We’re back with a new edition of Restaurant Roundup! The theme? Where To Eat This Weekend. We profile different parts of Canada with a list of great dining recommendations for you to check out — from fancy to hole in the wall and everything in between! If you're planning a trip to St. John's, Newfoundland look no further. Gabby Peyton take us on a tour of St. John's restaurants. You'll want to check it out whether you're a local or planning a trip - now you'll know where to eat in St. John's!
St. John’s might be the most easterly city in Canada, but there’s nothing “remote” about the cuisine. There’s a plethora of delicious places to eat, from great cafes to modern late-night small plates, and a whole lot of great fish and chips.
Where To Eat Brunch or Lunch in St. John's
This popular St. John’s restaurant is the little sister to one of Canada’s best restaurants, Raymond’s, but Merchant Tavern is appreciated in its own right. The space is impeccably designed with a Mad-Men-meets-English-Pub vibe and even boasts a giant moose head Chef Jeremy Charles took down himself.
For lunch the beef tartare hides underneath a snowy blanket of grated parmesan, just waiting to be piled on top of toasted bread, while the Big Merchant Burger is always a star with all the classic fixins’ and Merchant’s own sauce. Brunch serves up an array of morning-appropriate cocktails (partridgeberry mimosa, anyone?) along with Eggs Benedict and the fluffiest pancakes in town piled high with fresh local berries.
Bad Bones Ramen
You’ve heard about soup warming the soul, well this soup is good right to the bone. Bad Bones Ramen is a noodle shop on Water Street with a small line of seating in the restaurant and a big line of hungry people outside the door. Slurpable bowls of ramen, like Pork Belly Tonkotsu with Duck Egg Noodle or Vegetable Shoyu with Mushroom Dashi and Rice Noodle, are devoured by the dozen everyday, with pints of local craft beer on tap to wash it all down.
This restaurant may be set in a 18th century heritage home, but there is nothing old fashioned about the food at Mallard Cottage. Top Chef Alumnus Todd Perrin showcases Newfoundland ingredients in nostalgically modern ways. Brunch staples like toutons with spiced molasses, fresh cod fishcakes with savoury and bread pudding French toast are piled onto Le Creuset serving ware.
Did I mention the dessert table at brunch? Stack your plate with the decadent pastries and desserts as you sip coffee from mismatched bone china.
Where To Eat Dinner in St. John's
Seto Kitchen + Bar
Named after his grandfather, who was one of the first Chinese immigrants in St. John’s, Chef Ken Pittman’s restaurant serves food dedicated to his Asian ancestral roots and his Newfoundland heritage. Dishes whipped up in the Seto kitchen include smaller plates like molasses-glazed pork belly with crispy rice cake and dukkahrashi or mains like charred striploin with charred broccoli, soy ginger vinaigrette, gochujang butter and XO sauce.
Their late night menu of steamed buns, fried chicken and vegetable fried rice attracts hordes of just-off-work servers from restaurants all over the city and the cocktail list features inventive libations and classic favourites.
The Adelaide Oyster House
You know a restaurant is good when there is a line, and this one always has one wrapped around the block. The Adelaide Oyster House has a shucking awesome spread of oysters harvested from coves across Canada along with small plates of kobe beef lettuce wraps with Japanese Mac sauce, popcorn chicken karaage and duck teriyaki dumplings swirling around the room. This bustling restaurant shakes great cocktails, pours pints of Newfoundland beers and presents a thoughtful wine list.
Chinched Restaurant and Deli
With an ever changing menu of small plates focused on local ingredients with high-end cooking techniques and big flavours, Chinched’s Chef Shaun Hussey plates dishes like charbroiled squid with Amatriciana, parmesan and chopped parsley, pok pok turkey wings marinated in nuoc cham or pork rillette with crostini. When this landmark restaurant reopened at its new Bates Hill location they added a deli which serves up Mortadella sandwiches, patty melts and heros for lunch on the daily.
Where to Eat or Drink Something Special in St. John's
The Grounds Cafe
I don’t know who thought to put this cafe in Murray’s Garden Centre, but St. John’s thanks you. The modern looking cafe has cathedral-like ceilings decorated with hanging potted plants and colourful local art; if you visit on a weekday, there will more then likely be a group of rug hookers chattering in the back corner.
The Grounds Cafe serves lunch and brunch daily along with fresh pastries and great coffee. From bibimbap bowls and flatbreads covered in edible flowers to breakfast sandwiches and quiches filled with veggies from the back garden (they would know how to do it right), there’s no other place quite this delicious anywhere in the city.
Like many of the best parts of Newfoundland, the Gypsy Courtyard opens up when summer finally hits St. John’s. Walking quickly down Water Street you might miss the entrance to this place, but once you’re inside it’s easy to feel transported to a small European square.
Mojitos, daiquiris and beer towers pair with wood oven-fired pizzas, fresh mussels cooked in white wine and crispy chickpea salads. If you do visit during the winter months (typically October through May in Newfoundland), you can dine at the Gypsy Tearoom inside the historic Murray Premises.
Quidi Vidi Fish & Chips
This seasonal spot is so delicious it had to make the list! Quidi Vidi Fish & Chips is a stationary food truck serving up fresh fish and crispy chips during the summer months right outside the door of Quidi Vidi Brewery. It’s not hard to spot this bright red mobile eatery with its white picket fence and colourful picnic tables, but it’s best to take your order down to the wharf and enjoy an al fresco dining experience overlooking the small harbour and picturesque fishing stages.
Fixed Coffee & Baking
Nothing needs to be fixed about this cafe in downtown St. John’s. Fixed Coffee & Baking serves some of the best caffeinated drinks in town, typically using beans from Nova Scotia’s Laughing Whale Coffee Roasters, but have recently gotten into pouring their own blend from the owner’s offshoot Bonavista Coffee Company.
Delicately slowed-poured coffees and lovingly pulled espressos are sipped by regulars as they munch on amazing breakfast bagel sandwiches, fresh pastries and local farm salads. Fixed is also famous for doing pop-up take-outs — sometimes it’s tacos, other times it’s pho to go.
Gabby Peyton is based in St. John’s, Newfoundland and blogs at The Food Girl in Town. She’s a culinary adventurer and freelance writer, focusing on travel, food and drink writing with a dash of historical work. You can follow Gabby on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.