The most easterly province in Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador is home to the oldest settlements and cities in North America. The province is steeped in history and features an abundance of natural wonders and breath-taking coastal views. The area is also a prime location to experience the very best in culinary creativity that Canada has to offer. With something for every appetite and palette, here are the top ten restaurants in Newfoundland and Labrador.
With its name derived from Mediterranean spelling for salt cod, Bacalao celebrates the versatility of fish, mixing it with Newfoundland culinary traditions. With a focus on local produce, this charming restaurant uses seasonal and sustainable ingredients as often as they can. Highlights from their menu include their soon to be famous seafood chowder, made with snow crab and cold water shrimp, and their crisp salt cod fritters served with potato and eggs. All their dishes are made from scratch, even their desserts. They also serve local beers and spirits to pair perfectly with the food. It’s no wonder that Bacalao has received a number of awards and titles, like a gold medal in the Canadian Culinary Championships, and a gold medal at the Olympic Gold Medal Plates Competition in 2011.
Opening its doors in 2011, Raymond’s Restaurant features the creativity of head chef Jeremy Charles and sommelier Jeremy Bonia. The restaurant’s name comes from Charles’ grandfather and Bonia’s father, who were both called Raymond. The building was built in 1915 and is a prime example of Newfoundland and Labrador classical architecture. The menu is crafted using locally grown and sourced ingredients, as well as the freshest and highest quality seafood and meat. The menu changes on a regular basis, but highlights include dishes like roasted Québec duck with savoury duck sausage and Hubbard squash, or roasted cod with cod brandade, smoked pork shoulder and a carrot purée. Diners can enjoy the perfectly prepared seafood while gazing out over St John’s harbour.
A recent addition of Newfoundland and Labrador is Newfound Sushi. A dream of Mr Vincent, Newfound Sushi became a household name in 2012. Mixing Asian traditions with Newfoundland and Labrador’s finest seafood, Newfound Sushi has been making waves with its innovative and tantalising dishes. A small yet inviting space, the restaurant is decorated to reflect the culture of the province. Their sushi rolls are named after local famous landmarks, such as the Atlantic roll, the Humber River roll and the Bay of Islands roll. There are also a number of other Asian inspired dishes available, such as miso soup, Japanese seaweed salad, and teriyaki stir fries. The restaurant uses only local seafood in their dishes, like North Atlantic cod and cold water Atlantic shrimp. For a little taste of the East, Newfound Sushi is the spot to go.
Bringing a touch of French flavour to Newfoundland and Labrador is Bistro on Roe. Taking its inspiration from the traditions of the Parisian bistro, Bistro on Roe is a relaxed and welcoming restaurant. Their menu is created using simple ingredients. Popular dishes include seafood chowder, butternut squash ravioli, the house burger with pan fries, cod puttanesca, and Newman’s Port scallops with blueberries. For those with a sweet tooth, go for one of the desserts. The flourless chocolate cake or the crème brulée are recommended. There’s also gluten-free and vegan options available.
Java Jack’s Restaurant and Gallery is a little yellow house full of character. The building is part of the area’s heritage and is located in the heart of Gros Morne National Park. It began life as a small café in 2000, but after an increase in its popularity, expanded three years later to include a restaurant upstairs. The vegetables and herbs are grown out back in the large, organic garden. Try the classic Canadian Caesar salad, the moose sausage cassoulet, or the tomato and fennel mussels. There’s also a great selection of wines and local brews. Keep in mind, however, that this spot is only open from May to September!
Head to the small village of Upper Amherst Cove and find the Bonavista Social Club. This quaint restaurant is owned and run by Katie and Shane Hayes, who aim to capture and promote the unique culture of rural Canada. Food is freshly prepared and the open kitchen boasts the only commercial wood-fired bread oven in the entire province. All of the bread is made fresh daily and can be enjoyed indoors, or on their ocean-view deck. The menu changes depending on what is available from the garden, so expect fresh flavours. Pizzas, soups, sandwiches and salads are just a few of the dishes served in this charming restaurant, and if you’re new to this spot, take a walk through the gardens of the cove and see the farm. The bread and other homemade products are available to buy, so you can take the taste of the Bonavista Social Club home with you.
A fusion of café, crêperie and gallery, Neil’s Yard is situated at the Mockbeggar Plantation in Bonavista. The brainchild of Neil Shah, the menu is a feast of freshly-made soups, pastries, sweet and savoury Breton crêpes, and the famous cheesecake, there are even gluten-free and vegan options available. While dining, visitors can gaze at the works of local artists that are dotted around the space. There is also a great selection of teas to suit any mood or occasion. When passing through Bonavista, Neil’s Yard is a must visit.
Built in 1870, the Ferryland Lighthouse, once abandoned for a and in disrepair, is now home to Lighthouse Picnics. After being restored, this spot reopened in 2004, offering a very unique and memorable dining experience. Lighthouse Picnics specializes in picnic food that uses the freshest ingredients. The sweet smell of baking bread and simmering fruit meets visitors when they first walk in the door. Popular choices from the menu include the chutney glazed ham and brie on homemade bread, crab cakes, the orange crumble square, and the curried chicken with mango and sliced almonds. Have a picnic, which comes with a dessert and freshly squeezed lemonade, while taking in breathtaking views of the most easterly part of North America. You can borrow a book from the library and take it along with your picnic.
Located at the Artisan Inn, the Twine Loft Restaurant boasts a menu that changes daily. The open-plan kitchen uses local ingredients and home grown produce to create dishes that have diners returning again and again. The fish comes from local fishermen, and the fruit from their own garden and the surrounding hillside. Dishes are served in a table d’hotestyle, and can be adapted to suit those with special dietary requirements. Dishes include herbed pork served on roasted apple parsnip, carrot orange soup, and coq au vin served on pasta with sautéed beans. Diners can eat indoors, or al fresco on the wrap-around deck overlooking the water.