This type of fish has a very mild flavor (somewhere in between sea bass and halibut) with a light, sweet taste and large, chunky flakes, almost like lobster or crab. But you’ll also find it served in fillets which are baked, grilled or broiled with a flavor-bursting medley of garlic, butter, olive oil and key lime juice.
If you prefer your fish to be filleted, Snapper is amazing when marinated in the same citrus-garlic-cilantro mix mentioned above and quickly sautéed in a hot pan with a drizzle of olive oil before being served with light, fluffy rice and fresh seasonal veggies. Shook is really popular among local fishermen because it offers a fun challenge to catch and it tastes fantastic.
In Santa Rosa Beach, Buddy’s Seafood Market always has a fresh supply of Mali, grouper and other in-season fish. During the week she knuckles down and gets the job done, but on the weekend she spends her time soaking up the sunshine on the little volcanic island she calls home.
One of my coworkers asked me what I think the best tasting fish in the world is recently and I had to think about it for a minute, then realized I’m pretty torn on my top 5 but can at least narrow down my favorites to only a handful. After that I started bouncing around the web a little and noticed that there’s not a single good rankings of the best tasting fish in the world, so I figured I’d toss together a quick list of the best tasting fish around.
I grew up with a boat in Florida and spent several days a week on the water. So no, I’m not qualified to write the definitive rankings for ‘the best tasting fish in the world’ but my list is better than yours, so suck it.
We used to catch these in the Smokey Mountains in North Carolina when I was a kid and would cook them camping. The flat body lends it perfectly too cooking, just prepare it with a little lemon butter and/or fry it up and you’re in business.
Caught from the Chesapeake Bay on down to the Florida Keys and all throughout the Caribbean, it’s one of my all-time favorites. People salivate over swordfish like it’s a gift from the gods, but sometimes it’s really not all that tasty.
I think what people tend to forget is the fish you’re ordering in a restaurant has been vetted, it’s not some bottom feeding specimen you pulled in on your buddy’s Boston Whaler, this is a restaurant-caliber fish and holy shit is Cod delicious. 19) Speckled Sea Trout: For a while these fish were hard to come by in parts of Florida.
Due to a combination of random cold fronts and a few brutal hurricanes the speckled sea trout fishery was decimated. You can pretty much catch them on any grass flat across Florida or throughout the Gulf of Mexico, and they’ll strike anything that’s shiny and moves.
18) Chilean Sea Bass: Fun fact, the Chilean Sea Bass has forever been known as the ‘Patagonian Tooth fish’, but apparently that name wasn’t very marketable and the fish didn’t sell much worldwide. As I’ve stated before the best fish is whatever’s freshest, and if you can get fresh salmon (Pacific Northwest on up) it’s tasty as hell.
If you’re deeply into salmon it’s simply because you haven’t tasted enough other fish yet to know what you actually like. Actual yellowtail caught from the cool waters of California is fucking delicious, and it’s also a fish that fights like hell so if you catch it yourself it tastes even better because you feel like you’ve truly earned that fish.
15) Catfish: Blackened or fried, this is one of the best tasting fish worldwide BUT ONLY when it’s prepared by someone who knows how to season and cook it properly. 14) Blue Marlin: I didn’t want to include this on my list only because I don’t actively support the killing of billfish.
I have however eaten fresh blue marlin after one (of 3) we caught out of Los Stenos Marina in Costa Rica died after a 90-minute fight. The mates filleted it there and it was probably top 3 pieces of fish I’ve ever eaten in my life.
It would be lower on the list if there were more blue marlin in the ocean, but they really shouldn’t be taken (and subsequently eaten) unless the fish died in battle. I discovered Halibut way too late in life and I’ve been making up for lost time in the past few years.
The last Dover Sole I had been at Carbone here in NYC (in Greenwich Village), and it was so expertly prepared that I found myself eating every last morsel of the fish skin, which is something I never do. Eat it raw, sear it, thinly slice it and cover it with a little soy sauce and this is one of the most exquisite tasting fishes in the world.
You might know this fish as ‘Ono’ depending on where you live in the world, that’s what the Hawaiians refer to it as. If I were on death row and could request my final meal it’d be fried whole Dogfish Snapper (probably prepared by S.A.L.T.
The Dogfish is amongst the most iconic fish in the state of Florida, and one of the most sought after in the world. It’s a fish that’s been exploited by commercial fisherman and at one point it was on the verge of a complete species collapse.
Well, it’s rebounding (slowly), and I’ve become more open to eating the most exquisite fish in the ocean. Not too long ago I had a piece of Blue fin Tuna sushi at Sushi Nakamura in NYC’s West Village (the same Nakamura from Miro Dreams of Sushi on Netflix), and I swear to God I didn’t want to chew because the tuna in my mouth was so good I was worried I’d never taste anything that delicious again for the rest of my life.
Honorable Mentions: Cobra, Pompano, Blackish, Mullet, and Bluefish. When fishermen talk about their favorite tasting fish that can be caught off the coast of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, most agree that sushi-grade tuna, Yahoo, and mahi-mahi are the top choices.
Some of our friends describe grouper as tasting between sea bass and halibut, with a sweetness similar to crab or lobster. Grouper is fairly oily and breaks into large firm flakes.
This makes it ideal for many cooking applications, such as grilling, frying, poaching, and more! They are brown and love living close to coastal rock piles and underwater wreckage.
Because of their unwary nature and large size, they were almost fished to extinction before being placed on the protected endangered species list. Black grouper also tends to have firmer meat that holds up better to frying or more intense preparations.
Both fish have the signature grouper mild sweet flavor, and both have a moderate amount of oil that keeps their texture favorable even if slightly overcooked. Grouper live mostly off the eastern seaboard and can be caught from both the shore and by boat.
If you’re bottom fishing from a boat, we recommend drifting instead of anchoring near where the grouper are. Drifting will allow you to cover more area and bet your grouper lures in front of more fish.
Since grouper live in and around rocks, set your drag tight to prevent them from running back into cover. If you let a grouper take your bait then retreat to its rocky home, chances are your line will snap against the rocks.
In a large pan, throw in a knob of butter and sear the filet son each side for 2 minutes. Fried grouper tastes very similar to cod or other whitefish, and is amazing when prepared fresh.
Dredge your grouper sticks first through the flour, then through the eggs, and finally the pinko. Chances are you’ll catch one and end up with a tasty dish you can cook for dinner that night.
It’s incredibly important to get ample omega-3 fatty acids, and certain fish can serve as potent sources. But due to issues like mining, sewage and fossil fuel emissions, heavy metals like mercury are winding up in the water and building up in our fish.
Unfortunately, low-level mercury poisoning from contaminated seafood is a real threat and can lead to devastating effects on health. Not only that, but some fish have also been so overfished that they are on the brink of collapse, which can have detrimental effects on the ocean ecosystem.
In fact, the shift to eating more farmed fish like tilapia is leading to highly inflammatory diets, according to a 2008 study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Wake Forest University School of Medicine researchers say tilapia is one of the most widely consumed fish in America.
Sustaining high levels of inflammation in the body can worsen symptoms of autoimmune disorders and may be linked to chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. If you must eat this fish, avoid tilapia from China, where farming practices are particularly worrisome.
Although the female cod releases more than a hundred million eggs, only a few are able to survive to adulthood. In 2014, Oceana, the largest ocean conservation group in the world, conducted an investigation using data from the National Marine Fisheries Service.
They found that commercial fishermen in the U.S. throw about 2 billion pounds of “by catch” overboard each year. According to the report, if you’ve eaten U.S. halibut, there’s a good chance it came from this damaging fishery.
Without further protection and enforcement of existing efforts, we may forever lose one of the biggest, most interesting fishes in the world. Now common on menus around the U.S., Chilean sea bass overfishing has left this species in serious trouble.
Furthermore, harvesting the fish from Chile is also plagued by poor management and by catch problems. Eel Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch places eel on the “Avoid” list on its sushi guide because it’s slow to mature and has been overfished in many parts of the world, bringing some populations to collapse.
In the Delaware River, for instance, eels are an integral part of spreading mussel populations that serve as natural water filters. Aside from the issues with overfishing, eels tend to readily absorb and store harmful chemicals and contaminants such as poly chlorinated biphenyls (PCs) and flame retardants.
In 2009, Italian researchers discovered that 4-hexylresorcinol, a food additive used to prevent discoloration in shrimp that could reduce sperm count in men and increase breast cancer risk in women. Shrimp farm ponds are also treated with harmful chemicals and pesticides such as malachite green, rote none and organic compounds, all of which can have detrimental effects on health.
Plus, an Associated Press investigation uncovered a slavery network in Thailand dedicated to peeling shrimp sold around the world. In 2007, Thailand alone exported about $1.24 billion to the United States, according to Food and Water Watch.
Although Alaskan king crab legs legally can only be called that if they’re harvested from Alaska, widespread mislabeling is the norm. Generally known as “slime head” within the scientific community, seafood marketers had other ideas for this fish and gave the species a more appetizing name.
Beyond that, the orange roughly is also known to have higher mercury levels, which can be dangerous if consumed in large amounts. But apart from that, most shark species, which are slow to mature and don’t have a lot of offspring, are severely depleted.
Often referred to as Hon Mauro on sushi menus, this simply means blue fin tuna, which should be avoided at all costs. A better sushi choice would be fatso/skip jack tuna caught through Pacific troll or pole and line methods only.
However, due to its high demand for sushi, fisheries managers are still allowing commercial fishing to target it. Aside from the obvious population collapse and extinction threat, this is also a large predatory fish that harbors higher levels of mercury.
In fact, the mercury in this fish is so high that the Environmental Defense Fund recommends women and children avoid it altogether. That’s certainly the case with king mackerel, as the Food and Drug Administration warns women and children to outright avoid it.
You may want to avoid Spanish mackerel, too, which has also been shown to harbor elevated mercury levels. Luckily, Atlantic mackerel is high in omega-3s, low in mercury and is rated a top choice in terms of health and sustainability.
In 2015, an investigation found that more than a third of 19 restaurants in Atlanta sold fantasies (also known as “Vietnamese catfish”) as grouper. Testing also found that grouper for sale is actually often king mackerel or white fin weakfish, a cheaper alternative.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, sturgeon are “more critically endangered than any other group of species.” The best fish options are ones that come from sustainable fisheries, are low in contaminants and high in omega 3 fatty acids.
Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch calls this the “Super Green List.” In addition to being rich in heart-healthy fats, salmon is a great source of protein, B vitamins, potassium and selenium.
Atlantic mackerel This oily fish is also high in health omega-3 fatty acids, along with protein, niacin, selenium and vitamin B12. Keep in mind that mackerel is often sold preserved in tons of salt, so be sure to soak it and rinse well before cooking and eating to reduce sodium levels.
Albacore Tuna (troll- or pole-caught, from the U.S. or British Columbia) Sable fish/Black Cod (from Alaska and Canadian Pacific) Finding safer seafood can be challenging and requires you to consider many factors, including sustainability, nutritional value, mercury levels and the risk of contamination with pollutants, pesticides or harmful chemicals.
While we were there, Dirk had us sample no less than five seafood dishes, including perfectly seared Japanese scallops and a tangy shrimp ceviche. He also educated us on the different types of fish anyone can reasonably expect to find on a restaurant menu.
How they taste: Medium-flavored fish “have a nice flavor to them won't scare people away,” said Dirk. How to prepare them: If you're eating one for the first time, Dirk recommends using only the most basic marinade: olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon zest.
They might evoke the briny deep with saltiness, or, as is the case with salmon, have a strong flavor profile all their own. If you don't have this handy guide on hand at a restaurant, just remember this test: you can usually figure out a fish's flavor by the color of its uncooked fillet.
From left to right, ranging from full to mild flavor: salmon, yellowtail, snapper, cod, sole How to Eat a Whole Fish Go straight for the cheeks, plus other tips from the chefs at Chicago's River Roast.
How to Eat Bitmap in Six Simple Steps Have you heard people talk about this delightful Korean dish? I had a reader ask for a list of mild tasting fish and their texture.
AMERICA'S NEW FAVORITE FISH With a crowd pleasing flavor and meaty bite, Australia Barracuda helps you eat smarter and more sustainably. Soul Doing Good, Tastes Great Farmed barracuda is 100% traceable and supports the recovery of wild fish.
Barracuda is Aboriginal for “large-scaled silver fish and is internationally renowned for its deliciousness and versatility. Barracuda are flexitarians that eat low on the food chain and are efficient to raise.