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I love Crab Cakes!

kasey j miller Nov 26, 2006 11:06 PM

I am looking for the best crab cakes in Toronto - but am willing to travel to the suburbs if necessary in order to find a high quality crab cake with lots of real lump crab meat and not too much filler. THanks!

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  1. b
    bluedog Nov 27, 2006 12:38 AM

    After a trip to Baltimore about 4 years ago I got addicted to Maryland crabcakes. However 4 years of looking in TO has not yielded a single place that serves them like they should. Every crab cake I've found is made from pasteurized crab meat and is nothing like they should be. I've also posted in the past looking for them and have never gotten lucky.

    I am also thus interested to hear what people have to say, but I'm not holding my breath.

    1. a
      Agra Nov 27, 2006 12:53 AM

      I too have had amazing crab cakes in baltimore! Would love to find similar quality here, but haven't as yet.

      1. a
        Anoko Nov 27, 2006 01:13 AM

        I haven't been to Baltimore so I'm not quite sure what your comparing to. The crab cakes at splendido were yummy a lot of crab meat in every bite.

        1. m
          miranda Nov 27, 2006 02:49 PM

          Pisces Fish Shop on Yonge at Summerville make their own...you just have to fry them up...also have hot pepper mayo or wasabi mayo to go with...Miranda

          1 Reply
          1. re: miranda
            callitasicit Jul 29, 2011 01:43 PM

            Is this place still open?

          2. e
            embee Nov 28, 2006 02:20 AM

            I don't know where you will duplicate one made from real, fresh crab in Toronto. I've had tasty ones at the Senator (which they acknowledged contained some fake crab), Smalltalk, and Allens (which also contain salmon). However, nothing to compare with what I've had in the Del-Mar-Va area.

            1. k
              kasey j miller Nov 28, 2006 01:46 PM

              This is very dissapointing! There must a restaurant in the GTA with a crab cake to swoon over - Mortons? Harbour 60?

              1. i
                ishmael Nov 29, 2006 12:19 AM

                I've had the Crab cakes at Harbour 60. They are great. I beleive they use Phillips brand lump crabmeat(pasteurized) and very little filler.Very tasty but not cheap.
                It is very difficult if not impossible to buy crabmeat in Toronto that is not pasteurized or frozen. The only alternative is to buy fersh crabs (usually Dungeness) and cook yourself. If I'm going to that amount of trouble and expense I'm not making crab cakes out of it but eating it as God intended-- wiht a little butter and lemon

                3 Replies
                1. re: ishmael
                  bluedog Nov 30, 2006 08:26 PM

                  Then they are not Maryland Crab Cakes at all, which generally use only lump crab meat (agreed it is impossible to find in TO), and actually have a surprising amout of filler, usually cubed white bread. It doesn't sound that great, but with the spices etc. and the sauce, it is a classic American dish. So great, in fact, that if I had the resources I would make a special trip to Baltimore just to eat them. It would be worth every penny. Indeed I've threatened my family that are nex vacation will involve a crabcake tour of Maryland, D.C. and perhaps the Carolinas!

                  1. re: ishmael
                    cocolou Feb 9, 2007 06:45 AM

                    I fully agree with Ishmael : they are not hard to make yourself and the recipe is very very easy. Lemon juice and melted butter do the trick. Enjoy!

                    1. re: cocolou
                      Teep Feb 9, 2007 10:13 AM

                      I thought Ishmael is talking about eating the fresh crab, not making crab cakes.

                      The hassle with crab cakes is deep frying, which I'm always too lazy to do. But I found a recipe for baked ones (using the canned stuff), and they are more healthy, if not as tasty as the original recipe.

                  2. f
                    francelonian Nov 30, 2006 09:00 PM

                    I had OK cakes at Swan yesterday (on Queen West). And a few weeks ago had not bad cakes at a resto in Liberty Village the name of which now escapes me (sorry!)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: francelonian
                      Full tummy Dec 4, 2006 06:08 AM

                      I had the crab cakes at the Swan a couple of weeks ago, and the texture was like salmon cakes; they even tasted like salmon. If there's crab in there, it's in shreds mixed with lots of other stuff. I generally like the food there, but I wouldn't order the crab cakes again.

                    2. kawarthagirl Dec 1, 2006 12:56 PM

                      There is a place on Mt. Pleasant s. of Eglinton where I went the other night. Phoebe's Zee Grill I think it's called. I was 'taken' to dinner so don't entirely remember. Anyhoo, the crabcakes there are pretty good and on the dinner menu, they're offered as either an app or a main. I had the app...

                      1. q
                        qtxniki Dec 4, 2006 12:05 AM

                        Torch Bistro used to make AMAZING crab cakes. The absolute best, sweet, with a TON of crab in it, very little filler. Sadly, they closed down. So, if you can find the old chef/owner, you might have a lead.

                        1. m
                          magic Jan 4, 2007 07:30 PM

                          Hot House (Church+Front) and Insomnia (Bloor+Bathurst) make AWESOME crabcakes.

                          The last time I was at Hot House (a few weeks ago) they seemed to have seriously diminished their portioning which really ticked me off, as the price had not dropped in kind. I spoke with the manager about this and he basically told me nothing had changed. Bullcrap. That said they are still divine.

                          Insomnia has a "curry crabcake" which is just sensational.

                          Either of these two joints will satisfy a crabcake craving.

                          1. f
                            FresserGuy Jan 5, 2007 12:45 AM

                            Like one of the other posters,I've had the crabcakes at the Senator too. I was actually VERY impressed with them! Are they the real thing? well, we live in Toronto, not by the ocean. But I was just in Florida and the crab cakes there were no better. (although it was at an upscale chain - so who knows if they're fresh)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: FresserGuy
                              embee Jan 5, 2007 04:18 PM

                              A few years ago, Senator management said that the crab cakes they served in the fancier place that they used to have next door contained real and fake crab. Whatever they were, they tasted yummy. However, I don't know what they are serving now. I'd assume at least some, if not all, fake crab. But all that really matters in the end (unless allergies are involved) is that they taste good.

                            2. p
                              Peechie Jan 5, 2007 07:34 PM

                              I've had the crab cakes at Senator a while back. Although it wasn't terrible, it wasn't great either. It tasted "fake" to me. I haven't been to Baltimore so don't know what Maryland crab cakes should taste like but most of the crab cakes I've tried have been rather disappointing except for the crab cakes at Ruth Chris (Richmond and University).

                              If my memory serves me right, it was $21 for 2 crab cakes but each cake is a decent size with lumps and lumps of crab meat. Juicy, tender and not heavily bind with flour or other fillings.

                              You should try it and tell me how it compares to the Maryland crab cakes.

                              1. NovoCuisine Jan 6, 2007 03:18 AM

                                I always see pricey ready-made crabcakes at the seafood vendors at St. Lawrence. Anybody bought those and are they any good?

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: NovoCuisine
                                  bluedog Jan 6, 2007 04:57 PM

                                  I've bought them. Pasteruized crab meat, with some filler, more like crab patties. Personally not to my taste, but I'm also the guy who keeps going on about Maryland Crabcakes.

                                  1. re: NovoCuisine
                                    sierramum Jan 11, 2007 03:43 PM

                                    My hubby's bought them a couple times. They were okay. Edible at least, but I've been to Baltimore and nothing I've had here compares, unfortunately.

                                  2. deelicious Jan 6, 2007 03:27 AM

                                    Just a couple of weeks ago we bought FANTASTIC looking seafood stuffed whole squid. It turned out to be 70% bread crumb filler. It was bland and aweful. Bigtime ripoff!

                                    1. s
                                      stephen Jan 6, 2007 02:10 PM

                                      I've bought crabcakes at Whole Foods in Oakville while working there last year. They were pretty good but pricey. I'm curious about the ones at the St. Lawrence market as well...

                                      1. deelicious Jan 11, 2007 02:57 PM

                                        HELP! Harbour 60 tonight for dinner. We always get the shrimp cocktail or seafood tower, but all this talk about crab cakes has be thinking...

                                        Thanks to ishmael (above) they sound great.

                                        Any other comments from those who have tried the crab cakes at harbour?

                                        Much appreciated!

                                        1. b
                                          bluedog Jan 11, 2007 11:31 PM

                                          I have not but PLEASE post comments if you have them. Specifically are they made from lump crab meat (large chunks!?) or patuerized (threads). I was confused by Ishmael's post as I though the two were mutually exclusive, but I've been wriong before.

                                          1. m
                                            maryfran Jan 12, 2007 02:12 AM

                                            We went to dinner at Momo's on the Queensway awhile ago and the people we were with ordered the crabcakes. They both said they were the absolute best that they ever had. I can't attest to what they said because I'm not a crabcake eater. One the Queensway between Grand Ave and Royal York on the north side.

                                            1. j
                                              janetd Jan 27, 2007 11:56 AM

                                              Definitely, Phoebe's Zee Grill (Sea Grill -- it's Dutch, like the owner....) on Mount Pleasant south of Eglinton in Toronto.. "Nouvelle cuisine" crab cakes with jicama slaw and a delish tartar sauce. I too have been trying crab cakes since a heavenly dining experience in Philadelphia and these come as close to heaven as you can get north of Pennsylvania. Try them with the crunchy (from bacon bits!) clam-and-corn chowder. Yummmmmm.

                                              1. e
                                                elevin Feb 8, 2007 10:13 AM

                                                I order crab cakes whenever they are on the menu, these are the ones I've tried in recent memory:
                                                Pure spirits (in the distillery area): This one had to be the best one I've had. Lots of lump meat, nice and moist, very little filler. Not cheap, I think was $15 for one crabcake sitting on a bed of veggies.
                                                1055: very big, but not very good. It was mostly potatoe shreds, kinda like a roti from Marche and had some crab meat here and there.
                                                Spezzo (richmond hill): also very big, but it didn't taste like a crab cake. I didn't taste any crab at all and it was overly spicy.

                                                I also tried making my own... that didn't turn out so well. hahaha.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: elevin
                                                  artificialard Feb 8, 2007 08:47 PM

                                                  Also interested in a decent crab cake. Have tried the crab cake at Pure Spirits and like the rest of the meal it was unoriginal and dull. The texture seemed to be more filler than crab such that there was a 'seafood' taste but not really that of crab. The actual flavors were vaguely bland. I'd recommend against Pure Spirits...

                                                  1. re: artificialard
                                                    elevin Feb 9, 2007 11:36 AM

                                                    How odd.. I distinctly remember not really enjoying the rest of my meal (eg. poor service, unmemorable entree, etc), but thought that I'd still return just because of the crab cake! Definitely don't remember much filler in it. Oh well, to each his/her own, I guess.

                                                    1. re: elevin
                                                      artificialard Feb 10, 2007 02:38 PM

                                                      I'm a fairly large crab fan and I know if I remember a dish then it would've been quite good to my taste. Of course it could be varying tastes.

                                                      I definitely agree with you on a poor overall 'experience'. Service was spotty at best going to disinterested and overwhelmingly slow at worst on my 2-3 visits. I also remember having a pasta that was unpleasantly thick and heavy in sauce. For all that the Distillery area is trying to turn into a cultural hot spot I wish they would improve their restaurants as they're almost "theme park" in quality with the exception of Perigee...

                                                2. n
                                                  NickyC Jul 29, 2011 10:18 AM

                                                  Hey there! I loveeee crab cakes too! I mean REALLY love. Although I've never had crab cakes from Maryland... my sister has and she goes on and on about them. I make some amazing ones at home, but it's A LOT of trouble... however, there is one place that calms my appetite.
                                                  NAWLIN'S on King street has great ones. Pricey, but good and VERY tasty!
                                                  My hubby and I are actually going around town tonight restaurant hopping for Crab Cakes lol.. I'll keep you updated!

                                                  1. ingloriouseater Jul 29, 2011 10:35 AM

                                                    my vote is for ruth's chris' crab cakes, again not cheap...


                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: ingloriouseater
                                                      setofdueces Jul 30, 2011 08:51 PM

                                                      RUTH CHRIS's.. By FAR the BEST crab cakes I've ever eaten!!.. I would say their crab cakes are better than their steaks!!! soooo soooo good!!!!

                                                      1. re: setofdueces
                                                        Teep Jul 31, 2011 06:06 PM

                                                        Actually I didn't like theirs so much when I went a couple years ago - seems like just a lump of crab meat with nothing else. I like them with breadcrumbs and herbs, and nicely seasoned, .

                                                    2. justpete Aug 1, 2011 06:54 AM

                                                      What about Big Daddy's Crab shack on king? Also in Mississauga?

                                                      Admittedly, I've not been there for quite a long time, more than 4 years - as my SO has a shellfish allergy - but you'd think if anyone in TO made their Crab cakes fresh, it'd be them?

                                                      Anyway - might be worth a shot. From what i remember, the pieces of crab were huge and there wasn't much filler.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: justpete
                                                        fryerlover Aug 1, 2011 07:08 AM

                                                        Just a note thta the Big Daddy's in Mississauga has been closed for about a year now.
                                                        Crab cakes are yummy, although can't say I've had any eating out that were memorable. Hubby made them once at home and those were the best I've had.......mostly crab with little filling and seasoning. Last time I had them out, they were made with fake crab meat........not good at all and no inkling from the menu that they'd be fake crab meat either.

                                                      2. justpete Aug 8, 2011 06:19 PM

                                                        I went to Morton's tonight. Coincidentally, and not even really on purpose - I ordered the Crab cake. I forgot how good they are there! The chunks of crab were absolutely huge. Even though the cake could have used a little more pan frying, they were delicious over all. Very little filler, and mostly meat - 80/20, perhaps? I then asked my SO to make sure I always order the crab cakes there from now on!

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