Good Eats in St John, N.B.
- shortorder Dec 16, 2002 07:20 PM
Will be in St.John area at end of December and looking for some good restaurants. Any kind of food but especially seafood (of course).
The pickings are remarkably slim in Saint John. We were there mid-November and searched for some decent chow. The best meal we had was at Vivaldi's, an Italian place just outside downtown. Chicken and pasta dishes were good. The specialty everywhere else was buffalo wings. You'll probably find more interesting eating by trying some offerings at the indoor market.
Nice city, good hockey team, needs some food help!
Vito's is probably the favourite restaurant for local Saint Johner's. It is family owned, been around forever (over 25 years) and now has three locations. They must be doing something right! They specialize in Italian and Greek dishes. Vito's has a legendary sauce that makes you crave their pizza or pasta even after you're stuffed. Their Caesar salad is a must.
Service is good, and prices are reasonable.
P.S. Since moving to Toronto 3 years ago, we now have Little George ship spaghetti sauce to us usually twice a year.
Vito's may be a popular restaurant; however, that only demonstrates the lack of knowledge about what good food is within the region. Having lived all over the world and eaten in some excellent restaurants (and also being a pretty darn good cook myself), I know one or two things - but maybe not three - about good food.
We recently went with a group to Vitos for lunch ("oh, come on, the food's good"). When I got there I order the lasagna - how could anyone mess up the lasagna? When the dish was place in front of me, I saw that it was indeed not remotely reminiscent of any lasagna I've previously had. It was composed solely of lasagna noodles and leftover spaghetti sauce (that tasted deplorable). No eggplant or spinach or cheeses.
The appetizer I ordered was also uneatable.
The food was so deficient that my son has frequently commented on its lack over the past few months.
I did, however, find it amusing that several people in our party also ordered the lasagna and kept saying how good the dish is. Mind you, these are the same people that when you serve them chicken delicately seasoned with rosemary say, "Oh, this is so spicy!"
Again, restaurant popularity in New Brunswick, Canada does not equate with "good" food. In fact, I've learned that if a restaurant is "popular", then the dishes will be inadequate for someone who appreciates fine fare.
Jay54 - you are correct in your observation about Vito's and the Saint John palate. I have a similar recent post concerning the Granan's chain.
The problem is that the lack of good restaurants has meant that people grow up without a point of reference for what good food is.
I was rasied in the Saint John area and it wasn't until university, when I lived with an Italian girl from Toronto, that I first saw someone cook with actual garlic. Until then, for me, "garlic" was a salty, powdery substance that put on bread to make garlic bread. At this point in my life I probably though the ceasar salad dressing at Vito's was great. Not so much anymore....
The big problem for Saint John is that there hasn't been significant immigration since potatos were in short supply in Ireland. We missed out on all that great southern european, asian, indian and latin american immigration that has resulted in good food eslewhere.
This is starting to change, and there are know some very good restaurants here. We just have to train our friends and coworkers to want to eat there.
The Opera Bistro restaurant is very good http://www.operabistro.com as well as Suwanna Thai Restaurant .. Be prepared to make reservations for either of these as they are both awesomely popular. Taco Pica offers Mexican and Guatemalan cuisine and is also great. St. John can have some bad restaurants if you don't know what your doing but they have the cream of the crop for NB.
I second Taco Pica and Suwanna. Also try Lemon grass on Princess Street— I've had some lovely meals there. For seafood, Billy's isn't bad.
We only ever pass through Saint John, but we've had no trouble avoiding the experiences described above with a little research.