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The Fish Store ... if I lived in Toronto I'd be a regular

Searching (researching in advance) for off-the-beaten-path places to eat while in Toronto for the long (USA Memorial Day) weekend I came across a recent Toronto Star review for The Fish Store, on College St. in Little Italy. Exploring College St. and Little Italy yesterday I stopped at the postage stamp-sized restaurant for a fish sandwich ... and after having a wonderful sandwich I said to myself, "If I lived in Toronto again I'd become a regular at this place!"

The sandwich of the day was tilapia, but I'm no big fan of that fish ... so I looked over the dozen or so filets of fresh fish in the refrigerated case inside the 'wall of glass doors' of the restaurant and selected a 'caught in the wild' salmon. 5 minutes later my sandwich arrived at the small table I'd chosen situated on the small patio ... a sight to behold!

A heaping mound of grilled filet of salmon with a drizzle of balsamic-olive oil dressing with additional herbs and spices was layered into a soft but not too soft baguette with several leaves of lettuce. It was fresh and packed with flavor.

I'd have had, also, a bowl of the Manhattan Clam chowder ... but they were out. There are a few other things on the menu - mostly (but not all) fish-related - but I was uninterested and don't recall the details. Check the link to the restaurant's menu to learn more, below.

The Fish Store was a pleasant place to eat and spend an hour on a beautiful afternoon in Toronto ... and I wish there was something similar in Chicago.

I'll add a link to some of my photos, later today or tomorrow.

The Fish Store
657 College Street
Toronto
(416) 533-2822
Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Cash only
www.fishsandwich.ca

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The Fish Store
657 College St, Toronto, ON M6G1B7, CA

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  1. The Fish Store is indeed consistently excellent. Fresh, flavourful and a nice little spot. I've not tried anything other than the sandwiches but each one has been nothing short of fantastic.

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    The Fish Store
    657 College St, Toronto, ON M6G1B7, CA

    1. This place is friggin awesome. I so wish I lived near here as well, never ever had a bad sandwich.

      I usually get the shrimp sandwich, but I even tried the calimari sandwich on a recent visit, and as weird as it sounds to imagine squid on a sandwich -- it worked

      3 Replies
      1. re: duckdown

        Can you describe the shrimp sandwich for me? Is it cold or hot?

        1. re: duckdown

          Definitely -- it's a hot sandwich, cooked to order from raw.

          You go into the place -- they have all the raw seafood out on display, you choose what you want (shrimp, scallop, calamari, lobster (sometimes), salmon, other fish): http://www.blogto.com/listings/restau...

          and they season it with the same seasoning they use on every sandwich (its delicious, garlicky and lemony IIRC) and then either pan fry or grill your fish to order. Served on a soft white bun with lettuce and onion and tomato I believe.. I usually opt for no raw onions, takes away from the flavor of the fish

          http://www.blogto.com/listings/restau...

          Highly reccomended, haven't gotten out there yet this year but man is it ever good

          1. re: duckdown

            Thanks Duckdown, that sounds so good! I am like you and don't live that close to Toronto but I am willing to travel for great food.

        2. I feel like this place is a real sleeper gem and it seems more often than not, it's a visitor to the city that posts a great review on this board and inspires my recuring "Doh, how do I keep forgetting about this place? Must try it soon!" response. I've added it to the top of my "to do" list and will make a point of visiting in the next few weeks. Cute website. Prices look really reasonable as well. Thanks for the reminder "gomexico" - hope the rest of your week-end was as chowish.

          5 Replies
          1. re: peppermint pate

            I am in the same boat. I will add it to my weekend food places to try out! Thanks gomexico for the great review. I love clam chowder, hopefully they have some when I visit.

            1. re: Pincus

              DH just had the clam chowder (the creamy kind) and wasn't that impressed. Not a lot of depth of flavour and not very creamy, plus a lot of mushy, overcooked miscellaneous seafood bits that he left behind in the bowl. On the other hand, the sandwiches are amazing. :)

              1. re: Pincus

                Ya honestly, don’t go for the chowder. It is very much an afterthought there. Or so it seems to me. At least the cream based chowder. I think they have a tomato based one too. That one I cannot comment on as I've not had it. There, you go for the sandwiches. Although I tried some of my friend's chowder last week and actually it was much better than I remembered it when I ordered it once a few years back. Don’t get me wrong, it certainly won’t be winning any awards, but it seemed to have improved from the last time I had it a few years back. It’s a chowder in name only. It actually tasted more like potato leek soup with some seafood bits. If you look at it that way, you might be more inclined to appreciate it. Because while not award contending, it wasn’t bad either.

                Their sandwiches I don't have to say are obviously incredible. What I found really surprising though on my last visit was how INCREDIBLE the burritos are. Usually I go for the sandwiches, as I love those Golden Wheat rolls. But this time I got a salmon burrito and added avocado for a buck or so. Sweet baby Jesus if it wasn't the best burrito I’ve ever had. Of course their burrito has nothing to do with Mexican or even pseudo-Mexican cuisine, the only difference is the use of a tortilla as opposed to a GW roll. But who cares. The tortilla wrap was pretty basic, Dempsters like, but totally perfect for its purpose. The whole thing was ridiculous. Definitely will try to have more burritos there from now on. Dee. Lish.

                But yeah, insofar as the cream based chowder is concerned, it's not bad, but I wouldn't get your hopes up. Go for the fish.

                By the way, tons of free sidestreet parking in that area. It's a breeze.

                1. re: magic

                  Thanks to you both for the tip on the chowder, I will look elsewhere to satisfy my Manhattan/New England chowder cravings!

            2. Shrimp Sandwich is awesome. All fish sandwiches I have ever had have also been embodiments of awesomeness!! I love this place. owners are nice too. if only there was more room to dine in during the cold months...

              1 Reply
              1. re: shekamoo

                That is true, but I do love the little patio out front in the warm months. I've liked every sandwich I've had there but I keep coming back to the scallop sandwich. Scallops are my kryponite.

              2. Thank you for this review. I love this place and haven't seen it mentioned here before. I've had the Manhattan Chowder and thought it was very good. But the sandwiches are heaven.

                1. They do a great fresh lemonade during the street festivals too. It's a hidden gem on a strip of mainly disappointing food.

                  1. Here's the link to an online photo album with pictures I took in Toronto over the weekend, including my chowish shots. The album is still being tweaked, but you might find some good views:

                    http://travel.webshots.com/album/5778...

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: gomexico

                      You mention that your sandwich consisted of "wild caught" salmon. I'm curious if you asked or know what sub species of salmon it was?

                      SWS

                      1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                        Sorry, but I didn't ask. Pacific Coast is the only other description I recall.

                        1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                          Hey SWS -- I had the wild salmon today and it was Sockeye. Delish. I should give a shout out to the buns they use. They are perfect for these sandwiches -- chewy, but not too dense. They are from Golden Wheat bakery directly across the street.

                          The other nice thing about the Fish Store is that it is just a few blocks down the street from The Wedding Cake Shoppe. Mmm...cupcakes...

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                          The Fish Store
                          657 College St, Toronto, ON M6G1B7, CA

                          The Wedding Cake Shoppe
                          859 College St, Toronto, ON M6H, CA

                        2. re: gomexico

                          Nice pics! Toronto looks great. Love the shot of the peppers and the fish sandwich looks pretty tasty.

                        3. The grouper is the way to go - its amazing.

                          1. I just looked on their website, they don't have lobster nor crabcakes anymore :(

                            Haven't been since last year, but both of these were available before

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: duckdown

                              I actually never managed to get a lobster sandwich there. they were out every time I asked

                              1. re: shekamoo

                                Yeah they were hard to get, they'd bring a very small amount in and once they're gone, they're gone I guess. Most times I'd ask they didn't have them, but I lucked out and got them twice. Really, really good.

                              2. re: duckdown

                                They have crabcakes?! I never noticed that. Damn.

                              3. The Fish Store is one of my favourites for a quick, cheap bite to eat. The Daily Special is always the best deal, and the best catch of the day. In the summer, they've got a nice sidewalk patio, but in the winter, they only have three tiny tables to sit at inside their store. Fish sandwiches are their thing, and the soups are hit or miss. Sometimes if I need a bit more of "something", I'll go to Ghazale next door to see what they've got.

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                                The Fish Store
                                657 College St, Toronto, ON M6G1B7, CA