John & Sons Oyster House - Downtown

4.6
557 reviews
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CAN$31 to CAN$50
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Seafood
Top tags:
  • Bar Seating
  • Business Meals
  • Lunch
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.
What 557 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.7
Food
4.5
Service
4.3
Ambience
4.1
Value
Noise · Moderate
98% of people would recommend it to a friend
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AS
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Perfect combination of high quality with laid back feel.

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JJ
Toronto
16 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 4Food 5Service 4Ambience 4

Delicious seafood, some of the best oysters in the City.

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TO
Toronto
2 reviews
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 4

Excellent oysters and seafood dishes. Very flavourful. Great spot for quiet intimate dining.

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l
Toronto
5 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2019
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 4

First time here and was happy with the service (Kendall) was very informative and nice to chat with. Started off with a fantastic Burgundy and a few oysters. Nice pairing and a good selection of oysters from B.C. Nova Scotia PEI etc The smelts were next and very tasty. We ordered another Burgundy and then the main , a Halibut dish with spinach roasted tomatoes and white beans. Really enjoyed it but I thought for $29 the fish was small with way to many beans. I will recommend to friends and will be back for more. Cheers

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b
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Excellent food and service!
I would highly recommend it.

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j
Toronto
1 review
Dined on February 6, 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

delightful space
best seafood in Toronto...uber fresh oysters and the bouillabaisse is superb

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SG
1 review
Dined on February 5, 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Amazing service and food as usual. The only issue was just a bit cold where we sat.

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C
Stuttgart Area
5 reviews
Dined on January 23, 2019
Overall 3Food 5Service 2Ambience 3

Four of us ate there this week for dinner. Happy hour oysters were very small but fresh. Tuna tartare is outstanding and my halibut too. Other items were very good. Waitress was not friendly or engaging and hope this was a one off. Beer selection needs major upgrade to reflect their stated focus on local. Would only go back for lunch to have the Tuna Tartare though Modus Ristorante has one that rivals too.

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CT
1 review
Dined on January 21, 2019
Overall 2Food 1Service 4Ambience 4

I had the oysters and a lobster roll. Was sick for the following 48 hrs.

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C
Denver
19 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Awesome food! The oysters are some o& the best I’ve ever had. Ryan does a great job. I’m from Arizona and had business in Toronto. I’ll be back there and definitely make John and Sons a stop when I visit.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 4

Everything was great except table of regulars, 3 women that were very loud and every second word was the F word, kinda ruins the dinning experience, vulgar and loud mouth , no class

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OT
Toronto
111 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Always consistantly great. Lived the scallops today and my wife love fish and chips. Service was fantastic from Colleen

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OT
1 review
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 4Food 4Service 3Ambience 3

Great date here. Split a fish and chips and a bunch of their Salten Rock oysters. Fun time. Good service.

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OT
Kansas City
7 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 1Food 4Service 5Ambience 1

Small cramped unattractive place.

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BR
Toronto
3 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

This place, tucked away on Temperance St, offered a great night of delicious cocktails, fresh seafood and people watching. Perched at the bar, we could take in all of the action in this packed little restaurant. Ask for a variety of oysters and you get a beautiful platter with and explanation of where each oyster is from and what order it would be best to eat them in. Our seafood extravaganza main course was unique and delicious with an addictive mussel salad that was acidic enough to cut the richness of the lobster and shrimp, but not so acidic to blow out your taste buds. We really didn’t want to leave so we enjoyed some port and dessert, which was also fantastic. Just go.

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MB
Calgary
10 reviews
Dined on December 17, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 4

First time, had a fabulous set of oysters and sampled some appetizers. Really a great little spot.

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TC
Toronto
1 review
Dined on December 17, 2018
Overall 4Food 5Service 4Ambience 3

Small, neighbourhood spot, with a great variety on the menu. Good for pescatarians and carnivores alike, there are fish dishes among all the seafood. With tightly packed tables, as well as bar seats, the noise level is noticeably high. Food is fantastic though, and always fun to try the daily oyster specials. Will go again.

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JR
Toronto
1 review
Dined on December 15, 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 3

Food was awesome and the staff made it even better!

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m
Toronto
1 review
Dined on December 15, 2018
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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OT
Toronto
4 reviews
Dined on December 6, 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 4Ambience 4

As expected

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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
3 reviews
Dined on November 28, 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Happy hour is great!

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b
Toronto
4 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
45 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
24 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
26 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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