Even though I’ve tried hundreds of different food boxes, I’ve always been wary of ordering seafood online.
Why? Seafood spoils quickly.
However, when I found out that Fulton Fish Market was now selling online, I knew I had to give them a shot.
Having grown up around New York City, I’ve always heard of Fulton Fish Market as being one of the biggest seafood providers to restaurants in the city.
Does ordering seafood online from Fulton Fish Market match the high-quality reputation they’ve built for themselves in the restaurant industry? We’re going to find out…
Today I’m going to share my firsthand experience ordering from Fulton Fish Market, the seafood we ate, how it stacks up against the competition, and what you need to know before you even consider ordering from them.
The History Of Fulton Fish Market
Long before the days of the internet and ordering food online, Fulton Fish Market was founded in New York City in 1807 as a vital part of the city food scene.
Interestingly enough, the market was originally a general supply area, offering more than just fish—hosting produce stalls, butchers, and other food purveyors.
In 1822, the Fish Market became independent from the general market, moving to occupy the Fulton Fish Market building on South Street between Fulton and Beekman Street.
Before 1850, the Fish Market was mainly a direct supply system (similar to the “direct to consumer” style food brands of today) where fisherman would sail into port with their catch, and housekeepers and cooks would purchase the fish directly from them.
However, after 1850, wholesale merchants became an intermediary between fishermen and buyers, a process more familiar to us today. This move from selling direct to the end consumer to a wholesale model led to massive growth for Fulton Fish Market.
In 1924, Fulton Fish Market reportedly sold 384 million pounds of fish, which amounted to 25% of all the seafood sold in the United States that year.
As Fulton Fish Market grew, it became one of the main seafood suppliers to most restaurants in New York City. In fact, it grew so large that at one point it had annual sales exceeding $1 billion.
However, the Fulton Fish Market was not without its controversies, during most of the 20th century it was associated with one or more New York Mafia families.
During the 1990s, Mayor Giuliani began to target what he noted as pockets of organized crime in the market by adding stricter policies regarding licensing and staff. As a result, the market was moved to a 30-acre vacant space in the Bronx in 2005.
Despite the challenges, the market continues to thrive in its new location and in recent years has opened the doors for customers to order from them online.
Food Box HQ Note: If you're interested in learning more about the history of Fulton Fish Market, this book does a great job of organizing it and laying it out into an interesting story.
How Ordering From Fulton Fish Market Works
Fulton Fish Market works similar to other online marketplaces. You get to choose what you want to order a la carte, rather than being forced to order in bundles or in bulk, like some meat and fish marketplaces make you do.
At first, the wide variety of options was slightly overwhelming for me as there were not only multiple types of seafood, but also multiple variations of each type.
It seems as though Fulton Fish Market knows people can get a bit buried in the selection process with the amount of variety that’s on their site because they created a pretty neat “Fish Finder” quiz.
Right off the bat it asks you whether you’d prefer to try something new or stick with familiar favorites. From there, it helps you narrow down the seafood selection by fish you tend to prefer, if you have any allergies, if you’d like the fish to be farm raised or wild caught, and if you want the fish to be sent frozen or fresh.
I found it to be extremely helpful in narrowing down my initial selection. It’s definitely worthwhile to play around with for first time buyers or those who are looking for new seafood options.
Of course, you don’t have to use the quiz. They’ve done a good job organizing all of the different types of seafood into different sections of their site.
If you’re looking to browse their whole selection, I’d recommend just going to “Shop All” and using the filter on the left to narrow down your search. It gives you the ability to narrow down by:
- All of the different seafood categories
- Farmed or wild
- Fresh, cooked, frozen, live, salted, or smoked
- Country of origin
In addition to individual seafood offerings, they also offer a few different bundles of their most popular options (such as salmon, tuna, halibut, lobster, and shrimp).
Should you want to receive seafood on a recurring basis, Fulton Fish Market also gives you the ability to subscribe. The nice part about their subscription service is that you can customize your order to be anything you want. Plus, you’ll get a discount of up to 5% for every order.
Types Of Seafood Offered
The first thing I noticed when I went to order from Fulton Fish Market is the massive amount of variety they offer.
When I say that they have nearly every type of seafood imaginable, I am not exaggerating.
Here are all of the different categories of seafood they offer…
- Canned Seafood
- East Coast Oysters
- Hard Shell Clams
- Mahi Mahi
- Soft Shell Clams
- Uni (Sea Urchin)
- West Coast Oysters
Having ordered from many other fish marketplaces before, without a doubt Fulton Fish Market has the most selection I’ve ever seen.
I spent a good hour going over their shop, looking over all of the different seafood options they have. Honestly, I was amazed to see fish I’ve never even heard of before.
Sure, I know what sea urchin and tilapia are but what are porgy, shad, and bottarga?
The massive variety that Fulton Fish Market has makes it a great place to find unique seafood offerings. While I may not have the heart to try something like blowfish, I’m sure others reading this may.
The only other seafood delivery service I’ve tried that comes to matching Fulton Fish Market would have to be Sizzlefish (which I’ll compare to Fulton Fish Market a little later on). While Sizzlefish offers a lot of the same popular categories of fish and shellfish (such as salmon, tuna, shrimp, and lobster) they don’t have any of the more unique offerings that Fulton Fish Market has (such as squid and octopus).
Quality & Sourcing Practices
While I was impressed with Fulton Fish Market's variety, my next thought was: "What is the quality of this seafood? And is it ethically sourced?"
I’ve heard too many horror stories of how fishing is unsustainable and how overfishing is killing our oceans. In fact, I could write a whole other article on what to look for when it comes to buying sustainable seafood online.
Thankfully, there are a few ways to know what you’re buying is sustainable and high-quality. One of the easiest ways is to look for the logos of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), or Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP). These organizations verify the sustainability of the fisheries, and their certification signifies that the seafood has been sourced sustainably.
Food Box HQ Note: If you’re interested in learning more about how to buy sustainable seafood online, I highly recommend reading this article from Impactful Ninja.
That brings us to Fulton Fish Market. What are their quality and sourcing practices?
While they aren’t perfect (none are since it’s a complex issue) the good news is that they take it seriously.
They say that they take into account each seafood item they sell by answering the following questions…
- Is the species healthy and able to flourish?
- What is the impact on the surrounding environment?
- What is the impact on the fishing communities and those that support them?
- Is the product packaged and delivered responsibly and safely?
Additionally, many seafood items that Fulton Fish Market sells are Marine Stewardship Council certified (for example, their Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon).
While not everything they sell is sourced domestically, they do prioritize seafood that was caught in the United States and they only work with fisheries that have a proven record of sustainable practices.
What I find particularly commendable about Fulton Fish Market's shop is the transparency they provide about the seafood they sell. On the product page for every item they sell you’ll find the following information:
- Country of origin
- Methods of catch
- Body of water
This information allows customers to make an informed decision about the quality of the seafood they’re looking to purchase.
What We Received From Fulton Fish Market (Taste Test)
Now let’s get to the good stuff—what we ordered and how it tasted.
Here’s a rundown of what came in our first box…
- Live Littleneck Clams
- Wild Caught Ahi Tuna Steak
- Faroe Islands Atlantic Salmon
- Wild Caught Black Sea Bass Fillet
One thing worth noting, all of the items we ordered came fresh. This was a bit new to me—when ordering certain items, I actually had the option to choose whether I wanted it to be sent frozen or fresh.
Every other time I’ve ordered fish online I’ve never had the option to choose, it’s always come frozen. I decided to take a bit of a chance and order our Fulton Fish Market seafood all fresh.
Here’s how we ended up cooking everything and how it tasted…
Live Littleneck Clams
If you watched the video review above, you’ll notice these are what we used to cook Emily’s favorite Portuguese dish— Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato. In English, this roughly translates to clams with lemon and garlic. The full dish includes clams, olive oil, garlic, lemon, cilantro, and a little salt and pepper. The secret ingredient is vinho verde, a Portuguese white wine.
Food Box HQ Note: Here’s a recipe for Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato should you want to make it yourself.
The clams were cooked perfectly. Not too “chewy” like they sometimes get and there was zero sand. They had a nice tender texture. The sauce we made was flavorful and had a nice tangy, yet zesty, taste from the white wine, which was well balanced with the garlic and cilantro.
If you enjoy clams, I highly recommend trying this dish sometime. It’s very simple to make. The hardest part is cleaning off the clams with a brush so that there isn’t any sand or shell pieces in the dish. The best way to make it is with a little toasted bread to dip in the sauce once you’re done with the clams.
Faroe Islands Atlantic Salmon
We used the salmon to make a simple salmon and roasted brussels sprouts dish.
The taste and texture of the salmon was rich and flavorful, with a subtle sweetness and a hint of smokiness that complemented the fish perfectly. The salmon was cooked to perfection and had a beautiful color and a nice crust on the outside.
Not only was there a complete absence of dryness, but the fish was so fresh and tender that it seemed to melt in my mouth. Whether it was skillful cooking or the superior quality of the salmon, this dish was truly a delight.
Wild Caught Ahi Tuna Steak
We made the tuna steak with a side of white rice and kale.
The tuna had a delicate and subtle flavor, with a slight sweetness and a hint of nuttiness that was perfectly balanced with the addition of soy sauce. The soy sauce added a nice umami flavor to the dish, which really elevated the overall taste.
The tuna was cooked to perfection, with a nice seared crust on the outside and a slightly raw center that gave it a perfect texture. The center was still moist and juicy, and the outside had a nice crust that added a nice texture contrast.
Overall, it was a simple yet satisfying dish.
Wild Caught Black Sea Bass Fillet
As someone who rarely ever eats sea bass, I was pleasantly surprised with how this dish came out.
The fillet had a very delicate texture with a flaky, moist, and flavorful. The flavor had mild, sweet and meaty taste. The fish was cooked to perfection, with a slight char on the outside that added a nice crispy texture.
We also ordered a Fulton Fish Market clam knife. I wasn’t thinking much of it but as I put the clams into my cart, I realized we don’t own a clam knife so I threw it in too.
When I got our package, I was surprised at just how well made it is and had to do a little digging to learn more about it.
Apparently it’s made by R. Murphy Knives, which is a company based in the USA that’s known for crafting high-quality knives.
The stainless steel blade is sharp and has a rounded tip that fits gently against the thumb, making it easy to open clams without damaging the meat inside. The 3 rivets and full tang construction of the knife provide a great balance and make it comfortable to hold and use.
Delivery & Packaging
Fulton Fish Market breaks up their delivery into different groups depending on how far away you live from their distribution center. They do this because they have to expedite the shipping in order to ensure the seafood makes it to your doorstep appropriately cold or frozen.
Here are the 4 delivery group zones they use:
- Delivery Group 1: This delivery group includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington D.C. The flat rate delivery for this group is $19.99, and free delivery is available on orders over $125 (after any discounts).
- Delivery Group 2: This delivery group includes New Hampshire, Vermont, and Virginia. The flat rate delivery for this group is $34.99, and free delivery is available on orders over $150 (after any discounts).
- Delivery Group 3: This delivery group includes Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The flat rate delivery for this group is $59.99, and free delivery is not available. On average, it costs $74.41 to ship to this zone.
- Delivery Group 4: This delivery group includes Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The flat rate delivery for this group is $69.99, and free delivery is not available. On average, it costs $88.07 to ship to this zone.
Unfortunately, Fulton Fish Market does have to charge shipping for most states that it can ship to. This is one of the main tradeoffs of getting fresh or frozen seafood delivered to your home—it has to be done quickly and with precision. One delay or issue in transit can lead to your whole order going bad very quickly.
We received our order very quickly—within 2 days of checking out. Mind you, we are in Fulton Fish Market’s delivery group 1, which is the closest to their distribution center.
Our box came tightly packed, with layers of ice packs separating all of the seafood. All of the ice packs were still frozen solid when we opened the box.
For those who opt to order frozen seafood, they send everything packed in dry ice.
The insulated liner was made from cotton, which is a type of insulation that I’ve seen many times before when ordering food online. This material is a good insulator as it is softer than others, such as Styrofoam, allowing for some flexibility in the event of any bumps during delivery truck transportation. Plus, not only is it recyclable, it’s also biodegradable.
Here’s more information on how to recycle the packaging and liner.
The Rewards Program
I occasionally see food brands that sell online offer a rewards program. In my opinion, they’re usually not that great because it takes a while to generate enough points to actually get any rewards, such as a discount or coupon code.
Fulton Fish Market’s rewards program (which they call “Fulton Finsider”) is actually pretty good and allows you to stack up points to redeem rewards fairly quickly.
Here’s a rundown of how you can get points…
- For every dollar spent, you’ll receive 3 points.
- Creating an account gets you 500 points.
- Following them on Instagram and Facebook each get you 50 points.
- Signing up to their mailing list gets you 200 points.
- On your birthday you receive 1000 points.
- Refer a friend who makes a purchase and receive 1500 points.
For every 1000 points, you'll get $10 to use towards a purchase.
Right from the start, if you sign up for an account, sign up for their mailing list, and follow them on Instagram and Facebook, on your second order you should have at least a $10 rewards discount to use (as long as you spent at least $75 on your first order).
Thankfully, I’ve never had to contact customer support. If I did, they make it very simple, giving customers a few different options. You can choose to call customer support at 718-842-8908, text 909-639-4087, email firstname.lastname@example.org or chat with a representative by clicking the help icon located in the lower right corner of the website.
Fulton Fish Market vs. The Competition
There are several sites that offer fresh fish and/or shellfish but not as many that offer as comprehensive of a seafood marketplace as Fulton Fish Market. To give you a better understanding of how Fulton Fish Market compares to what’s out there, I have outlined their closest competitors below.
Wulf’s Fish vs. Fulton Fish Market
Wulf's Fish has been in the fish business since 1926. While not as long as Fulton Fish Market, they still have been operating for close to 100 years.
Like Fulton Fish Market, they have the same obsession for quality, sourcing their fish directly from their fishermen and partners, creating a transparent customer experience. Traceability is at the core of everything they do and they share all of the information about where their seafood came from.
Whereas Fulton Fish Market offers fresh and frozen fish, Wulf’s only offers frozen. They also use a method called "super freezing" which freezes fish quickly and at a lower temperature than a conventional freezer, preserving the taste and texture of the fish. They also claim that super freezing has serious environmental benefits such as reduced food waste and that many top sushi restaurants also use super freezing.
While Fulton Fish Market has a more impressive variety of seafood, Wulf’s is not far behind. They offer 16 different types of fish, 5 different types of shellfish, as well as caviar, roe, octopus, and squid.
Sizzlefish vs. Fulton Fish Market
Sizzlefish was founded with a specific mission in mind: to provide customers with pure, first-quality fish that delivers real performance and health benefits (as the founder explains here). This focus on health and performance sets Sizzlefish apart from Fulton Fish Market, which doesn’t necessarily have the same emphasis on these aspects.
Additionally, all Sizzlefish seafood is frozen and they ship their products with dry ice. With Fulton Fish Market, you have the option to choose fresh or frozen.
Vital Choice vs. Fulton Fish Market
Vital Choice was founded with a specific mission in mind to promote customer's health and well-being by providing natural, sustainably harvested seafood of superior quality at a fair price.
Whereas Fulton Fish gives you the option to choose between wild caught and farm raised fish, Vital Choice only offers wild caught fish.
Vital Choice also offers a wide range of products that are certified organic and Fair Trade Certified, as well as products that are naturally free of gluten, soy, and GMOs.
Additionally, Vital Choice is part of the 1-800-Flowers.com family of brands. Fulton Fish Market is independent, not operated by any parent company.
The price of your Fulton Fish Market order is going to be dependent on what you purchase. To give you an example of the costs, here are the prices are for what we ordered…
- Live Littleneck Clams — $18.99 per dozen
- Wild Caught Ahi Tuna Steak (2 x 7 to 9oz Steaks) — $50.00 per pair
- Faroe Islands Atlantic Salmon (2 x 5 to 7oz Portions) — $20.99 per pair
- Wild Caught Black Sea Bass Fillet (7.25 to 12 oz Portion) — $32.99 each
Should I want to subscribe and receive any of those shipped to me on a recurring basis, I would receive a 5% discount.
Below is a price comparison of Fulton Fish Market versus their main competition listed above. You’ll notice that some competitors were left out since they don’t carry the same products.
Live Littleneck Clams ($18.99 per dozen at Fulton Fish Market)
- Wulf’s Fish — No live littleneck clams available
- Sizzlefish — $18.95 per dozen
- Vital Choice — No live littleneck clams available
Wild Caught Ahi Tuna Steak ($50.00 per pair of 7 to 9oz Steaks at Fulton Fish Market)
- Wulf’s Fish — No ahi tuna steaks available
- Sizzlefish — No ahi tuna steaks available
- Vital Choice — $59.99 per 6 steaks at 5oz per steak
Faroe Islands Atlantic Salmon ($20.99 per pair of 5 to 7oz portions at Fulton Fish Market)
- Wulf’s Fish — No Faroe Islands Atlantic Salmon available
- Sizzlefish — $17.95 per 1 6oz portion
- Vital Choice — No Faroe Islands Atlantic Salmon available
Wild Caught Black Sea Bass Fillet ($32.99 each for a 7.25 to 12 oz Portion)
- Wulf’s Fish — $26.00 for a 1lb pack of 3 to 4 fillets
- Sizzlefish — No Black Sea Bass available
- Vital Choice — No Black Sea Bass available
As demonstrated in the price comparison above, Fulton Fish Market offers a wider variety of seafood items than their competitors. In contrast, other seafood providers, such as Wulf's Fish, Sizzlefish, and Vital Choice, have limited availability of these items or none at all. This highlights the key advantage of Fulton Fish Market as a one-stop-shop for all seafood (fish, shellfish, and beyond).
Pros & Cons Of Fulton Fish Market
When it comes to seafood marketplaces, Fulton Fish Market is a standout. However, as with any business, they have their own set of pros and cons. Let’s go over the positive and negative aspects I uncovered while trying Fulton Fish Market.
Pros Of Fulton Fish Market
- No other seafood marketplace comes close to Fulton Fish Market’s massive variety. Their selection is both vast and diverse. You can find unique offerings like porgy, shad, and bottarga that you may have never heard of before, and even more common seafood options, such as salmon, tuna, shrimp, and lobster.
- Fulton Fish Market has a reputation for providing high-quality products that are fresh and sustainably sourced.
- They offer competitive pricing for their products. As you can see from the price comparison above, none of the Fulton Fish Market products were wildly over or under the price of their competitors.
- They offer discounts and savings for repeat orders. Whether you’re ordering on a recurring basis (in which case you’ll save 5% per order) or you order more sporadically (in which case you can use your rewards points to save) Fulton Fish Market does a good job of passing savings along to their customers.
- Delivery is fast and reliable. The first box I ever ordered from Fulton Fish Market came within 48 hours.
- They have a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Cons Of Fulton Fish Market
- There are limited delivery options. While Fulton Fish Market can technically ship to the majority of the United States, they have to charge more for shipping fees the farther away you live from their distribution center. This is due to the fact that they must expedite the package to ensure it makes it to your doorstep as quickly and as safely as possible.
- There is a $75 minimum order.
Final Thoughts: Who Is Fulton Fish Market Right For?
Having tried over a dozen different seafood delivery services over the years, I am very impressed with Fulton Fish Market.
Fulton Fish Market is a great seafood provider for customers looking for a wide variety of options as well as high-quality, fresh, and sustainably sourced options. They offer a huge selection of seafood options, including unique offerings like blowfish, sea urchin, octopus, and squid that I’ve found hard to get elsewhere.
With competitive pricing and discounts for repeat orders, they are a fairly priced option for customers looking for high-quality seafood without breaking the bank. Additionally, their 100% satisfaction guarantee means they back-up the quality of their products so you don’t have to worry should something go wrong.
However, Fulton Fish Market may not be the right choice for customers who live far outside of their delivery zones (specifically in groups 3 and 4 where free shipping is not available) or those who want to place smaller orders as they have a $75 minimum order.
Have a question about Fulton Fish Market that I didn’t answer in this review? Let me know in the comments below!