Last Updated on December 21, 2023 by Pamela MacNaughtan
Tucked away in Upper Amherst Cove, a small village near Bonavista, Newfoundland the Bonavista Social Club is one of the hottest restaurants on the island. Owned and operated by Katie and Shane Hayes, the Bonavista Social Club is one of a handful of restaurants in Newfoundland that serves fresh, whole, organic dishes; and refuses to serve fried foods. It’s a rather new concept for Newfoundland, a province known for fish n’ chips and other fried goodies.
I am a huge fan of restaurants that create menus based on locally grown ingredients. The dishes are full of flavour, and change depending on the season, forcing diners to try new dishes each time they visit instead of always eating the same thing. In large cities, these types of restaurants are able to operate quite easily as they partner with local farmers for fresh ingredients. In Upper Amherst Cove things are different. There is no such thing as a thriving farming community to draw from. So how does Katie Hayes pull it off? Simple, she grows the vegetables and raises the animals herself!
The menu at Bonavista Social Club features soups, sandwiches, pastas, and wood fire pizzas, all of which are made from fresh ingredients. Hell, even the wooden dishes are locally made (by her Father!). On the day of my visit, Braised Lamb Pasta was on the menu and I couldn’t resist ordering. The lamb was delightful with no gamey aftertaste, the egg noodles had been made that morning and I used fresh bread and homemade butter to sop up the broth. I swear, it was like sitting in my Grandmother’s kitchen eating a home-cooked meal.
A little nervous when they first opened, Katie and Shane have nothing to worry about. The Bonavista Social Cub may be out of the way in terms of location, but it’s always packed with diners. In fact, it’s best to make a reservation so you don’t get turned away at the door.
I swear if I could have gone back the next day. I would have!
Upper Amherst Cove, NL
Thursday to Sunday 11am – 7pm