where to eat in newfoundland

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About a year ago, we had a magical trip to Newfoundland. The spark for the visit was to see where Leif Erikson “discovered” North America some 400 years before Columbus. What we didn’t expect was how truly wonderful this place is and how we would fall in love with it: Friendly people, gorgeous sights, delicious food, and relatively tourist-free (a more trip-focused summary is here).

We had a culinary checklist of things to taste and did quite well in working through the list:

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For reference, we’ll refer to number locations on this map:

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Restaurant-wise, we had three must-eats on the list: Raymonds in St. John’s (Location 1), Mallard Cottage in Quidi Vidi (Location 2), and The Norseman at L’Anse aux Meadows (Location 15). All of them were superb.

Raymonds

Raymonds is the best restaurant we’ve ever eaten at. It shows up from time-to-time among the 50 best restaurants in the world lists, and for good reason. It’s locavore with exotic ingredients, it’s fancy but not uppity, and its food is gorgeous and delicious. We enjoyed the tasting menu on the last night of our trip and were codcheeks over heels with it, wishing we had gone with the higher dish count: Rhubarb, radish, local wildflowers, cloudberries, bakeapples, and, of course, cod.

web&where: interwebs; 95 water street, st. john’s, newfoundland; (709) 579-5800; reservations a must
what’s the deal? high-end locavore cuisine; table service
overall: ***** (food*****; drink*****; atmosphere*****; service*****; instagrammability*****)
cost: $$$$$$$

our scale:
–          meh [think twice]
*         OK [it’ll get the job done]
**       good [solid neighborhood joint]
***     damn good [we’ll definitely be back]
****   yippity-yikes that was amazeballs [fantastic; one of the best]
***** holy sh!t [transcendental; best of the best]

each $ = $10; cost is based on a typical dinner entrée and appetizer (no drinks)

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The Norseman

The Norseman rests in the tiny village next to where Erikson and crew established a small settlement, its name a nod to the seafaring Icelanders/Greenlanders in search of new lands. The food here also has a locavore bent to it with a quaint seaside vibe. We drank a mixed drink with iceberg ice that was amazing because of how crackly and interactive the ice was. We wound up eating here twice because it seemed, from afar, that there weren’t many places to eat ’round here, but Saint Anthony is close by.

web&where: interwebs; jf2f+76 hay cove, l’anse aux meadows, newfoundland; (709) 754-3105; reservations a must
what’s the deal? local newfoundland favorites; table service
overall: **** (food****; drink*****; atmosphere***; service****; instagrammability***)
cost: $$$$$

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IMG_5179These tiny shrimp a fished near here.

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IMG_5181Figgy Duff

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mallard cottage

Mallard Cottage sits over the ridge from St. John’s in the quaint quay of Quidi Vidi. It is well worth arriving early to walk the town. The locals are super friendly, a highlight being a conversation with a lady with a sing-songy Irish accent and a mouthful of “Loves.” Mallard Cottage is super quaint, also slinging up elevated locavore specialties.

web&where: interwebs; 8 barrows road, st. john’s, newfoundland; (709) 237-7314; reservations a must
what’s the deal? local newfoundland favorites; table service
overall: **** (food****; drink****; atmosphere****; service*****; instagrammability****)
cost: $$$$

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IMG_5011Cod cheeks!

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canvas cove bistro

We arrived in Twillingate (Location 9) to go on an iceberg tour (but it was too late in the season to see icebergs here). After a nonetheless pleasant boat tour, I checked Google for where to eat and settled on Canvas Cove Bistro. The manager and chef were in for a season and prepared a really good meal for the middle of nowhere. In a it’s-a-small-world-in-Newfoundland moment, we figured out later in the trip that we were staying in the manager’s place in St John’s.

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Toslow

A friend in Austin who tours with a band in Canada recommended this coffee shop in St Johns, and he was spot-on.

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tim horton’s

Tim Horton’s is the Starbucks of Canada and came in handy when we needed a quick latte and a snack.

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Canadians have some freakish tater chip flavors. The bride was disgusted.

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chocolate city

Nothing special here except the spectacle views of St Johns.

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bernard kavanaugh’s million dollar view

Had poutine, iceberg beer,  here in Ferryland (Location 5).

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IMG_5038poutine

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classic cafe east

After a day-long drive around the Avalon Pennisula, we ate fish-n-brewis (which includes hard tack and the mythical scrunchions [see Anthony Bourdain’s Newfoundland episode for an epic response to these flavor bombs]) at this no-frills local joint in St Johns.

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IMG_5053fish-n-brewis

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IMG_5050hard tack (nearly broke a tooth on the damn thing!)

Georgie’s

Named after a Newfoundland opera star, we devoured our first tautons with molasses for breakfast.

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blue ocean dining room

Ate some moose fritters here in Woody Point (Location 12).

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fisherman’s landing restaurant

More fish-n-beeris, this time in Woody Point.

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anchor cafe

This is where those cocktail shrimp are fished and processed. Sadly, the infamous shrimp burger was no longer on the menu.

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IMG_3258_HDRNewfoundlanders garden along the side of road where construction has broken up the surface.

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lightkeeper’s seafood

Ho-hum place with a stunning view in St Anthony’s (Location 16) where we had cod tacos and moose sliders.

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home cooking in springdale

We read somewhere that you should always try to cook a meal when you travel, so we did that out of an incredible VRBO in Springdale right on the drink (Location 17). Inspired by the Bourdain show about Newfoundland, we bought and chilled a bottle of bubbly in the Atlantic while we prepared local salmon and rhubarb on the grill. Just lovely!

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IMG_5182scrunchions in the raw

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eddy’s restaurant

Eddy’s was just outside of Springdale but provided the fried bologna I had been pining for!

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the merchant tavern

The Merchant Tavern is the more accessible/affordable off shoot of Raymonds. It was good, but nothing compated to Raymonds.

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the rooms

The Rooms is a museum of history, culture, and science overlooking Saint Johns. We enjoyed some more toutans at the museum cafe as well as a panaramoc view of the city and the remnants of a tropical storm blowing through.

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