With staying at home and many of us cooking a lot and doing one’s fair share of drinking wine, it’s hard not to put on weight. So lately I’ve been eating a lot of fresh fish, and on the lookout for delicious, easy recipes with few ingredients. You would think it’s easy to buy a great piece of fresh fish here, and that there’s a good variety. Yes, there are a lot of fish markets in Miami, but not many really good ones. Here are my picks of the best Miami fresh fish markets, how to choose the freshest fish, and a great new recipe I’ve made a few times already.
I’ve bought fish everywhere from seafood markets in Miami to fine food stores around town. If you’re a regular, and know someone behind the counter who will tell you what’s the freshest (as opposed to saying everything’s fresh), that helps.
The marina at Key Biscayne where the boats come in late afternoon is reliably good, but they’re only there in late afternoon so you have to plan your day around it. I also just learned that at Haulover Marina in Sunny Isles, the boats come in between 12 and 1 p.m. and 5 and 6 p.m. and it’s also a good place to buy fresh fish. Between Fresh Market and Whole Foods, I prefer the latter. I don’t think Fresh Market gets enough turnover, so sometimes the fish isn’t uber fresh. Also, they have fewer whole fish that can be fileted, the best way to go. Fresh Florida Fisheries, 2238 SW 57th Street, does a good job for a Miami fish market with whole fish and filets, so if you live in South Miami, it’s a solid choice. A “plus” is they’ll cook whatever fish you buy — grill, fry, bake, make it into tacos, you get the idea. To cook it, there’s an additional charge of $4 per pound for filets or $6 per pound for whole fish.
My vote for the best fish market in Miami goes to Casablanca Fish Market at 404 NW North River Drive which has its own boats. It’s often pretty busy and with serious fish people who buy a lot. A caveat: you have to know what you’re looking for. As my friend the fish maven says whose father had fishing boats and his idea of fun is going to a fish market, you need to buy a whole fish and have them filet it with the skin on.
Look for a fish that’s firm, eyes popping out, as opposed to recessed. The skin should be glistening, and it shouldn’t smell fishy. They have a large selection of whole fish as well as filets and steaks. My favorite are the snappers (red, lane, hog, and my usual choice, yellowtail) both for freshness and price (last week yellowtail was $6.99 a pound). And they have the “crowd pleaser” that you find in every top restaurant — branzino. Fish can be as little as half the price of Whole Foods. In the shellfish department I haven’t bought much there, so can’t opine about it. And while you’re waiting, they show cooking videos from their restaurant. Smart.
Casablanca has been enforcing social distancing, so you can relax on that score. There’s also an adjacent restaurant on the river, valet and street parking.
And here’s my favorite new fish recipe from the New York Times cookbook. And by the way, I’m loving the recipes in the Times’ At Home section. They’re delicious, easy to make, and work even for company. This recipe is grilled fish with salsa verde. You can also use the sauce for chicken as a condiment.