Taking over the old Bon’s Submarine space at Queen just west of Spadina, the Big Fish is the first foray into western waters for George Hung, who also owns Leslieville’s Reliable Fish and Chips. While his other eatery sticks to the classic English dish, The Big Fish offers up a variety of grab ’n’ go foods for the fish lover—with the odd burger thrown in for good measure.
After snapping up the spot, Hung gutted and renovated the place in under three months, leaving the décor side of things to his niece, Melissa Wong. The place is outfitted in a palette of dove grey and white, with vintage-inspired images on the walls. Diners can perch on a counter that wraps around the front window or sit on the small patio out front, where, looking east, they can catch a glimpse of the lineup at nearby Banh Mi Boys. Hung notes that the shoddy railing circling the patio will soon be replaced by something more akin to a picket fence.
The menu focuses on fish, naturally, with choices including basa, tilapia, salmon and haddock. Each fish can be prepared as a sandwich, plated with a salad or fries, or served up as the classic fish ’n’ chips. The fish is sourced from four different fishmongers around the city; Hung says he opts for the better product when available, and selects wild-caught fish when possible, noting that the tilapia is farmed and impossible to catch in the wild. A basic batter is used for the English-style dishes; the grilled fish is coated in both corn flour and cornmeal, giving it more of a crunch. Sandwiches can be topped with sub-style classics (lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, banana peppers), and sauces include barbecue, garlic mayo and tartar. The selection of burgers—including a lamb option with rosemary and garlic ($11.95)—will keep pescaphobes happy. Additionally, the place is licensed, offering basic brews like Stella and Keith’s. With servings of fish averaging out at seven ounces, it’s unlikely that anyone will leave hungry. “We are the Big Fish, after all!” laughs Hung.
The Big Fish, 406 Queen St. W., 416-603-8102