There’s no sea near the 6ix, but that doesn’t stop the city from serving up some of the best marine meals an urban foodie could ever ask for. Cast your anchor down at one of Toronto’s best seafood restaurants and settle in for a vast selection that will satisfy your stomach’s wildest ocean dreams. As you slurp back tasty oysters, chow down on lobster rolls and crack open crab legs, it won’t be hard to imagine a salty sea breeze whispering through your hair.

The best seafood restaurants in Toronto have eagerly risen to the challenge of satisfying city-dwellers’ ocean-sized appetites. It wasn’t always easy to find a menu focused on fresh catches — but a cresting wave of fish-focused eating has changed the tide. Now, nautical restaurants thrive across many of the city’s major neighbourhoods.

Gone are the days of fried fish filets being the only option for our pescatarian pals (even though we’ll never say no to some of the best fish and chips in the city). The best seafood restaurants in Toronto consistently surpass our expectations with endless plates of freshly shucked oysters, juicy scallops, cured salmon and smooth caviar. Before your visit, brush up on how to eat oysters so you can get the most out of the experience. Afterwards, wash it all down with a delicious tipple at one of Toronto’s best bars for the quintessential end to a seafood dining experience.

Bring your appetite, because it’s time to enjoy some delectable grub from Toronto’s best seafood restaurants.

The 12 best seafood restaurants in Toronto

1. Rodney’s Oyster House

469 King St. W.

Would this be a list of the best seafood restaurants in Toronto without Rodney’s Oyster House? The King West restaurant is well-known for, you guessed it, their P.E.I oysters — but the saliva-inducing seafood selection doesn’t stop there. Tuck into fresh, imported and sustainably sourced options like crispy calamari, Dungeness crab, lip-smacking lobster and scallop ceviche. When you’re ready for your platter of oysters (about $3 a pop), you’ll have a selection of between nine and 26 different types, shucked-to-order. Or, just let the staff decide and order a mixed plate — they’re all delicious.

2. Pink Sky

480 King St. W.

There’s no shortage of fun in the Fashion District, and Pink Sky keeps the good times rolling. East coast fisheries supply the big flavours that patrons will find at the restaurant, which locals describe as equal parts neighbourhood favourite and night out destination. We recommend saddling up to the truffle lobster mac and cheese: Complete with house made rigatoni and pickled jalapeños, this hearty dish will knock your fishing boots right off. Plus, you can sample their raw bar for oysters, ceviche, shellfish and more.

3. Fishman Lobster Clubhouse

4020 Finch Ave. E.

Bring your hungriest friends and family on your next trip to Fishman Lobster Clubhouse — the portions here will have everyone adjusting their now-too-tight belts on the way out. As soon as you step into the dining room, you’re immersed in a bustling seafood paradise, encircled by glass cases displaying the glamorous crustaceans you’ll be enjoying that evening. Sky-high plates of fresh and fried seafood abound at Fishman’s, reflected in the steep price point — these plates are meant for sharing. Make sure you grab a reservation — Fishman’s is definitely a neighbourhood hotspot.

4. Pearl Diver

100 Adelaide St. E.

Just outside of the downtown core and across from St. James Park is Pearl Diver, a homey neighbourhood restaurant that boasts fresh fish and big flavours. World-famous P.E.I. mussels topped with ginger chili lemongrass and coconut cream are a magnificent menu standout, along with the Pearl’s legendary lobster tower. Wet your whistle with one of their craft beers on tap, or hand-crafted cocktails (we recommend the PD Caesar with fresh oyster garnish). Vegan and vegetarian options are available, as well.

5. Oyster Boy

872 Queen St. W.

Steps past the throngs of young people splayed out on picnic blankets at Trinity Bellwoods, a gleeful, baseball-cap-sporting oyster dangles above Queen West pedestrians. The iconic cartoon crustacean marks Oyster Boy, a Toronto seafood veteran that's been slinging freshly shucked shellfish for more than 20 years. With mollusks sourced from small farmers on Canadian coasts arriving to the restaurant daily, you can always expect the freshest of catches on your plate. While their namesake is a must-try during your next reservation, Oyster Boy's menu offers an aquarium-sized selection of seafood, featuring standouts like albacore tuna, black tiger prawn tacos, lobster bisque and grilled squid.

6. Buster’s Sea Cove

93 Front St. E.

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Founded in 1992, Buster’s Sea Cove has been a favourite St. Lawrence Market lunch spot for decades — and once you get a taste, it’s not hard to see why. Their near-perfect clam chowder, out-of-this-world coconut shrimp, and grilled octopus are still blessing our sweet dreams to this day. Fan favourites include the seafood paella, seared tuna salad, and crab cakes — but we wouldn’t blame you for choosing to chow down on the lobster grilled cheese.

7. Adega Restaurant

33 Elm St.

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Amidst the hustle and bustle of the Yonge and Dundas neighbourhood, slow down with a lovely intimate dinner at Adega. The Portuguese restaurant, set in a converted home, matches old-style recipes and methods with modern flavours and specializes in an excellent plate of high-quality seafood. Sourced from around the world (Portugal, Norway, Thailand and right here in Canada), expect menu standouts such as the linguine with tiger shrimp, grilled Mediterranean octopus and pan roasted herb crusted salmon. Oh, and did we mention the extensive wine list? Another glass, please.

8. Zee Grill Seafood & Oyster Bar

641 Mt Pleasant Rd.

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What do Eugene Levy, Jim Belushi and John Goodman have in common? They’ve all dined at Midtown’s Zee Grill Seafood & Oyster Bar. Originally one of the first oyster bars in Toronto, the local favourite has been serving up saliva-inducing seafood since 1981 and boasts an extensive roster of devoted regulars, many of whom have been visiting from the beginning of Zee’s numerous decades of operation. Find all of the usual suspects like lobster rolls and grilled calamari on the menu, with flashier options like sesame crusted ahi tuna and smoked rainbow trout pate standing by to impress your taste buds.

9. Chiado

864 College St.

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Chiado, chef Albino Silva’s critically acclaimed Dufferin Grove restaurant, serves upscale seafood that blends progressive cooking with classic Portuguese cuisine. Colourful dishes are presented with humble elegance, complimented by a glass from the extensive Portugal-focused wine list. Much of their coastal offerings are flown in directly from Portugal, guaranteeing the freshest flavours for an occasionally elevated price point.

10. Honest Weight

2766 Dundas St. W.

Restaurant by day, fishmonger also by day, Honest Weight is the Junction’s seafood supplier. Open for lunch and dinner, this quaint haven of fresh marine meals welcomes guests with a large case filled with the catches of the day. Honest Weight puts a big emphasis on sustainable seafood and changes their menu regularly based on what’s in season. As you gorge yourself on outstanding seafood, sip on one of their homemade sodas to wash it all down.

11. New Orleans Seafood & Steakhouse

267 Scarlett Rd.

As much as we’d love to take a culinary tour of New Orleans, we need not stray outside of our own city to enjoy the world-famous cuisine. Seafood boils, shrimp creole, jambalaya and crab cakes are just some of the outstanding menu items that bring big Cajun flavours at New Orleans Seafood & Steakhouse. Wall-mounted saxophones and blues-y art decorate the dining room, and soft jazz music floats from table to table, making every meal feel like a warm and hazy Southern daydream.

12. Pure Spirits

17 Tank House Lane

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On a summertime stroll through the Distillery District, the low murmurs of pleasant conversation and clinks of cutlery float through the warm air before finally being absorbed by the recognizable red bricks. With its spacious patio, regularly teeming with guests devouring surf and turf — or, as the menu cheekily labels it, 'Fish' and 'Not Fish' — Pure Spirits' laid-back atmosphere fits right in with the charm of the Distillery District. Order two-buck a shuck oysters, a pan-roasted walleye or beer battered haddock, pair them with a Pure Spirits signature cocktail (grapefruit sake, anyone?) and let the good times flow.