Everything you always wanted to know about plaice

TYPE: Pleuronectes platessa

BEST CATCH: May to August, or frozen all year round

PREPARATION: Fried, baked or grilled

TYPE RELATED: Sole, Flounder, turbot, dab

RECIPE SUGGESTION: Fried as Cutter clod, also known as plaice Finkenwerder style



Plaice have firm, tender flesh with a spicy taste that combines a pleasant sea freshness with a subtle spice. Its white fillet smells of sea and salt, making it a delicious dish. In Germany they are one of the most famous food fish.

The plaice is a marine fish that belongs to the group of flatfish. The characteristic feature of the plaice is its flat body, which is reminiscent of an oval, slightly scaled disk. The color of the plaice is remarkable as it has a brown upper surface and a light, almost white underside. This coloring serves as a natural camouflage for the plaice, allowing it to hide perfectly on the sandy seabed.


An interesting feature of the plaice is the position of its eyes: they are located on the top of its body, but as it develops one eye moves to the other side. This adaptation allows the floe to lie flat on the seabed while looking upwards.


Plaice can reach different sizes, with mature specimens reaching lengths of up to 50 cm. Their fins are also distinctive, including an unpaired dorsal fin that extends across the body and an anal fin on the underside. The pectoral fins are relatively large in comparison and support the plaice when maneuvering.


In their diet, plaice are predators, feeding primarily on small fish, crustaceans and other marine life. Their ability to bury themselves in the sand and use their eyes to look across the sea floor allows them to lie in wait for prey.


The distribution of plaice extends along the coastal waters of the North Atlantic, from Norway to the Mediterranean. It prefers sandy or muddy bottoms in shallower waters.


The plaice has a variety of uses in the culinary world. It can be fried, baked or grilled and, thanks to its mild and delicate flesh, is suitable for various types of preparation. The taste can be varied and adjusted with different spices and sauces.


Overall, plaice is not only an important part of the marine food chain, but also a fascinating example of adaptation to the environmental conditions of the seabed.

Plaice in detail


The eyes, chico!

Plaice have wandering eyes. Read more about this in the Fish Fun Fact.

The eyes, chico!

Plaice have wandering eyes. Read more about this in the Fish Fun Fact.

Fun fact:

When plaice are born, they actually have eyes positioned on either side of their head, similar to most other fish. However, over the course of the first few weeks of life, the left eye of a plaice (in some species also the right eye) begins to move.

The eye moves overhead as the fish rotates from a normal vertical position to a sideways, flat position. Eventually the eye lands on the "top" of the fish, the side facing the seabed. This way, when the plaice reaches adulthood, it has both eyes on the same side of the body.

This eye migration allows the plaice to lie flat on the ocean floor and still look up to look for food or potential threats. This adaptation is a perfect example of the amazing evolution that animals develop to adapt to their environment.