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Where to Buy Smoked Fish in Toronto

Does anyone know where to buy great smoked fish in Toronto? I'm talking about grocery stores / delies / meat stores rather than at restaurants.

Thanks,
Mike - Toronto

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  1. Millbree-Viking on Laird south of Eglinton has a lovely assortment of home-smoked fish, along with great Scandinavian breads and salads. (Their cardamom bread is delicious.)

    Yummy Market on Dufferin south of Steeles is an Eastern European grocery store that sells a large assortment of smoked fish, as well.

    You can also buy smoked -- or freshly caught -- Georgian Bay lake trout and whitefish from Andrew Akiwenzie at various farmers' markets in the city, including Dufferin Grove year-round and Riverdale Farm beginning in May.

    23 Replies
    1. re: Tatai

      I cannot recommend Milbree Viking highly enough. The hot- and cold-smoked salmon are good, but the whitefish, rainbow trout, and eel are outstanding.

      1. re: Wahooty

        +

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        Milbree
        133 Laird Dr, Toronto, ON M4G3V5, CA

        1. re: Wahooty

          I just called Milbree, and it sound like they are closed due to fire damages??? No mention on if or when they'll reopen.

          1. re: flyingchameleon

            Try Central Epicure: http://www.centralepicure.com/who%20w...

            It's a block or so south of Steeles, west of Weston Rd. The storefront is really just their offices, and there's not a ton in the cooler but they'll get you whatever you want from the back. I've had their whole whitefish and their smoked salmon. Good but I agree Milbree Viking was better. But it's still good.

            1. re: Nyleve

              Central Epicure is a very interesting operation. As far as I could glean from them, the recipes are original, the processes are natural, and most processing is actually done by hand.

              Their cold smoked fish is very good (though I personally loathe the "vodka" flavoured fresh smoked salmon) and they have some interesting items (e.g., schmaltz herring) that are difficult to find in stores and extremely tasty.

              What I don't like very much is their hot smoked fish, which is widely available. The flavour profiles are excellent, but everything is cooked to death. I was told that they now cook to a much higher temperature than in the past to meet a specific certification requirement (one far beyond the safety requirements documented by Harold McGee). Unfortunately, it's also the difference between delicious and dry as dust.

              The Russian stores in North York (Gastronom; Jacob's; several others) have terrific smoked fish selections, though I doubt much of it is made in house.

              For cold smoked salmon, the frozen PC version at Loblaw's is extremely good.

              1. re: embee

                Not sure if you've ever had the smoked salmon from Harbord Bakery. It is excellent. I have no idea where they get it from. I asked and the lady at the counter told me they get it from a delivery guy. I laughed and didn't push.

                It is cold smoked. I find it similar in texture to Milbree's salmon but a bit more smokey.

                1. re: acd123

                  Yes!!! I did a whole post on the Harbord Bakery lox to see if anyone on this board knew where they sourced it from but nobody responded. The texture and flavour are delicious. Embee???

                  1. re: peppermint pate

                    I haven't a clue. I'm seldom in the area, and I don't think I've had any lox from there in decades.

                    1. re: peppermint pate

                      I went to buy some from Harbord bakery today. They had 3 types, one norwegian prepackaged brand, the other two are from the Smokemaster, a German guy from Oakville makes these. It's Atlantic salmon (boo), ingredients list spices, vodka, etc....

                      This stuff is not cheap, $25.99 per lb unmarked, you have to bring it up to the cash to be weighted. It comes in a whole side frozen or smaller packs unfrozen. Two of the smaller packs came up to $25, 6 slices total. I checked the receipt when I got home, doubt anything got tarred to account for the weight of the vac pack and cardboard backing. At $25.99, that stuff probably added $2-3 extra to the total. Should've double checked before I got home, lesson learned.

                      Let's hope this stuff is worth the expensive price.

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                      Harbord
                      147 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1H1, CA

                      1. re: aser

                        It is worth the expensive price. I have some in my fridge right now. I get some almost every week. It's an inudlgence I don't think I'll be giving up any time soon. Now that Milbree is no longer on Larid, HB is my go-to for smoked salmon. Good stuff.

                        1. re: acd123

                          There is that new place that opened in the small house just north of the old Milbree location but I have not been there. The owner once posed as a customer and posted about how she liked the fish there - those posts didn't last long.

                          1. re: foodyDudey

                            Where is it exactly? Any further info in it?

                            1. re: acd123

                              It's about 50m north of the old Viking place.
                              Here is a thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/715223

                              and a Facebook page:

                              http://www.facebook.com/pages/Valenti...

                              << I'm not an insider, I just appear like one to the moderators. >>

                              1. re: foodyDudey

                                It looks like it's $32 per pound.

                          2. re: acd123

                            Had some of the Smokemaster w/ a St Viateur bagel, great stuff. Flavour is very mellow, probably better on its own as the bagel overwhelms it a little.

                            Still quite expensive, so it'll be an occasional treat. Would be nice to find a smoked salmon source made w/ wild bc salmon instead of Atlantic.

                            1. re: aser

                              Why do you prefer BC over Atlantic for smoke salmon ? I've been using Atlantic for my homemade hot smoked salmon just because it usually looks fresher (from Diana's). It has been turning out better than anything I've purchased and I am in no way an expert (yet, but it sure is fun learning).

                              BTW, Diana's had a variety of hot smoked salmon in the past. Likely they will again when they start smoking in the next couple of months.

                              1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                it's the farmed salmon debate, texture, taste, environmental consequences, etc......Pointless to get too deep into it because the mods will jump in and ruin the conversation.

                    2. re: embee

                      About the hot smoked fish from Central Epicure - I agree it's overcooked. Which is really sad. That's why I liked the Viking product better. But since it may be one of the only options left for this kind of thing, you get what you get. I will say, though, I've bought their cold smoked salmon and I liked it very much. It seems to have a bit of a crust on the edges - if that makes any sense. It has good flavour and nice texture.

                      1. re: Nyleve

                        Central Epicure has many types of cold smoked salmon, some of which I've never seen at a retail store.

                        One type is marked "fresh, never frozen". It comes in flavours, of which I like the "pastrami" and loathe the "vodka" but, I prefer my smoked salmon plain.

                        Overall, these are very good, though Milbree and (for the smoked Atlantic salmon) Loblaw's have been (to my palate) better. Kristapson's is made in my neighbourhood, but I don't find it worth its very high price.

                        I think the CE hot smoked products are a shame. What they told me is that their recipes have never changed but that they cook to (I think it was) 20 degrees Celsius higher than they did in the past. Thing is, what they did in the past was completely safe by any standard, and the results were delicious.

                        Milbree's hot smoked fish was just as good Central Epicure's in flavour, and was not overcooked. I do hope they reopen.

                  2. re: flyingchameleon

                    Thanks for sharing this; a while back I was hoping to stop in and saw them boarded up. Will call before I try to go back. Their fish was excellent, and they also made great donuts too!

                    1. re: Olivia

                      A little more info about the fire in this thread:

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/668753

                      For those still looking for smoked fish, one of my other favorite sources for whitefish is Andrew Akiwenzie at the Dufferin Grove farmer's market. He's not always there, though - depends on how the fishing is going that week.

                      1. re: Wahooty

                        And if you're in Muskoka e.g. the Independant in Huntsville, pick up a side of Milford Bay smoke trout. It is excellent. I think they also sell it several stores in TO (e.g. Chapmans).

              2. re: Tatai

                sorry, Tatai, I missed your mention of Andrew when I posted my reply just now. At any rate, his fish is so good that two mentions are justified!

              3. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5816...

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                Kristapsons
                1095 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M, CA

                1. Viking's whitefish is excellent. I can't resist picking up a whole fish when I'm in the area. I also like their meat patties/bacon buns/meat pastries, the deep fried ones with the beef and rice filling especially. In Estonian they're generally called pirukad, I call them addictive. ;)

                  1. Pretty much any deli along Ronces or in Bloor West Village will have an assortment of smoked fish.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Davedigger

                      Right but freshness is often an issue. Try North Fish off Kipling just south of Dundas.

                    2. Andrew Akiewenzie sells the most delicious smoked whitefish I've ever tasted at the Dufferin Grove Organic Farmers' Market (thursdays 3-7 p.m., year round). www.dufferinpark.ca