Whether ordering the fish of the day at a French restaurant or shopping at a fishmonger or fish market in France, knowing the different names of fish in French can come in handy. Here are the French and English names of the most commonly eaten fish, seafood and crustaceans— Plus other seafood-related vocabulary.
How this article about seafood and fish names in French and English is organized.
I’ve broken the French seafood names on this list into three parts—
1) 41 fish names in French
2) 26+ crustacean and shellfish names in French.
3) At the very end of this article, I’ve also included over 40 useful French seafood cooking terms as well as places relating to fish in French, such as the fishmonger, the fish market, etc.
How to say Fish and Seafood in French
Be careful when pronouncing this word. Pronounce it with the “S” sound, not the “Z” sound. If you pronounce it with the “Z” sound, you’re actually saying poison and not the French word for fish.
Seafood: Les Fruits de Mer
Seafood in French is called “les fruits de Mer,” which literally means the fruits of the sea.
41 French fish names you might find on a French restaurant menu
The following French fish names are listed in alphabetic order by the English name of the fish.
- Anchovy: Les Anchois
- Arctic char: L’omble-chevalier
- Barracuda: La Barracuda
- Carp: La Carpe
- Catfish: Le Poisson-chat
- Cod: Le Cabillaud
- Salted cod: La Morue
- Conger: Le Congre / anguille de mer
- Eel: L’Anguille
- Flounder: La Plie
- Grouper: Le Mérou
- Haddock: L’aiglefin
- Hake: Le Colin (Merlu, Lieu noir)
- Halibut: Le Flétan
- Herring: Le Hareng
- John dory: Saint Pierre (considered one of the ugliest fish in the world)
- Lemon Sole: La Limande-sole
- Mackerel: Le Maquereau
- Monkfish: La Lotte / La Lotte de mer
- Needlefish: L’aiguillette
- Perch: La Perche
- Pike Perch: Le Sandre
- Plaice: Le Carrelet
- Skate: La Raie (often seen as ailes de raie on menus-ray wings)
- Red Mullet: Le Rouget / Rouget barbet
- Salmon: Le Saumon
- Sardine: La Sardine
- Scorpionfish: La Rascasse (essential ingredient in fish soups and bouillabaisse.)
- Sea Bass: Le Bar / Loup de mer
- Sea Bream: La Dorade/Daurade royale
- Sea Perch: Le Loup
- Sea Pike: Le Brochet de mer
- Shark: Le Requin
- Sole: La Sole
- Squid: Le Calamar
- Swordfish: L’epadon
- Trout: La Truite
- Tuna: Le Thon
- Turbot: Le Turbot
- Weever: La Vivie
- Whiting: Le Merlan
Shell Fish and crustaceans: Les Coquillages et Crustacés
Crustaceans: Les crustacées (m)
Shellfish (the edible ones): Les coquillages comestibles (m)
Mind your genders:
- la coquillage is a seashell. The kind you collect at the beach.
- Le coquillage is the shellfish you can eat.
Seafood shells are called two different things in French.
1) Shell of crustaceans: La carapace
For example A Crab shell is La carapace de la crabe.
2) Shell of Shellfish: La coquille
For example: An Oyster shell is la coquille de l’huitre
Crustacean: Les crustacées (m)
Crustaceans include commonly eaten seafood such as shrimp, crab, lobster, and crayfish and usually have segmented, split limbs or appendages.
- Crab: Un Crabe
- Crayfish : Une écrevisse
- Edible crab / rock crab : Un Tourteau
- Prawns: Les Gambas
- Lobster: Un Homard
- Scampi: Une Langoustine
- Spider crab: Une araignée de mer ou crabe-araignée
- Shrimp: Une Crevette
- Spiny Lobster / Rock Lobster: Une Langouste
Shellfish: Les Coquillages (f)
Mollusks: Un Mollusque
Shellfish are soft-bodied invertebrates called mollusks that have hard shells. The ones we eat usually come from the sea: clams, mussels, scallops, and
- Abalone: Un Ormeau
- Clams : Les Palourdes
- Cockle: Une Coque
- Crepidula: Le Berlingot de mer / La Crecpudule
- Oysters: Les huîtres
- Mussels: Les Moules
- Rasor clam: Les Couteaux
- Scallop : La Coquille Saint-Jacques
- Sea snail: Le Bigorneau
- Sea Urchin: Un Oursin
- Shrimp/prawn: Les revettes
- Whelk: Le Bulot
Mollusks without shells
- Cuttlefish: Les Seiches
- Calamari: Les Calamars
- Octopus: Le Pieuvre/ Le Poulpe
- Squid: Les Encornets
What are frogs doing on this list of seafood and shellfish?
Well, you may be surprised to learn that frog meat is considered fish, and so is turtle and alligator meat.
The natural habitat of frogs is water-based, and frog legs generally have the texture of chicken but some think it tastes like fish.
According to legend, French monks had frogs classified as fish, so they could enjoy eating otherwise forbidden food during Lent.
Frog legs are actually referred to as frog thighs in French.
- Frog thighs: Les cuisses de grenouille
Extra Fish and Seafood Vocabulary:
Places where you can find fish
From fishing and fishmongers to restaurants and fish markets, here are the many places to find fish.
- Fishmonger / fish seller : Un poissonnier (m), Une poissonnière (f)
- A Fish shop store: Une poissonnerie
- Fish market: Un Marchand de poissons
- Seafood display: Étalage de fruits de Mer
- Seafood bar: Un Bar a fruit de Mer
- Seafood restaurant: Restaurant de fruits de mer
- Oyster bar: Le Bar à Huîtres
- Fisherman : Un pêcheur
- Fishing: Pêcher
- Fishery: Pêcherie
You might be interested in reading Pocket dictionary: 200+ types of French shop names in France, businesses & services too
French Cooking terms
- Raw: Cru
- Cooked: Cuit
- Seared rare (as in seared ahi-tuna): Mi-cuit
- Smoked: Fumée
- Frozen: Surgelé
- Defrost: faites décongeler
- Fresh: Frais
- In paper: En papillote (wrapped or placed in a bag made of parchment paper before being baked in an oven)
- Grilled: Grillé
- Roasted: Rôti
- Poached: Poché
- Pan fried: à la poêle
- Steamed: à la vapeur
- In a casserole: dans une casserole
- Fishbone:Une arête (de poison)
- Deboned: Désosser
- Peel and devein shrimp: Décortiquer et déveiner des crevettes
- Fish recipe: Une Recette poisson.
French fish dishes and Seafood plates
- A Seafood platter: un plateau de fruits de Mer
- A Seafood pizza: Une Pizza aux fruits de mer.
- Mussels and fries: Moules Frites
- Fish head soup: Soupe aux têtes de poissons
- Smoked Salmon: Le saumon fumé
- Steamed king crab legs: Les Pattes de crabe royal à la vapeur
- Pureed Salt cod and potatoes dish: La brandade de morue
- Pan fired filet of sole dredged in flour and cooked in butter: La sole meunière
- A kind creamy paté made from tuna: Rillettes de Thon
- A type of seafood meatloaf: Terrine de Poisson
Fish and Seafood tools
Fish scaler: scale remover: Ecailleur a Poisson
Fish poacher to cook fish: poissonnière (the same name as a female fishmonger-who sells fish)
Fish Spatula: Pelle à poisson