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Sep 9, 2008 03:36 PM

any update on the fish situation in Montreal?

I am wondering if anyone has come across new resources of procuring fish. Recent reports on La Mer were pretty discouraging (I think the endless banquet folks also retracted their praise after some unfortunate dead "live crab" experience). Coralli seems to be getting some good reports here, but it is not accesible easily by public transport. I still think there must be fish somewhere that is easily accessible for those who don't have a car or cannot ride a bike.

Most places at JTM sells fillets, which I am not comfortable with. I want to see the beast intact. I had some good sardines from Poissonnerie Antoine at Parc in the past, but that place is not that dependable. During my last visit most fish was limp with that "I've been dead for the last three weeks" eyes, and I had to make an excuse to not to buy and leave. I still try my chance once in a while, but looking and leaving is getting embarrasing.

Is there a secret place that people get their fish? Are there any resources in Chinatown that might sell fish to a whitey that only speaks English? With so many Greek and Portuguese immigrants in town, one would assume that there are some resources to get fresh fish. Somewhere out there. Share me your secret, pretty please!

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  1. There is a fish monger in Chinatwon. on St. Laurent, east side, below LaGauchetierre. The store is below street level next to a Korean place. They'll sell to anyone. I often times see grouper, striper, and snapper on ice. They're big on live carp, tilapia, eel, and what looks like large-mouth bass (all in tanks).
    They always have lobster (usually $2 cheaper than other places) and vancouver crab. Ocasionally they have bullfrog, swimming shrimp, and live king crab.

    For a much better selection, there's Kim Phat on Taschereau. They have much more types of whole fish (both iced and in the tank), also fresh whelks, snails, giant oysters, rock crab (a great, cheap alternative to vancouver) clams, and more.
    It may be out of the way, but sometimes worth the trip.

    Speaking of which, we were in Toronto's chinatown a few weeks ago. Stopped in a whare-house looking market on Spadina. The fish selection was stupendous! The whole time, I'm yelling at the wife "look at this...look AT THIS...and THIS"
    All the time wondering why Toronto, a good 600km farther from the sea that MTL has such great selection....

    Then there was NYC...
    or 2 days spent in Sydney's fish market...

    2 Replies
    1. re: porker

      I'm from NYC and thought La Mer was pretty good, but things can change fast, I have not been to Chinatown for years but back then I thought it would be like Chinatown here with dozens of markets but could not find one, but thanks for the info , I will definately venture there next summer.
      What subway is near Khim Phat?

      1. re: porker

        The fishmonger on St. Laurent east side just below de la Gauchetiere, is in fact a traditional Chinese fishmonger. This place is not for the faint of heart, as they split live fish, and you will notice the iced split fish will still have a pumping heart.

        Once the organs stop, the gut the fish and sell it as cleaned, then if not sold, becomes a fillet.

        I can assure you that if you do but the fish with the pumping organs, that it is truly fresh. .... or robotic....

      2. How could someone purchase a dead "live"
        crab? In a bushel there may be one or 2 but,
        feistiness rather then sloth should decide freshness as in lobsters as well, the more violent the better.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tombombadillo

          See and scroll down to entry No. 122.

          This coincides exactly with my experiences at La Mer. Sometimes it's fabulous, other times appalling.

          The only consistently good source of fish I'm aware of these days is Les Délices de la Mer at JTM. But the selection is very limited and nearly all the fish is in the form of fillets or steaks.

        2. Coralli is still not accessible "easily" by public transport, however service on the 54 bus (before just extended rush-hours) has been expanded throughout the day, though it is not frequent: see - that is also useful from a foodie standpoint for people who want to pick up vin en vrac at the SAQ Dépôt (and, I suppose, to go to Costco, but their large formats are very unfriendly for the carfree). SAQ Dépôt now sells bulk wine by 6s.

          1. I recently heard about the fishmonger "Nouveau Falero" on Parc (5726 Ave Parc, just before Bernard). The fish is very fresh, and there is a wide variety. I recommend the halibut, absolutely delicious...

            1 Reply
            1. re: english muffin

              We had some wild salmon from Nouveau Falero a few weeks back. it was fantastic!

            2. Howdy!

              Currently we are switching between the fish folk at the Atwater market (when we're feeling rich) Nouveau Falero (when we're in the neighborhood) and Les délices de la mer at the Jean Talon Market (the rest of the time).

              I'd also suggest emailing the current 'king' of seafood, Taras Grescoe ( ) he is local, knowledgeable and accessible.

              That all said, I will be trying Porker's Chinatown suggestion... it sounds great.

              3 Replies
              1. re: zekesgallery

                So when did Nouveau Falero stop being, to use the technical term, yucky?

                1. re: carswell


                  About two months ago.

                  As I noted in my original response, it is 'currently,' things with fish change, sometimes quite quickly.

                  1. re: zekesgallery

                    Falero is still hit and miss, I find, but it's my neighbourhood fish place so that's where I go. Sometimes their wild salmon looks pretty rough, for instance, like the bears might have had first shot, and I imagine they sell more salmon than anything. Mostly in the handling I think. Still, it's more hit than miss these days. The whole fish often look good. I do get tired of the need to occasionally be aggressive with a few of the guys working there. It's like you need to get engaged in some macho fish-buying routine and prove yourself to them. "I want fish and I'm not taking any sh** from you, buddy, or you're gonna wake up with a monkfish head in your bed." I actually saw one guy toss some very surprised Outremont lady her little bag of shrimp or shellfish across the counter once. I thought, "Did I just see that?" To be fair, there seems to be less of that style these days, maybe part of the recent improvement.

                    I believe Grescoe mentioned Falero recently in a Gazoo interview as a place he goes, again because it's his local joint, though he pointed out that he wished they'd stop selling Chilean sea bass.

                    I was in the store across from Thai Hour the other day, Marché Oriental, at Jean Talon and St. Denis. They have a small fish counter at the back and I saw whole tilapia, pompano, some other fish I didn't know. The whole fish looked pretty good but I wasn't shopping for fish so didn't look too closely. Anyone buy fish there?