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Red Fish?

Has anyone tired this restaurant on College?

I can't find a website on it yet, but its on Opentable as being new and has a Facebook Page.

If anyone has tried it, would love to hear comments :)

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  1. I just found this:


    But still very little about the place as of yet.. but I'm intrigued as I love seafood!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Kassi22

      I went to Redfish Saturday evening and just wanted to let everyone know that I thoroughly enjoyed everything about the place. The service was excellent, they had a reasonably priced and full wine list, it was quiet enough that you could actually hear the other person talking, and I thought they charged a fair price for a menu that, although it had meat, was more focused on sustainable seafood. Everything was nicely prepared and present. I won't go into a description of everything I ate as I am sure the menu changes based on availability.

      It wasn't super packed given the positive reviews, which surprised me. I will definitely be back.

    2. Was mentioned on BlogTo a while back - http://www.blogto.com/eat_drink/2012/...

      And they have a link to their website - http://redfishresto.com/

      But no menu/etc on the website, just a link to reserve via opentable

      1. More details/pics/mini review - http://www.blogto.com/restaurants/red...

        Haven't read it yet so don't have a synopsis

        1. Redfish is really good. Chef David Friedman has worked at many places and the food is awesome. Try the octopus ssam and spaghetti with Bottarga.


          19 Replies
          1. re: samuek

            That sounds like a great restaurant. Love the menu and the emphasis on sustainable seafood (all too rare) and local ingredients.

            1. re: Flexitarian

              The resto does look amazing, but I have to disagree with the rare comment on sustainable seafood. I haven't been too a place in the past year that doesn't serve only sustainable seafood ( with the exception of dim sum!)

              1. re: LexiFirefly

                Really? There are so many restaurants serving fish in Toronto where neither the website, menu or marketing materials mention sustainable fish is being served (let alone who they source their fish from, which Red Fish does). My experience has been that the server usually also doesn't have a clue if the fish is sustainable, where it was from, how it was caught, etc. and I always do ask.

                Being primarily a fish eater when it comes to non-vegetarian protein, it would be nice if you could share some of the restaurants you've been to that market their fish as sustainable. I know that Fishbar mentions 'sustainable and ocean-friendly' right on their website and there probably are some others but my experience has been they are few and far between. Maybe I'm just not aware.

                1. re: Flexitarian

                  You don't see sustainable certification on menus mostly because small restaurants can't afford to source all of their seafood from one supplier. Larger restaurants and hotels are more able to do this.

                  There are 2 competing sustainable seafood programs in Canada. Each supports different suppliers. One is SeaChoice.org and is supported by the like of the David Suzuki foundation and 4 other organizations, the other is Ocean Wise and a program of the Vancouver Aquarium. Some restaurants will have fish fillets that fall into one program or another but their shrimp may not fall into either so they don't get certification. In order to qualify for either program ALL of their seafood must come from their own approved suppliers and supporters It is really complicated and too bad that a great idea has to become a pissing match between groups.

                  1. re: Flexitarian

                    Off the top of my head right now, The Gabardine, Loire, Hadley's, Westhill Wine Bar (Scarborough) Kensington bistro I'm not sure about the shellfish as I dont usually eat them. As mentioned its expensive to get certification. Oh I believe most of keriwa cafes fish is sustainable to. Most of those above get their supply from Jim giggie who only sells local oceanwise certified fish. I like fish.

                    1. re: LexiFirefly

                      Thanks. I am aware of all of those organizations (and others around the world). But I think I am being misunderstood.

                      I am not referring to an actual 'certification' on menus. That would be nice but I fully appreciate that it may be impractical for many reasons (similar to how produce at the various local farmers markets around Toronto may be organic for all practical purposes, but they are not 'certified' by any organization as such). I am just looking for a sense that the restaurant tries as best as possible to focus on sustainable and ocean-friendly seafood, that they somehow market themselves as such (either on the menu or website or verbally when they describe the fish they are offering) and that their servers can answer questions about how where and how the fish was caught.

                      I have found this to be the exception not the rule.

                      1. re: Flexitarian

                        I've found the staff at Zee, Starfish, Chiado and Joso can answer the questions you're talking about.

                        Fish Bar on Ossington was trying to focus on sustainable choices.

                        A number of upscale restos (Canoe, Scaramouche, not sure where else) are following Oceanwise guidelines, which often seems to mean the typical selection in Toronto ends up being sea bream, branzino or black cod.

                        1. re: prima

                          Red Fish is the only "fish restaurant" in Toronto that sources 100% of its fish and seafood from sustainable sources. Quite a feat given that there's maybe one meat dish (short ribs at present) on the whole menu. Therein lies the distinction.

                          It's not too difficult for a restaurant that has a couple of fish dishes on its menu to carry only sustainable fish. (And kudos to any restaurant that permanently removes the revered-by-many Atlantic salmon from its menu.) Also, Ocean Wise certification does not mean that all fish/seafood items on a given menu are from sustainable sources; it's only a minimum percentage that's required for certification.

                          As for dining at Red Fish, we've done so a couple of times in the past month and had excellent meals and service. Their prices are very reasonable, portions are nicely sized, and chef David Friedman is constantly sourcing new, and often unusual, fish and seafood and inventing new dishes.

                          My favourite dishes there are the appetizers of fried smelts ($7 for a huge amount), which are addictive, the octopus ssam (a lettuce wrap of octopus in a spicy Korean sauce), and the brandade (which uses sustainably sourced salt cod, a rarity). All of the fish-filet mains we've tried have been good. I did have the spaghetti con bottarga and didn't love it as the dish was a bit dry and flavourless: the bottarga was merely grated over the top and had not been incorporated into a sauce. And they used spaghettini which I found to be too fine a pasta for the dish.


                          1. re: prima

                            I was under the impression that red fish and fishbar had the same owners.

                            1. re: LexiFirefly

                              That's good to know.

                              Hopefully they'll have more experienced, better trained servers at Red Fish.

                              1. re: LexiFirefly

                                I don't think they are the same owners. It would be odd for someone to own two relatively new fish restaurants within blocks of eachother.

                                1. re: Flexitarian

                                  From what I gather, David Friedman was a chef and part owner of Fishbar when it first opened but is no longer involved with that restaurant.

                                  1. re: Tatai

                                    I tried to eat at Red Fish tonight. I was drawn in by their advertised Sunday Fish Fry item on their website. However, after trekking it out in the rain, being told of said fish fry, the server returned a few minutes later and regretted that he had to advise me that the chef/owner advised the fish fry special is limited to parties of two and above. He was sorry but not as sorry as I was as I would have at least ordered a glass of wine and a dessert to round out things. Not in a rush to go back.

                                    1. re: deabot

                                      Oh, how dreadful. I just took a look at their website and they don't say a thing about a minimum number of guests for the fish fry. They say it's served "family style," but why not a smaller platter for one person? Despite the fact that I really like their food and their sustainable-fish mandate, I can't say I'd blame you if you didn't return.

                                      1. re: Tatai

                                        Yes I too am impressed with their sustainable fish mandate. But as I often find myself dining solo I am now wary of going there period! Chantecler has a similar set up on Sundays with their Lettuce Ssam meals but there is no restriction for numbers despite the fact that one gets a lot of meat per order! In fact, they have even allowed 2 people to share a single order!
                                        Anyways, I find it weird they would turn away a customer when there were only two other tables in the house at the time...oh well.

                                      2. re: deabot

                                        That is very disappointing to hear. I had a great meal there with a friend a week ago. Their website about Sunday Fish Fry (http://redfishresto.com/sunday-fish-fry/) nowhere states that it is is restricted to two people or more and, given that, what they should have done is serve you and then changed the website to reflect that the next day. It is still not changed. I guess some could argue that the 'Family Style Platters' reference suggests that more than two people are required but the fact that you didn't realize that, and I wouldn't have either, indicates that it is quite ambiguous.

                                        They dealt with this very poorly and ruined your evening there. I think restaurants would do better if they dealt with customers in a manner that the Four Seasons would have, ie the golden rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated.

                                        1. re: Flexitarian

                                          thanks all. I'm glad to hear you are in agreement. Yes granted there is some ambiguity about family style but the waiter further added to it by announcing the fish fry special first thing when he greeted my table. I got the feeling after the owner/chef sized me up as a solo diner he restricted the dinner. It was as you said in poor taste and does not leave me inclined to return. Shame because I was really looking forward to those fried smelts!

                                      3. re: Tatai

                                        thanks, Tatai.

                                        I'd be annoyed if I trekked to Red Fish for the fish fry, to be told their fish fry was only available to groups of 2 or more. I would think the Manager and Owner/Chef should be flexible enough to allow an exception to their fish fry rule, especially if the rule wasn't included in the advertisement.

                                        1. re: prima

                                          I just looked at the website, and it has now been changed it seems http://redfishresto.com/sunday-fish-fry/

                    2. Redfish is featured on Groupon today. For a prix fix type menu:


                      Should be up for another 4 days or so (until Jan 11th or so).

                      1. I ate at Red Fish on Saturday night, and the food and service were good. They claim to make a lot of things in house -- all their bread, at least four flavors of ice cream, etc. I recommend the foraged mushrooms and fried smelts appetizers (each enough for two or more), the black cod main and the ice cream sampler dessert. The Groupon would seem to be a steal, since you have the pick of the regular menu.

                        But here's the thing -- we were there until 7:30 pm on Saturday, and the place (which has been open for five months) was completely empty. Only 6 customers had arrived before then, and two of them appeared to be the chef's parents. A bit further east on College, bars and restaurants that have never been mentioned on this site (and Chiado, which has) were full of people at 7:30.

                        So I wasn't surprised to hear about the Groupon. My question is whether these coupons have ever worked for (i.e. saved) a Toronto restaurant, or do they always mark the beginning of the end?

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: jjmellon

                          Friends of mine also recently ate at Red Fish and said they enjoyed their dinner, but didn't enjoy the vibe. College Street restaurants with no buzz are kind of sad. I do think Groupons can help get people in the door, but I really think a restaurant has to deliver the goods to get them back at full price. There is a Groupon running right now for Mildred's Temple Kitchen which always seems to be packed, at least it was the few times I have been there, so I also think successful spots use these deals as a way to advertise. I do think it can mark the beginning of the end; if the quality of your food and service has gone down, you might get some customers back in the door with a deal, but they won't be back to pay the a la carte prices.


                          1. re: rosieintoronto

                            Hmm, I was once a frequent Mildred's Temple Kitchener... but only for brunch. My brunch experience was always the same as yours: we had to wait (indoors, mercifully) to be seated and they ran out of the house-made, side fennel sausage by noon (which was 65% of the reason we went there).

                            However, we once tried one of those Groupons for a dinner for 4 and it was a COMPLETELY different experience. Based on our dinner there, you would think it is a failing restaurant. We weren't the only ones in there, but it was certainly no where near full.

                            All of this is to say that, no, issuing a Groupon is not necessarily the sign of a sinking ship but it certainly is not a good sign for a business.

                            Side note: Don't know what their overhead is like but MTK would certainly not be the only place to sustain themselves solely on their brunch book of business. I suspect Mildred is just a little ambitious ;)

                            1. re: mnajji

                              As I posted on here before, my one experience at Redfish was great. But, methinks that seafood restaurants are just not that popular here. People seem to want meat. Malena never was really successful and they were one of the best seafood restaurants in Toronto. Apparently it has since been sold, is on it's 3rd or 4th chef but I am not really sure what is happening there now. There's also Fishbar on the better trafficked Ossington south of Dundas and they likely get more walk in business, especially from the other great restaurants on the strip that might be packed and have no empty tables for walk-ins.

                              I hate to see a restaurant offer a groupon because I know how tough that business is and how low the overall margins are.

                              1. re: Flexitarian

                                Well you're definitely right, this is definitely not a seafood town.

                                On this continent it's Boston, San Fran, Baltimore, Vancouver, NYC and Wash DC to a degree, possibly Philly (can't comment on that one, never been): THOSE are seafood towns and understandably so.

                                I think a lot of the ingredients (or specifically the fish) are flash frozen (or whatever it is they do to fish before transporting it) before finding their way over to our tables. Our fish just CAN'T be as good.

                                1. re: mnajji

                                  I always avoided frozen fish, but then read a few articles about how fish flash frozen right on the boat can actually be just as good as fresh fish, particularly in an inland place like Toronto where fish that has never been frozen might make it's way from boat to table in as much as a week. This of course does not necessarily apply to fish is caught in the Great Lakes or farm raised here. (A guy in Niagara actually farm raises Arctic Char that I have bought at the local markets)

                                  So, I decided to by some flash frozen wild Alaska Cod at Costco this summer. I was amazed at how good it was. It was virtually undistinuishable from cod that was never frozen. Go figure. I've been buying it ever since and the price sure is right.

                                  1. re: Flexitarian

                                    Even when I lived in Vancouver fish was usually flash frozen on the boats coming in. Even coast towns are usually pretty far from the fishing grounds.

                                    1. re: LexiFirefly

                                      That's interesting. How did you know it was flash frozen? Was it just the texture or is this clearly displayed on packaging in Vancouver?

                                      I believe one of the only times I've ever had fish that was not pre frozen(and it wasn't ALWAYS fresh, to be clear) was in Tokyo. Either sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market or sashimi at some Three Michelin kaiseki place in Ginza. You could not pick up something like o-toro (fatty tuna belly) sashimi with it falling apart at the striations in the tissue! And the tissue itself was moist and buttery (though I still think the leaner cuts of blue fin taste considerably better). I have not experienced fish like that here (yes, it was an experience).

                                      And can anyone else provide anymore details on the fish supply chain, particularly how it is transported to inland cities like Toronto or Calgary? This seems interesting but is not quite what I am looking for http://www.sushitheglobalcatch.com/

                                      1. re: mnajji

                                        It's a by law in van that all "sushi" fish must be frozen for 14 days to kill any bacteria. A lot of places will say this is untrue but it's an automatic shut down on their health inspections. Because of this pretty much all fish is flash frozen by suppliers to avoid being on the hook for a food bourne illness case.

                                        1. re: LexiFirefly

                                          Every resto has their own systems, but we are a Toronto seafood restaurant, and I'm co-owner of a resto in PEI, as well. Out of, say 12 fish on tonight's menu, 7 have never been frozen. All depends on species and logistics. While I was able to get fish from 2 hours to 2 days old in PEI, the best in Toronto is 24 hours, average would be 60 hours. Some fish "keep" better thanothers, due to volatile oils, histamines, etc.

                                          Anyway, not true that all fish is frozen in Toronto. Though it's sometimes hard to discern the truth.

                                          1. re: johnbil

                                            My comment was more directed as per my knowledge in van and someone talking about coastal cities. I frequent a few resto in Toronto where their fish has never been frozen. It's usually a fairly limited selection though. This is all very off topic for this thread sorry all!

                                2. re: Flexitarian

                                  My heart goes out to them. They seem to be struggling. Lots of desperate attempts to make it work but it's a hard business after all. Especially a slow seafood restaurant.

                          2. I was just there this morning for brunch.. we were late getting out and didn't get there until 11:30, and I was convinced that we wouldn't get a table (we drove by Hadley's which had people waiting outside). I was shocked to get in there and discover that there was only one table taken. We had a really nice brunch.. I had the omelette of the day with spinach, mushrooms, and goat cheese, and my friend had eggs over easy with bacon, as well as a side order of scones. Nothing revolutionary, but good coffee and a relaxed atmosphere (and the toast was exceptionally good.. our server told us that they bake everything in house). And reasonably price too: my omelette was $12, and coffee was $2.25. Given that I have waited ages and paid twice as much for worse, I don't know why it was so empty?

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: rstuart

                              I was at the other table this morning. We arrived for a noon reservation and I had the same thoughts as you: why is this lovely place virtually empty on a sunny Sunday (emptier still when you and your dining companion vacated)? The service was outstanding. All recommendations from the owner were well received. Our table of 4 was eager to try a few different things, so we ordered a few items to share and an entree each. We also shared a couple of bottles of white wine (cause that's how we do brunch!). We shared 24 oysters, an order of rainbow trout tartare and some house-made herring to start. The oysters were impeccably fresh, as was the tartare, which was very gently seasoned, highlighting the delicateness of trout's flavour. The herring was superb. It came with lightly toasted light caraway rye bread points that paired perfectly with the herring. Also available were pickled shallots, yogurt and grainy mustard. Not one at the table had a bad word for any of the shared plates. For mains, one had eggs Florentine, one had eggs Benedict and the other two had the octopus hash, which comes topped with two perfectly poached farm fresh eggs, topped judiciously with hollandaise. Everyone was happy with their meals. If I had to make any criticism, it would be that the two more traditional entrees came on freshly baked English muffins or scones (not sure, since I had the octopus hash), and were sided with nicely fried potatoes. I'm sure both were delicious, but the scone/muffin was quite large and probably would have been too much for the delicate eggs and hollandaise. My recommendation to the kitchen would be to dial those down a bit in size. Ditto to the potatoes, which looked fantastic, but were probably a bit too big to stuff in one's mouth without biting in two. The portion was quite large, too. Granted, we'd already pigged out on our shared plates and the two that ordered the Benny and the Florentine don't typically power through lots of bread and potatoes. Some might enjoy the portion size. We just thought there was a bit more starch on those two plates. The octopus hash, however, was fantastic. The potatoes were diced to an almost brunoise size. The octopus had chew but was not chewy. Two thin slices of house-made bread accompanied, which was just enough alongside the potatoes, octopus, poached eggs and hollandaise. I'd order it again in a heartbeat. I'm sorry I didn't get to try the fish cakes, but honestly, too many other options beckoned to me.

                              I wish I could dine at Redfish more often. I only get to Toronto about once a month, so I can't be a regular, but I'm already trying to organize a few friends for my next visit there, very soon. The dinner menu changes frequently, but the items on the current menu were enticing. This place deserves more traffic. I really hope that the one poster that bashed the place for not extending the FAMILY fish fry to a single diner will not mar the image of a really great place too much. I don't doubt that they regretted denying that request once the night was over, particularly if they read these posts. Who knows why they balked? The owner and chef were incredibly accommodating to all requests from our table today. So much so, that I'm contemplating requesting a chef's tasting menu for 4 or 6 people one night. They are so passionate about ingredients and food in general! They sent us off with homemade (enormous) muffins. We were too stuffed to eat them after the meal. Groupon or no Groupon, give them a try. This place deserves to thrive. Patrons in seats ordering fresh fish and seafood guarantees that the offerings will always be fresh (and local and sustainable). I can't wait to sit on their patio in the summer and sip drinks with friends.

                              1. re: 1sweetpea

                                ha! It's a small world! I was at the back with my neighbour.. oddly enough, I hadn't considered trying it before because I am not a big fan of fish in general, so thought that it would be wasted on me. But the brunch menu looked good and I'm always up for trying new places.. having looked at the dinner menu, I would definitely be up for a dinner there. I was very happy with the atmosphere: nice and relaxed, low-key music (without sounding a million years old, I just don't want to deal with old school hip-hop at high decibels before my first coffee), and a pleasant server who didn't seem annoyed by my constant requests for more coffee!

                                1. re: rstuart

                                  Clearly, the focus is on fish and seafood, but a non-fish eater would have no trouble finding options on both the dinner and brunch menus.

                              2. re: rstuart

                                Not amongst the fans I'm afraid. I used the Groupon for 4 on Saturday night. The groupon itself was confusing: it consisted of 1 side plate, 1 appetizer, 4 mains, and 2 desserts. We ordered an extra appetizer but also got another that we didn't order, but the server insisted we did, even though English was not her first language and everyone agreed it was not even mentioned. Anyway, we took it without too much of a fight.

                                The server was pushing a seafood stew on special which was an extra charge. Sounded nice, in a tomato and saffron broth. Turned out to be 8 mussels, a squid, and two shrimps in some lukewarm canned tomatoes. This was an extra $12 per person! Not good and suspiciously a special for Valentines day two nights before. The other mains ordered were Arctic Char (okay), and White-fish, which was coated with something with the taste and consistency of ash.

                                The side plate was fried smelts - quite tasty. The appetizers were scallops (two, lukewarm), lobster bisque (satisfactory), and the accidental Octopus (really good). The two desserts were sticky toffee pudding (what's not to like?).

                                Had two bottles of pinot grigio and the final bill was ~$200. The room was nice enough, I suppose, but none of us were really happy - I suppose it was the let down of the mains.

                                Just my two cents.

                              3. To wrap up this thread, Red Fish is closed and no more. Too bad as they were one of the few places doing sustainable seafood.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: bluefirefly

                                  Sad to hear. The meals I had there were enjoyable, but I guess that I and others just didn't get there often enough. I hope the concept of a 100% sustainable fish/seafood restaurant is taken up again. Soon.

                                    1. re: bluefirefly

                                      That's too bad to hear.. enjoyed that brunch.