recommended by experts

Where to Buy Seafood Online, According to Chefs That Run Seafood Restaurants

Photo: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

As the Great Indoor Summer begins, it’s likely many of us won’t be hitting up our favorite seaside shacks for buttery lobster rolls or fried clams. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do all that at home: There are tons of excellent companies that ship fresh seafood across the country.

We asked seven chefs from Charleston to L.A. to Seattle and in between for their recommendations on where — and what — to order from seafood companies that ship nationwide. They also shared their favorite products for prepping seafood, including paella pans, oyster knives, and fish spatulas. Here’s where you can order seafood to your front door right now.

All-in-One Seafood Services

Tim Richardson, the executive chef at Hank’s Seafood Restaurant in Charleston, is a fan of local seafood provider Charleston Seafood. “I like to order the black grouper and tuna from them,” Richardson says. The service provides 30 fresh fish varieties, including halibut, swordfish, mahi-mahi, and catfish, as well as shellfish, like crab, lobster, calamari, and conch. Charleston Seafood ships to all 50 states and orders received by 11 a.m. Monday through Wednesday will be shipped the same day and arrive within two days (Tuesday through Friday), no signature required.

Another service operating on that scale is the online arm of New York City’s iconic Fulton Fish Market, which market ships nationwide and is beloved by chefs looking to get high-grade fish. Chef Marcos Campos, the executive chef at Bonhomme Hospitality in Chicago, swears by three of their products: The sushi-grade yellowfin tuna (“Because it can be eaten raw or cooked, has a nice fattiness to it, and you can use it in so many different ways.”); the uncooked shrimp 21/25, which he always keeps stocked in his freezer for a quick dinner; and the cooked octopus tentacles shipped in from Portugal, which are a perfect cut for those looking to start cooking octopus at home.

“You don’t have to worry about dealing with the head,” Campos says. “If you’re craving restaurant-style food and want something out of your comfort zone without all the work, [the octupus tentacles] are great.” Fulton Fish Market offers free shipping on all orders over $125, does not ship to Hawaii or Alaska, and allows customers to choose their delivery date at checkout.

Frozen Seafood

If sustainability and transparency are top-of-mind when you’re shopping for seafood, Bianca Piccillio, co-owner of Mermaid’s Garden in Brooklyn, New York, says Alaska-based Sitka Salmon Shares is the way to go. “A lot of fish for sale online is several steps removed from the fishermen, which isn’t unusual in the seafood supply chain, but certainly isn’t ideal,” she says. “But since it’s a CSF, or Community Supported Fishery, Sitka is super transparent and traceable.”

From April through December, Sitka ships boxes filled with what’s in season, like Pacific cod in April and sockeye salmon in October. Shares start at $109/month for four deliveries and top out at $129/month for nine deliveries. And if you’re not home when your order arrives, just leave a cooler by the door and the delivery person will put your order inside.

From $12
From $12
Photo: retailer

If you’re the kind of person who loves a kit or themed dinner, Sea 2 Table is the way to go. “They offer a lot of really great and super fresh options,” says chef Alisha Elenz, the executive chef at Chicago’s mfk. and Bar Biscay. “Their fish and seafood are frozen at peak freshness. They offer a lot of fun kits for home, like, for example, a grill kit, a salmon lovers box, a New Englander kit, and more.” Understandably, Sea 2 Table has been slammed amid the coronavirus, so deliveries (all frozen) are taking one or two weeks to complete, though they arrive within just one to three days once shipped. In other words, be sure to plan ahead.

Sushi-Grade Fish

Those interested in doing more raw fish preparation at home with sushi-grade product should look into Catalina Offshore Products, according to Octavio Olivas, chef-owner of Ceviche Project in L.A. “I particularly love their tuna and sea urchin,” he says. Plus you can order specialty products like bourbon barrel small batch ponzu, cuttlefish ink, roasted black sesame seeds, and more. The company offers $50 to $55 flat rate shipping in the continental U.S. and while shipping in California ranges from $15 to $30. Orders over $200 in Southern California and over $300 elsewhere ship free.

Richardson of Hank’s in Charleston, meanwhile, regularly orders from Honolulu Fish Compay. “I order barramundi, monchong and kanpachi from them” he says. (This is also the place to go if you’re looking to make at-home poke bowls that taste like what you’d find in Hawaii.) If ordering from Honolulu, be sure to order between Monday and Wednesday for two-day shipping to the mainland as orders received after that will not ship until the following Wednesday.

Fresh Shellfish

Now onto the oysters (and all other manner of shellfish). Derek Hanson, the chef and owner of Jacqueline in Portland, Oregon, swears by two services: Hama Hama Company and Taylor Shellfish Farms, both of which are fifth generation, family-run companies based in Washington State. “Hama Hama has some of the best oysters in the world,” Hanson says. “Our favorites include Blue Pools, Sea Cows, and Disco Hamas. As for Taylor Shellfish, you can’t go wrong with the Shigoku and Kumamoto oysters, which are legendary.”

Hama Hama only offers overnight shipping May through September, while two-day shipping is available the rest of the year. (Note: They do not ship to Hawaii.) Taylor offers free overnight delivery for orders of live/perishable products totaling $300 or for orders to Western Washington and Northwest Oregon. All other orders have a flat-shipping rate of $30 with non-perishable items usually arriving within two to five business days.

Those looking to have a crab leg feast or a low country boil this summer should look into ordering from Neptune Seafoods. “It’s hard not to be influenced by the sea that surrounds the city of Seattle,” says chef Renee Erickson of Bar Melusine and The Walrus and the Carpenter. Neptune specializes in goeduck and oyster, but Erickson says you shouldn’t sleep on their Dungeness crab. “It’s great on it’s own or dipped in butter,” she says. Neptune offers free shipping in Washington State while shipping rates to the rest of the U.S. are calculated at checkout.

The Gear

For anyone who hasn’t done a lot of at-home fish cooking, Elenz of mfk. and Bar Biscay in Chicago, says you need three basic items to get the best out of whatever recipe you end up using. First, parchment paper, “to contain the inevitable mess.” Second, a good fish spatula, “to keep the beautiful fish from sticking to the pan and falling apart.” And finally, “a really good pair of kitchen scissors” to cut any large cuts into smaller pieces. She prefers the Unlimited Scissors from Joyce Chen.

Our own Liza Corsillo swears by her Lodge cast iron skillet, calling it her best purchase of the last decade, and Richardson of Hank’s Seafood Restaurant agrees that a good cast iron skillet goes a long way when cooking fish. They “create a perfect golden brown crust” he says.

Shucking your own oysters can seem daunting, but with a good knife (and a lot of YouTube videos), you can pull it off. Hanson of Portland-based Jacqueline says, “After years of trying out every shucker we could get our hands on,” he’s become an evangelist for R. Murphy’s recycled plastic handle oyster knife. “This little beauty is the best,” he adds. Richardson, meanwhile, swears by the New Haven–style oyster knives from Dexter-Russell, especially when shucking larger oyster varieties, like those harvested along the Atlantic Coast.

If “go big or go home” is your personal credo, then Campos of Bonhomme Hospitality, says it’s time to invest in a paella pan. “I use mine for whole fish, mussels, shrimp, and more,” he says. “It heats fast and because its surface is bigger than most pans you can get a nice sear and caramelization. It also retains its temperature so you can use it to serve in, too, and it will keep warm for a long time.” Plus it goes from stovetop to oven with ease. Just make sure you get one that’s made of carbon steel, he says, because “it’s easier to clean and doesn’t influence the flavor of whatever you’re cooking in it like some others can.”

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Where to Buy Seafood Online, According to Chefs