John & Sons Oyster House - Downtown
John & Sons Oyster House - Downtown

John & Sons Oyster House - Downtown

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.johnandsonsoysterhouse.com/
  • Phone: 4167035111
  • Payment Options: AMEX,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Seafood
  • Executive Chef: Sonia Potochnyj
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Beer, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Private Party Facilities: Private Dining
  • Private Party Contact: Natalie (416) 703-5111
  • 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.
  • Special Events: Call Natalie at 416.703.5111

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Bay and Adelaide
  • Public Transit: King or Queen Station
  • Parking: Public Lot
A word from John & Sons Oyster House - Downtown
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.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerGreat for Lunch
  • Diners' Choice WinnerSeafood
John & Sons Oyster House - Downtown reviews from OpenTable diners
23 reviews since July 4, 2014
Overall Rating3.7
  • Food4
    Service3.7
  • Ambiance3.7
    Noise LevelModerate
87% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for lunch (12)fit for foodies (11)neighborhood gem (10)good for groups (3)hot spot (2)special occasion (1)great for brunch (1)Show More
  • disappointing
    TravellerVIP
    Dined on 10/2/2014
    I made reservations. Was serially ignored by the bartender/oyster shucker, waitress when I arrived. The hostess finally came and dropped off a few menus, promised water which never came. I noticed that all the tables around me automatically had bread and water. The waitress showed up just as I was getting ready to walk out. I ordered a drink and 2 apps, the waitress brought the food and proceeded to not check on me again. I originally wanted to try some oysters but common sense won out and I went to the KEG for dinner. Unfriendly scene.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food as usual excellent
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 9/25/2014
    Food as usual was excellent but noticed prices had gone up and portion sizes down !
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Tasty and relaxed
    Writerjaclyn
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    Our group of four enjoyed dinner at John & Sons. Oysters were great, fish and chips were terrific, lobster poutine was also terrific. We very much enjoyed the bottle of sancerre that the server recommended, too.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 9/8/2014
    This place is great for oysters! We tried all 8 choices. The Asian pear vinegar was a terrific compliment. Also of note, was the freshly made bouillabaisse. We were lucky to get the last two bowls.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not impressed
    svaliant1983
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    The interior of the restaurant is very well done. I was not impressed with the service or the prices. We had a dozen oysters, a beer and a ceasar and our bill was almost $80! The prices of the oysters were not divulged by the wait staff and were not written on the board so I figured typical market price during oyster season is usually $2.75-$3.5 / oyster. I couldn't believe my eyes when the bill came. To make matters worse - two of my $4.25 oysters were bad! On top of that it took us an hour and a half from the time we sat down till when we paid the bill. We were going to stay for a full dinner but promptly went down the street. If they charge so much for their food they should definitely be able to afford to have more staff.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good food but pricey & bad service
    pollydiner
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    We paid $45 for a dozen oysters and our server was not knowledgeable about the differences. The restaurant was not busy at all on a Thursday night so we were disappointed that we had to call our server over several times for water, missing items and our bill.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • nice
    Luv2luncheon
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    Nice for lunch fast and friendly -fish and chips are great.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent Seafood
    Canadian135
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    Excellent seafood, beautifully presented. Tuna tartare is exceptional. Good oyster selection- a real treat. Many ceviches in the summer. Seafood both high end and lunch friendly (the latter including fish and chips and lobster poutine). Tucked away on a side street, built around a large open block with tables on the outside. Great dining in the financial district, and cozy, relatively small - not as noisy/large as many other options. Friendly ambience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fabulous Seafood
    Canadian135
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    Excellent oysters and vibrant seafood selections - lobster, scallops, tuna tartare is wonderful. Highly recommend for a lunch in the Financial District which is slightly off the beaten track (Temperance Street), has an intimate feeling, and excellent food. I have only been here for lunch - reservations are highly recommended.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent Service and Food
    Liz8
    Dined on 7/11/2014
    We had the crab cake (pretty good) on top of an arugula and picked carrot salad (delicious), fried smelt that came with lightly battered, not too hot whole peppers (yum), corn and shrimp fritters (delicious again), spicy shrimp tacos with fresh mango salsa and I think it was salsa verde, which also had chunks of avocado I'm it (amazing and my fave; one order has 3 tacos), and baked oysters (fresh and really tasty). Overall the food was excellent and very fresh. I also had a Bloody Caesar to which they add fresh shredded horseradish. It was one of the best Caesars I've had. The service was equally excellent. Our wait staff was attentive, friendly, genuine and very helpful. The service really elevated our dining experience. Highly recommend.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Meal
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 7/4/2014
    Always a delicious meal and the oysters couldn't be fresher.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 12 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 4, 2014
    • Overall Rating3.9
    • Food4
    • Ambiance3.7
    • Service4
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 222 reviews are from the John & Sons Oyster House - Downtown reviews archive.
  • Good for a casual get together
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 6/24/2014
    Tucked away on a small street in the business district is this small fish restaurant. It seemed quiet on a Tuesday evening - but picked up a little. Everyone enjoyed their food. It's not really a destination spot - but if you're in the area and want to find a little spot that doesn't feel overly manufactured - this may be the place.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Hidden Gem
    ManAboutTown
    Dined on 6/17/2014
    Close to King & Bay, but hard to find nestled as it is in a narrow street surrounded by tall buildings, the restaurant serves consistently good food. Staff are comfortably casual and efficient. Great place to have lunch.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2010VIP
    Dined on 6/11/2014
    - always excellent food; is a bit loud so wouldn't recommend a "quiet" anything! - service is okay, not great
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent Choice
    Tmag
    Dined on 6/4/2014
    This is a great restaurant that I continue to enjoy when I can in the centre of the city. If you have a love for Oysters or other seafood this is the place.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Disappointing
    TOFoodie
    Dined on 6/4/2014
    My partner and I were excited to give John & Sons a shot. The restaurant's history was a cute hook, and the menu looked interesting and delicious. Unfortunately, bad service and a poorly constructed main course took away from what could've been an OK dinner. When we first arrived, a hostess brought us to our seats and chatted about the oyster selection, ultimately offering us a tasting platter. Great. Then she switched with a server who was at best passive aggressive and at worst outright rude. We ordered sliders (the reason we'd come) and were totally disappointed. Half were burnt and all were fairly bland. It's the service that really stuck us, though, and a shame because I would've branched out more on the menu if it'd been better.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 5/23/2014
    Very expensive for what you get. we went to the downtown location, i hear the uptown location is better.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • alibraVIP
    Dined on 5/21/2014
    Booked the day before and was seated at the bar not at a table Food was overpriced
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Regular
    luvgoodfood
    Dined on 5/7/2014
    Food is always fresh and a taste sensation. The place always has a nice buzz to it and service efficient and simple.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good seafood place
    Nakosy
    Dined on 5/6/2014
    Unpretentious, small and cosy restaurant. The dishes that we tried were good but nothing outstanding.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • John & Sons a must
    MusingsonEating
    Dined on 5/1/2014
    I love that this place is tucked away on Temperance and has an interesting legacy. A great spot for after work drinks and eats - the staff are friendly and just the right amount of attentive.
    Special Features:
    Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointing
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 4/24/2014
    Oysters are good but service is slow and both items we ordered off the hot menu were terrible :(
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Wish there were more!
    Twin
    Dined on 4/10/2014
    The vibe, food and service are Manhattan'esque! Never disappointed I just wish there were more like this in Toronto!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointing menu. High prices.
    Pcotton
    Dined on 4/1/2014
    We started with oysters which were very expensive but poor quality and flavour relative to other experiences. The menu was limited with selections being small portions and far too expensive for quality of food served. The dessert menu consists of about two items neither of which were very appetizing. They had neither crab nor lobster. I would not visit again. If you're looking for seafood, starfish is much higher quality and better priced. I can always get lobster there!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • great oyster and light sea food far
    LBBisDiner
    Dined on 3/20/2014
    Went to thank business partners for closing a financing. Each person on the team each enjoyed seafood and was comfortable in a friendly, informal and open setting. We had Oysters and Shrimp as appetizers, Scallops and Tuna for mains. Great white wine selection and consider the dining experience as A + for food, ambience and value. Happy I choose the location as it was easy for each person to walk to from their respective offices.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fresh and tasty seafood
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 3/17/2014
    We started with oysters - some Irish and some from Massachussetts. All were fresh and delicious - little need for the accompaniments. The calamari appetizer was perfectly cooked and zinged with spice. The squash soup with smoked oysters was delicious. The deep fried smelts were overcooked but at least not too oily. The fried oyster sliders were better. The black cod main was Asian-flavoured and had a lovely broth to sip. The doughnuts and brownie for dessert were both excellent. The atmosphere was a bit noisy and the service was a bit inattentive towards the end of the meal, then improved for dessert.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • underrated
    colin
    Dined on 3/12/2014
    amazing food, amazing ambience, cool atmosphere. look forward to visiting again
    Special Features:
    romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Overpriced because of location
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 3/7/2014
    Takes advantage of the financial district crowd to charge high prices for just decent food. Service is poor, server sat at bar with friends more than actually seeing to his tables, then automatically added 20% gratuity to the bill. Better off going to Rodney's for oysters.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • excellent seafood and very
    carm
    Dined on 2/20/2014
    excellent seafood and very good and knowledgeable service
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • John and Sons Downtown
    Mick
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    I had reservations for Valentines Day, was seated on time. Overall the service was great, the oysters were outstanding. The other items on the menu that we had were great as well, the fare (portion size) is a little lighter. But, what I expected. The wine, beer and drink selections were very good as well. I will definitely re-visit this establishment on a future trip to Toronto.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious oysters, warm environment
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    My husband and I really enjoyed our experience at John and Sons. We had a wonderful, tasty selection of oysters (the main attraction for us), and some well prepared appetizers (clams and fried smelts). The atmosphere is simple, warm and cozy and the service was friendly and unpretentious. We were on our way to a music event and it was a great pre-show destination. Would recommend for couples on dates.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • So so place
    GoodfoodTO
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    There's no parking around the area. If you are coming from outside of downtown and are driving, allot time to find parking. Closest is city hall parking P. Not a suitable place for families. I think all tables were high tables. We went on Valentines Day and the reservation was for 5:30pm. Wasn't too busy but they informed us that our seat was good only until 7pm, which was plenty of time. The problem was..the staff was a bit slow to take our order. We got beverages and waited 15-20mins before being asked about our order. They must have been understaffed. We had the grilled shrimp app which was mediocre. Mains were arctic char which was a small portion but tasty. The other main was scallop risotto which was very delicious.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great seafood and service
    Grazor
    Dined on 2/12/2014
    Great service, good food, funky little spot and very consistent. Best fish and chips around.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always fantastic oysters!
    Sami
    Dined on 1/27/2014
    Been to John and Sons a few times now, and never disappointed! The oysters are fantastic and a great bar list... The staff are friendly and provide awesome service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Bay St. Business Lunch
    BayStreetLunchSpots
    Dined on 1/23/2014
    I have been to John & Sons a number of times and it is always delicious. Staff is friendly and attentive. Portions are on the small side and prices are on the high side, so bring your expense account. I often recommend it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • will not return for dinner
    hawk
    Dined on 1/16/2014
    We were expecting a vibrant restaurant however john and sons turned out to be more like a bar.. not the best food and the appetizers were a let down.. will not return or recommend
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Loved the Oyster Sliders and
    TorontonianTravellerVIP
    Dined on 12/13/2013
    Loved the Oyster Sliders and the Clam Chowder. I have been to the midtown location and it has a little more room.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food is fantastic...the place
    BusinessDinerVIP
    Dined on 12/9/2013
    Food is fantastic...the place is always bustling. We love coming here!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Downtown Hideaway
    StarkersVIP
    Dined on 11/5/2013
    Good food, consistently prepared and presented, with attentive staff. A real bistro in the heart of downtown (others are just faking it!).
    Special Features:
    hot spot, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • All right, but better nearby
    openmkt
    Dined on 10/29/2013
    Oysters were of good quality. Other dishes were underwhelming, aside from a very good Octopus crudo. Shrimp tacos served on semi-rigid, almost fridge-cold tortillas. Service was peculiar, with our waitress taking plates away before we were finished the dishes on the table and at one point hovering over one of us while so she could take her plate away. Just bizarre. Overall, an adequate experience, but I don't think I'll be back. Much better options within a short distance of here.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic