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best oyster bar in toronto?

  • c

hey chowhounds

where to go for fresh raw oysters besides rodneys, starfish...somewhere affordable perhaps?

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  1. I'll start with the obvious...

    Oyster Boy

    Link: http://www.oysterboy.ca/

    1 Reply
    1. re: Mila

      I agree - Oyster Boy is a great place. It might be a bit small if you have a large party, but it's great for a group of 4-6


    2. I would second Oyster Boy. Fun atmosphere, good service, interesting wine list and a variety of oysters. The baked oysters are a real treat.

      2 Replies
      1. re: foodiegirl

        how are they for raw oysters?

        1. re: daantaat

          They have a good selection of raw oysters. Last time I was there (year ago)they had about 10 varieties. They will make up a tasting platter of whatever combinations you want. For those who like it, the sauces they send out are good.

      2. Pure Spirits Oyster House and Grill in the distillery district, as another option. I have had their oysters and they are quite good, OK selection, although certainly not cheap. It's probably not the best place in the city for oysters but I do love the distillery district, particularily in the summer. Patios, cold beer, some type of festival most weekends.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ja_jc

          Pure Spirits buys their oysters from Oyster Boy so as far as quality of oysters, they should be the same. The patios in the Distillery District are great in the summer but avoid festival weekends if you don't like large crowds.

        2. Smokless Joe (John St. between Spadina and Richmond) has very inexpensive and fresh raw oysters on certain nights of the week. Great mussels too!

          I'm not sure which days they offer the oysters, but you can call ahead (416-728-4503) and ask.

          Of course, the real draw of Smokeless Joe is the absolutely insane beer selection -- 8ish taps (all small-distribution, mainly local micros), and supposedly 250+ different bottled beers (although they may have cut this down, their list is still impressive).

          Neither romantic nor spacious nor quiet (at least on Friday/Saturday), but I'd recommend it anyway!

          5 Replies
          1. re: Craig

            Smokeless has oysters every night. The cheap night is Tuesday. Note than usually only one of the three types available is discounted. They get their oysters from Oyster Boy.

            1. re: Craig

              Love Smokeless Joe's. Not sure if they're the -best- oysters around, but with the atmosphere in there and all that beer they sure taste great!

                  1. re: chalenegirl

                    i'm a big fan of smokeless joe's...they are closed yes, but are instead moving to college street. It will be interesting to see how the new place will compare when ready (I think in several months). I will really miss the character and charm of this tiny spot.

              1. I will issue my disclaimer first, I have never had oysters before, but I am very interested in trying them out, so I am happy to see the list of places here so that I can try them out.

                But I am curious as to whether anyone has tried the Bluepoint Oyster bar on King in the entertainment district?

                1. I heard from a friend that Biff's is doing oysters at $1 each at the bar. You'd have to confirm.

                  1. Starfish, Oyster Boy and Rodney's are your best bets. All have the best oysters in the city, and supply most other restaurants in town. Starfish is my favourite - slighly posher inside, and the best kitchen of the lot, but good, friendly vibe. Oyster Boy and Rodney's are more casual, with Rodney's being my least favourite for cooked food, but they all have excellent quality raw food. If you're converted, I'd also recommend taking one of Oyster Boy's shucking course - lots of fun.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mister1970

                      Starfish does have the best oyster selection, but I find the service to be indifferent, bordering on rude and listening to the owner talk about himself can become tiresome.

                    2. I am still a fan of Rodney's over all other oyster bars in the city -- prefer the ambiance, the smoked trout, the manhattan clam chowder and of courses, the oysters (esp the Martha's Vineyard's when they are in season).

                      1. I like the ones mentioned so far, over the past several years, but I have to say that for me, the experience comes down to the accompaniments. Big Daddy's although a chain, has made a significant effort to put together a group of amazing sauces, as well as pepper infused vodka, that work really well. Much better than the usual McIlhenny's or mignonette that you get at most places.

                        Big Daddy's Restaurant
                        460 Elgin Mills Rd E, Richmond Hill, ON L4C5E7, CA

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Snarf

                          Well I have tried Biff (buck a shuck is a good Value) after 5 PM. It is especially great if you wanna go on a Sunday as they have no corkage on Sundays alas the other food is average at best.Pure Spirits and Oyster was ho hum IMO as the other food was just so so I tried a bunch of varieties there same as other places. This might off beat but try the Corks in the Longo's at maple leaf square on Thursdays they give 3 oysters with a pint or glass of wine. If you want more its only 2.50$ for 3!!

                          1. re: Snarf

                            I agree on Big Daddy's. They offer a great variety of sauces.........don't forget the fresh horseradish and lemon.

                            1. A touch off topic, but my current choice is to head over to Diana's Seafood, buy oysters at about half the price of what one pays at service restaurants ( average $1.50 each ) and shuck them myself. Last time I was there, even in Summer, they have over 12+ variatals, including Australian ones which not a lot of oyster bar offers! I know its a lot of work but the choices, selection and 'fun' makes it worthwhile!

                              Diana's Seafood
                              2101 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M1R, CA

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Charles Yu

                                Very correct. Diana's generally has a selection you're not going to find in any single restaurant. When you compare the prices to places like McEwen's, which is somewhere around twice, it does argue well for doing it at home. Stop at Taro's on your way back to buy some fresh wasabi root as a garnish option. Would love to see that in some of the restaurants!

                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                  I find it fun. If you sign up for Diana's seafood newsletter you get great offers on oysters. The other day they sent an offer for 120 Fanny Bay oysters for $70 (remember, no tax also when buying these at a store compared to a restaurant).

                                  I was there before this special and the cheapy malpeques were selling for $12.xx for 33 oysters. I don't like these oysters because the shells were so brittle and hard to open cleanly, but the taste of them was still good. They send me weekly emails with special offers on oysters every weekend....love it!

                                  BTW...it seems that Diana's Seafood is opening up an oyster bar right outside their location.

                                2. It's off the beaten track, but the Miller Tavern up in North York serves oysters on a gigantic patio and is an excellent, excellent way to spend a beautiful summer Saturday.

                                  Miller Tavern
                                  3885 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4N 2P2, CA