With colder weather settling in for the better part of six months here in St. John’s, diners crave more than great cocktails and food — they need cozy! I’m talking comfortable seating and dim lighting paired with relaxing music and cool vibes to go along with some of the best dishes in the city. Here are five St. John’s restaurants you need to cozy up with this fall.
A mainstay on Water Street, this intimate bistro serves up all kinds of cozy, even at brunch. With leather booths and banquettes to snuggle up on and wood accents, Oliver’s Restaurant offers a relaxing atmosphere to dine on starters like almond baked goat cheese and seafood chowder, brunch favourites like breakfast banana splits and eggs benedict or evening staples like seafood pasta, portobello mushroom wellington and lamb shank.
Nestled in a quiet corner of the Murray Premises downtown, EVOO is the perfect place to enjoy a seasonal cocktail and a meal. Historic vibes cozy up this spot with stone walls, exposed beams and a view of the wood-fired pizza oven while you sip on a Maple Manhattan or a Blueberry Basil Cosmopolitan made with housemade shrubs. Dinner just screams comfort food with heaping bowls of pasta, pork Milanese with gnocchi and an ever-changing selection of pizzas.
At this pub, you feel transported to the UK, except for the tap list with lots of Newfoundland craft beer. The Guv’nor Pub’s floral wallpaper, plush velvet booths and bronze accents pair perfectly with goods vibes and warm service and with pub classics like bangers and mash or steak and kidney pie along with a wide selection of seafood dishes and burgers, they make sure that even if you become a regular at this spot, you’ll never tire of the menu.
Cottagecore is taken to a whole other level at Mallard Cottage — it feels like you’re dining at a secluded country home, not minutes from downtown St. John’s. Roaring fireplaces, a great playlist and exceptional service just add to the cozy vibes at this award-winning restaurant with a menu of warm flatbreads, housemade pasta, roasted meats and seafood showcasing seasonal Newfoundland and Labrador’s bounty along with an iconic dessert table at brunch.
This Duckworth Street restaurant gives it all away in its name — all the cozy booths at Vu Resto & Bar face the wall of windows with fantastic views looking out over St. John’s harbour and Signal Hill. Dim lighting and a great cocktail list just add to the ambience and dishes like roasted brussels sprouts caesar salad, honey buffalo chicken sandwich and roasted duck breast will warm you up on the coldest of days.
Gabby Peyton is a food writer, restaurant critic and culinary historian based in St. John’s NL.
Researching food has become a lifestyle for Gabby. After completing an MA in Art History at the University of Toronto in 2012, she moved to Halifax, NS and ate her way through the city, documenting it on thefoodgirlintown.com a blog devoted to (mis)adventures in travelling to eat. She completed a Bachelor of Journalism at the University of King’s College in 2015 and has worked in a variety of editorial roles in Toronto, ON and St. John’s, NL. Now she dines out constantly in St. John’s — Gabby is the city’s restaurant critic for The Telegram and her other bylines include CBC, Atlantic Business Magazine, USA Today, and Eater. Her series on Food Bloggers of Canada‘s website explores the history of iconic Canadian foods and she is passionate about community cookbooks.
A long-time sufferer of persistent wanderlust, Gabby is always planning the next big trip. She has visited more than 15 countries, spent three seasons working on an archaeological dig in central Turkey and surfed on the Gold Coast of Australia. She is passionate about architecture, spaghetti carbonara and Newfoundland food.
Published: October 5, 2020