Even though Calgary is affectionately known as Cowtown, there are places to find fresh seafood, if you know where to look. And each of the stores has something distinct, whether it’s known for selling only sustainable products, for offering recipe cards and preparation suggestions, or for having a restaurant right next door.
Billingsgate Seafood Market and Restaurant
This market is probably the one that’s the most well-known in Calgary. It was founded by Bert Malthouse in 1907 and has been selling fresh fish to Calgarians for more than 100 years now. Depending on what arrives each week and what’s in season, you can find everything from Ahi tuna to organic sturgeon to scallops and mussels. Check its website or social media pages to see what arrives fresh to Billingsgate each week. It’s main location in the Stadium Shopping Centre closed in late 2015 after a fire destroyed several businesses. It has a stall at Market on Macleod and a temporary booth at Community Natural Foods.
Market on Macleod, 7711 MacLeod Tr. S and Community Natural Foods, 1304 10 Ave. S.W., billingsgatemkt.com
Blu Seafood and Market
Now under new management, Blu Seafood and Market sells a range of fresh, frozen and smoked fish. While the fresh fish stocked and sold depends on what’s in season, items can include Ahi tuna, cod, halibut, snapper and more. There’s also plenty of shellfish to choose from – there are even escargot to pair with your bacon wrapped scallops or langoustine tails – and ready-prepared items, like crab cakes and salmon burgers.
This is also the place to pick up extra ingredients for your seafood recipe, be it nori sheets, capers, panko or tartar sauce.
9675 Macleod Tr. S.W., 403-252-2330, bluseafood.ca
Boyd’s Lobster Shop
This family-run business was founded in 1976 and has been located on 14th Street since 1988. While it specializes in lobster, other fresh seafood you’ll find here include salmon, mussels, clams, oyster, shrimp and scallops. There are also a few frozen products sold here. Boyd’s will print out recipes for you if you’re unsure of where to start, and if you buy more than 30 pounds of lobster, cooked or live, you’ll get a discount.
1515 14 St. S.W., 403-245-6300, boydslobstershop.ca
Calgary Co-op is dedicated to selling only sustainable seafood products. Based on SeaChoice‘s recommendations, Co-op de-listed seafood that has population concerns or uses unsustainable fishing practices, and instead offers only sustainable options, including arctic char, sablefish and steelhead trout.
Various locations, calgarycoop.com
Located in the Calgary Farmers’ Market and owned by Brian Plunket, this is a boutique-style fish market. Depending on the season, Market Seafood offers a range of fresh fish, scallops and shellfish. You’ll also find ready-made dishes to take home, such as seafood mac and cheese. Shop here Thursdays through Sundays.
Calgary Farmers’ Market, 510 77 Ave. S.E., 587-318-1220, marketseafood.ca
This wholesale company, operated by Eric Giesbrecht, sells seafood to restaurants as well as to individuals; Calgarians have been picking up orders from the warehouse for three years now and a retail shop is currently in the works. Meta4Foods specializes in oysters and has an impressive selection: there are more than 20 varieties at times. Giesbrecht also has a catering company – OysterTribe – which offers a raw bar service.
903B 48 Ave. S.E., 403-214-1478, meta4foods.com
Pelican Pier Seafood Restaurant and Fish Market
Located just off of John Laurie Boulevard, Pelican Pier stocks both fresh and frozen seafood. There are also favourite seafood dishes sold here, like chowders and crab cakes, as well as the occasional seasonal special like shrimp and scallop skewers. Be sure to stop by the casual, family-run restaurant next door as well.
4404 14 St. N.W., 403-289-6100, pelicanpier.ca
Second to None Meats
This is the place to come if surf and turf is on the menu. It’s known for serving high-quality cuts of ethically raised beef, pork and poultry, but Second to None Meats also sells a few seafood products. Currently it’s selling salmon, scallops, shrimp, cod and halibut.
16, 1941 Uxbridge Dr. N.W., 403-282-4433 and two other locations, secondtononemeats.com
Willow Park North Sea Fish Market
North Sea Fish Market has a warehouse at 3320B 9th Street S.E. and two markets: one in Willow Park and one in Crowfoot. As well as a range of fresh, smoked and frozen fish, these markets also sell a range of caviar.
10816 Macleod Tr. S.E., 403-225-3460; Crowfoot North Sea Fish Market, 7418 Crowfoot Rd. N.W., 403-239-3888, northseafish.ca