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Best of Toronto

The Best Mussels in Toronto

Posted by Luke Champion / November 26, 2010

Mussels TorontoThe best mussels in Toronto are united by one common thread - the best broth. It's a fact. The delightful ritual of plucking those plump morsels from their shell - while delicious on their own - is but a thinly veiled guise to consume the rich, decadent flavours they're cooked in.

It's what makes them so versatile, an empty vessel, a canvas waiting for colour. Of course, if that were all there was to it, this would be a piece about the best broth in Toronto. In order to produce a truly transcendent mountain of mollusks, the quality of the product must be taken into account as well.

Lucky for seafood fans, today - as in right now - is the best time of year to consume the little divers. Autumn is when mussels fatten up for the winter - yes, like squirrels, bears and many people, mussels put on a little winter weight - which is good news for the city's epicureans who may in turn, feast their way to a winter layer themselves.

Here are the 11 best mussels in Toronto.

Rodney's Oyster House/Rodney's By Bay

Rodney's Oyster House/Rodney's By Bay

Rodney Clark is the city’s undisputed oyster king, but evidence shows that his kingdom might expand to contain all mollusks. At Rodney’s Oyster House on King West and Rodney's by Bay in the Financial District their mussels are timeless and traditional, white wine, garlic, butter and a flash of fresh herbs. But when you have the kind of quality Rodney does, you don’t need to put too much camouflage on your product, you put it front and centre. More »

Beerbistro

Beerbistro

As the name suggests, Beerbistro caters to the discerning beer drinker. But it’s not just their taps they can boast about, beer makes its way into the menu in a big way too and I can think of no better way than forming the basis of a broth accompanying a big bowl of beautiful plump mussels. More »

Starfish

Starfish

Starfish is the product of world champion oyster shucker Patrick McMurray. Since 2001 this little oasis just east of Yonge has been offering some of the best seafood you’ll find citywide. It changes regularly so only the finest, freshest mussels, oysters and other shellfish makes it onto the menu. More »

The Banknote

The Banknote

For ten years the Banknote has been inviting its customers in on Tuesday nights for all-you-can-eat mussels and for ten years they’ve been packing the place. It’s the only day they do them and when they’re gone, they’re gone – which is part of what keeps them special and part of what makes Tuesday night plans a no-brainer. More »

Sarah's Cafe

Sarah's Cafe

Sarah’s is a culinary oasis in an area not generally known for its cuisine. Located between Greenwood and Coxwell on the Danforth, the local hangout serves mussels 12 ways - Mariniere (garlic and cream), Provencal (tomato, garlic and basil) plus 10 more. The style you choose is up to you. Either way they’re plump, fresh and dressed to impress. More »

Vivoli

Vivoli

At Vivoli, they rely of the simplicity of the Mediterranean to create an uncluttered menu that highlights all the best flavours of Italy. The mussels are prepared two ways - in spicy marinara or white wine and garlic. Either one will have you dreaming of summers in Florence whether you’ve been there before or not. More »

3 Speed

3 Speed

If you’re unfamiliar, you might assume 3 Speed is a west end watering hole with a menu available strictly to fulfill legal obligations. You’d be right about the watering hole – it’s a great one – but to ignore the top-notch menu would be to miss out on some of the honest to goodness, best mussels this city has to offer and don’t even get me started about the burger. More »

Atlantic Restaurant

Atlantic Restaurant

At Atlantic, dishes are served small and relatively cheap. That means that along with your mussels you can snack on an order of salt-chili crickets, sea urchin, and escargot. It’s a decidedly adventurous and unique restaurant disguised as a rundown old fish shop. More »

Discussion

36 Comments

good times / November 26, 2010 at 10:30 am
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Beer bistro mussels with a side of their famous fries and a glass of beer. probably one of my favorite meals.
realtalk / November 26, 2010 at 11:08 am
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The best mussels in Toronto are in Nova Scotia.
henry / November 26, 2010 at 11:19 am
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This should have been best moules frites. Mussels are truly good with fries (and sourdough bread). I like the selection at Beer Bistro and they have some of the best made fries I've had in the city. But their service is really spotty. On my last visit, our server informed us that the bread would come a bit late because they were baking a fresh batch. However, we ended up getting it when we were nearly done our mussels and drinking up the broth. Not to mention that the bread was cold and rock hard. I would like to try the dish at Tati Bistro as I've heard good things about them.
Togo / November 26, 2010 at 11:25 am
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Mussels cost $3 a pound and are the easiest things you can cook. Why spend your hard earned money (PLUS TAX EFF YOU GOVERNMENT!!!!!!!) on faux atmosphere and crappy service when these sweet little babies are done in 2 minutes flat.

Miss Tdot / November 26, 2010 at 11:39 am
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Don't be shocked ! The best I've had were with a red Thai and coconut broth at the Pickle Barrell !!
Frank the Tank / November 26, 2010 at 11:41 am
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rodneys is number 1? that place is a dump, where is oyster boy's mussels on this list? they have best mussels and oysters in the city by far!
Joe Scratch / November 26, 2010 at 11:43 am
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Be warned, this article is misleading, the best mussels are not about the broth, they are about the freshness. Anything I try that has a little bit of tang to it gets sent back right away!
Gus / November 26, 2010 at 11:48 am
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I haven't eaten at Patrick McMurray's Starfish, but I have gone to his other resto, Ceili Cottage, which is just terrible -- overpriced, mediocre food, and lousy, arrogant staff, so I doubt I'll be trying Starfish, well, ever.
Suzi Q / November 26, 2010 at 11:50 am
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Guys, you've omitted every single Chinese restaurant in Toronto, and almost every single Italian restaurant! Many of them prepare the best mussels in Toronto!
Tim replying to a comment from Suzi Q / November 26, 2010 at 11:53 am
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Last time I checked Vivoli and Cafe Cinquecento were both considered Italian restaurants.
citygal2 / November 26, 2010 at 12:01 pm
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i recently had a craving and had mussels in a broth similar to the one mentioned by Miss Tdot at Milestones. surely there is a French restaurant in our city that presents a decent moules frites?
citygal2 / November 26, 2010 at 12:03 pm
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sorry, guess i skimmed past #8
Gabe replying to a comment from citygal2 / November 26, 2010 at 12:05 pm
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Le Select Bistro - Sick Mussels!!!
Rena / November 26, 2010 at 12:55 pm
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The best mussels in Toronto are at Remington's ;)

Sorry, someone had to make a homonym joke.
Suzi Q replying to a comment from Tim / November 26, 2010 at 03:27 pm
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Sorry Tim, I'm a little slow and by a little I mean very, very.
Displays / November 26, 2010 at 03:47 pm
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Or ...
- Get 2 pounds of Fresh mussels at Loblaws for $ 5.00
- Clean the shells, wash them under cold water.
- Put 20 g of butter, 1 chopped shallot and a glass of white wine in a cooking pot
- Turn up the heat and add the mussels
- Mix, cover, Wait 3 minutes, Mix, Cover Wait until they open
- Remove the mussels
- Add 2 spoons of Sour cream, chopped parsley, salt, pepper to the broth.
- Wait until the broth boils. Remove and serve on top on the mussels

And VOILA, Enjoy Fresh “Moules Marinieres” with some friends and a good bottle of white wine


J My / November 26, 2010 at 03:48 pm
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Vivoli is a HORRIBLE restaurant, we had such an awful experience and were so embarrassed as we brought relatives that were visiting from overseas. The waitress was downright rude to my elderly mother in law and the food was overpriced and all "store bought" AWFUL RESTAURANT. Avoid.
Andrea / November 26, 2010 at 04:06 pm
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The COZZE MARINARA (Mussels sauteed in a Roasted Garlic Tomato Broth) at La Vecchia restaurant should be included on this list.
It is AMAZING. So amazing that they really should bottle and sell the broth.

http://www.lavecchia.ca
seanm replying to a comment from Displays / November 26, 2010 at 06:26 pm
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And you see, there's the problem: effort. I don't like to do anything more than make cereal at home. Also I don't have draught taps at my house, and nothing goes with mussels like freshly poured beer.

Sure I'll cook something up every once in a while, but it's got to be a large amount that'll last me a week, to be worth the effort.
Mike W / November 26, 2010 at 06:27 pm
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I always find I get better service when I show up wearing my red chiffon dress. That makes me want to get my oysters shucked!
sonia barnet / November 26, 2010 at 06:30 pm
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My best bet and where I have eaten mussels for years is at
Langolino restaurant off of College street ............mmmm.
Yum Yum - I would even go out on a cold night like tonight for them........tell her to make it a bit spicy.......yum yum.
dave / November 27, 2010 at 12:52 am
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Terrible round-up, Where is Oyster Boy, They distribute all oyster's and mussels to downtown toronto. Round-Up = Fail.
Luke replying to a comment from dave / November 27, 2010 at 03:14 am
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It's reader generated, based on votes man. No votes = no representation.
Ivan / November 27, 2010 at 08:55 am
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Le Papillon on Front St, a block from the St. Lawrence Market. We had dinner there recently and overall it was good, not great, BUT the mussels in a white wine broth with the PERFECT amount of tarragon were perhaps the best mussels that I have ever had. Highly recommended and well priced.
Jason replying to a comment from Luke / November 27, 2010 at 05:25 pm
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Luke, that's not what the title of this article says. It reads, definitively, this list represents the best mussels in Toronto. What it should say is "Reader picks: Best mussels in Toronto" or "Best mussels in Toronto as chosen by you" or equivalent.

Don't you guys ever get tired of having to qualify your disingenuous "best of" headlines in the comments?
Lily / November 28, 2010 at 08:24 pm
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PAUL'S SPAGHETTI on Cosburn Avenue.
Richard Brown / November 29, 2010 at 10:12 pm
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A far as I know Cafe Brussels on the Danforth serves the best Mussels in Toronto.
I miss going there as I have moved west to Vancouver Island.
Cheers
Richard Brown
Rodney Clark / December 3, 2010 at 12:16 pm
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REALTALK might just have some REALality in why HE/SHE has to say about Nova Scotia.
In the Summer, The NS Mussel has a few degrees colder water to stymie their meats thinning to the reproduction cycle. Though there is a slight bitterness on the after finish of aNova Scotia Blue Mussel, rather than the signature sweet of all of PEI's mollusk Families.
The mussel calendar is tres important, as is the time out of water, to a freshness factor.
Yes, this is, as in now, is a mussel moment.
No mater where the mussel is coming from!
The ocean is 1800 miles away.
Now, for a treat, look for the Honey Mussel of Vancouver Island, one of the 4 families of mussels we can get our lips on in Canada.

Anon / December 13, 2010 at 05:56 pm
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I've only had mussels once in Toronto but they were phenomenal. It was at a small place called The Southside on Spadina Road (Forest Hill Village). It came in a tomato sauce and yam chips. They seem to have a seasonal menu though as that dish is no longer on it (they currently have a mussel dish in a coconut curry sauce instead - I haven't tried that one so can't comment on it). But the ones that I had were absolutely amazing.
Richard Brown / December 13, 2010 at 09:01 pm
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I just now learned that Cafe Brussels had closed in 2006. PITY.
They had about 35 different ways of serving mussels, prepared in scotch to mussels cooked in a superb Belgian Beer.They arrived at your table in the pot they were cooked in.
Cafe Brussels served real honest a goodness Frites. Fabulous I can taste them now.
A great loss to mussel lovers in TO.
Oh well the next visit to my home sod I will have to try out some of the of the establishments that specialize in Mussels.

Cheers
Richard
JOAN / December 24, 2010 at 05:41 pm
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ROCO'S PLUM TOMATATO -- I AM SOMETHING OF A MUSSELS FREAK!!!
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THEM AND HAVE TRIED THEM EVERYWHERE. THE BEST ARE AT ROCCO'S DONE IN TARRAGON AND VODKA - WOW WOW WOW
rivergurl / January 28, 2012 at 03:02 pm
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Why isn't Busters Sea Cove at the St.Lawrence Market on here? They have the BEST spicy mussels in the city and you can't beat the price. Been eating them for years!
Vee / May 30, 2012 at 03:40 pm
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Beer Bistro's mussels aren't very good. They were small and shriveled up when I ordered them. Mind you this is based off of one experience and I'd consider giving them another try. Their fries and beer were amazing and would definitely order those again.
COSPLAY / September 26, 2012 at 11:22 pm
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i recently had a craving and had mussels in a broth similar to the one mentioned by Miss Tdot at Milestones. surely there is a French restaurant in our city that presents a decent moules frites?
Sam replying to a comment from rivergurl / September 6, 2013 at 09:22 am
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Pardon me are you the same rivergurl from the old fem muscle chat? If not excuse my craziness...
Rivergurl replying to a comment from Sam / September 6, 2013 at 06:21 pm
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No, I don't think so..craziness excused :)

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