8 Excellent Stores & Markets to Buy Fresh Fish from in California

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Fresh fish market in California

If you live in California, chances are you love your seafood. The state has the third-longest coastline in the country, after Alaska and Florida, so it’s only natural that fish is on the menu more often than not. But you always want to make sure you’re buying your fish from a quality supplier or grocery store, at the best possible price.

We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite California markets and stores where you can stock up on world-class seafood. Keep in mind this is by no means a comprehensive list. It’s just a sample of some of the stores and markets you can discover as you cruise down California’s sunny coast.

1. Monterey Fish Market

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If you’re soaking up the sunshine in the Bay Area and looking to buy some top-of-the-line seafood, make your way to Monterey Fish Market in Berkeley. We can’t say enough good things about this shop. It’s charming and elegant with helpful staff. It’s also been committed to ethically and sustainably sourcing its suppliers since 1979, and is active in both conservation efforts and improving industry standards. It’s the sort of business you want to throw your support behind.

2. Raley’s Supermarkets

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If you live or work in NorCal, there’s a good chance you’ve shopped at Raley’s for your groceries. They’re great stores, and regionally-owned, so your business is going to someone invested in the community. Raley’s stocks both fresh and frozen seafood from the industry’s top producers and suppliers, and has pledged to phase out all non-sustainable seafood products by the end of 2017. They even have a special in-store logo so you can tell which seafood products are socially and ecologically sound.

Raley’s Meat & Seafood Expert Tim Medford is excited to launch the store’s fully sustainable seafood program. “Sustainable seafood represents a healthy relationship with our planet that can endure forever. It is a way to replenish our oceans and manage their resources into the future. We know that informed consumers can make all the difference by finding out where their fish comes from and by making responsible choices. This is just one of the many ways Raley’s is contributing to a healthier world,” says Medford.

3. LBC Seafood Market

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When the weather’s warm in SoCal, why not head over to Long Beach? It’s an ideal spot to catch a little sun and some sumptuous seafood. You’ll find LBC Seafood Market is clean, friendly and loaded with such a variety of fish and crustaceans that you have to see it to believe it. And you certainly get your money’s worth: not only are the prices great, but the staff is willing to prepare your delicious meal for you on the spot. All you need to do is take it home and dig in.

4. Dry Dock Fish Co.

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If you like fresh fish, you’ll love Dry Dock Fish Co. in Fullerton, located on E. Commonwealth Ave. The selection changes constantly based on what’s available—but that’s not a bad thing. It’s always nice to try something new, and wild seafood should only be sold when stocks are in abundance anyway. Dry Dock Fish Co. has affiliated farmer’s markets spread all throughout SoCal, so find one that’s close to you.

5. Stater Bros.

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Headquartered in San Bernardino, Stater Bros. stores can be found throughout SoCal. While they’re not a hidden gem or quaint farmer’s market, they offer awesome customer service, good prices and great choices when it comes to seafood. You’ll find Tilapia from Regal Springs, along with a range of products that have been approved by the most rigorous and professional auditors in the international fishing and aquaculture industry.

6. Pearson’s Port

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The shack-like structure of Pearson’s Port has become a bit of a local landmark in Newport Beach’s Bayside Marina. This one-of-a-kind floating, family-owned business is known for selling spot prawns so big you’d be forgiven for thinking they were some sort of clawless lobster. All manner of local seafood is available throughout the year, and owner Tom Pearson fishes for whatever’s currently in season.

7. Sea Ocean Seafood Market

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Inconspicuously situated in West Covina, Sea Ocean Seafood Market is one of those places where you can buy your seafood fresh or have them prepare it. It’s a popular spot, so we suggest calling in advance if you want your seafood fried by the pros; otherwise you’ll probably be waiting about twenty minutes for your order. The wait is worth the delicious food, though. We recommend trying any of their fried seafood balls.

8. Sprouts Farmers Market

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Sprouts Farmers Market has grocery stores across several states, including throughout California, and they make it a point to sell seafood from socially and environmentally sustainable sources. While shopping in the frozen seafood aisle, you’re sure to find the best brands in the business. Check for logos of organizations such as Oceanwise, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council or the Global Aquaculture Alliance to be certain you’re investing in the cleanest products possible.

While these are some of our favorite markets and grocery stores in California, there are so many more we love! Let us know what other markets you love buying fish from, and check out this list of 10 places to buy Tilapia.

Photo Credit: Jevgeni Mironov / Shutterstock Inc.