Don't let the name throw you off course, for fresh fish head to Turnham Green.
37 Turnham Green Terrace, London, W4 1RG
Tube: Turnham Green Station
Rather confusingly, this quality fish shop is not located anywhere near Covent Garden, the business began with a busy stall in Jubilee Market in Covent Garden back in the early 80s. As the business thrived they decided to try their luck in Chiswick, and have been providing the residents of W4 with fresh fish ever since. Sustainability is the watchword for this longstanding local retail and wholesale favourite, and everything here is impeccably sourced. Christmas shoppers may be more excited by the labour-saving options available, which include ready-made fish soup and first-class potted shrimp and crab. The chatty owner is always helpful and will point you in the direction of anything in his stock he regards as particularly fine.
Walter Purkis smoke their own salmon, and will even lend you a salmon kettle.
17 The Broadway, Crouch End, London, N8 8DU
Tube: Highgate Station
The century-old smokehouse at the rear of Walter Purkis provides excellent, and reasonably priced, smoked salmon to both branches (the other is in Muswell Hill) of this family fishmonger. They smoke everything from caviar to kippers and stock everything from oysters to jellied eels, but it's the salmon that creates queues every Christmas. If you're after something a bit more unusual, a twice-weekly delivery brings in shellfish and exotic fish from Europe, and they also get daily supplies of quality fresh fish from Billingsgate Market and fishmongers around the UK. It's worth noting that if you buy a salmon from the shop, they include the free loan of a salmon kettle to help you cook it...
This fish shop serves the Kensington Place Restaurant and has impeccably high standards.
201 Kensington Church Street, Kensington, London, W8 7LX
This tidy little fishmongers attached to a restaurant has the largest and most impressive items of its stock on view, so if you're planning whole seabass or salmon for a Christmas meal, you'll be able to check out the options immediately. If fillets and fruits de mer are on your shopping list, ask the (always helpful) staff and they can usually find what you're after in one of the many fridges and compartments that allows the Fish Shop to offer a selection quite out of proportion to its size. It's also possible to get some of the restaurant's signature dishes pre-prepared to take home and cook. Choosy Kensington foodies – including the River Cafe's Ruth Rodgers – are the main customers, and so standards have to be kept extremely high.
Fish and seafood fresh from Newlyn Cornish Market and London's Billingsgate.
10 Cale Street, Chelsea, London, SW3 3QU
Tube: South Kensington Station
The Chelsea Fishmonger is a labour of love for Rex Goldsmith who has been in the fish trade since he began catching and selling river trout at the tender age of 13. Rex and his team have since made a name for themselves by offering the freshest and highest quality fish and shellfish. With a focus on sustainable fishing, cod is line caught in Icelandic waters, where stocks are at safe levels, and wild sea bass are commonly hook and line caught of the south or south west coast. The Chelsea shop, situated on Chelsea Green just off the Kings Road, is a traditional open fronted shop and has been a fishmonger for around 100 years.
Broadway Market's resident fishmongers are on always on hand with seafood delights and helpful tips.
71 Broadway Market, Hackney, London, E8 4PH
Tube: Bethnal Green Station
Perched at the top of trendy East London Broadway Market, this tiny fishmongers have been doing anything but floundering since setting up shop on the foodie strip a few years ago. It's clear that people don't mind spending a small fortune on good quality food around here, the regular Saturday market is always heaving with hungry punters come rain, shine or even snow. Fin and Flounder really know their stuff and wanted to provide the area with a traditional fish shop that is as far away from the supermarket fish counters as possible. Preparing fish can be a bit daunting but these guys are always on hand with recipes and cooking tips, plus they provide a selection of herbs, sauces and accompaniments to help you create the perfect Christmas fish supper at home. Also, look out for their stall - which can sometimes be found on the market - which sells simple and delicious snacks such as tuna steak baps.
For bulk buying and the freshest catches, it has to be London's Billingsgate Market.
Trafalgar Way, Tower Hamlets, London, E14 5ST
Tube: Canary Wharf Station
Billingsgate may not seem like an obvious choice initially, but if you need to put on a Christmas spread big enough to feed a small army then this could be the most cost efficient (and memorable) option. You'll have to be up at dawn to bag the freshest catch, aim to arrive well before 7am. And prepare yourself for a real experience, this place is loud, boisterous and smelly. You'll have to shop alongside restaurant owners and fishmongers who will be buying in bulk, so don't be surprised if you end up leaving laden with boxes of sea creatures. Bring cash, as many of the stalls don't have card machines, and definitely don't wear your Sunday best.