Knowing what you like when buying seafood is one thing, but when you want to try something new and diversify your choice, finding a fishmonger you like and are comfortable asking questions, knowing that you’re getting just what you’re after is vital. We went shopping (and asking) and here’s who we found:
Happy Tuna Seafoods
We don’t know if it’s the bright blue walls, the corner location or the wink from the staff as they pass you your purchase that keeps us going back to the bustling shop in the Vic Markets. It’s family-owned and run, fourth generation in fact, but a lot of its appeal is the staff who are up for a chat about the product (and anything else), the reliability of the information you’re given and the spanking fresh product at the counter. Pacific oysters, whole baby snapper and sardine fillets were looking mighty fine at our most recent visit.
Queen Victoria Market
513 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne
(03) 9329 7072
We love Collingwood for many reasons and the fact there’s a seafood retail shop deep in the heart of the suburb speaks volumes about supply and demand in the area. Clearly, the demand for good seafood has existed long enough for the wholesalers to set up a retail shop in 2008 and the ongoing quality at Ocean Made keeps the customers coming back. The staff take questions on board and the mussels, Huon salmon and flathead fillets are winners.
27/29 Robert Street, Collingwood
(03) 9486 0399
One of the oldest fish retail shops in Melbourne is also a goodie when it comes to consistency and quality of product. Old-school familiar service helps too in this classic shop where the aesthetics keep up the traditional fish-shop feel. Whole fish, fish fillets and staff who are happy to fillet the whole fish you just picked and answer any questions you may have.
703 Nicholson Street, North Carlton
The simplicity of the fit-out of Hai Long is stark, there’s no froth or bubble here in the tiled room with a large glass-fronted counter and buckets of fresh seafood around the room. In the thick of Victoria Street you’ll come across some fish species you may not be familiar with - Pomfret from India, Ribbon Fish from China - but they also stock names you know well such as salmon, bream, blue grenadier and calamari. The staff here are funny, perhaps turning to humour which may distract from the fact they can’t always answer your questions regarding origin or sustainability of lesser-known species but their turnover of stock and the way they look after the product makes it a great place to pick up your seafood.
240 Victoria Street, Richmond
(03) 9428 0198
Away from the buzz of Bell Street, M&C Seafoods keep their loyal following happy with a shop abundant with the good stuff. Walk into a veritable feast of fresh fish, crustaceans, oysters and mussels and ask the staff just about anything you can think of regarding their stock, they’ll usually have an answer and help you find out if they don’t. On our last visit, we were very pleased with the fillets of flathead and ocean trout, as well as octopus, calamari and different smoked fish.
1 Reserve Street, Preston
(03) 9416 9311
Smack-in-the-middle of the Prahran Market, Claringbold’s has super-seafood status in the seafood-retail realm and while longevity helps keep this reputation, the maintenance and growth of the shop and the quality of the produce available makes it a stayer. The smart service and chatty staff only back up the package and make it hard for those south-of-the-river to shop elsewhere. We love the sushi, the smoked trout and salmon and fat mussels.
Shop 510, Prahran Market 163-181 Commercial Road, South Yarra
(03) 9826 8381