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Grocery Stores

City Fish

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on August 1, 2011

City Fish TorontoCity Fish welcomes me with eyes--lots of them. I'm used to buying my fish already gutted and cut into neat little portions, so the sight of hundreds of fish, just chilling on ice, is just the slightest bit jarring.

City Fish TorontoGranted, I've never much enjoyed the sight of the living creature ever since I was a child. It was one unfortunate afternoon, to be a little more precise, that solidified this general aversion. I was on a field trip to some horrible fish farm with the day camp I was attending, when one of the farm's staff reached into the pond and pulled out a slimy, flapping fish. Surrounded by a gaggle of five- or six-year-olds, he plopped the fish down on a raised table, forced his knife into the gut of the fish, and somehow pulled out its heart, leaving it to beat for a few moments, dripping alone on the table.

City Fish TorontoNeedless to say, I've been somewhat squeamish around fish since then, so it took a few minutes to adjust to City Fish's displays. Suitably adapted, I began to explore the Lawrence and Dufferin shop's offerings, which supply many other businesses and restaurants in Toronto. It's known for its outstanding selection--something one notices upon entering the front door--as well as the freshness and quality of its fish and other seafood.

City Fish TorontoCity Fish has been a fixture in this strip mall for years, most recently (read: the past eight or so years) under the ownership of Gus Nikoletsos. Gus isn't in the shop when I drop by, and the staff is busily stocking and gutting away, so I'm left to my own devices to explore the abundance of seafood.

City Fish TorontoThe live lobster tank is the first thing you'll see when you walk in the door, and City Fish offers its lobster for $11.99/pound. Of course, you'll need assistance when choosing your pick.

City Fish TorontoSame goes for the fresh fish on ice lining the north end of the store. There you'll find red Red Snapper ($6.99), Striped Bass ($5.99/lb) Spanish Mackerel ($4.99) and whole octopus ($7.99), as well as other varieties that may change depending on the season. The fish are all accompanied by labels that indicate its origin; though a quick scan of the store tells me that the majority of the seafood at City Fish is wild, not farmed.

City Fish TorontoThere is a glass counter housing portions of salmon and other fish, which serves as retail for customers picking up dinner. But by now, having fully adjusted to my surroundings, I'm much more interested in exploring the stuff you won't find just anywhere.

City Fish TorontoI spot a case of frozen frog legs ($6.99/lb) behind the cash, along with lots of fresh squid ($4.99/lb), dry sea scallops ($16.99), and gourmet oils and sauces. And by the time I leave, all those eyes don't bother me much anymore.

City Fish TorontoPhotos by Jesse Milns.

Discussion

11 Comments

Tessa / January 10, 2009 at 03:29 pm
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The best fresh fish you can find, along with fabulous and knowledgeable service.
Cleta Saldanha / March 29, 2011 at 11:26 pm
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I went there today and bought king fish, sardines, red snapper, smelt and prawns. I already cooked king fish and sardines and both of them were excellent . Sardines especially were very very fresh and tasty. This stall is good and has lot of options. The address is 2929 Dufferin Street and they are open on Saturday's until 6:00 P.M
Hugh C / April 26, 2011 at 04:21 pm
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Don't get me wrong, these guys are great in terms of selection and knowledge (which somehow makes what I'm about to say even more poignant). They also supply some of the best restaurants in Toronto but to advertise them as the place to get "hard to find bluefin tuna? The reason bluefin tuna is "hard to find" is because it's critically endangered! A little education on your plates people, please. Check out SeaChoice on the web or just ask. If they're worth their salt as a fishmonger, they'll tell you.
Cheryl replying to a comment from Hugh C / August 1, 2011 at 09:19 am
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agreed Hugh. there are so many species being fished to extinction, not to mention some of the methods being used. Its like strip mining the oceans.

BTW - look at the photo of the red snapper above. see the cloudy eyes? thats an indication that while the fish may still be good, its not as fresh as could be.
Aeudet / August 1, 2011 at 07:09 pm
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I can't even eat seafood it makes me feel so guilty.
Sean / August 1, 2011 at 08:26 pm
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If your in Scarborough, Diana's Seafood Delights is the best. Sells tonnes of oysters to the best restos in the city:

www.dianasseafood.com
belvedere replying to a comment from Sean / August 1, 2011 at 10:06 pm
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there is no excuse to avoid diana's just because it's in scarbox. chris the owner is fantastic, as r all the service staff. and the fish is freshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

wanna go where ppl who know there fish/seafood go? well those ppl r cantonese and they throng to diana's.

moby dick replying to a comment from Aeudet / August 2, 2011 at 04:45 am
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Which eating disorder program are you presently enrolled in?
hmmm / August 2, 2011 at 03:31 pm
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This article sounds fishy.
Wazoo / August 3, 2011 at 08:52 am
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This is the only place in the city that I buy fish. Love it. They vacuum seal everything for me.
Nick / September 6, 2011 at 04:30 pm
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I was just wondering how often do they import ???

Does anybody know, thanks for your time guys, I really have to check this place out ;-)

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