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Best of Toronto

The Best Oysters in Toronto

Posted by Liora Ipsum / August 7, 2013

Oysters TorontoThe best oysters in Toronto celebrate the refreshing energy of the sea and all its tastes and scents. We might not have a coastline of our own, but luckily we have a bounty of oyster-obsessed proprietors dedicated to sourcing (and sometimes even farming) the sweetest, plumpest and briniest varieties from near and far.

Here are the best oysters in Toronto.

See also:

The Best Seafood Restaurants in Toronto
The Best Lobster Roll in Toronto
The Best Fish Stores in Toronto

Hopgood Foodliner photo from Matt Reeder in the blogTO flickr pool.

Oyster Boy

Oyster Boy

This cozy restaurant and bar majors in oysters, supplying and catering for venues across the city. Situated next to Trinity Bellwoods Park, the shellfish-centric menu bills East and West coast varieties per seasonal availability and serves them raw or baked with classic Rockefeller or cheese gratin toppings. More »

Rodney's Oyster House

Rodney's Oyster House

Ostreaphiles know that the briney mollusks at this King West institution are worth their salt. Rodney's culls 9 to 26 varieties daily from their very own PEI oyster beds (and fellow growers). Slurp back prime specimens served in all their au natural glory, or if you really must, with the customary array of condiments. More »

Diana's Seafood

Diana's Seafood

The list of oysters at this restaurant (adjacent to Scarborough's largest seafood retailer), is cultivated from North American and international coastlines. Take advantage of Malpeque Mondays (a dozen for $12) or the Thursday special, featuring Fanny Bay oysters served eight at a time for $10. More »

Ceili Cottage

Ceili Cottage

Fans of Starfish (number 3 above) should also check out this sister restaurant located in Leslieville. The Irish local shucks Irish and Malpeque oysters to order, but don't over look the grilled options dressed up with garlic, butter and panko. More »

Pure Spirits Oyster House

Pure Spirits Oyster House

This Historic Distillery District restaurant flies in top notch specimens from the East and West coasts daily and lists them on the menu with fanciful descriptors that draw comparisons to melon or cucumber. More »

John & Sons Oyster House

John & Sons Oyster House

On a standard night, these oyster bars with downtown and midtown locations will list at least a half dozen varieties to slurp back with cocktails or as a starter to a seafood feast. At “low tide” from 3pm to 6pm, shuckers choice oysters are discounted to $2 each. More »

Zee Grill & Oyster Bar

Zee Grill & Oyster Bar

This midtown restaurant located on Mt. Pleasant at Eglinton is known for offering full array of surf and turf, but it's also one of the city's oldest and longest running oyster bars. The seafood specialists list their daily selection by place of origin and serve them up on chilled platters or towers for feasting. More »

Fishbar

Fishbar

The shellfish bar at this Ossington Avenue fish house features a daily selection of oysters from across Canada and the US served simply with lemon and fresh grated horseradish. Happy hour, offered Friday to Sunday from half past 3 to 5pm, features deep discounts on East Coast standard and premium bivalves. More »

Roux

Roux

Displayed centerstage over ice at the bar, oysters are the perfect complement to this restaurant's Southern and Creole inspired menu. The newly reno'd Junction eatery isn't known to keep largest selection, but makes up for it by stocking deliciously plump specimens from All Seas Oysters. More »

Hopgood's Foodliner

Hopgood's Foodliner

This Maritime-inspired restaurant on Roncy focuses on East Coast favourites. Listed first, the menu simply reads "Oysters MP," so ask about the daily shellfish selection and look out for features paired with bone marrow or truffle mignonette. More »

Discussion

31 Comments

Oyster Noob / August 7, 2013 at 02:15 pm
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I enjoy oysters on occasion but I'm far from an expert. Since they are mostly served raw, isn't this list really just a list of who has the best source(s) for oysters? And is that really all that difficult? Is it a big secret who the best fisherman/farmers are? Do oyster fishermen/farmers only sell to one restaurant in each city?

What are these restaurants doing different than restaurants that didn't make the list?
johnsonstarfish / August 7, 2013 at 02:29 pm
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i was under the impression that everyone got their oysters from the same source. isn't oyster boy and rodneys the supplier to all restos in Toronto?
L / August 7, 2013 at 02:55 pm
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The oysters from Ceili Cottage are terrible...
Uhh.. / August 7, 2013 at 03:32 pm
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Cool City is a pop-up resto... That addition to the list will be irrelevant in a month's time..
cocobeans replying to a comment from L / August 7, 2013 at 03:32 pm
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Then you don't like the ones from oysterboy or rodneys becasue they source them to ceili
Jack / August 7, 2013 at 03:42 pm
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Unfortunately most places that serve oysters only serve east coast oysters which tend to be very mild and all very similar. West coast oysters are a lot more flavourful. They're not for everyone though as they tend to have more grassy, mineral taste to them (if that makes any sense). Just a personal preference. I always go to Rodney's because I know they'll have at least a few west coasters available.
L / August 7, 2013 at 03:46 pm
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I would also like to add that the last couple times Ive ordered oysters at Ceili, the waiter ran off before I had a chance to say what kind and returned with a bunch of oysters shucked with chunks of shell inside.
Jason Paris / August 7, 2013 at 03:49 pm
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I believe it is true that Osyster Boy and Rodneys supply all T.O. restos.

I love the Oysters at Ceili Cottage!
Impressed / August 7, 2013 at 04:32 pm
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Boy, this Jack guy sure does know a lot about Oysters! Wowee
Lucy replying to a comment from Impressed / August 7, 2013 at 04:59 pm
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I agree. Jack is the expert. His taste buds are the best. I, on the other hand, don't enjoy west coast oysters. My taste buds must be wrong.
Gettin' ridiculous / August 7, 2013 at 05:19 pm
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Cool Yard City or whatever only opened up shop about a month ago. How can they already be on a "Best Of" list?
Rosie / August 7, 2013 at 07:15 pm
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Oyster Boys is awesome. Have had really good oysters at Fishbar. Just had some incredibly fresh Glacier Bay and Raspberry Point ones at Snug Harbour in Port Credit, not Toronto of course but not too far :)
bake 'em replying to a comment from Jack / August 8, 2013 at 12:18 am
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More flavourful? West coast oysters are small and imo not as nice compared to East coast beauties. Don't forget that oysters are NOT native to the West Coast and the little ones they cultivate cannot beat the native strains of their Eastern cousins.
Mar / August 8, 2013 at 08:03 am
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Surprised to see auld spot omitted. Great oysters solid variety.
Lisa / August 8, 2013 at 10:31 am
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Hogtown Pub on College should be on this list. They have a good selection of east and west. I think they even do cheap oysters on Thursday's
nb replying to a comment from bake 'em / August 8, 2013 at 10:32 am
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West coast oysters are definitely not all small. Some varieties might be, but the ones I got fresh off the boat in Tofino were huge, and they were just classified as "medium." It was impossible to eat some of them in one bite. East coast/west coast--it's all just a matter of personal taste.
gee / August 8, 2013 at 12:57 pm
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Diana's should be higher on the list. They have great specials, selection and service. They also have a couple of different sauces beyond the lemon and cocktail sauce that compliments the oysters so beautifully.

AA / August 9, 2013 at 12:02 pm
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Pure Spirits is absolute garbage
Joseph / August 9, 2013 at 12:34 pm
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Will you writers ever get your facts straight?
Fishbar serves 3 sauces with their oysters. A cocktail sauce, mignonette and a spicy vodka that's really good. Ceili cottage is terrible, the oysters aren't even on ice, I agree with the comments. By far Fishbar is great value, they are now offering all day happy hour Sundays till close(10pm). I go for 12 standards which are $16. Can't beat that
Johnny / August 9, 2013 at 06:59 pm
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actually you can beat that! Diana's does 12 Malpeque small CHOICE oysters for $12 on Mondays and 7 Fanny bay for $10 on Thursdays. parking is always free. currently 12 different types on the oyster bed plus cherry stone clams and live sea scallops. how do i know? because i set it up this morning. There are three major Suppliers in Toronto Rodney's Oyster Boy and Diana's seafood. Rodney's and Oysterboy have no ties to each other what so ever.
West coast oysters grow twice as fast as east coast oysters and are generally bigger except for kumamotos wish come from the westcoast. anyone who tells you they come from Japan is a moron. Hope this clears up some of the misconceptions about oyster bars in the city. Incidently we might have placed 4th this year but it's only our 2nd year. We are still and will always be the best oysterbar in Scarborough!
Johnny replying to a comment from gee / August 9, 2013 at 07:02 pm
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Thanks Gee. introduce yourself next time you're in and get a free oyster
Johnny replying to a comment from Oyster Noob / August 9, 2013 at 07:08 pm
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actually Noob some restaurants cultivate realtionships with fisherman/farms and will buy up most of their oysters exclusively. makes sense when you think about it fishermen want to fish not sell a box here and there to one place or another. What makes one oysterbar better than the next is the atmosphere, the knowledge of the product and most impotantly excellently shucked oysters that are fresh and don't contain grit. rule of thumb if you don't see someone shucking the oysters avoid eating them.
Dazzlechild / August 13, 2013 at 05:20 pm
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I really like Diana's the first time I went. Our waiter was very knowledgeable about the types of oysters available, and brought my mom and I a nice variety that featured both west and east coast oysters. Apparently a subsequent visit by my parents turned out not so good, but I'd still go again!
Hathal / August 28, 2013 at 07:21 pm
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+1 for Diana's being higher up on the list! By the way, I think "Diana's seafood" is technically the market (see http://www.dianasseafood.com/), and "Diana's Oyster Bar" is the restaurant. So which you go to depends on whether you wanna cook them yourself!
Vanessa / December 4, 2013 at 01:18 pm
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Just thought I'd put in my two cents, being a mega ostreaphile!
The 3 main oyster distributors in Toronto are Oyster Boy, Rodney's & Diana's.

Oyster Boy has always been my go-to. It's like my second home. I'm there whenever I can be! They've always got a great selection, with wonderful shuckers and staff that are willing to chat with you. You can learn anything and everything about oysters there. (Chris is an exceptional shucker and is a book of oyster knowledge.) They also hold shucking classes, which are the best thing ever! Their in-house sauces are amazing. A red-wine mignonette, banana pepper-ginger hot sauce & seafood sauce. They do have west coast selections as well.

Diana's also has a big selection, a bit of a trek to Scarborough, if you're downtown. They do have specials every Thursday (usually dollar-ish oysters). Really yummy Fanny Bay oysters if you like them. Diana's store is a great place to buy oysters by the box and other fresh seafood too.

Despite the above comments I'm seeing, Ceili Cottage is a great authentic Irish pub. And was opened by world champion shucker Pat McMurray. If you know oysters, you know him. He's the name behind Starfish as well. If you're looking to try Irish oyster varieties, these are places you want to go. Ceili cottage usually has an East coast as well as an Irish variety to choose from, and they've been delicious every time I've gone. (Also has a lovely patio in the summer and a yurt set up for wintertime.) Really nice atmosphere if you're looking for a cozy Irish pub with good food & oysters.

I've got an 'All About Oysters' page on my blog which includes TONS of pics and reviews on Oyster Boy, Ceili Cottage & Diana's if you want a more in depth look at oysters and the rest of some of the menus. http://thishungrykitten.com/all-about-oysters/

Well done Oyster Boy for being #1! Because it's definitely one of my favourite spots in the city! See you guys there! :D
Vanessa / December 4, 2013 at 01:24 pm
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P.S. Raw oysters are traditionally served on ice, because they are served cold and this helps hold them in place. (Don't wanna lose the brine!) Some choose to serve them on a bed of coarse salt, to avoid the ice melting and getting in the oysters.

Oysters are kept chilled before they're shucked. Once they're shucked, you just eat them! It doesn't make a restaurant terrible if the oysters aren't on ice. (I've heard you should eat them within 45 mins...)

I've been to quite a few wonderful places in Toronto and on the East coast where the oysters are shucked fresh and given to you on a plate. Eat them!
muncher / March 11, 2014 at 06:54 pm
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i've had excellent oysters at Rock Lobster, Hogtown and The Chase - surprised none of these are listed!
Jefferson replying to a comment from Impressed / March 11, 2014 at 08:16 pm
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West coast oysters? Yuck. If you can't afford good east coast oysters, why bother?
In a drunken stupor / March 12, 2014 at 03:22 pm
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Oysters are for downtown elites. Regular guys eat at Steak Queen. Ya mon!
Oyster Amateur / August 12, 2014 at 10:24 am
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I don't claim to be an oyster expert but the Diana's Seafood oysters served at the Taste of Asia nightmarket were amazing. I never heard of them prior but their staff and the setup was quite professional and I love oysters so I thought I'd give them a try. The oysters were shucked on ice in front of you, packed in a clear plastic container on a bed of ice with lemon, sauce, and a wet nap pack... now I'm hungry.
Toui / August 18, 2014 at 03:31 pm
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http://www.dayandnightsteak.ca/

This place has a great selection of oyster. Very Fresh.

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