There are at least a hundred places you can eat cod cakes, seafood chowder or fish and chips across Newfoundland and Labrador. Whether it’s a small seaside cafe, a takeout window, or a big family restaurant these dishes are staples on any menu across the province. And here in St. John’s it’s no different, but the culinary scene is bigger than your belly! These awesome restaurants are pumping out modern dishes with a Newfoundland twist in addition to the crowd favourites that you should save room for. 

Here are the Newfoundland dishes you need to eat NOW:

Yellowbelly Salt & Vinegar Fish and Chips

Yellowbelly Brewery & Public House on Water Street has put together two of the province’s favourite foods to make one delicious dish. Their fried fish comes encrusted in crushed salt and vinegar chips served with a pile of golden french fries and often paired with a pint of Come From Away IPA brewed onsite. There’s no need to add the fragrant dark vinegar typically served with traditional fi and chi, the vinegary hue of the chips infiltrates the fresh flaky fish, encasing it in a crispy coating.

Frugal Steins Jiggs Dinner Mussels

Sitting on the corner of Water Street and Williams Lane, Frugal Steins has a local craft beer hall feel with a focus on German and Newfoundland and Labrador comfort food. One of the stars on their menu happens to be their Jiggs Dinner mussels! Using all the ingredients of the classic Sunday dinner, there are huge chunks of salt meat and diced root vegetables all cooked up in salty pot liquor with the mussels so that each one you pull from the pot is like a new plate of Jiggs Dinner.

The Guv’Nor Pub Cod au Gratin Dinner

This cozy pub on Elizabeth Avenue also happens to serve up the coziest of cod dishes, and the cheesiest. The Guv’Nor Pub’s Cod au Gratin, a traditional Newfoundland cod dish with cheese and creamy white sauce baked in the oven, is served with heaping mounds of mashed potatoes and veg. They also have a large rotating tap list of local beers to pair with this comfort cod dish. 

Terre Chips and Dip

Terre Restaurant, located inside the ALT St. John’s on Water Street, is known for their elevated small plates focusing on Newfoundland and Labrador ingredients, and their chips and dips is no exception. Terre takes a simple common dish and puts a modern Newfoundland spin on it, making chips and dip into something special. Some nights Terre’s dip is salt cod and green onion, other nights it’s made with local uni, but always served with a mountain of housemade potato chips.

Mallard Cottage Cod Cheeks

Like fish & chips and chowder, fried cod cheeks and tongues are ubiquitous on menus here in Newfoundland and Labrador restaurants, but Mallard Cottage in Quidi Vidi village puts their own flavour into the making. The corn-fried cod cheeks are crispy on the outside and flaky on the inside and are served with a punchy spicy aioli Mallard is known for.

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: November 15, 2021