Bounty Catch at La Mer

I pulled up into the on-site parking lot of Poissonnerie La Mer at René-Lévesque and Papineau thinking that despite being on my radar ...

I pulled up into the on-site parking lot of Poissonnerie La Mer at René-Lévesque and Papineau thinking that despite being on my radar for quite some time, living close by for the last three years, and hearing nothing but praise from everyone who spoke of the place, it was the first time I was to set foot inside the landmark fishmonger.

The occasion was for a handful of food and lifestyle editors to tour the premises and partake in a lunch tasting highlighting many selections from their catering menu, all within the context of promoting their second Oystoberfest seafood tasting bonanza. Let’s just say that as I left, I knew that I had found my top-of-mind resource for all things coming from waters deep.

The emporium dates back to 1968 when the Katsoulis family decided to open a fish market unlike any found in the city at the time.  After rapid expansion and a move to larger premises to accommodate its new status as a wholesaler and distributor, La Mer became the city’s leading purveyor of fish and seafood.

Today it is much more than that; rather, a veritable treasure trove of everything from under the sea (try over 200 varieties of fish and seafood), PLUS a gourmet market complete with specialty imported products like caviar, olive oils, and pasta, a cooked-to-order menu, new fine cheese selection, hostess gifts, and most of what you’ll need for a solo dinner, or to entertain friends with taste.

But if all of that variety leads to indecision, then head fishmonger François-Xavier Dehedin and his team of professionals are there to give the best advice. They know their trade inside out and are more than happy to provide information about nutrition, and the origins of the fish, not to mention suggesting incredible recipes. 

We started with a run through of the gourmet store, which also includes a wide variety of prepared frozen items, the gourmet-looking tuna burgers and coquille St. Jacques catching my eye.  From here it was through to the temperature-controlled fish market where hanging coats next to the door are for use by customers, a thoughtful touch and great to cut the chill if you plan to spend a bit of time admiring the offering.  Here we passed impeccably presented displays of whole dorado, snapper, sea bass, and cod, all with the telltale freshness of gleaming skin and scales. 

Prefer something already filleted? Not problem as they have an equally large amount on show, or will gladly select, weigh, clean, and fillet the one you want.  A huge swordfish by the door was cut through revealing the four long muscles that make up the body that, when sliced, provide those pork-textured steaks. In salmon alone I counted seven or eight kinds. 

As we moved toward the back the shellfish took center stage with Dungeness crab, tanks of live lobsters by weight, mussels, clams, shrimp, scallops, sea urchin, and no less than 40 kinds of oysters - the largest selection available in the province.

La Mer Fish and Seafood Market
1840 René-Lévesque Blvd. East (corner Papineau)


seafood 4501174001853933693

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