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May 15, 2014 09:37 AM

10 Best Places For Smoked Fish In LA

I love smoked fish. I think this might be a list just for me, but here goes from the LA Weekly …

10.Santa Monica Sea Food
9. Rasputin Market
8. Roll N Rye
7. Fairfax Fishery
6. Royal Gourmet Deli
5. Factor's Famous Deli
4. Odessa Grocery and Deli
3. Petrossian
2. Brent's Deli and it's Smoked Cod (my favorite)
1. Wexler's Deli

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  1. Has anyone tried the Fairfax Fishery? It sounds wonderful…."Once a week, for about 2-3 hours, they have a smoked fish open house when you can get a fresh piece of fish, right out of the smoker, served as a sandwich. (Call ahead to see when they're doing this, as the time varies.) Fairfax Fishery's manager, Rami Tamir, thinks there's nothing better. "I don't understand why people wait in a long line for hotdogs at Pink's," says Tamir, "when they can come here and get a delicious piece of hot smoked fish."

    23 Replies
    1. re: wienermobile

      "I don't understand why people wait in a long line for hotdogs at Pink's," says Tamir, "when they can come here and get a delicious piece of hot smoked fish."
      word. and a listicle with great photos? huzzah.

        1. re: wienermobile

          shades of trading places with aykroyd gnawing lox through his santa beard

        2. re: wienermobile

          Weinermobile - I'd hoped YOU'D gone to Fairfax Fishery and could give us all the details!

          The sandwich sounds killer and I wonder if they have that elusive fav from my childhood - smoked chubs.

            1. re: wienermobile

              Here is what Fairfax fish carries:
              Types of fish you will find:
              - Middle Salmon
              - Organic Salmon (Steak & Fillet)
              - Wild Salmon
              - Tuna
              - Chilean Sea Bass
              - Turbot
              - Tilapia
              - Trout
              - Whole Salmon
              - Whole Trout
              - Smoked Salmon
              - Herring (made without sugar)
              - Barramundi
              - Grouper
              - Dover Sole
              - Black Cod/Sable Fish
              - Ling Cod
              - Halibut
              I do not know if they smoke everything on this list.

              1. re: wienermobile

                I think I'm going to give them a call, to ask about when you can get the hot smoked fish for a sandwich and, if they carry chubs. I know they are not listed (and thanks for that list!) but maybe they will be able to say what they have that is close. It's like a tiny, more delicate whitefish.

                1. re: happybaker

                  thanks! pls report back.

                  Wiener -- with lox, hotdogs and pastramis, you are always on point with your posts for me!

                  1. re: happybaker

                    Nateand Al's almost always has chubs in the cold case.

                    1. re: JudiAU

                      Really? Really?!!!

                      Might be worth BH traffic for those. Thank you!

                    2. re: happybaker

                      Probably the most similar thing would be herring.

                    3. re: wienermobile

                      And they are a quick walk from my place. Hurray!

                    4. re: wienermobile


                      I just got off the phone with Fairfax Fish. Oy!

                      Very sweet folks but turns out they don't have an open house officially set up yet. It's something they are thinking about and will be doing in the future.


                      You can come by on the day they are smoking the fish, get it extra fresh and make the sandwich on your own.

                      They don't yet know what day they are smoking the fish next week, however the gentleman promised he would call me and give me the date. I told him about this thread and asked permission to post the info, and he said that was fine.

                      And the adventure begins!

                      1. re: happybaker

                        Thanks….. sounds like really nice people! Please Post when they call back!!

                        1. re: wienermobile

                          Fairfax Fish called back!

                          Very brave of them to call me during the Friday rush, they close at 2, they called at 1:10 and I could hear the cash register going and going : )

                          Anyway, this is what they are going to do:

                          Every Tuesday, from 11:30am to 1pm, they will offer smoked salmon, fresh and warm from their smoker. It will not be sold as a sandwich, it will be sold on a white tray, with a fork and some sauce, maybe. They will not have bagels for sale but, I said that nothing was stopping folks from getting the fish and then going and getting a fresh bagel nearby and... The gentleman agreed.

                          This is brand new to them, but, as they tried the fish right out of the smoker and liked it - they want to offer it to the public. It's a work in progress, so they are open to feed back.

                          And, they are being pretty thoughtful about it, originally they were going for their Wednesday smoke time - which would be ready from 4pm through 5:30 but realized that for working folks, the time might not be right. That lunch time might offer better opportunities for folks to get there.

                          So. Next week, Tuesday May 20th will be their first day.

                          I think I've got to try and be there!

                          And FYI, they said if this goes well, they might add smoked trout to the future warm offerings, which they said is a lighter fish than salmon, when smoked. Let's keep those fingers crossed!

                          1. re: happybaker

                            oh that's so cool, i definitely cannot wait to hear your thoughts. if you wouldn't mind, could you suggest they smoke some black cod? sable is my FAVORITE. :)

                            1. re: Clyde

                              Clyde -

                              Looking at Weinermobile's list, they routinely carry black cod. I wonder, if you prepaid, if you could get them to smoke some just for you....

                              This whole thing is a work in progress, but they seem to be open to respectful feedback so, we shall see!

                              Fingers crossed for all : )

                            2. re: happybaker

                              It's been a month. did anyone actually sample this? Besides the "corrupt" LAW?

                              1. re: TonyC

                                TonyC -

                                I did.

                                The good news is - the folks were very nice, I actually got to meet the gentleman I spoke with on the phone, and the portion was warm and fresh, well sized and well priced. (I think $6 or $7 for what looked to be 8 oz of fish.) And you got tarter sauce with it.

                                The bad news? I was so excited about it and it smelled so good, I ate almost half of it, straight, no bread or sauce. Loved it while I was doing it but about an hour later I thought "Oops. Probably should not have eaten it plain."

                                I felt pretty darn salty.

                                It was better the next day cold, on a bagel with butter.

                                I was very pleased with the freshness and quality. But in a matter of personal taste, I think I like my hot smoked salmon a little sweeter.

                      1. re: wienermobile

                        >> Has anyone tried the Fairfax Fishery?

                        Yes, me.

                        They're near where I live, and their nova is OK. Since the nova is prepackaged, you have no control over how the fish is sliced, and great nova needs to be sliced paper thin. This is certainly many steps above the clumped up fish you get in packages of nova at Trader Joe's, but it's a far, far cry from the sheer glory of Russ & Daughters. Those guys know how to use a knife.

                        Be aware that the service at Fairfax Fishery can be atrocious and indifferent. I've never seen the manager pictured above ever touch a fish-- I've watched him stand at the register doing nothing while a store full of people wait and wait and wait for 10, 20, 30 minutes while legions of old ladies get their fish minced for gefilte. But here's a tip-- if all you need is pre-packaged nova from the fridge case, grab a counterman and go right to checkout, and don't be shy about it or you will wait as long as possible.

                        I have had friendly interactions with another guy who offered me samples of his fish jerky, and seemed genuinely interested in branching out with new ideas. I never seem to see him around anymore, though.

                        Interesting that Roll & Rye serves true belly lox. I need to check it out. Hard to believe that it never crossed my radar after so many years of searching for it, and only finding it at Barney Greengrass (which is very good) and an awful version at Lenny's Deli.

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: Mr Taster

                          Roll and Rye does have nice lox. It is worth a visit. Nice waitstaff and cheerful place.

                          1. re: jessejames

                            I just called Roll N Rye. Both their nova and belly lox are $35.95/lb.

                            Looking forward to trying this out.

                            Mr Taster

                      2. bye bye barney greengrass here...will miss that sable...

                        cantors has so many misses but their lox is striped, fatty, sliced thinly and works well for me.

                        I didn't get the pastrami but that lox at wexlers is they even have other stuff?

                        nice sable and smoked cod at nate n als too.

                        call me crazy, but the smoked "Chilean sea bass" at wholefoods is quite good.

                        22 Replies
                        1. re: jessejames

                          The smoked candied salmon at Whole Foods is quite good too.

                          1. re: jessejames

                            The smoked sturgeon at Wexler's might be even better than the lox (those 2 are the only ones they have though).

                            1. re: chrishei

                              Wexler's Deli at Grand Central Market. "Right now you can get these great smoky products on a bagel with cream cheese, some capers, and thinly sliced onions, but at some point Wexler hopes to sell poundage to go and offer other smoked fish varieties."

                              1. re: chrishei

                                will have to give it a whirl...for me, smoked sturgeon just a tad dry usually (from barney greengrass last) so I prefer sable or cod when not lox....but, maybe a bit of caviar on top to smooth things out... ever had a bagel, cream cheese and caviar? now that's a sturgeon sandwich I can get excited about!

                                1. re: jessejames

                                  ever had a bagel, cream cheese and caviar
                                  gonna say... petrossian brunch?

                                  1. re: TonyC

                                    nice, ive never done it that way there...sounds delightful a fucking glutton. I get a big container of the usa caviar from bh cheese shop and just go to town with that with bagels and cream cheese at home...oh and a frozen bottle of the good stuff

                                    1. re: jessejames

                                      Omg…that sounds unbelievable.

                                      Nirvana, actually.
                                      Thanks. On a day like today where the mercury is hitting at least 150 I'd say…
                                      Deliver please?

                                      1. re: latindancer

                                        im with you ... I need some frozen shots right now!

                                      2. re: jessejames

                                        "fucking glutton."
                                        or, (drunk) shot caller.

                                        petrossian's assemblage is $28. i've only "seen" it there.

                                        1. re: TonyC

                                          Related is the lightly smoked salmon sushi w caviar at kiriko. Comes often w lunch omakase. Good one.

                                          1. re: jessejames

                                            that sushi from kiriko is indeed awesome.

                                            1. re: jessejames

                                              Ken-san at Kiriko procures wild-caught King Salmon, and then smokes that bad boy himself. After that he sashimi slices the smoked salmon, wraps it around a slice of ripe mango and tops it with a dollop of transmontanus caviar. Each player in this dish contributes to the gorgeously complexity of tastes in that single bite. Damn I am hungry right now...

                                              1. re: J.L.

                                                It is interesting how this thread for smoked fish makes
                                                us particularly hungry and wanting some!

                                    2. re: chrishei

                                      just had smoked sturgeon bagel from wexlers...that is off the hook. I like how it's moister, smokier and more thinly sliced than other sturgeon I've had, which is usually a bit dry and thicker....this had a silky lox like presentation. man is that good, maybe even the best sturgeon I've had ever including barney greengrass and russ and daughters. too bad their pastrami sucks, but heck if they steer towards the appetizing arena instead of the deli, no problem here....time for them to give sable a crack.

                                        1. re: wienermobile

                                          no capers for this good! bagel "so so" if you ask me, but that fish...wowsa!

                                          1. re: jessejames

                                            I just wondered something that I'm curious about. Do you think by using a bad quality sandwich bun that it makes the main ingredients taste that much better? I'm trying to rationalize why some places serve crappy buns for sandwiches/burgers as they may do it on purpose.

                                            1. re: polldeldiablo

                                              I think they were trying to make it good and it was decent, and in fairness to them it was brought back to me and was 40 min past being toasted. I like a chewy crust on my bagel and abundant poppy seeds.

                                              no place I like would ever do a crappy bread on purpose to highlight good meat but it can have that effect sometimes, like Katz.

                                              1. re: jessejames

                                                Is it bad that I ate Kat's like 3 months ago and I remember their pastrami but I don't remember their bread?

                                                1. re: polldeldiablo

                                                  Unlike Langer's, Katz's bread is very forgettable.

                                        2. re: jessejames

                                          On my one and only visit, I found the sturgeon to be rather dry- but I rarely eat sturgeon, so I didn't feel qualified to comment. Interesting to know that yours had a moist texture-- was it comparable to the nova? Is sturgeon hot or cold smoked?

                                          Mr Taster

                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                            I would say yes. unlike most sturgeon that ive had that is opaque white, this one had a slightly translucent quality like your nova, not as much tho, but like some good halibut sashimi, well maybe not that much. gotta be cold smoked.

                                            I find sturgeon to generally be dry even at the best spots like russ and barney, so I usually get the lox or sable instead...this was promising.

                                    3. OMG I love smoked fish too. Thank you for posting this.

                                      1. Dry Dock Fish Co at the Beverly Hills Farmer's Market has the best smoked salmon. Worth going there just for that.

                                        13 Replies
                                        1. re: maudies5

                                          interesting. they're on amazon fresh as well...

                                            1. re: ns1

                                              That may be reason enough to sign on with Amazon Fresh. In addition to their smoked salmon, they offer fantastic swordfish and scallops.

                                              1. re: maudies5

                                                i love their mixed fish bag that's pre-seasoned.

                                                1. re: maudies5

                                                  thanks for the info. Any comparison between SM Seafood + Dry Dock? Dry Dock is pretty consistently 10-20% more expensive than SMS (at least on amz fresh).


                                                  thanks for the info. how do you usually prepare what's in the bag?

                                                  1. re: ns1

                                                    forgot what it's called but there's a white fish dry dock sells that comes frozen that is $7.99/lb. it is super mild and delicious. hard for me to spend $30/lb on sea bass and the like....I agree with maudie about the scallops but haven't tried some of the other stuff...they have urchin from time to time too.

                                                    1. re: jessejames

                                                      Could you be thinking of Opah? It sounds like something I have bought from them frozen and I agree it is quite delicious and mild

                                                      1. re: maudies5

                                                        it definitely could be...looked like a thicker sole, filets about 10" long and about 1.5" thick in the middle, tapering. I liked that it was good, and also economical.

                                                    2. re: ns1

                                                      I am at SM Seafood at least 2-3x week. I find that Dry Dock's Swordfish is tastier and the price is generally pretty close to SMS. I have never bought smoked fish at SMS. Dry Dock's smoked salmon is just amazing.

                                                      1. re: maudies5

                                                        as an FYI to all, on amz fresh from Dry Dock:

                                                        sliced lox @ 7.95/4oz
                                                        unsliced lox @ 19.99/lb
                                                        sweet smoked salmon filets @ 18.95/lb
                                                        smoked salmon filets @ 18.95/lb
                                                        smoked salmon spread @ 5.50

                                                        king crab legs @ 24.95/lb
                                                        80-100ct scallops @ $12/14oz
                                                        seasoned seafood mix @ 12.95 (9.99/lb)

                                                      2. re: ns1

                                                        i like it on the grill but my SO claimed to like it more from the oven. I can't remember if I made skewers or not. also, Dry Dock also has awesome smoked fish dips. it's either smoked salmon dip, smoked trout dip, or smoked tuna dip which i love b/c it's made with yogurt. in addition, i also love the salmon poke when they have it :)

                                                  2. re: maudies5

                                                    Received email that Dry Dock will be selling it's fish at the Brentwood and Palisades Farmers Markets, beginning June 29.

                                                    1. re: maudies5

                                                      Decided to try Amazon Fresh 30 day free trial. Pleasantly surprised to see they sell Dry Dock's delicious smoked salmon.

                                                  3. OK I love smoked fish. I special order it from Astoria, OR for special occasions, I've traveled for good smoked fish. It's always a highlight in weekend getaways to the central coast. so that this list exists fir LA makes me happy. I need to explore a bunch of places on here. I've tried Fairfax Fishery and I don't recall liking it. But this was many years ago when I lived in the area. I just remember being disappointed with it. I enjoy the smoked fish at the Larchmont Sunday & South Pas Thursday market (EDITED to note that the name is Dry Dock Fish Co, as noted in another post). They mostly have salmon but the candied/sweeter one is awesome and sometimes they have other fish selections. I don't like the smoked fish at whole foods, it tastes weird to me. Anyone else think so? maybe I should give it another chance.