We’ve reeled in some of New York’s best places to buy fresh fish — just in time for the meatless Fridays of Lent.
While buying and cooking fresh fish may sound daunting, especially in a tiny New York apartment with questionable circulation, there are so many great places in NYC to purchase fresh seafood. We’re surrounded by water, after all.
You need not be a fish expert in order to purchase your favorite restaurant cut. “A sign of a good fish market is that you should be able to ask your fish monger what to buy,” says Adam Geringer-Dunn, executive chef and owner of Greenpoint Fish and Lobster. “He may not be the best cook, but he should have cooking suggestions.”
To start, tell your fishmonger what you like to eat or have experience preparing. Fluke and flounder are usually fairly easy to come by and even more difficult to mess up.
Another key to spotting a good fish market is whole fish, not just fillets. “Look for clear eyes, bulging out, not sunken in, and flesh that’s firm,” says Geringer-Dunn. Even if you’re not planning on buying and de-boning a whole fish, product that looks like it just came out of the water is a good sign that the market is using fresh, healthy fish.
Choosing fresh versus farmed can incite another dilemma, and while fresh is oftentimes preferred by health professionals and sustainability activists, farmed can also be a safe and perhaps better alternative. Check the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch (seafoodwatch.org, or download the free app) to see if the fish you’re about to purchase is sustainable and in season, and if fresh or farmed is the best choice.
Once you’re set on buying fish, head to one of these fish markets to bait and catch the fish best for you.