3 stars for fresh seafood at North Miami's Fish Fish

A trip to the new Fish Fish in North Miami feels like a dive into an exotic aquarium. The most impressive feature is not the quirky and colorful, do-it-yourself décor and table settings by IKEA but rather the vast selection of seafood that is more varied and fresh than any I have seen in Miami.

Diners are greeted by a pair of nine-foot ice display tables on which dozens of varieties of fish, local and imported, are lined up in tidy rows like a lollipops in a candy store. Bright-eyed silvery hogfish, gleaming red snapper, gray-blue branzino, pink salmon from Scotland and zebra-striped lionfish are laid out reverentially. Tanks hold gorgeous Maine lobsters and succulent golden crabs, while more stunning selections of bivalves crowd the ice displays.

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That is not to say that this is cutting edge cuisine. On the contrary. The menu offers wholesome, hearty, simple and delicious fare with some of the freshest and most diverse offerings, including oysters from around the world and our own backyard.  Most of the menu is (or can be had) gluten-free thanks to accommodating and talented chef Oscar Quezada. He is also happy to halve orders or cook something off the menu. A self-taught talent from Mexico, he spent decades in Islamorada near the second home of Fish Fish owners Melvyn Franks and Rebecca Nachlas. Quezada shows off a practiced hand with fantastic range of dishes coming out of his efficient kitchen.

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Ambience: The shimmery blue iridescent floor, watery faux finished walls, copper lighting, nautical wooden fixtures all being watched over by a carved mermaid lend a magical quality to this casual but upscale fish house.

What Worked

  • A crew of eager, handsome, polite and well-trained waiters
  • Toasty rustic, ciabatta slices that are as chewy and crusty as a fine European baker’s
  • A mean New England chowder with velvety texture and chunky array of potatoes, bacon, thyme and big fat clams
  • Rock shrimp tempura with a chipotle-spiked remoulade sauce
  • Meaty & spicy jumbo lump crabmeat cake
  • Stunning whole fried fish with a fine Asian dipping sauce as well as a rich, lemony aioli
  • Dramatic lionfish – a venomous, reef-dwelling invasive species that is threatening our coastal biodiversity
  • Steamed mussels with white wine and buttery garlic that can behad with Venus Sun Ray clams from Florida’s west coast
  • Delightful and indulgent signature pan-roasted grouper with a slightly creamy orange sauce and truffle mushroom risotto
  • Expertly tended pastas and risottos
  • Housemade fettuccini packed with shrimp, scallops and a fist-sized lobster tail
  • Shrimp scampi over linguini with a buttery wine and garlic sauce
  • A fresh, colorful & delicious array of salads
  • Classic and deconstructed Caesar salads versions
  • Individual Key lime pies
  • Apple tart do the trick
  • A serviceable wine list
  • Creative cocktails
  • $6 bites bar bites – signature fried calamari and grilled shrimp with Thai dipping sauce