John & Sons Oyster House - Downtown

4.7
538 reviews
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CAN$31 to CAN$50
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Seafood
Top tags:
  • Bar Seating
  • Business Meals
  • Good for a Date
John & Sons Oyster House - Downtown is out of the way from the hustle and bustle of the financial core but at the same time right in the middle of it, hidden away. From ducking down our little street, you feel as though you are doing something deliciously wicked. When you walk in the door of our 40 seat joint, you feel as though you’ve stumbled upon the best speakeasy in town and you’re getting away with flouting all the rules while everyone else behaves. You may think you’ll only have a few oysters and a quick drink while you’re there, but everything around you conspires to make you want to stay longer. Our fare varies according to the time of year, coastal fishing quotas and weather conditions. We can always shuck to order from a selection of 5-10 different Oysters daily, drawn from both our own beds in P.E.I. and the best growers in Canada, the USA and further abroad.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Seafood
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Phone number
(416) 703-5111
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Payment Options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress Code
Smart Casual
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Executive Chef
Sonia Potochnyj
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Private Party Facilities
Whether celebrating a special occasion with family and friends or hosting a corporate event, John & Sons Oyster House can accommodate all your special event needs.
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Private Party Contact
Private Event Coordinator: (844) 221-5908
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Cross Street
Bay and Adelaide
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Public Transit
King or Queen Station
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Entertainment
Half table seating, half bar seating this place is a bustling neighborhood gem. It can get a little loud and it is supposed to; it's an Oyster Saloon. It's a small place and everyone is there to have a good time and relax a little bit. We are not perfect, we are not a place for every occasion but we try our hardest to ensure you leave happy.
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Special Events & Promotions
Call Natalie at 416.703.5111
Additional
Bar Dining, Beer, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 538 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
Food
4.6
Service
4.4
Ambience
4.2
Value
Noise · Moderate
97% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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m
Toronto
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 3Food 3Service 2Ambience 4

Good food.

Clam Chowder (like the Grits) is something to order again, and again. It looks gagginly creamy. It is not. The clams get right through ringing clear like a clam shaped bell. Large was terrific to share or a meal if flying solo. The crutch for the Chowder is the provided 3 sad nano-croustini - clearly the same joker portioning out the lobster struck here too.

Shrimp Chorizo Grits are something to enjoy and brag about. The tangy chorizo sings nicely contrasted to the smooth cheese grits. All tempered by the fresh shrimp.

The Lobster Poutine was unfortunate. Semi-warm poutine might have crawled to the finish line if the fries were immaculate - they were not. Note to chef, skip the frites trend. Thick cut, double fry will hold the heat for longer and, as important, will convey much more potato flavour. Cook till golden on the sides and hints of brown at the edges. Get the temperature right and there will not be greasy. The main issue? The sad specks of lobster filigree. Sad for me having ordered it and cringeworthy for a chef that allowed it to be served. If market price is too high strike it. This happened on your watch. Don’t punish the patron good enough to order it or embarrass the establishment by serving it and hoping it passes.

If you care about food dine at John & Sons it is Oceanwise aware and there are gems to be craved a few times over.

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b
Indiana
16 reviews
Dined on December 8, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 4

We were in Toronto for the weekend and after visiting St. Lawrence market, we were hungry for seafood. I had my eye on a couple of places to eat, but couldn't get a table at some and landed on John and Sons - so glad we did. I was a little concerned that the menu was thin, but we knew what we wanted, fish and chips and oysters and they had these on the menu. We were not disappointed! The oysters were fresh and delicious - we let our server put a platter together for us, they even brought me one oyster that was the last of it's kind and it was amazing. Our server, Maria was friendly, helpful and very attentive! They had a mussels special that we ordered and it was divine! We've had mussels plenty of times, but they put good crusty bread at the bottom of the bowl so all the delicious bowl is all soaked in the bread - genius! It was a good portion of mussels too! We shared the fish and chips and they were really good as well. Light batter, but very crispy and good fries. If we come back to the city, we would come back.

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K
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

They serve mouth watering fresh oysters. The server gave us 4 variants of oysters that wete not written on their board coz they arrived fresh in the afternoon. Loved their calamari too! Great ambiance. Perfect for quick date nights.

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AM
1 review
Dined on November 30, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Great bar. Obviously great oysters and seafood. Also maybe the best burger in the city.

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OT
Toronto
2 reviews
Dined on November 28, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Happy hour is great!

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b
Toronto
2 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 4

Good food in a small, but lively setting. Very attentive and prompt service that didn't feel rushed. Allowed us to eat, converse and leave at our own pace. That's what I want at a friendly business lunch. Only drawback is the proximity of other tables. It would not be a venue for a private conversation.

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OT
Toronto
2 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Best tuna fish in town!!!

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c
Toronto
13 reviews
Dined on October 24, 2018
Overall 4Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Love the oysters at John and Sons, excellent as always! Clam chowder very hearty and almost a meal in itself. Only reason I gave 4 instead of 5 is a lack of craft beer selection.

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K
San Francisco
42 reviews
Dined on October 24, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

I have dreamt of the smelt for a year since I last tasted them. Tonight brought me back...two dozen oysters to start, Prosecco and smelt. Can't ask for more than that!

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L
Toronto
1 review
Dined on October 15, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Great experience, service and amazing food. Shrimp Sliders - don’t ever take this off the menu!!!!

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h
Ottawa
23 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 4Food 3Service 4Ambience 4

A small restaurant. A bit of a disappointment. There bits of shell in my oysters. A limited menu but the food was good. The service was very friendly.

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M
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 4Food 3Service 5Ambience 4

We dropped in on the evening of Friday October 12thfor the fresh oysters. Was served by a very pleasant young woman. Service was excellent and friendly. Oysters and fixings were fresh and tasty. Pork belly was presented well but portion was very small and a little less juicy then I expect for this cut and tasted like warmed over pork. Spatzle and red cabbage was good. We’d go back again. Liked the feel of the place and it would be worth trying again.

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LS
1 review
Dined on October 11, 2018
Overall 4Food 5Service 5Ambience 3

It was very loud and a little pricey but the food was awesome!!!!

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OT
Toronto
3 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 4Food 5Service 5Ambience 4

I was very surprised at how loud it was. Good food though

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JM
Toronto
24 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2018
Overall 4Food 5Service 5Ambience 3

Wonderful oysters, frites and Prosecco at great prices during happy hour. Unfortunately this restaurant is very popular with the after-work crowd and it does get loud.

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YY
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

The Best! So lovely! The service was amazing - - we had a lot of restrictions and they were able to meet every one of them while genuinely being nice about it!!! Definitely going back :)

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F
Seattle
25 reviews
Dined on September 4, 2018
Overall 4Food 5Service 5Ambience 4

Very good oysters they made selection for us . (We asked them to) server very friendly. Would go again.

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AK
Calgary
2 reviews
Dined on August 30, 2018
Overall 2Food 1Service 2Ambience 1

It was very loud, the prices were unnecessarily high and the oysters were not that good

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JN
Toronto
4 reviews
Dined on August 14, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

We had a fabulous server who made great suggestions. The food was fresh, and tasty.

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OT
Tampa
1 review
Dined on July 19, 2018
Overall 3Food 2Service 2Ambience 4

Service is slow and menu limited, but pricey. Dinner for 3 w no alcohol was $137. Fish and frish saturated in cooking oil. Ironically, best dish at our table was the steak frites! May be a good place for a quick drink after work.

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H
Toronto
7 reviews
Dined on July 17, 2018
Overall 5Food 4Service 4Ambience 4

This is place is unpretentious and offers a good diversity of oysters. The appetizers and the meals are almost the same size which we felt was somewhat confusing and there was quite a wait between courses. Servers are very friendly though. Not for every dining but if you're looking for an oyster fix, definitely a place to consider.

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I
Chicago
14 reviews
Dined on July 16, 2018
Overall 5Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

Small, quirky, professional, friendly, innovative. And all that right in downtown. Especially fresh oysters, interesting dishes, and a warm environment. I'll certainly be back.

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M
London
61 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Great dinner at this hidden gem of downtown Toronto. Wonderful oysters and appetizers are delicious

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OT
Toronto
5 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2018
Overall 5Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

Good afternoon. Great food but the portions could be a little larger on the mains or provided with something else to make to meal a little more filling.

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n
1 review
Dined on July 4, 2018
Overall 3Food 3Service 2Ambience 2

service isn't great... lack of attention from the waitress; long wait for her to come over to us as we tried to get her attention for a long period of time, and the restaurant wasn't even busy at the time.
We mentioned it's for our anniversary, didn't acknowledge or do anything. Food was blend (especially the grilled octopus). fish and chips was good. oysters is decently fresh

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d
Minneapolis
8 reviews
Dined on June 25, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 4

A small simple restaurant with a limited but delicious menu.

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MB
Toronto
2 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Food was amazing especially the lobster poutine. Had me raving about it all weekend long. Can’t wait to visit again.

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a
Toronto
15 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 4

Love the vibe of this restaurant. So cozy and inviting. Ryan who was our server is very knowledgeable about oysters food and drink. He is one of the best features of the restaurant.

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SC
Toronto
1 review
Dined on June 2, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Knowledgeable staff, delicious food and great company!

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B
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2018
Overall 4Food 5Service 5Ambience 4

Understated restaurant/bar with a limited but creative menu. The food was excellent and the staff was knowledgable. If we lived in Toronto we would be regulars.

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m
Toronto
8 reviews
Dined on May 24, 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 4Ambience 2

Overall a decent meal. The oysters were a delight. We both had the tuna dish which was tasteful enough for what we were looking for.

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FA
Toronto
1 review
Dined on May 15, 2018
Overall 4Food 5Service 4Ambience 4

Always a pleasure to go to John & Sons. Menu is consistent and dependable. We had the best seat in the house and good service. The only thing to note: we were celebrating a special occasion and they do not accommodate any fanfare (read: write greetings on dessert plates. Ultimately NBD)

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RG
Toronto
5 reviews
Dined on May 5, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Oysters were awesome. Great selection

Scallop dish was divine. Sauce equisite

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M
Toronto
2 reviews
Dined on April 25, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Wonderful service and the Fish and Chips is a must!!! Would recommend to all!!

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m
Toronto
7 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 4Ambience 3

Overall the meal was enjoyed by both of us. Oysters were delicious with many options for flavoring. Seafood risotto and veggie tacos were very well prepared and tasteful.

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Y
Toronto
1 review
Dined on April 18, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Was a bit crowded when we arrived, but the Host got us settled quickly. Its obviously a popular spot!
Had a fab time! Great food! Lovely helpful staff. Can’t wait to go back!

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PN
1 review
Dined on April 14, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Superb wine list and oyster selection. Many appetizing apps and mains to choose from. Great to share with your date or order individually. Staff were super friendly and knowledgeable. A great find!

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SM
Toronto
2 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 4Ambience 4

Food was great. Oysters awesome. Service professional and knowledgeable about product.

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F
Toronto
2 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2018
Overall 3Food 2Service 3Ambience 3

We came here mainly because they offer fresh oysters. The place is small so it gets filled up quickly. It has a cozy feeling but you have to talk loudly to have a conversation. My fish tacos tasted really bland and dried. The taco itself had a weird texture, the lettuce is undressed, and they only squeezed a little bit of saracha mayo sauce on the dried deep-fried fish. It was supposed to be banh-mi style, but I didn’t find any pickled carrots or radish. So, I wouldn’t recommend this main.

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MW
Detroit
5 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2018
Overall 2Food 1Service 2Ambience 2

All four entrees were overcooked and either lacked seasoning or were strangely seasoned. Service was lacking. Maybe the oysters are okay, but the rest should be avoided.

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