Dana learns a lesson

img_2269I hate to be labeled as an arrogant Torontonian but since the moniker applies, I can’t help but own it.  I expected St. John’s, Newfoundland to be a quaint city. I expected the people of St. John’s to be friendly. I expected the seafood to be fresh and abundant.  All of these expectations were confirmed within an hour of landing at their international airport. Now for what I didn’t expect to find:

  •  a stylish shopping district that made my credit cards itch,
  •  a horde of investment bankers clogging up a  restaurant I wanted to walk into on a Wednesday night,
  •  a stylish eatery that served food on par with the best restaurants operating in bigger Canadian cities.

But that is exactly what I did find at Water Street eatery The Vault. Although they were closed for a private party (hence the bankers), they found me a spot to eat at the bar. Hostess Lisa Downey, pictured  here in the converted bank vault now used as a wine cellar that inspired the restaurant’s name, was incredibly gracious.  I think hearing that I’d walked from the Fairmont in the cold and dark to try their cuisine won me her favour!

The food at The Vault is inventive, fresh and well-executed (the scallop napoleon is particularly good), the selection of wines by the glass are well matched to the menu, and the service is friendly, polished and attentive. Truly a great experience!  In fact, if I were a citizen of lovely St. John’s I’d likely be a regular customer.

While The Vault is definitely a gem, other St. John’s food destinations deserve to be explored when you’re in town, too. So, if you get to this small Atlantic city do check out:

Have you had a restaurant meal that exceeded your expectations lately? Since the opposite type of experiences get so much more discussion time, please take a minute to tell us about your last great restaurant meal. It doesn’t matter if it was a fabulously fresh bagel at a breakfast joint or a gourmet tasting menu at a grand hotel. Let’s sing out in praise today!

7 Responses to Dana learns a lesson

  1. I have not been to Newfoundland and your post makes me want to go. I love when expectations are exceeded.

    I don’t often eat out but on Wednesday I was in Toronto and had lunch at Jules of Spadina. It was a lovely little French Bistro with delicious chicken and mushroom crepes. I was expecting boring but the seasoning was perfect.

  2. courtney says:

    You make me want to explore Cananda more.

  3. danamccauley says:

    Courtney – that’s awesome!

    Char, thanks for the restaurant recco. I don’t know Jules. I’ll have to check it out.

  4. Amy says:

    I sooooo want to go to Newfoundland now. Maybe it would make a good honeymoon destination…

  5. danamccauley says:

    Amy, as long as you aren’t looking for beach weather, the rock is a great honeymoon destination!

  6. Rona Maynard says:

    I’m a big fan of Tomi-Kro in Leslieville. The cooking is eclectic, robustly flavorful and stylishly presented, with sides that really elevate the meal (they understand vegetables here and the brussels sprouts are sublime). If I could cook like a chef, this is what I’d want to serve. BTW, the prices are lower than in downtown Toronto.

  7. dinnerwithjulie says:

    Spectacular meal (and very gracious service) at Cafe Vasco Da Gama in Montreal. Wonderful!

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