Friday, January 31, 2014

Diana's Oyster Bar & Grill: Toronto's Best Seafood

I admit it. I'm hopelessly devoted to Diana's Seafood, which I am convinced is the best place in Toronto for the widest and freshest selection of fish and seafood. And judging by her dedicated clientele of rapacious regulars who trek all the way up to Warden and Lawrence for her enviable selection of oysters, octopus, lobsters, clams and winkles to wild scallops, organic Irish salmon, sushi grade tuna and fresh whole fish, they're also attracted by the value, which at a fraction of the cost of what the same thing costs elsewhere, is worth the drive. I must go there at least two or three times a week for my fish and oyster-fix, and when I'm feeling naughty or in need of some bivalve-love, I even drop into Diana's Oyster Bar & Grill, which sits conveniently on the same property as Diana's Seafood. What a marriage made in heaven!  

Diana's new modern dining area with natural stone, warm woods and cool blue palette

Taking advantage of their superlative produce from next door, Diana's Oyster Bar & Grill offers a sleek indoor oyster bar to slurp up the freshest oysters from both coasts of Canada and the U.S., and again, at a fraction of the cost of downtown oyster bars. "There are no transportation costs. We just walk five steps across the parking lot to get more oysters," says manager Philip Ho, who used to be at Starfish as well as Rodney’s. In addition to Diana's extensive menu of seafood, soups, savouries, salads and sandwiches, they also have a decent wine list and better yet, a personable, knowledgable and friendly service staff. The food is fresh, fun and good looking. We stopped by for a quick lunch before heading into Diana's Seafood, to buy some Irish organic salmon, monkfish and a dozen oysters for our weekly oyster and martini night in front of the fire. Sometimes life is just about enjoying the simple pleasures.

Diana's Oyster Bar & Grill menu

Sliced baguette with olive oil and balsamic oil

2010 Venetio Pinot Grigio

A dozen Shigoku oysters from BC - Shigoku means ”ultimate” in Japanese — have a smooth scoop-shaped cup and firm meat with a light delicate flavour

A trio of oyster condiments

 A dozen oysters: 6 Marina's Top Drawer from BC and 6 Colville Bay from PEI, 
garnished with fresh grated horseradish and wedges of lemon 

I'm constantly captivated by the natural beauty of an oyster shell, 
such as this handsome prince from Noank

 A dozen Noank oysters from Conneticut beds

A fresh perfect raw scallop

Diana's New England Clam Chowder with chopped clams, potato, leeks bacon and cream

Seafood Pot Pie with enormous scallops, shrimp, potato, peas, corn, fennel and leeks, 
topped with a crown of puff pastry

Diana's Famous House-Cut Frites

Grilled Steelhead Trout topped with a sundried tomato compound butter and served with brussels sprouts, roasted new potatoes, butternut squash hash and celeriac purée 

Fish & Chips with beer battered BC Halibut, frites and cole slaw

Grilled Octopus with hummus, tabouli salad, wild arugula and lemon vinaigrette

Grilled Atlantic Salmon with roasted brussel sprouts, bacon, butternut squash, 
walnuts and winter squash sauce

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