Tag: St. John’s Travel

Alt Hotel St. John’s Staycation

Alt Hotel St. John’s Staycation

The best part about a staycation? No pressure to leave the hotel, not that I wanted to leave the Alt Hotel St. John’s anyways: With gorgeous decor and high-tech amenities, the Newfoundland addition to the Le Germain family is welcome.

Brunch at The Merchant Tavern | St. John’s

Brunch at The Merchant Tavern | St. John’s

In my lifetime, the dull grey cinderblock building on the corner of Water and Becks Cove has been home to a bank and two restaurants sequestered to the dim ‘vaultish’ basement. Now, the Jeremys of Raymond’s have reestablished this downtown cornerstone with a modern yet verdant 

I forgot my Blogiversary

I forgot my Blogiversary

A week after I started my new job, I was standing in the grocery line getting increasingly annoyed by slow people at the self-checkout when it hit me:

“I forgot my blogiversary,” I said aloud.

Well, shit.

A wave of guilt washed over me, the same guilt I’ve been feeling for awhile now. I’m sorry blog, I haven’t forgotten about you, it’s not like I don’t go to a new restaurant and think about delectable phrasing for a new post, because I swear I do — life has just gotten in the way. I moved to a new city, spent the summer in Turkey, and started a new job, all within a few months, and writing has became more of a chore than anything.

I can’t buy you flowers or chocolates, and saying there are a dozen half-written posts in the lineup isn’t going to make up for lost time, but enough of the excuses.

Without further ado, here is year three in delicious retrospect.

The best new restaurant

beet salad.adelaid oyster house

The best new restaurant review is The Adelaide Oyster House. It opened last fall, and while I was home in St. John’s for Christmas last year I sampled the deliciousness — small plates, fresh oysters, and crazy good tacos — with my dear girlfriends. It’s been nominated for enRoute’s Best New Restaurants of 2015, and I’m sure it will make the esteemed list when it’s released in a few days. You read about the yum here.

The best brunch


I know, I know, the last thing you want to hear about is brunch. We get it Gabby, you like brunch. Well sorry, but you’re going to be hearing a lot more about brunch: My cousin Sheila gave me a copy of the Toronto Brunch Map, and I’ve made it a personal mission to eat at all these restaurants in the next year. That’s a lot of eggs benny and I  freaking can’t wait.

Le Petit Déjeuner was just one of the first stops, but man it’s going to be hard to top. Read all about the cheesiness here.

The greasiest thing I ate all year

Walking down the street, I could smell the butter. After a long season on the Anatolian plains, Marica, Alicia and I were finally sitting down to a meal in a restaurant in Ankara, and Alicia’s mind was on one thing:

Iskender kebap.

This traditional Turkish dish consists of thinly shaved lamb with tomato sauce. The best part?

Piping hot melty butter is poured all over the meal tableside.


This was the most distinctive, greasy, life-shortening thing I ate this year, maybe ever (probably tied with the foie gras double down from Joe Beef). The butter and tomato sauce mix to make the most savoury of sauces and the whole plate just melts in your mouth. Man, it does not photograph well, and honestly I can’t fully describe the taste — but it’s fucking delicious. I want to eat this again. right. now.


There will be a blog post about this meal, I promise.

The surprise viral post

best front copy

I guess journalism school taught me well; this (fully intentioned) click-bait title got the most views ever in one day, though I wholeheartedly stand by what it says. Read about The Most Underrated Restaurant in Halifax.

The coolest event I attended

This category had to be a tie, for a few reasons.

The first being ANTHONY BOURDAIN.

Last year at Devour! The Food Film Festival, I sat 10 feet away from the king of adventuresome eating while he spoke at the opening of the festival. I won’t gush more about it, you can read about it in this post. Full disclosure, I don’t talk much about the food — I got to eat some great dishes prepared by local chefs — but it was an all around awesome time, and I am very sad I won’t be at the festival this November.


I was also lucky enough to attend Dine By Design East, an amazing event where local interior designers and chefs join forces to make amazingly whimsical food and lovely spaces to eat it in. Who doesn’t love a real live toast wall featuring Miley Cyrus paired with some molecular gastronomy? Have a look here, and get ready to drool.


The best meal (and the sexiest)

There are no photos or long descriptions for this meal. Adam and I went to Edulis when we first moved back to Toronto for a no holds barred, all-out celebration meal. Sometimes Adam will look at me and say “is this a blog meal or an ‘us’ meal?” and this was definitely an ‘us’ meal —  to celebrate our new city, our new adventure, so there was no Instagram or note taking.

I can’t even recall all of the seven insatiable courses, but I will tell you it was the sexiest meal I’ve eaten ever. Scallop ceviche with unripened strawberries were swallowed in seconds, we slurped on full crayfish to get every morsel of their juicy insides, and the veal three ways was simply seductive — followed by two dessert courses, with a potently delicious rum cake that was brought to us where more rum was sublimely poured tableside. The combination of soft mood lighting, great music, and the slow and well-thought out progression of the meal made for the most sensuous four hours I have ever spent at a restaurant.

After the frightening realization that I had forgotten my blogiversary, I went back to my very first blog post to see how much the blog has changed over the past three years — and while I am proud to say my writing skills, the design of the blog, and certainly the photography have improved over time, my main goal has not. I started the blog to explore, to eat, and to repeat, and after three years, this is still what I want to write about. Having started The Food Girl in Town after moving from Toronto, it feels as though things have come full circle and I’m excited to be back writing about new food adventures in this great city.

Here’s to a delicious (and consistent) year 4.

The Adelaide Oyster House | St. John’s

The Adelaide Oyster House | St. John’s

The second last night of Christmas vacation the girls and I headed for Chelsea’s farewell meal. We are grownups now. Babies and houses and jobs have spread us across the world —the five of us don’t spend much time together, a couple days a year at most—but 

Mohamed Ali Middle Eastern Cuisine | St. John’s

Mohamed Ali Middle Eastern Cuisine | St. John’s

My sister Maggie and I recently had a lovely lunch where I ate some of the best falafel I have ever had. Mohamed Ali Middle Eastern Cuisine is located in downtown St. John’s on Duckworth Street and this place competes with any falafel I ate in Istanbul. After 

My Favourite St. John’s Restaurants

My Favourite St. John’s Restaurants

2016 Update: Considering this post has consistently been my most viewed for the past two years, it’s time for an update. Like all cities, some of my favourite St. John’s restaurants have shuttered, some spots I don’t like anymore, and some of my favourites-to-be are just opening their doors.

Enjoy the delicious amendments. 


I’ve lived away from St. John’s almost four years, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a list of tried and true eateries warming my heart and filling my belly every time I visit home. Despite its small size and population, St. John’s has a thriving culinary scene; from old school fish and chips, to award winning high-end dining, the city boasts an impressive variety of establishments that will feed your heart and soul to satisfy even the most snooty foodie from the mainland.

Here are in no particular order, are my favourite spots to have a feed in St. John’s.


Piatto is the best pizza place in town. I wrote a review on the Halifax location for Eat In Eat Out magazine years ago, and all the praise I gave is even more deserved for their original St. John’s location! The atmosphere of this VPN certified restaurant is great, the service awesome, and the Napolitano style pizzas, salads, and desserts are enough to make me drool just writing this.

Since I first wrote this, Piatto has become a doughful empire, with locations in Moncton, Charlottetown, a seasonal summer location in Cavendish, P.E.I. and another brand new location in St.John’s.

Must Try: The Salvatore with roasted red peppers and caramelized onions is my favourite. Meat lovers will drool over the Siciliani, and the Pacchi di Prosciutto antipasti is to die for.

377 Duckworth Street, (709) 726-0909, piattopizzeria.com

Siciliano Pizza

The Bagel Cafe

I might get some flack for this selection (people either love or hate this place) but their bagel sandwiches keep me coming back to this quirky spot on Water Street: It is the go-to for me and the girls for lunch catch-ups! The Bagel Cafe is great the morning after a night George Street, or for a lunch with a friend. The coffee is overpriced, the service is below mediocre, and the decor is beyond eclectic and over the top, but oh, the everything bagel sandwiches and french fries are drool worthy!

Must Try: The Canadian Chicken with breaded chicken, mushrooms, cheddar cheese, AND cream cheese is my fave at this spot.

246 Duckworth Street, (709) 739-4470, thebagelcafe.ca

*Note: avoid this place for dinner, it’s meh, breakfast/brunch only!

The Adelaide Oyster House 

This place is packed to the gills every day, partly because it’s so damn good, but also because it’s one of a kind in St.John’s. The music is loud, the crowd is fun and this is the go-to place for oysters, tacos and small plates in the city.

Read about my very first experience at the oyster house here.

Must Try: The menu changes on the regular, but you’ll always want to have oysters that come from all over the country and the world.

334 Water Street, (709) 722-7222, theadelaideoyster.ca

beet salad2.adelaid oyster house

Get Stuffed

Okay, I admit I’m biased when it comes to this restaurant —I worked there for years — but it seriously has some of the best food in the city and after working there for ages, I still want to eat there on the regular. Located in a beautiful 3-story heritage building, this restaurant is as comfortable as it is delicious. The service is great, the booze flows, and the menu is an amazing combination of comfort food, Newfoundland favourites, and high end dishes. Get Stuffed never disappoints.

Must Try: EVERYTHING, but in reality the Cheese n’ Doo, Brie Bundles and the Stuffed Pork are not to be missed.

190 Duckworth Street, (709) 757-2480

Cheese n' Doo


Eating in the main room of Raymond’s is as breathtaking as the food is unforgettable with its majestic view of St. John’s harbour. Chef Jeremy Charles is a force to be reckoned with, with an innovative elevation of Newfoundland cuisine. This place is quickly becoming known around the world as one of the best (It’s been continuously was voted number 1 in Canada by Vacay.ca for three years). I have also eaten many times in the equally stunning and slightly more casual bar area and believe me, the food is just as tasty.

Must Try: Anything to do with seafood is recommended, but there isn’t much on this menu that isn’t delicious; do the tasting menu if you have the time and money.

95 Water Street, (709) 579-5800, raymondsrestaurant.com

The Merchant Tavern 

Since writing the original post, the Jeremys of Raymond’s have established another restaurant cornerstone with a more casual atmosphere but equally delicious food.

You can read all about my brunch there this past winter here.

Must Try: For brunch, you just have to get the Eggs Benedict, and for dinner, just about anything, but the Ricotta Cavatelli with Newfoundland Lamb gets my vote.

291 Water Street, (709) 722-5050, themerchanttavern.ca

The Merchant Tavern6

Fixed Coffee & Bakery

Fixed is a great spot in downtown St.John’s for a coffee, a sandwich, and a chat. This place opened right before I moved away from the city four years ago, and I am so happy to have watched it grow and remain one of my favourite must-spots every time I go home. They now have another location on Harvey Road and other pop-ups in the city; they also host pop-up restaurants from their downtown location featuring fare from pho to tacos.

The sunny disposition of the establishment and the owners is refreshing, and the food is local, seasonal, and fresh. From soups to sandwiches to fish tacos, this places serves up the goods.

Must Try: The menu changes frequently depending on what’s fresh and local. One of my favourites is the Prosciutto Bagel Sandwich with fresh mozzarella and olive tapenade. Their lattes are awesome.

183 Duckworth Street, (709) 576-7797, fixedcoffee.com


Mallard Cottage

Situated in a 18th-century cottage in Quidi Vidi, this restaurant is as popular and authetic as as you can get in St. John’s. Chef Todd Perrin is all about the Newfoundland ingredients and experience; from annual seal suppers to weekly lobster boils in the summer and Sunday afternoon kitchen parties this place is loved by locals and mainlanders alike.

Read all about my brunch experience at Mallard Cottage here (yes, another brunch review).

Must Try: The dessert table at brunch takes the cake at Mallard Cottage with a large selection of homemade goodies for one low price.

8 Barrows Road, (709) 237-7314, mallardcottage.ca

A round table full of pastries and desserts.

Ches’s Fish & Chips

This is a classic St. John’s establishment. Open for over 75 years now Ches’s Fish & Chips serves up some of the most delicious Fi & Chi (that’s Fish & Chips for you mainlanders) in the city. There are several locations in St. John’s and across the province, but the original is on Freshwater.

Must Try: The Two Piece Fi & Chi, with dressing and gravy on your fries (trust me). This is also my go to for Chicken Fingers and Chips. That batter is tried and true; you could batter an iPhone with Ches’ and I would munch down happily.

9 Freshwater Road, (709) 726-2373, chessfishandchips.ca

Mohammed Ali’s

Sprouted from a small pop-up of a vegetarian restaurant, this restaurant now stands on it’s own in the downtown area. From falafel to kebab, this place nails Middle Eastern flavours. The menu for this place has expanded since I first reviewed it a couple years ago right after it opened, but the shawarma is still tops in my books.

Read about my delicious visit to Mohammed Ali’s here.

Must Try: The falafel is so freaking delicious here I can’t even explain; perfectly crispy on the outside, savoury on the inside, I could have eaten two orders by myself.

177 Duckworth Street, (709) 754-8313, mohamed-ali.ca



To those no longer with us…

Aqua Kitchen & Bar

Mark McCrowe closed the doors to all his restaurants this past fall to the surprise and sadness of many. I loved both Aqua and the Club (I wrote a review in 2013) and am keeping this note here as a post-mortem honourable mention.

One of two restaurants owned by Chef Mark McCrowe, Aqua Kitchen & Bar serves up eclectic dishes made from local and seasonal ingredients; this place is always a sure bet for delicious twists on classic Newfoundland and international fare. I love the atmosphere of this place, it’s cool yet comfortable with sleek furniture and funky artwork. Aqua is great for lunch, dinner, and they have a great selection of small plates for a snack and a cocktail.

Must Try: My favourite is the Southern Fried Chicken with Lobster Mac n’ Cheese, or snack on the delicious Fish Tacos with avocado lime cream and pico de gallo.


Dinner at Tavola | St. John’s (closed)

Dinner at Tavola | St. John’s (closed)

I can’t lie, when I was home last summer and saw the sign for a yet to open restaurant that read Tavola: Post-Modern Mediterranean Dining, I couldn’t help but sigh. What the hell is post-modern Mediterranean food? As a history graduate, I am familiar with the term 

Brunch at Mallard Cottage | St. John’s

Brunch at Mallard Cottage | St. John’s

There’s brunch, and then there’s brunch at Mallard Cottage. You haven’t heard about their famous cake table?

Dinner at Saltwater | St. John’s

Dinner at Saltwater | St. John’s

Serving servers. In the food and beverage industry serving the people who serve can be one of the most pleasant and financially beneficial experiences, or it can be a shit show. People who serve food and drink know how it’s supposed to be done, and if it’s not done correctly, or with a valid attempt to do so, it can greatly affect the experience for everyone. Having been a server for years, I try not to be overly judgmental if something goes wrong, in fact, I am probably more understanding than most patrons would be; however, I do notice things. We all do. We notice if you are itching to give us the bill and have a drink or if the table next to us is not happy with their overdone steak. We can’t help it, it’s our job to be aware. In truth, when I eat out, I have to get Adam to sit in the seat that faces out at a restaurant so I purposely don’t notice these things in an attempt to enjoy a meal like a regular person.

That being said, servers can also be really fun to serve. They drink lots, they tip well, and are always ready to have a good time. When myself and some of the lovely ladies that I worked with at Get Stuffed went to Saltwater Restaurant in St. John’s on Monday evening, that’s exactly what we wanted: a great time! And personally (I might be biased here), we are awesome to serve, and we live up to the drinking and good tipping stereotypes.

Hedi and Amanda ready for a good time!
Hedi and Amanda ready for a good time!

It’s been marvellous being home in St. John’s for the past week or so. I have been eating my face off and having time to relax with friends and family has been long awaited. I am also very excited to try a few of the new restaurants that have been popping up all over downtown St. John’s in the ever-expanding and the ever-delicious food scene here in our small city. So, when Jenn suggested that a few of the Get Stuffed girls have a little reunion and head to Saltwater on Duckworth Street I immediately agreed. Saltwater Restaurant opened last year and because I have been living away I haven’t had the opportunity to try it. The restaurant opened up in the old location of Magnum & Steins (which is still open in its new location down the street and is one of my favourites in the city) and I was really excited to see the renovations that had been completed on the space. 

We arrived around 7:30pm Monday evening, which also happened to be the hottest day of the summer. I was pleasantly surprised at the transformation of the space. Though I love the food at Magnum & Steins’, I found their old building to be oddly laid out, dark, and honestly, the spiral staircase leading to the second floor dining area was a death trap. Saltwater Restaurant is bright, white, and airy. The open spaces and white table cloths make the cozy restaurant seem spacious and the large glass garage doors that open onto the street give the place an airy and vibrant feel. I love the change.

Saltwater Restaurant

It was hot. Like sweaty hot, in that restaurant. Our server greeted us warmly (pun intended) and immediately apologized for the heat. This is a classic moment when it is great to serve servers: We understand that he cannot control the weather or the fact that the newly renovated restaurant doesn’t have air-conditioning, servers won’t complain about things like that. The girls and I simply nodded and ordered some bubbly; we were ready to fight the heat with a cold beverage. Looking relieved at our reaction, the server headed to the bar to grab our prosecco, two bottles of the Mionetto Il Prosecco, the only sparkling on the menu within a reasonable price range.

Rebekah, Me, and Jenn braving the heat.
Rebekah, Me, and Jenn braving the heat.

Though it was very warm in the restaurant, it didn’t take us long to start catching up and forget the heat as we laughed the evening away. After ordering our food, we were served a delicious amuse-bouche of grilled peach with prosciutto and pecan. It was a small bite with a perfect amount of punch to get our taste buds watering.


To start, I chose to have one of the additions to the menu that evening: Malpeque Oysters with a red wine vinegar mignonette. The oysters were super fresh tasting and the tart acidity of the mignonette was the perfect accompaniment; it took me no time to slurp those babies down!

Malpeque Oysters

Rebekah and Amanda chose to share a couple of starters and enjoyed the Mussels, which were intriguingly done in a Caesar styled sauce with clamato juice, limes, and other Caesar accoutrement. They were delicious! The girls also had Calamari with a roasted red-pepper and garlic aioli and fresh lime. I was impressed with the breading of the calamari as I have been turned off by super soggy coatings in the past, but this was crisp and light and yummy!


Hedi chose the Fig and Brie Salad as her appetizer, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that the small cylinder shaped salad that appeared at the table fell gracefully onto the plate into a large and delicious starter. The presentation was beautiful.

Fig and Brie Salad

Last but not least, Jenn chose the Scallops, which were done with a red-pepper and eggplant relish. They looked, smelled, and tasted delicious!


In between the copious amounts of prosecco and the main course, we were served a little palate cleanser. The serving of a fruity sorbet was much appreciated in the hot restaurant that evening, although it didn’t distract us from the lengthy wait in between courses.


Another thing that servers notice more often that regular patrons is time: We know how long it takes to make drinks, we know how long it should be between courses, and though we are understanding, it’s definitely noticed if the food takes a long time, and it did. Being so excited to catch up with everyone, us girls didn’t mind the time it took, but it is something that could annoy people. It was about two hours into the evening before we got our mains.

Once the food did arrive, it was great!

For my main I chose the Grilled Filet Mignon. It looked massive when it first came out, but in the end was a deliciously manageable portion. The demi was savoury and distinctive and served with a mushroom and green pea ragout that was super flavourful and fresh. The roasted red-pepper and potato mash was a match made in heaven and made the perfect throne for the filet. The only complaint I had about the dish was that my filet was more medium than medium rare.

Grilled Filet Mignon

Everyone else at the table ordered the Halibut addition. The Blackened Halibut was served with pineapple chutney, rice and grilled vegetables. The fish was done to perfection and was a divine balance of spicy and flavourful. Yum!

Blackened Halibut

To finish the meal, Jenn and I shared what is presented on the menu as a starter. We chose the Apple & Brie Phyllo that was served with an apple and pecan crisp and blueberry jam. It was scrumptious! I loved the poppyseed phyllo that they used, it was different and added another level of flavour that I loved.

Apple and Brie Phyllo

Amanda had the Creme Brulee, one of my favourite desserts. It had a great flavour, and the top was sweet and crispy, always a good sign of a great creme brulee.

Creme Brulee

Overall, I have to say that I was a little surprised at the prices. Granted, the food was delicious and the portions were less than modest but the entrees were a little more expensive than I had expected them to be. However, the service was friendly and we all had a great time. It wasn’t the best meal that I have had in St. John’s, but it certainly wasn’t the worst either. The flavours were great and I loved the atmosphere of the restaurant and despite the heat, will be back again in the fall to see how the menu changes in the next season.

Serving servers can be very tricky, and despite the long wait time on the food, the meal was delicious, fresh, and we all left with very full bellies. I can’t wait to see what opens in St. John’s next, and I am so excited to Explore.Eat.Repeat all the great places that are opening in our awesome city! Cheers!

The Girls

Things Worth Mentioning…

Cost: For just myself it was over 100$, which included a starter, an entree, and one of the numerous bottles of prosecco that we consumed. Definitely on the pricier side, but it was mostly the entrees that jacked up the bills.

Things I liked: The airiness of the decor and the amuse-bouche and palette cleansers were delightful!

Things I didn’t: The lack of prosecco; after the third bottle we were informed they were out and had to switch to wine…not tragic, but us Get Stuffed girls love the bubbles!

Best Place to Sit: Definitely sit the the huge open windows if you can, especially on hot summer evenings. The view of Duckworth Street is great, and you get a cool breeze!

What To Order Next Time: MORE OYSTERS!

Saltwater on Urbanspoon

Dinner at The Club | St. John’s (closed)

Dinner at The Club | St. John’s (closed)

*Note: Both The Club and Aqua closed in 2015.  A few weeks ago I went home to St. John’s Newfoundland for a much needed visit with family and friends. After my brief and exhausting 3 day stopover at Christmas I felt cheated out of down