Mermaid Fish Toronto

Mermaid Fish and Grill House

Mermaid Fish & Grill House surprised me when I walked through the front door. I wasn't sure what to expect, but a counter filled with fresh fish and seafood greeted me along with owner Hesham Abdelrehim.

Abdelrehim used to run a couple of falafel and shawarma joints downtown. He says they catered mainly to the late night crowd - and that makes sense, considering they were located at Queen and Dufferin and College and Bathurst, respectively.

Mermaid Fish Grill Toronto

But, he wanted to serve seafood. Abdelrehim, who's originally from Alexandria, Egypt, developed a passion for fishing before he moved to Canada. Now he gets to share that passion at his Scarborough-area, Mediterranean-style restaurant.

The small place is filled with blue-checkered table clothes and is dotted with photographs of Alexandria.

Mermaid Fish Grill Toronto

Much of Mermaid's fish and seafood is imported, however; Abdelrehim tell me he sources his white bass and trout from Ontario.

I head up to the counter to order. Each customer gets to choose their fish (priced per pound) as well as how they'd like it cooked: either baked, fried or barbecued.

Mermaid Fish Grill Toronto

I try a butterflied filet of sea bass barbecued Singari-style. It comes flavoured with cumin, lemon and garlic as well as red and yellow peppers and onions.

I also munch on hot shrimp which arrive straight from the grill and as I dig in, I dip piping hot pieces of pita into small bowls of hummus ($3.99), tahina ($2.99) and babaganoush ($3.99)

Mermaid Fish Grill Toronto

Each piece of fish comes served with rice and salad. This makes for a rather hearty and still somewhat healthy meal - at least if you choose from the barbecued or baked options.

Mermaid Fish Grill Toronto

But, along with grilling up pieces of fresh fish, Mermaid also serves English-style fish and chips. For a slight twist on this classic dish, each massive piece ($6.99 for basa, all the way up to $15.99 for haddock) has a layer of golden brown breading that's flecked with herbs.

Mermaid Fish Grill Toronto

Calamari and shrimp also visit the deep fryer at Mermaid. And Abdelrehim's calamari are my favourite part of the meal - the breading is light and the squid rings are huge and tender; they're not rubbery or chewy at all.

Mermaid Fish Grill Toronto

If you're not a fan of seafood, you can still eat at Mermaid. Abdelrehim has a few Halal meat options on his menu, including a chicken plate ($11.99) and beef kofta ($10.99). But, at this small Scarborough spot, fish really is the star.

Mermaid Fish Grill Toronto

Photos by Hector Vasquez.

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