After keeping eager would-be patrons waiting for almost six months, Fishbar, the new restaurant from William Tavares (co-owner of Salt Wine Bar just a few doors away), will officially open tomorrow. We snuck in during Fishbar’s soft opening to see what it was all about and meet the staff Tavares has assembled for the front and back of the house.
Committed to using as many local and seasonal ingredients as possible, Fishbar relies on trusted purveyors like 100km Foods and Hooked, and is thus able to offer a fish selection that’s largely Ocean Wise certified. The evolving menu is made up of tapas-style dishes, backed by a list of 12 whites and 10 reds by the glass. Specialties include oyster platters (at least five varieties offered every day) at market price, wild-caught shrimp cocktail with Mississippi cocktail sauce ($13), and St. Ambrose beer-battered fish and chips, made with line-caught haddock and served with house tartar sauce ($10).
At the front of the house is Jamie Duran, who has over 25 years of experience in restaurants like Centro, Le Sélect Bistro and Chiado (where he and Tavares first met almost a decade ago). Behind Fishbar’s oyster selection is Mark Moore, who learned the trade during an eight-year stint at Rodney’s Oyster House, Fishbar’s current oyster provider. In the kitchen, chef David Friedman (Table 17, Kaiseki Sakura, Fuzion) executes Tavares’s vision for Fishbar: “[to] take the flavours of fish and make them exciting, innovative, better.”
After a complete renovation to the space (previously home to Todo Fusion Resto-Bar), Fishbar leaves no trend behind. Retro garage-style fixtures show off bare Edison bulbs, which warm up the space and illuminate the exposed brick walls. Repurposed 1950s school chairs are paired with banquettes made from reclaimed butcher’s block wood (both from the Junction’s Smash) to provide seating in the main dining room. Tables are natural elm wood with high, bar-style seating in the front and back of the room.
Fishbar, 217 Ossington Ave., 647-340-0227, fishbar.ca