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Sep 3, 2012 01:17 PM

Toronto Oyster Houses

I'll be visiting Toronto mid October and heard they have some good oyster houses. I'll have a car and access to a GPS. I would appreciate it if some of the knowledgeable posters could reccomend any particular oyster bars.


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  1. black hoof is a wonderful toronto restaurant. high qual but not fancy. not an oyster bar per se---but they certainly would know who's got the good oysters. the pei malpec should be coming in now- just maybe the worls's finest erster

    2 Replies
    1. re: joeljcj2

      Black Hoof is the furthest thing from an oyster bar. That's a very weird suggestion IMO given' the OPs request.

      1. re: JennaBean

        I think he may be thinking of the Hoof Raw Bar, which is still not an oyster house

    2. Thursday and Friday nights - Zee Grill (Mt Pleasant) - Anthony Wing is shucking. Sit at the bar; great oysters and conversation

      Starfish (Adelaide St E) - again, sit at the bar

      Rodney's by Bay (on Temperance St) - best for lunch

      Rodney's (King St West_ - personally, my least favourite

      Oyster Boy - Queen St West

      5 Replies
      1. re: CocoaChanel

        I think the oysters and shucking at Starfish, Rodney's, and Oyster Boy are equally good. They are all one time champion shuckers and have exclusive relationships with oyster producers on the East and West coasts. So it comes down to location and atmosphere. Starfish is kind of near the St Lawrence market. It's a little more upscale than the others. Rodney is the Grand Daddy of Toronto oyster purveyor's, I think all of the others worked for him at some point. Rodney's by Bay uses his name under license but I don't think he is involved in running it. My favourite, Oyster Boy, is on hip Queen St. West and more casual than the others. Take a look at their web sites and see what feels best for you.

        I'm curious though. Where are you from? Seems a little odd to be seeking out oysters in the middle of Canada.

        1. re: crawfish

          Thanks for your great info. Interesting on your question about seeking out oysters in the middle of Canada when Toronto obviously has a plethura of oyster bars. To me the question should be why does Toronto have so many oyster bars? To directly answer the question I'm originally from Buffalo but have lived in the Cleveland, Ohio area for the last 40 years. Neither place as you can imagine are great oyster venues, although I can get some nice Delaware Bay oysters at the local gourmet grocery just down the street from me for only $.80 each. A real bargain since I taught myself several years ago how to shuck 'em so I can take advantage of that great price. But I degress. Your question also implies I am traveling to Toronto just to get oysters. Far from it. If I am seeking out oysters as my primary purpose, believe me I wouldn't be doing it in Toronto. I have other business in your fair city and have recently read a book on oysters where the author did in fact, to my surprise, make a trek to Toronto to seek out oysters. Like any good chowhounder when I am going to a location for whatever reason I always try to find some intersting/unique (you have to admit oysters in Toronto are in fact unique) food opportunities. Having read that book I thought I would investgate something I've not experienced in Toronto on previous visits. Hope that answers your question.

          1. re: Jambalaya

            I had no idea Toronto was well known for oyster bars! What's the name of the book?

            1. re: crawfish

              "Sex, Death and Oysters" I stumbled on it in the library the other day. It's written by a gulf coast author, don't remember his name, who decided to try to exam the various major oyster havens through out the world. He delves into the various types, differences between types, the sometimes shaky system of labelling by area and many other topics interesting to the oyster fan. He also includes recipes as well as anecdotes and descriptions of oyster bars he visited while on his quest. In Toronto he mentions Roys as well as Starfish. If you like oysters, its a fun read.

              1. re: Jambalaya

                Amazing thread. This is why (still) love Chowhound. Thanks Jambalaya for the september beach read suggestion.

      2. Diana's Seafood has a restaurant that serves oysters, which puts you within feet of the top wholesaler in the city.

        If you want to go for the bargains, there are a few places that do buck a shuck, generally Malpeques, such as Biff's on Mondays, or both locations of Earth during happy hour from 4 to 6. Best to check on these deals as your day gets closer.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Snarf

          I've actually gotten fresher, cheaper, better value Malpeques at Diana's than I did on the shore of Malpeque Bay. We took a picture of the local shack just in case we ever thought to take Diana's and their awesome supply chain for granted.

          To be fair, we could have done even better if we had walked right over to the fishermen. Perhaps our expectations were too high for that shack.

        2. IMHO, Starfish is still the best!!! Especially if you are interested in some cooked food to go with the bi-valves. One of the best restaurant in town for fish and other seafood. Much better than Rodney's, Oyster Boy, Diana's or Zee Grill.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Charles Yu

            I second Charles. Starfish is my go-to oyster place.

            1. re: JennaBean

              The bar at Starfish, slightly east of downtown, if you want a resto where they'll open the oysters for you in your presence. But if you're prepared to open them yourself at home, you won't beat the retail store space at Diana's, on Lawrence Ave. east of Warden - about a half-hour's drive from downtown - where there's usually a selection of about a dozen types of oysters at hard-to-beat retail prices. My favourites go for about $14-$15 a dozen.