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Oct 17, 2008 12:26 PM

new to ajax/durham - Seafood/butcher/groceries

Hi there...any help anyone can give is much appreciated.

East Coast Direct Seafood
Has anyone been to this place? Are their products fresh or frozen?
Any thoughts on the place?

We enjoy grocery shopping. We like a nice store that combines good product with nice environment/decor. The nicest store so far seems to be the Sobeys. Are there any higher end grocery stores around? (Pickering or Whitby too?)

Lastly - where's the best butcher or place to get nice cuts of meat? I've read about Brunos, Angelos and Costco. Anyone care to weigh in?


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  1. I have no information on Angelo's or East Coast Direct Seafood, as I'm based in Pickering. I do go to Costco in Ajax for strip loins, rib steaks or roasts, Australian lamb, cheese and some chicken and pork. They have enormous supplies of frozen food that I avoid totally. The steaks are good if you pick well marbled ones. The fresh fish is good too, but not a lot of variety. For that I go Diana's in Scarborough, or Sobey's in Pickering.
    Bruno's meat is pricey, and I can usually find equivalents from the meat counters in the more upscale supermarkets at better prices. Dominion, Sobey's, and Loblaws have Sterling Silver or Angus, and will cut to order.
    The spice store (Foody's) and the veg market beside Bruno's are worthwhile. And ethnic supplies at T.Phat is worth a gander. I wouldn't call it nice, but I find myself there once a month.

    1. Welcome to the Durham area :)

      I'm in Ajax for about a year now, and find that the stores vary a lot, for example I don't like the sobeys on kingston road but I like the one in Pickering on brock.
      For most of my shopping I go to the loblaws superstore in Ajax, I like A&P in whitby, it's a new store and quite nice (probably going to become a metro, if it hasn't already)
      Other than that there is the ajax no frills which is quite nice compared to other no frills, for certain needs I go there.
      I haven't heard of that seafood place, where is it exactly?
      There is a store between ajax and whitby that you might want to check out McMillan, on kingston rd. They have some specialty stuff, seafood and baked goods as well as fruits and veg, frozen seafood I believe.
      If you want a real loblaws you could go to the one near pickering town centre, I find it a bit more pricy than a superstore but again it's a loblaws and has more specialty items.

      I can't recommend a butcher because I don't buy meat.

      Other cool stores in the durham region is foody's bulk store on kingston road.

      There is also a lot of ethnic groccers in durham, Caribbean mostly. I enjoy scouting around including going between here and downtown toronto (st.lawrence market, highland farms and asian and ethnic markets in scarborough)

      I still need to check out T.Phat, been meaning to since they opened.

      1. I moved from Scarborough to Pickering 4 years ago....

        I echo many of the sentiments of BW -- definitely check out Foody's and compare it to Bulk Barn (they have some "grand opening" specials till the end of the month), the Sobeys at Brock and Kingston is nice and clean compared to the other supermarkets in the area. Definitely avoid the No Frills at that same intersection -- store is a mess, it's crowded all the time, parking lot is hell, and sale items are often out of stock. Superstore in Ajax we haven't been to in awhile; I won't comment since the last time I was there, Loblaws was suffering through their supply chain glitches. T.Phat you'll get most of what you need for Asian stuff but I won't mince words like JayT90 did -- the place reeks; hell, it stank on its opening weekend, it was like they intentionally let fish rot on the floor before they opened to give it that authentic stink right away! If you can't take it, just make a special trip over to T&T and stock up there instead.

        We go to the Sam's Club (same shopping centre as the Sobeys), a lot less crowded than Costco for the same stuff, but more importantly, we can also shop at the two Sam's Clubs in the Buffalo area as well as the one in Watertown, NY if we're in that area; the closest American Costcos to here are in Detroit and New York City so if you're a frequent cross-border shopper the choice is clear, go with Sam's.

        4 Replies
        1. re: TexSquared

          I have yet to find the T&T in durham, if there is any, maybe scarborough, I'm off to investigate that.

          As for T.Phat, that's awful about the smell, SO has fish allergies, now I know to go alone.

          1. re: BamiaWruz

            I meant the T&T at Steeles and Middlefield as it's the closest one to Durham. Just get on Taunton Road, go west past the Scarborough-Pickering Line (where Taunton becomes Steeles), and it's not that far before you get to it. We go there every month or two to stock up on things, as T.Phat not only reeks but its selection is weak when compared to T&T.

            Another tip for the Durham newcomer -- if you want corn, apples, or pumpkins when those are in season just drive along Taunton Road between Pickering and Whitby and you'll hit several farms that sell them much cheaper than the supermarkets. I'd say enjoy this while it lasts, as there is new housing and commercial development encroaching on the farmland in several places and soon they may not be there...

            1. re: TexSquared

              While T Phat has generally been good, I recall a tough chicken (a $6 special that was no bargain!), poor shriveled mussels without the usual P.E.I. certificate, and a pervasive fishy smell even at the front of store. Most large fish markets clean their displays nightly with steam in a pressure hose; I guess they don't have to do it in this Pickering store.

              1. re: TexSquared

                Aha, Thanks! I know what you mean now, I've seen that T&T on my way to pacific mall a few times. Great! :)

          2. If you like fresh meat, try Halendas at Garrard Rd. and highway 2 in Whitby. I find it to be the best butcher shop around

            10 Replies
            1. re: fifthglen

              Halenda's has a few locations around Durham. I have been to a couple of their locations but have never really been blown away. I'll have to check them out again. They have some nice prepared items and very nice kielbasa. I don't think they stock any seafood.


              Has anyone been to to the Buckingham Meat Market in Oshawa? I am interested in checking it out but would appreciate any input.


              1. re: Dr Butcher

                Buckingham's is great. They're a quality [family] operation that has been around for decades. They've got two locations; one in Oshawa, and one just outside of Oshawa (Brooklin) that opened just recently. The focus is mainly on land-dwelling protein, but they offer a minimal selection of fresh fish/shellfish too. Best of all, they're more than happy to do anything trimming/boning/butchering to your order.

                Give them a shot, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

                Re: Halenda's: very pedestrian. Certainly not worthy of any special trip. I find them comparable to M&M Meats. They do make lovely cabbage rolls, though.

                1. re: Bueno

                  Bueno, thanks for the reply!

                  I agree with your comment on Halenda's. They stock the basics, chicken, pork, beef, have a few different cuts of each but nothing out of the ordinary. I see they stock tri-tip which is nice, at least I won't have to make a special trip to Royal Beef (if it turns out to be any good). I think a local church makes their cabbage rolls and pierogies, I may be wrong on that, they are both decent.

                  1. re: Dr Butcher

                    Thanks for all the input everyone. We picked up our meat at Costco on the weekend and found nice cuts at decent prices. I was impressed that they carried fresh walleye in the fish section!
                    We were disappointed that the Stroud farmers veggie stand on Kingston (east of Salem) seems to have shut down, but we did find the actual farm up north of Taunton -( but we didn't have time to go in)
                    Drove by Taunton and Audley where the East Coast seafood place was supposed to be. Either I missed it, or it's no longer there.
                    We look forward to exploring your other suggestions in the next few weeks.

                2. re: Dr Butcher

                  Buckingham Meat Market is excellent, there is also now a location in Brooklin run by the second generation. They will cut to order and have a good selection of prepared meat dishes (Chicken Cordon Bleu, London Broils, etc.) My parents and I usually share a quarter of beef to keep us in red meat for a year and have rarely had any complaints with the quality.

                    1. re: Bueno

                      BamiaWruz - if you are there,
                      Which A&P in Whitby is the new one? The one on thickson or victoria?

                      1. re: murphcansurf

                        Thickson -- but there are 2 on Thickson. One of them sits King / Thickson (directly across from what used to be the Whitby Mall and is now home to a Sobey's, etc.) and the NEW one is on Thickson North. Just past Taunton. Just before Algoma Apple Orchards.

                        1. re: Bueno

                          Bueno, actually the new one is on Victoria down south of the 401 betwwen Ajax and Brock St. It opened this spring. The Thickson North location has been opened for a couple of years.
                          There is also Alans Butcher shop located at Hgwy 2- 1 block East of Brock in the small plaza to the south. They have been there for years and they have lots of quality meat and very interesting sausage types.

                    2. re: Mike from Hamilton

                      Another plug for Buckingham's. My husband gets stuff from there every time he visits his mom in Oshawa.

                3. There are several farmer's markets around Durham region from May to October. You've probably missed them for this year, but here's the link if you are interested in buying local.

                  My brother-in-law, an excellent chef, goes to Alan's in Whitby for all his meat.

                  Welcome to the region.

                  Oh, and a little further east in Bowmanville, you can go to Tyrone Mills and Archibalds Apple Orchard and Winery for an interesting day trip in the fall. Tyrone has organic flour, homemade baked goods (donuts are fabulous), ice cream, apples, local honey and other interesting things. Archibalds has pick your own apples as well as a store with apples, baked goods, and trinkets. Their winery has award winning fruit wines and hard ciders that you can taste and buy on site. Both are on Liberty St north of Concession 6.

                  Alans Butcher Shop
                  122 Athol St, Whitby, ON L1N, CA