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Nov 11, 2007 09:26 AM

Fresh Fish - Daily?

Everyone knows that while there are a few places that bring in their fish fresh each day, most of them don't, especially at a mid-range place that doesn't specialize in seafood. At your average sushi place, I can only imagine how much milage they expect to get out of a salmon...

Does anyone have any advice on which days the fish is likely to be freshest?

I know that Anthony Bourdain says never to order fish on a Monday (or anything else for that matter)... do you guys have any thoughts about it?

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  1. Right or wrong, I make it a policy to not frequent seafood or sushi restaurants that are open Sunday or Monday. As to which day will be the freshest, I think it's a case of look to the skies. If you don't think the weather will allow delivery then don't go. Lastly, try to pick a reputable establishment. Fresh is a matter of perspective.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Googs

      How many fishmongers provide info on freshness, even when asked? There are so many imponderables, and evasive answers. Is the fish flown in, or shipped by truck from the east coast? Was it previously frozen? At sea? How old is that fish, or seafood?
      We know a little bit about the age and origin of wine, cheese, vegs, and meat, but not enough about fish and seafood.

      1. re: jayt90

        AFAIK, living in Toronto, you are not going to get Tuna unless it has been at lest-flash frozen within the past 24 hours. I just do not see how that would even be possible (there are no "tuna farms" in Toronto... or anywhere that I know of). I could be very wrong here. But Toronto is not known for our local fish, I think that frozen is a given.

        1. re: abscissa

          Toronto's Great Lake cannot provide palatable fish, but there is excellent pickerel, perch, whitefish, and trout from the other lakes. Even carp or gold-eyes from lake Winnipeg are worth seeking.

          With fresh ocean fish arriving as well, there is no need to settle for frozen.

          1. re: jayt90

            Jayt, this is a serious question: how are you going to get tuna that has never been frozen (in Toronto?) To my knowledge, even the tuna they sell at the Tokyo fish market (by auction, incidentally) has been frozen.

            I don't remember the last time I went to a place that had rainbow trout. It's always tuna, salmon, calamari, mussels, lobster...

            1. re: abscissa

              The best tuna is too valuable to ship fresh. It's a high priced commodity which is frozen at sea; if fresh was attempted there would be
              a lot of waste. But fresh halibut, cod, haddock, salmon, striped bass, snapper, trout (from farms), tilapia, grouper, and many others are sent here daily. Some fish,
              such as salmon, will keep for a week on ice. Others, like mackeral, or bluefish, are bad at the beginning of the second day. Most are in the mid range, and can be sold here without being frozen.Ask your fishmonger; when I want answers, I talk to the owner of the store. The guy at Diana's Seafood has given me straight
              I also like to get fresh fish on the docks (or restaurants) of Lake Erie or Lake Huron. A treat not to be missed.

                1. re: jayt90

                  Here is a long, rambling response, J.

                  You can't buy off the dock any longer - that's been the sad case for some years. The catch must go from the tug to a bonded facility to be tallied against the licensee's quota. Each freshwater fishery is granted a quota for various species which is strictly enforced. If the skipper or one of the crew passes someone a fish it could close that tug down for the season.

                  However the bond houses are generally in the harbour and the product is released for sale in good order, so if you visit Wheately or Kingsville, for example, you can shop at the various fisheries retail counters. I assume other ports are the same. The days are sadly past when when a friend could toss a few nice pieces up to the docks.

                  A note on fishing methods. Three methods are used n the Lakes:

                  Pound Nets, an old method: I'm not familiar with this type. The nets are fixed with stout wooden poles driven into the lake bed. I don't know if these trap the fish by the gills or maze them.

                  Gill Nets: I don't know why, but these are dominant on the Lakes. The mesh diameter is set for a certain species based on size and traps any fish attempting to pass through by the gills and kills it. Smaller fish can't get through, nor can bigger ones.Fish of a specific size are seized by the gills and die.

                  I have a big problem with this as the net guage is not species specific. All manner of game fish and fish with no market value are trapped, killed and tossed back to waste. Also, the fish may sit dead for some time till they're harvested.

                  Trap Nets: This is a maze arrangement where the fish swim up a "hallway" and are later scooped out live. I don't know how many trap netters are left, but if you find one, love him. The last ones I knew of were Krause Fisheries in Leamington and Lidddels out of Pelee Island.

      2. At your average mid-range to low-end sushi place, it's pretty much a given that the salmon (and everything else) has been previously frozen.

        In terms of places that do serve fresh fish, Tuesday or Wednesday is going to be your best bet.

        1. I am not an expert, but I recall reading an article a couple of years ago that said that all 'sushi' fish served in Ontario must be flash frozen. If that is the case, I can't see why it matters what day of the week you eat it on.

          3 Replies
          1. re: camp1980

            I do not know about now, but I remember the debate about what you are talking about. In the USA I think it's an FDA rule that fish must be frozen -- the idea is that it kills the parasites. We have some stupid food rules, I can't stand the fact that you can only buy hot dogs on the streets of TO... as if hot dogs are any safer than, say, pretzels!!

            1. re: abscissa

              Here is an article from 2004 that discusses this issue. I couldn't find anything more recent which leaves me to believe that nothing has changed. The article says that the fish must be frozen for 7 days, so I guess that really means that it doesn't matter what day of the week you eat it on.