HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >


Cheapest store to buy wild caught fish in Oakland/Berkeley area?

We've been buying fish from Whole Foods but the wild fish is definitely not cheap. I'm fairly new to eating seafood, so I don't know if their price is normal for wild caught or is overpriced. Are there cheaper places to get wild fish in the Oakland/Berkeley area? Thank you!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Don't know Whole Foods fish. My favorite place to buy fish is Monterey Fish (Hopkins Ave)--and it's definitely not cheap, but maybe better fish for the $$ than Whole Foods.

    Some (not all) of Verbrugge's (College Ave.) fish is wild caught--and reasonably priced.

    Costco Richmond will sometimes have wild salmon et. al.--with very good prices.

    8 Replies
    1. re: sundeck sue

      Tokyo Fish and Berkeley Bowl(s) also have wild fish. Depending on the variety and season, it can be relatively expensive. On the other hand, when things like local sardines and other small local fish are in season, they are pretty cheap and also delicious. The stores will give you prep ideas.

      Monterey Fish and Tokyo Fish are going to be #s 1 and 2 in the fresh department. If you are 'new" to seafood, extra fresh (even at the expense of eating a slightly smaller portion) is more important than cheap. It is not a forgiving protein. You can't really "sauce" your way out of bad fish, as opposed to a steak or pork chop.

      1. re: lmnopm

        We live right by the Pacific Ocean here, yet most of the fish at Tokyo is not local. I am not clear on why this is here in the Bay Area, but the fish stores suck.

        1. re: jason carey

          Consumers want more variety than is available locally. That's true in most urban areas around the world.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            What are the local fish and seafood for our area? I know oysters and crab but not sure beyond that.

                1. re: bythebay

                  Not all oysters sold are local; not all crab sold is local. Ask the seller,

                  1. re: bythebay

                    Thanks all. I like the fish and game site, very informative.

          2. Of those, Verbrugge's is closest to us so I'll give that a try next time.

            So far we don't really use any sauce. We've been eating the fish pretty plain till we try some recipes, and it's all tasted good to me from WF, not that I have a lot to compare with.

            Monterey is not super close to us for a weeknight, but maybe we'll head there on a weekend and see. I have heard good things about it before and sadly never tried the fish when we lived nearby, since I wasn't a fish eater then. I've never heard of Tokyo fish before, so maybe we'll check that out when we go to Monterey, since it's somewhat close.

            Thank you both!

            2 Replies
            1. re: bythebay

              No need for long drives. Monterey Fish is near Monterey Market, in Berkeley, not in Monterey. It is on Hopkins, near Monterey Avenue. While you are there, Monterey Market is great for produce.
              Tokyo Fish is on San Pablo, just north of Gilman, on the Albany/Berkeley border.

              1. re: AnnKnepper

                I know :) Still a bit far for us from Oakland during the week.

            2. Probably Berkeley Bowl.

              Does Verbrugge label their stuff carefully?

              Monterey Fish and Tokyo Fish are the best, but definitely not the cheapest.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Verbrugge definitely labels fish as wild or farmed, and the location (eg Pacific or Atlantic), fresh or frozen.

              2. I am not sure how the prices compare to WF, but another good source is Hudson Fish at the farmer's market. http://hudsonfish.com/markets.html

                1 Reply
                1. re: foodeye

                  Hudson Fish is similar to Monterey or Tokyo.

                2. Hang out at the Berkeley Marina. Often times you can make deals for fish right off the boat as fisherman love to show off their take.

                  1. Costco has some fish labeled wild.

                      1. Cheapest, try Oakland Chinatown...but you either need to know your fish well or speak Cantonese.

                        At Lucky Seafood on 8th I get wild caught salmon for $4.69/lb and crab in season at a very good price. You can see the fish they cut from, usually 25 pounders+. You can definitely order w/o Cantonese (I do) but only fish I know.

                        One short cut is find out when the delivery truck come and follow the old Chinese ladies, usually in the morning so not real doable.

                          1. Berkeley Bowl West has pretty decent prices and good fish, and isn't too bad to get to from Oakland as long as you avoid peak rush hour. However, we've also had good luck with Whole Foods Oakland fish when it's on sale---their prices aren't great otherwise, but the sale prices are often quite reasonable. My bigger issue with them is that the staff seems to turn over regularly and they often can't answer questions about preparation, etc. Verbrugge/Hudson/Tokyo/Place in Market Hall that I can never remember the name of all have good fish in my experience and can answer questions, but are pricey. We've not had good luck with Piedmont Grocery, sadly, though I like their staff (possibly they just don't sell enough fish fast enough?)

                            If you find a great place I'd love to hear about it as we are always looking for one too...

                            1. I checked on Verbrugge's but it was no cheaper than Whole Foods. Maybe will check Berkeley Bowl next.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: bythebay

                                VerBrugge used to have their own fishing boat, but that may not still be the case. Does anyone else remember the big brick crab cooker that used to be in their front window area? They removed it to extend the meat case.