Last Updated on January 17, 2021 by Pamela
The Newfoundland restaurant scene is like its craggy coastline — sporadically populated but full of surprises. St. John’s may have the most eateries — and let’s not kid anyone, it has a fantastic dining scene — but there are plenty of restaurants across Newfoundland worth taking a road trip outside the capital.
Where once there was only fish and chips are now wood oven pizzas, fresh lobsters served right on the wharf, and inventive high-end cuisine that can be found from coast to coast to coast and back again.
Here are some of the BEST Newfoundland restaurants.
The Boreal Diner sits on the historic main street of Bonavista in the Templeman House, a restored 19th century home. Patrons pound coffees made with the owner’s own Bonavista Coffee Company direct-trade roast, and brunch, lunch and dinner showcase dishes like lamb cavatelli pasta, lobster bisque and Sichuan peppercorn stir-fried noodles made with locally-sourced produce and meats.
On the second floor, diners can peruse the offerings at Broken Books, an independent bookshop, while they wait for their food.
Perched on the most northern tip of the Avalon Peninsula, Grates Cove Studio is a mix of art, food, and freaking gorgeous views. The end of the drive on the Baccalieu Trail means eclectic dishes made with local ingredients like Creole BBQ and ginger calamari, Korean vegetable pancakes and lobster pie.
The gallery/hotel/restaurant also offers cooking classes, boxed picnics, and even buffet-style catering if you bring a crowd along with you.
Award-winning Chef Jason Lynch captains the kitchen at Neddie’s Harbour Inn, which features views of Bonne Bay from The Black Spruce’s windows framing the world-famous fjords, an hour from the entrance of Gros Mourne National Park.
Carrot Fritters, local mussels with white curry and Harvard beet salads start off evening service, followed by rack of lamb with charred tomato risotto or catch of the day, and finish with sea buckthorn panna cotta and red-wine stewed blueberries picked just over the hill.
Raymond’s restaurant put St. John’s fine dining on the map. Chef Jeremy Charles has been called one of the best chefs in Canada and his chef de cuisine just won Top Chef Canada. Their take on what Newfoundland cuisine is, and could be, takes diners on seven-course journeys through the backwoods and open waters in their impeccably designed dining room.
From cod sounds (the bladder of the fish) deep-fried to resemble chicharrones to towering seafood platters overflowing with diver-caught scallops to dark chocolate mousse cocooned under a bed of micro river mint, this is the one meal in St. John’s you will never forget (add this one to your Newfoundland restaurants bucket list!).
This seaside restaurant may be a nightly pop-up at the Irish Loop Coffee House, but there’s nothing temporary about the flavours at Fork; they stick with you like the sauce of their braised pork ribs sticks to your fingers. Small plates like scallop ceviche with strawberry, jalapeno, and mint and Newfoundland mussels bathed in white wine and garlic butter are followed by handmade pasta with dandelion pesto and duck breast with confit granola and wildflower honey harvested across the harbour.
Upper Amherst Cove
UPDATE: Restaurant is CLOSED for the remainder of 2020
Their wood-oven pizzas and bread put them on the map, but this cleverly-named restaurant (a shout-out to the iconic Buena Vista Social Club) serves up a whole lot more. The chatter is constant in the Bonavista Social Club dining room — and on their newly screened-in ocean view patio — as guests devour moose burgers with partridgeberry ketchup, Caesar salads, and an array of freshly baked goods. One of the best off-the-beaten-path Newfoundland restaurants.
This wharf side eatery looking out over New World Island’s archipelago has been plating fresh lobster at their eclectically-decorated restaurant for almost 40 years. Patrons of Doyle W. Sansome & Sons Super Lobster Pool mingle underneath decorative lobster pots in the bright red dining room or perch on the wharf eating seafood chowder, fish cakes and lobster as fresh as you can get.
The ochre-red red saltbox which houses the Artisan Inn has been hosting guests from all over the world for more than 25 years and accommodates diners at their in-house restaurant, the Twine Loft. Sundown cocktails whet the whistle of guests sitting on the oceanside patio in the summer months of this seasonal operation, spread through several buildings along the shoreline of historic Trinity.
A small menu is served nightly by the gracious staff and might include fresh cod en papillote with roasted lemon potatoes or lamb shank braised in local honey brown beer followed by blueberry lemon torte. One of my favourite Newfoundland restaurants in Trinity.
This downtown restaurant is housed in the old Bank of Nova Scotia building and you can always bank on a place at the bar. The Merchant Tavern is the sister property to the famed Raymond’s, and the family resemblance is obvious in the quality of the food and the service. The cocktail menu is inventive and centrepiece bar is constantly occupied by regulars and new imbibers.
Starters and mains change with the seasons, but the wild game is likely to appear on the menu, as is marinated tuna, broccoli, and anchovy lumache or the Merchant Burger with cheese, house-smoked bacon, white onion, iceberg lettuce, tomato, pickle, and Merchant sauce. Simply one of the best Newfoundland restaurants.
Newfound Sushi is the top-ranked restaurant in Corner Brook and with the myriad of fresh seafood available in Newfoundland, it’s no doubt the sashimi will be fresh. The expected rolls are on the menu, and specialty rolls like Snow West Roll with tempura shrimp, sriracha, avocado, spicy sauce, topped with local snow crab and masago abound, but other dishes make this place truly standout: Torched mackerel and the Boreal Salad with kale, spinach, seasonal mushrooms, and garlic sesame dressing showcase the local in international cuisine.
UPDATE: The restaurant is CLOSED for the remainder of 2020.
The two 19th century homes overlooking Ship Cove in Trinity Bay have become Fisher’s Loft, luxury inn and restaurant. Now it encompasses the whole hillside of Port Rexton with cottages for honeymooners and a conference centre for corporate retreats. The restaurant at the inn presents a small menu with big flavours. A simple green salad is transformative when the lettuce is plucked from the kitchen garden 10 feet from the table and local cod is plated with roasted leeks, potato purée, and sesame brown butter.
The quiet inlet of Quidi Vidi is home to Mallard Cottage, a cozy yet polished restaurant presenting rustic yet intricate dishes like corn fried cod cheeks with roasted garlic aioli, carbonara with fiddleheads, smoked pork loin and parmesan or halibut with confit potato, all served family-style in Le Creuset dinnerware.
The brunch cake table is Instagrammable even on a bad day and Sunday afternoon kitchen parties with live traditional music and a roaring fire are food for the soul.
The menu at Seto is devoted to the heritage of Chef Ken Pittman’s grandfather (he was one of the first Chinese immigrants to arrive in Newfoundland in the 1930s) with a mélange of Asian flavours and classic Newfoundland staples.
Feast on molasses-glazed pork belly with crispy rice cakes and locally farmed carrots underneath a feathering of ‘dukkahrashi’ or charred striploin with XO jus and a side of fries tossed in toasted chili oil in the dark blue dining room paired with an impressive beer list featuring local stars and international. The cozy restaurant’s prodigious cocktail list is enough reason to become a regular. One of the best Newfoundland restaurants for Asian cuisine.
Affixed to the side of Bates Hill in Downtown St. John’s, this bright teal restaurant houses a deli counter at serving up fried mortadella sandwiches and coppa to bring home for Friday night’s charcuterie board, while daily Happy Hour sees dozens of shucked PEI oysters, buckets of fried pig ears and house-made tater tots.
In Chinched’s navy-hued main dining room decorated with antique pig-themed paraphernalia, the ever-changing menu is consumed by religiously-regular patrons and newbies alike: Wok charred brussels sprouts, rabbit pappardelle with breadcrumbs and crispy skin duck confit swirl around the rambunctious dining room.
After a boat tour scouring for icebergs and whales with Iceberg Quest, hungry voyagers gather at Canvas Cove Bistro for a meal overlooking the ocean. Local beers colonize the taps with beer from Split Rock Brewing down the street and the cocktails will probably be shaken with iceberg ice.
Jazzed-up Newfoundland favourites include seafood chowder, fresh cod with chimi-butter and savoury porridge, and smoked capelin with marinated kale, sunflower seeds and Parmigiano. It’s all followed by fresh pie filled with whatever berry is in season.