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Best Fish monger in TO?

  • j

looking for a place to buy sashimi grade fish
although i know there are no specification of what sashimi grade fish is, i would just like to find a place to very very fresh fish.

I only know of Taro fish. I don't really trust the fish mongers in St. Lawrence market so any other recommendation?
City Fish? Pieces? anywhere else?

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  1. you pretty much nailed it with your list already

    there's also t&t

    5 Replies
      1. re: Chester

        J-Town is great - small selection but oh the freshness! Sea urchin that is buttery and wonderful. Monkfish liver to die for! They even have a sushi counter next door.

      2. re: sanjay

        Any particular reason you've written off the entire St. Lawrence Market? Most of the good restaurants downtown purchase their meat and fish there. The stall called "Mikes" has a good reputation, including a great recommendation by international food writer Gina Mallet in a recent book. They also claim to be "ethical" fish mongers, refusing to sell types of fish that are endangered or overfished, which is not the case for most other fish sellers, unfortunately.

        1. re: Gary

          Mike's is great. It is really a first class fish market.

          1. re: js288uk

            I prefer Dominic's. It's a bit cheaper and as I understand it, Mike supplies them with their fish anyway.


      3. Newport Fish Importers. 1140 Dupont (NE corner of Dupont and Dufferin). They are wholesalers and have a retail outlet there too. Specialize in Portuguese fish, flown in daily.

        1. what about the guys in Kensington - are any much better than the other? Or which one is the best of the 3 or 4 that are there?

          9 Replies
          1. re: dannyboy

            I wouldn't buy fish in Kensington ... doubious quality and doubious freshness. Mike's in the St. Lawrence maqrket is where I go.

            1. re: MTC
              peppermint pate

              I buy some seafood and a bit of fish at Seaway in Kensington - prices are great and for select fish, the quality is quite good but not sashimi quality. For that, I'd agree with Taro, Mike's at St. Lawrence Market or Pisces.

              1. re: peppermint pate

                I would also recommend Mike's at St. Lawrence Market. I've been buying from them weekly for years, and note the other adjacent stalls seem a bit tacky, especially since they renovated their's last year. I've never been disappointed with their variety or quality. They'll also vacuum pack your purchases should you need to freeze them.

                By 2-3 p.m. Saturdays, all fish goes on sale, so you can really get some good bargains.

                I have tried to buy fish in Kensington, but can't get past the "fishy" smell of some of the shops, which gives thought to freshness and quality.


                1. re: FoodieGirl

                  I agree, you can very clearly smell the fishiness just by walking past the stores while the doors are even the slightest bit ajar.

                  1. re: Curtis
                    peppermint pate

                    I agree that Kensington's not the greatest for most fresh fish/seafood (a few exceptions) but doesn't most of the fishy smell come from the dried fish (salted cod?) on display at the Caribbean places?

                  2. re: FoodieGirl

                    I don't understand the complaint with the fish smell. It's fish, it should smell like fish, just like a cheese shop should smell of cheese and a butcher should have a meat smell. Maybe those "odorless" stalls at St. Lawrence would smell fishy too if they were in small Kensington stores instead of a great big hall. You can tell much, much more about the freshness of fish by looking at it than by juding from the smell that comes through the door.

                    1. re: Dyl

                      No, actually, the last thing fish should smell like is fish. Oddly enough. While it seems to make sense, what fish should smell like, if anything, is the sea. Fishy smell comes when the fish is decomposing.
                      That said, I see a lot of fish places that have salt cod and fish heads and stuff that can stink a place up.

                      As for where to buy sashimi grade fish. I'd probably go to SLM. I'd let them know what it's for and see if you can get some cut fresh. Rather than some that's been cut and sitting out.


                      1. re: Davwud

                        I concur with DT.
                        Fish should not smell like Fish if it is fresh.

                2. re: MTC

                  I too would not buy fish in Kensington, it never seems really fresh at any of the fishmongers. I'm a fan of Seafront at St. Lawrence market

              2. I'v always been very happy with the sushi-grade tuna at Domenic's at St Lawrence.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ice Queen

                  Domenic's is my fish monger of choice in the city.


                2. San Antonio Fish Market in Woodbridge has the most impressive fish counter I've seen. We happened upon it a couple of weeks ago, and bought the most massive shrimp I've ever seen. I butterflied them, topped them with a mixture of fresh bread crumbs, garlic, olive oil, s & p, and broiled them. They were sweet, juicy, and delicious; reminded me of the scampi provencal we used to get in Montreal restaurants.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: FlavoursGal

                    I heartily second both the Seafood Depot and the San Antonio Fish Market up in Little Italy North. Sterling selection at both places, with a huge variety of seafood flown in from around the world plus tons of other items. Worth a Saturday trek if you're heading uptown.


                    1. re: Chester Eleganté

                      From their website, this Seafood Depot is quite impressive,
                      and I'll be paying a visit soon :)

                      Well at least we still have about +40 years lol..


                      Study: Edible Fish Gone by 2048

                      A new study claims fish populations are dwindling at an abysmal rate

                      A study published recently by the National Center of Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), at University California and UC Santa Barbara, indicates an accelerating loss of biodiversity in the world's oceans with largely unknown consequences. Possible outcomes include an inability of the oceans to produce enough seafood to feed a growing human population, a decrease in the pollution-filtering ability of the oceans, which would result in poor water quality, and an increase in exposure to diseases, i.e. from poisonous algae species.

                      The study, published November 3 in Science, is the result of a comprehensive four-year research investigation. Scientists utilized a variety of research methods and data archives to see how the loss of biodiversity affects marine ecosystems. Analyzed data include four-decades of fishery information from the United Nations, observational studies of protected marine areas and core samples spanning 1000 years. In addition, over thirty controlled experiments were conducted. Scientists found that a decrease in oceanic biodiversity exponentially decreased water quality, rates of resource collapse, and potential for ecological recovery.

                      Furthermore, the scientists project a collapse, or 90-percent depletion, of all seafood types currently harvested by the year 2050. Fortunately, scientists believe the oceans might still be able to recover. They found that in areas where biodiversity was restored, productivity was increased fourfold. Behaviors associated with a loss of biodiversity include over-fishing, damage to coastal and aquatic habitats and warmer temperatures associated with global warming.

                  2. San Antonio Fish Market is fantastic; definitely worth the drive. I take a drive up there from Hamilton every so often. The seafood they import fresh from Italy around Christmas-time is incredible.

                    1. I usually go to Bill's Lobster on Gerrard just east of Broadview. The selection is not huge, but there I can always find some very fresh fish. Bill also has some live fish, and various shellfish including wild spot shrimp.

                      There is a place called Diana's seafood in Scarbourough, they have a big selection of fresh fish. http://www.dianasseafood.com

                      1. Does anyone know the name of the lovely small fish shop on the north side of Eglinton just east of Avenue Road? It's run by a very helpful Asian family (I like their son; he's about 13 and super-professional/courteous), sells some sushi accoutrements as well as fish, and is really fabulously pristine. I went there a couple of times and just loved it.

                        Although mostly I go to Pisces for convenience reasons. (Pisces did something weird last week though. I bought salmon for ceviche; they offered to cut it up for me; I arrived home to find it sliced into ribbons - which made for a fairly odd-looking ceviche.)

                        Also - I agree with those who dislike buying fish at Kensington and St. Lawrence. I'm not sure it's entirely rational, but I'm not a fan of either for fish. I like to go to a specialty shop and then straight home - don't wanna carry it around while I loiter over coffee / browse mustards / eat lunch ;-)

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: spigot

                          I've been to the seafood shop you're talking about I think it's called Avenue Seafood. Very friendly people. I've also noticed a change at Pisces, not for the better, the fish seemed fresher and better maintained before the new owner. Just my observation though.

                          1. re: Nick06

                            It *is* Avenue, yes, Nick06, thanks. I love them there.

                            I didn't know Pisces had been sold..

                            1. re: Nick06

                              What's the current per-pound on fresh lobster these days? Real Atlantic ones, of decent 1.5-pound-plus size? Before I trek to St. Lawrence Market or Bill's Lobster, I'm interested in a baseline.

                              1. re: Smalph

                                I've seen them between 14.99-16.99lb, for sizes 1.5 + from Nova Scotia.

                          2. No-one's mentioned Big Land at Leslie and Finch or T&T. any comments?

                            1. I like both Seafood Depot and San Antonio Fish Market, but I always end up at Seafood Depot, probably because they have so my other types of Italian grocery etc. Anyways, a word of warning...if you are planning to go to seafood depot near xmas time, go early and with lots of patience, as the line ups are ridiculous.

                              1. Why not try City Fish Market
                                2929 Dufferin Street, North York, ON M6B 3S7
                                most of the top Chefs in the city uses them and the prices are good

                                1. A lot of chefs I know use a fish monger in Thornhill (Glencairn), for their fish.

                                  The Fish Man Co.
                                  Although I have never been, it comes highly recommended.


                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: QueenofQueen

                                    Yeah you're right...this place has good quality fish. Their retail store is actually called Fisherman's Brother. It's a little hard to find though...it's at 71 Glen Cameron off of Yonge (one light south of Clark). It's on this long narrow road with all these generic-looking warehouse/store buildings, but not too far in. The seafood is worth trying.

                                    1. re: QueenofQueen

                                      yes I often buy my shellfish from here, great selection. Although a lot of stuff isn't on display so you do have to ask for it.

                                      However for sashimi grade, you answered yourself w/ Taro. It is pricey but a Japanese fishmonger knows best in that department.

                                    2. Diana's seafood is the place hands down. I have frequented Nicks, Domenic and the seafood depot in the past. All are worthwhile choices but, if you consider, freshness, selection, price, service, customization, Diana's has the most going for it. And it supplies a large amount of top end restaurants in the GTA.


                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: to_frankie

                                        I learned about Diana's on this forum, and have been grateful ever since.
                                        Bought some perfect black cod recently, my latest favourite since giving up chilean seabass,
                                        Great variety.

                                      2. one of the best place has to be allseas fisheries in Etobicoke. very fresh and great selection

                                        1. Next to Lady York (2939 Dufferin St, , Sth of Lawrence) there is a portuguese fish monger that I like a lot: fresh fish, good selection. You can pick your fish and seefood by yourself. Don't expect a friendly staff, though.

                                          3 Replies
                                              1. re: Yongeman

                                                I am pretty fussy when it comes to fish and will only shop at Pisces. I was surprised to read a few earlier that said the quality has gone down hill since the new owners took over. I have not noticed this at all. In fact just yesterday we bought 4 pieces of halibut which I crusted with pecans, herbs and panko and baked in oven, recipe was from Bon Apetit mag. I must say, it turned out fabulous. I love that you can call ahead to place an order. I like to have all the pieces of uniform size and they will happily do this for you.

                                          1. I would have to say that Taro Fish is the best i have come across. The fish is always super fresh, and they won't stock any fish if it is not at it's best. The store is at 404 and Steeles. Prices aren't the cheapest but when it comes to fish it is all about the freshness and quality, and with that in mind they offer the best.