

(Reasonable prices always appreciated too, of course.)

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  1. Yellow Green Farmers Market has a stand of fresh fish it is owned and managed by the fisherman and it is fsh catch of the day orday before. Caveat... Only opens Saturday and sunday

    3 Replies
    1. re: mrotmd

      Thanks, mrotmd.

      I'm surprised there are no other responses.
      Doesn't anybody in Miami buy fresh fish to prepare at home? Or do those who do buy it all at the supermarket (or outside of Dade Co.)?

      1. re: racer x

        In Miami, there are at least 2 "right off the boat". There's a marina at Haulover and there's a marina at Key Biscayne. Never been to the Haulover one, but the one at Key Biscayne is past the Seaquarium over the next bridge and immediately to your left. Here's a website: landhsportfishing.com. In Broward there's also one in Dania Beach, on the cut-off canal, north of griffin road, east of 441 (haven't been to it yet, so I'm going by someone else's directions).

        For stores, there are 2 on the Miami River near downtown Miami: Garcia's and Casablanca. They are basically right next to one another in the 400 block of NW North River Drive, Miami, FL. Haven't bought at either in the last few years, but I know they supply some of the most high end restaurants so I doubt there's much (if any) fraud. There's a lot of fraud in fish, so you have to be careful. I'm extremely happy with the Key Biscayne guys. I like my fish raw and right off the boat is the only way I'll eat it. But realistically, you have to find someone who is convenient. Maybe someone knows of others. I have heard that the guys who sell at Yellow and Green are v. fresh, but haven't tried them.

        You can also try localfoodsouthflorida.com

      2. re: mrotmd

        i have been purchasing from them this season-

      3. Casablanca....the best. The trick is finding it. PROPINA!!!

          1. re: taiga

            I'm a little late to the party, but dropped in on the guys at Golden Rule last week, and LOVED it. Old-time Florida seafood market - great shrimp and fish, great prices, and nice guys.

            Hope it stays busy for a long time to come -- there aren't many of these guys left.

          2. My inlaws used to have fishing boats in Spain so I know fish. Casablanca is very good BUT you have to ask for the whole fish where the belly isn't cut, not so easy. But that's the freshest. If you don't do that you can go wrong. Key Biscayne is good but then you have to be there when the boats come in and plan your afternoon around that. By www.miamicurated.com.

            2 Replies
            1. re: miamicurated

              With all respect, miamicurated... all things beine equal, I'll take a fish with "the belly cut" (aka "gutted") .vs. one not cleaned, any day of the week.

              Gutted typically just means the "entrails" of the fish were removed, which many fisherman will do as quickly as possible after catching. It prevents what many consider to be the less desirable flavors / textures from decomposing / spreading.

              Many fisherman gut their fish while still out at sea - and then ice them. Or worst case, at the dock immediately upon returning to shore.

              If nothing else, the nearby sea is a convenient disposal area for the organic mess, and much more easily cleaned up afterwards.

              So, not sure why you mention to ask at Casablanca for "whole fish where the belly isn't cut".

              I really don't know if there's any advantage there. Not to mention you'll be paying extra for the guts you're likely going to throw away and which are going to make a royal mess of wherever you end up cleaning the fish.

              1. re: CFByrne

                Good points, CFByrne.
                I too would be interested to hear what the advantages are to buying the fish with the belly intact.

            2. there is triar seafood on mckinley street in hollywood

              1 Reply
              1. re: jpr54_1

                I just found out about TRIAR....they are AMAZING! Delicious and fresh and could not be any nicer or more accommodating.

              2. I tend to inspect the eyes and the gills-- if the eyes are clear and not sunken, and the gills are still red, I'm good to go. I *can* gut a fish, but I prefer not to, and my fishmonger almost always offers to do it for me, should he have the fish displayed whole.

                4 Replies
                1. re: sunshine842

                  I've always had good luck with Golden Rule too.....they've been around a long, long time and do it right......Captain's Tavern in Kendall has a seafood market too....although it's been a while since I've been there....They had a great selection and were very knowledgeable....They handled some special orders for me and did a superb job......

                  In case anyone is up in the Jensen Beach / Port St. Lucie area....there is a seafood market called New England Seafood.....and they do a magnificent job there....They have an outstanding retail market and service restaurants up and down the Treasure Coast area and they really know what they're doing......We own a catering company and they've handled dozens of special orders for us over the years and have done a wonderful job.....If it swims....and its edible....they can get it....

                  Ft. Pierce, FL

                  1. re: LargeLife

                    Been going to Golden Rule for years, never a problem. I'm a fisherman's daughter...the place smells right, if you know what I mean?

                  2. re: sunshine842

                    Now they can treat fish with products to keep eyes brite and gills red

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      but they can't keep them from being sunken.

                  3. isn't it sad that it's so hard to find great fish in Miami? I've been thinking it'd be a good business to have a truck that goes around to apartment buildings selling fresh fish. Your thoughts? Speaking about Captain's Tavern, I don't know the one in Kendall but the one on US1 is a real disappointment.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: miamicurated

                      It would take a lot of work to undo the bad reputation already cast by the guys who a) are selling stolen fish door-to-door (my sister used to work for a seafood processor...it's shocking how much of this goes on) -- or b) are selling half-rancid seafood, rinsed in bleach at a busy intersection.

                      Too much bad (flavor, quality, and safety) fish has been shunted off on the unsuspecting by these bozos...you'd have to work hard to get above that.

                      1. re: miamicurated

                        We need a fish CSF here (or lots of them). Here's how it works: you sign up for a certain number of pounds of cleaned fish per week. The fish is caught, filleted, and delivered to pickup points around town on different days. Despite the extra administrative costs, the actual fishman/women gets paid nearly retail prices, allowing the money to stay with him/her. (I say nearly retail because they do have to discount it somewhat to allow for the fact that you've committed to be a steady buyer). With the right proprietor, it could be AWESOME. Right off the boat freshness with the convenience of being able to pick up fish caught that day on your way home from work. With the explosion of local food down here, I'm surprised no one has started one down here yet. (I say, "right proprietor" because some might try to pass off yesterday's catch--or far worse--as today's caught) C

                        1. re: jpr54_1

                          Garcia's is literally next door to Casablanca's. Garcia's really seems to focus on their dining room service, not their small fish/seafood counter, which has very few options, compared to Casablanca's.

                        2. Since starting this thread, I've tried a bunch of different shops (although I haven't tried the right off the boat options at the marinas).

                          Based on my survey, I initially preferred Casablanca's, because they had a reasonably wide range of seafood, prices weren't too bad, there was always a good amount of customers traffic, with decent turnover of the seafood, the place seemed pretty clean, and you could get a good view of the seafood you were buying because all of it (or, rather, most of it) was out on display iced on tables right up close to where you would stand as a buyer.

                          However, sometime last winter, Casablanca's underwent a bit of a remodeling, in which they pushed the display tables far back away from the barrier where customers queue up to place orders. When I last visited there, after the remodeling (although I'm not sure whether they had completely finished the remodeling at that point), you could no longer really get as good a look at all the options before making a purchase. I'm sure you could ask to have a particular piece brought up close so you could inspect it before buying, but that's not the same as being able to look at everything up close all at once while deciding. It also seemed like they reduced the number of counter staff around that time (although I'm not sure whether that actually happened), so the wait for service was longer afterwards.

                          The other thing is that I noticed that prices on certain items tended to be higher at Casablanca's. In particular, when I first started checking out Casablanca's, they were selling sea bass for, I think, $20/lb -- same price as at Captain's in Kendall. A few weeks later, Casablanca's raised the price to around $25/lb, while the price remained the same for months at Captain's. And the quality of the filet cuts and the deboning was better at Captain's.

                          So now I usually go to Captain's. (Virtually never any wait for service there. I also like the easy parking -- there's no real parking lot at Casablanca's, or at least the handful of slots there always seem to be full, probably with employees' cars, so your options are valet parking at Garcia's next door, or parking meters on the street, or free parking on the street several blocks away.)

                          However, I'm not totally happy with Captain's. The offerings there seem to vary in terms of freshness and variety. I've visited there several times mid week when there were no other customers (or maybe just one or two others -- these were days when there would have been a bunch of customers at Casablanca's), and the place and fish didn't smell too fresh and the fish didn't look so good. Fridays generally seem to be a better day to go, with more customers coming in and a better range of offerings available.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: racer x

                            Agree with you about Casablanca, but I put up with it because I have been able to trust their level of freshness. As for the Marina choices, it's gotten a little trickier in Key Biscayne ever since they began demo/remodel of the original space.

                          2. Re the question about freshness, I checked with the "fish maven" who had the fishing boats and he said the levels of freshness at least at Casablanca are 1/belly not cut because the fish has just come in to the market; 2/whole fish with the belly cut as the fish has not sold for two or three days and it could putrify with the guts in so they gut it and 3/it still isn't selling so they filet it. haven't been to garcia's so can't comment. again, love to have someone offer me fresh fish at my home.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: miamicurated

                              Great discussion.....I'm in the parishables business.....And rotation is a part of life.....Can't sell everything you have....everyday.....And human nature pushes to you to extend the lives of your commodity.....Nobody wantso to throw stuff away.....and that's just the way it is.....

                              That said.....my advice is to study...study....study....My customers know to call me on Friday afternoons....for product to go out on Monday.....and they'll get my freshest and best.....They know to call me on Tuesday afternoon for outgoing product on Friday.....Just have to study the situation....ask questions.....Ask them when is the best time for me to be here for the freshest, best product you have.....Don't be afraid to ask...."Is this the freshest you have?".....You may also say "I'm not afraid to pay more for something fresher and better than that"......

                              Ft. Pierce, FL

                            2. Casablanca. Fresh off the boat

                              1. Here's the New Times assessment of the best fish markets in Miami: http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2013-02-...