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Fish Markets in Toronto

kmoore Sep 3, 2007 06:31 PM

After just spending a stupid amount of money on wonderful seafood from Whole Foods...I've come to the realization that I need to find a less expensive place to purchase my seafood from. I'm however hesitant to just try any place. What I really like about Whole Food is the transparency about where the fish is actually from. The Fishmongers at the store are honest about farmed vs. wild and the location where the fish is caught. So fellow hounds, I pose two questions....1. What distributer does Whole Foods use - and who else uses them. 2. Where else in the city do you TRUST to give you the honest answer about where the fish/seafood you are buying comes from.


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  1. d
    dkua RE: kmoore Sep 3, 2007 06:40 PM

    I go to Taro's Fish at JapanTown. It could be a little far from you maybe, You can check them out here: http://www.japantown.ca/tarofish/e.html

    1. jayt90 RE: kmoore Sep 3, 2007 06:48 PM

      You can trust the proprietor at Diana's Seafood, Crockford at Lawrence Av East. He is usually on the floor, and has run an honest fish market for over 20 years.

      For a quick fix, I will go to a busy Sobey's fish counter. There is usually only one knowledgeable clerk, but they have good connections, as does Costco, where there is no help but high standards and the most efficient logistics in the food business.Their labelling of wild salmon was completely honest this year. In June they offered Copper River Sockeye at $28/kg (Fillets); within a few weeks it went down to $24, and in mid summer, was labelled wild Sockeye, as the salmon run moved into B.C. And last week, they switched to wild Coho, not nearly as red, at the same price, because the Sockeye run is over.

      1. m
        mexivilla RE: kmoore Sep 4, 2007 05:38 AM

        Can't really comment on "trust" question but for great selection and price check out T&T.

        1. j
          Jean Georges RE: kmoore Sep 4, 2007 09:22 AM

          When I make nigiri sushi and want the freshest possible fish I go to Avenue Seafood 302 Eglinton Ave. W. (at Avenue Rd.). They are a small family run business that are very honest. I have never had a bad experience. I believe they may have opened a second location that is more downtown.

          1. Wiley RE: kmoore Sep 4, 2007 02:28 PM

            Haven't had a chance to try it myself, but recommended to me was Seafood Depot, 81 Aviva Drive, Woodbridge. Steeles and Weston Rd area.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Wiley
              itryalot RE: Wiley Sep 4, 2007 03:44 PM

              Been there; excellent. What turns me off is the strong stench of fish when I go in. The fish I purchased at STLM was fresher than there.

            2. r
              rsvp7777 RE: kmoore Sep 4, 2007 03:18 PM

              Bill's Lobster, 599 Gerrard St. E. Not always a full selection (except for lobster and crabs which are eternal) but what they have is usually excellent quality and up to $5 a pound less than SLM.
              They're very friendly and you could always call first (416-778-0943) to see if they have what you want.

              5 Replies
              1. re: rsvp7777
                MichaelBaker RE: rsvp7777 Sep 4, 2007 03:56 PM

                City Fish Market 2929 Dufferin is also good. I also like Avenue.

                1. re: rsvp7777
                  pinstripeprincess RE: rsvp7777 Sep 4, 2007 06:33 PM

                  after asking them if their scallops were dry packed (and having it confirmed) i purchased two and brought it home for a sushi dinner. i wouldn't say it had necessarily gone bad but it certainly wasn't very fresh and was definitely poor quality.

                  it was barely creamy and lacked any sweetness. less than mediocre and an experience i do not want to repeat.

                  1. re: pinstripeprincess
                    jayt90 RE: pinstripeprincess Sep 4, 2007 07:43 PM

                    I was disappointed with monkfish at City. They should have replaced it or not offered it. They seemed to be busy in the back with their preparations, while the front of store suffered.

                    1. re: jayt90
                      pinstripeprincess RE: jayt90 Sep 4, 2007 08:04 PM

                      i should clarify that i meant bill's lobster. i haven't been to city.

                      1. re: pinstripeprincess
                        kmoore RE: pinstripeprincess Sep 4, 2007 09:17 PM

                        thanks hounds. I've been to Bill's before - close to me. I'm going to make the trip to Diana's. It's not the first time I've heard good things about it.

                2. pescatarian RE: kmoore Sep 5, 2007 06:09 AM

                  I know this is about Fish Markets in T.O. Just wondering if anyone has any favourites in the north end of the city (north york, thornhill, markham, etc.). Particularly interested in small business owners, not big supermarkets.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: pescatarian
                    Chester Eleganté RE: pescatarian Sep 5, 2007 09:02 AM

                    Fisherman Brothers on Glen Cameron yo...

                    1. re: Chester Eleganté
                      jamesm RE: Chester Eleganté Sep 6, 2007 11:42 AM

                      What do people think of the fish vendors in Kensington Market? Is one better than the other, or are either any good?

                      1. re: jamesm
                        tartiflette RE: jamesm Sep 6, 2007 12:28 PM

                        Neither is particularly good. The fish smell that smacks you in the face as soon as you walk in should be clue #1.

                        We did give the one on the north side of Baldwin a chance one day, since we happened to be in the area shopping for paella ingredients and didn't feel like going somewhere else for our seafood. The scallops were off, and the shrimp wasn't all that fresh either.

                        IMO, walk a few doors down to pick up some meat at European instead, and save fish for another day (and another market).

                        1. re: tartiflette
                          jamesm RE: tartiflette Sep 6, 2007 12:34 PM

                          I suspected as much. Shame. A fresh, quality fishmonger in Kensington would be make a killing. Hopefully the success of Healthy Butcher in the neighbourhood will inspire some like-minded pescetarian.

                  2. m
                    Megan2 RE: kmoore Sep 14, 2007 09:41 PM

                    I went to St. Lawrence Market today and find the 3 main stores that sell seafood (Seafront, Domenic's and Mike's) are extremely expensive. The stores carry the same selection, have identical prices and they all have excellent customer service; but Seafront seems to be the more popular of the 3. Do you find that Seafront is "fresher"? Does it really make a difference which place I buy my fish? If there isn't a difference with the 3 stores, I would like to alternate the places that I buy my fish so that each store gets my business. Thank you!

                    1. JonasBrand RE: kmoore Sep 15, 2007 09:00 AM

                      Bill's Lobster is THE place to go for seafood.

                      Bill's Lobster
                      599 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M, CA

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: JonasBrand
                        jayt90 RE: JonasBrand Sep 15, 2007 01:54 PM

                        The OP is asking for information on distribution channels, and transparency about origin, at a lower price than Whole Foods. Is Bill's the best place? Why? Many of us would have to travel some distance to see if it is worthwhile.

                      2. pinkskittles RE: kmoore Jun 6, 2008 02:43 PM

                        if you like whitefish and trout, you can go to dufferin grove market on thursdays and pick some up from the native man there. he brings down whatever he caught the day before. limited quantities. as fresh as it gets!...in toronto anyway, i've found.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: pinkskittles
                          mrbozo RE: pinkskittles Jun 6, 2008 05:51 PM

                          Good to know. Thanks.

                          1. re: pinkskittles
                            Sui_Mai RE: pinkskittles May 10, 2009 06:45 AM

                            awesome tip!

                            1. re: pinkskittles
                              bacchus_is_watching RE: pinkskittles May 10, 2009 04:52 PM

                              Is he always there? I went there a lot last summer and never knew about him. This is great news!

                            2. Pastryrocks RE: kmoore Jun 6, 2008 05:27 PM

                              The fishmonger I like is in south Etobicoke on Vasco Rd, between North Queen and the Queensway. Generally I go on Saturday’s and they have a fine selection of fresh sea food. They even have fresh organic farm raised salmon (try and say that 5 tines fast) from Ireland. Which is really nice fish, considering all that farm raised Atlantic and Pacific salmon which is fed that lovely concoction of ground up fish stuff. Every thing that I have purchased from this place was in very good condition. Never have I had a problem with the quality from this place. I’m unsure but I believe they also supply many restaurants in the GTA.
                              They have a large selection of frozen fish if you’re into that kind of thing. Besides fresh and frozen seafood, they also have many different oils, vinegars, some chesses, and a great deal of little jars of stuff from all over the world. Heck I’ve even purchased vanilla beans from here!
                              The guy who runs or owns the joint is more than happy to answer any questions. The servers are also very customer oriented, they are all helpful. Since I love good food or at least what I think is good, I’m always wanting to know more about what I eat, where it is from, how it was raised, etc… This place has yet to give me reasons to question anything about what I’ve asked or purchased.
                              Sometimes there is a whiff of fishiness when you walk into the vestibule, but very little. When you get into the store I’ve never smelled any fishiness ever, nor is there any other smell to cover up the fish. We’re 500 miles from the Atlantic, so fresh is a relevant term.
                              My wife when she lived in Guyana would only purchase shrimp if they are still moving; now that’s fresh!
                              No ideal where Whole Foods gets its fish.

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