The only real criterion when buying fish is that it must be fresh. If you want fresh in Florida, that means right off the fisherman's boat and onto your plate.
Sure, you can buy oceanic creatures from just about any commercial chain grocery store in the area. But why do that to yourself when buying from a local fish market is so much better?
Whether you’re fasting with fish for a holiday or just want a fresh piece of tail, we've got the official guide to find the choicest fishmongers in these parts with this list of the best fresh seafood markets in Broward and Palm Beach counties.
10. The Fish Peddler
2805 E. Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-491-1441; thefishpeddler.com.
This Fort Lauderdale market offers a bright, welcoming interior filled with colorful nautical décor and a staff that's equally friendly and colorful. In addition to a large selection of fresh seafood, the store features a number of rubs, sauces, spices, and other specialty goods, from gourmet vinegars to cedar wood planks for grilling your catch of choice. Locals and repeat customers can't stop raving about the fresh-fried shrimp and housemade scampi butter. The homemade Key lime pie is definitely the perfect, not-too-sweet ending to a meal.
9. Finster Murphy's
1497 SE 17 St., Fort Lauderdale; 954-765-3461; finstermurphys.com.
Finster Murphy's in Fort Lauderdale isn't just a market offering a premium selection of fish and seafood. It also serves a number of seafood dishes prepared daily, which you can take out or chow down at one of a handful of tables. Favorites include the large selection of seafood salads, from conch and shrimp to salmon and tuna. The crab cakes and salmon burgers are some of the best around. The staff can cook those for you too, everything from grilled and fried to blackened and sautéed. Now, that's a fish market worth visiting any day.
8. Fish Depot
1022 N. Federal Hwy., Boynton Beach; 561-375-8363.
Fish Depot in Boynton Beach is such a unique building; you can't miss it. The bright, sky blue stucco facade houses a great assortment of fresh whole fish caught locally and packed in large ice bins for you to see and smell for yourself. There's also plenty of other seafood, including fresh-caught local lobsters and shellfish delivered daily. The customer service is stellar, and it's rumored the crab cakes and fish dip in the prepared food section are some of the best around. If they've run out at the market, you can always stop by the family's new restaurant located down the road. The Twisted Fish menu serves up all the market's in-house products too, from the fish tacos to the fresh catch of the day.
7. Captain Mike's Seafood
4501 SW 44 Ave., Dania Beach; 954-791-2955; captainmikesfreshfish.com.
Don't get confused: The sign out front says Two Bills Seafood, but this Fort Lauderdale seafood market still goes by Captain Mike's, and it's still one of the best places to go if you're looking for locally caught seafood — or something other than your typical ocean-caught fare. Here's the place to go the next time you're in the mood for specialty items like gator, eel, sepia, boudin, frog legs, seaweed, squid ink, snail, or finnan haddie (cold-smoked haddock from Scotland). Of course, the market also has a large selection of fresh and frozen items as well as live Maine lobsters, blue and golden crabs, and crawdads. Want to make your own conch fritters? There's a homemade batter in the refrigerated section ready to go. But it's Mike's hot to-go buckets, including their "famous" four-pound bucket of garlic crab, that make picking up a fresh-cooked meal easiest.
6. Old Dixie Seafood
7000 N. Dixie Hwy., Boca Raton; 561-988-0866; olddixieseafood.com.
Located on a desolate strip of Dixie Highway in north Boca Raton, don't let this old-style shop fool you. Despite its small, retro digs, the market has been around for just over two decades and was named the "Best of Boca" in the 2008 issue of Boca
magazine. Accolades aside, Old Dixie truly has been among the best seafood markets in South Florida since brothers Larry and Kerry Siemsen first opened the market in 1995. Since that time, Old Dixie has continually offered nearby residents a wide variety of fresh and frozen seafood sourced globally. The place is well-known for its jalapeño spices and smoked fish spread. It also has one of the best mustard dipping sauces around, perfect for all variety of seafood, although pairs best with Florida stone crab.