Best of Boston

2009 Best Fish Market

New Deal

When trying to lay your hands on the freshest catch in Boston, you could get up at 4 a.m., pull on rubber boots, and clump along to the fish pier to haggle with salty characters. Or you could sleep in until a decent hour, then do what the city’s smartest cooks do: head to this venerable storefront in East Cambridge, where owner Carl Fantasia makes buying and preparing seafood a breeze, even for novices. He’ll not only steer you to the tastiest specimens in the display case, but also point out which Portuguese olive oil will bring out the best in those bright-eyed sardines, and supply the nori needed to turn that sushi-grade tuna into hand-rolled maki.

622 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617-876-8227,