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Jun 16, 2009 03:51 PM

St John's Seafood

Visiting St John's for a few days soon, and I want to take advantage of all seafood fresh and local, preferably buying as close as possible to the source.

Is it possible to buy fish or shellfish off a boat when it returns to dock? Any suggestions as to where to look?

Oh, and where to buy flipper, tongues and cheeks?

Right, another one. Last time I was in St John's many stormy seas ago, I went to the House of Haynes for some trad meals. I know it is gone, but can anyone recommend a similar place, say for a Boiled Dinner?

Also any other food suggestions will be most appreciated.

Thanks very much.

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  1. I haven't seen guys selling catch on the harbourside for quite some time. They may still do it, though. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than yours truly can chime in.

    I believe that one of the families that used to do this now operate a small shop on Duckworth Street called The Fish Depot. I don't know anything about the quality of the seafood on offer there. See for more information.

    Fish Depot
    369 Duckworth St, St John's, NL A1C, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: maclock

      Oh, and The Seafood Shop in Churchill Square normally gets decent reviews for the quality of its product.

      As for the truck guys, well, if they can no longer be found down on the harbourside, you might find them in Churchill Square if they still have an open air market there from time-to-time. Again, someone else is likely to have a better idea than me.

      Seafood Shop
      1 Rowan St, St John's, NL A1B, CA

    2. Check out Beachy Cove Cafe in Portugal Cove if you've got a car. Here's their website: I'm not a boiled dinner kind of guy, but they do most Newfoundland standards quite well.

      Donovan's Irving might also have what you want. You can find more information about the place here:

      Velma's Place gets mixed reviews, but it is very handy if you're downtown:

      Velma's Restaurant & Lounge
      264 Water St, St John's, NL A1C, CA

      Donovans Irving
      65 Clyde Ave, Mt Pearl, NL A1N, CA

      1 Reply
      1. re: maclock

        Michel's Bakery offers Jiggs Dinner on Thursdays. It's a very uninspiring place to eat, but the food is normally inexpensive and reasonably good. Be forewarned that many of the items are precooked and then popped into the microwave to be reheated prior to serving if that matters to you.

        Michel's Bakery Ltd
        799 Water St, St John's, NL A1E, CA

      2. I just had a fantastic supper at Atlantica, just outside St Johns (about 30 minutes from right downtown and a beautiful drive to boot). Chef Charles is a local product and seems to use many local products (from the sea and otherwise).

        On the other end of the scale of what I have eaten recently in St John's was Velmas. Absolutely awful food and service. I understand that it is supposed to feature tradtional local fare, but my goodness, we four out-of-towners thought the food laughable and anything but fresh.

        4 Replies
        1. re: foodiesnorth

          Yeah, I would never be in a hurry to go to Velma's, but people who seek out boiled dinner might. I suspect that you prefer fancier and more upscale dishes than boiled dinner. That being said, even for boiled dinner, there are probably better choices than Velma's.

          Though in all fairness, even if the food at Velma's was underwhelming, you cannot compare a cheap diner like Velma's with a fine china superstar restaurant like Atlantica.

          Scary Bill, the Beachy Cove Cafe is almost directly across the street from Atlantica. Portugal Cove becomes a dining destination. Now who would have though that would ever happen? :-)

          1. re: maclock

            As a well travelled foodie, I know good food can come at any price. Velma's was bad food at any price. The service was horrible. There was nothing to commend the place. I crave good cheap local food. I like haute cuisine on occasion.

            1. re: foodiesnorth

              In most parts of Canada, "good" and "cheap" are mutually exclusive when it comes to food. I have had some luck in Vancouver with delicious bargain eats, but I have not been similarly lucky in other Canadian cities.

              1. re: maclock

                Not my experience. I have found good cheap food (admittedly almost always ethnic) in most cities in this country. This website is full of good recommendations to help foodies find food on the cheap. Finding good food for a high dollar is not hard. It is expected and often not delivered. Finding good food ont he cheap is always a celebvration as it is not expected (often). Maybe this just reflects ones expectations going in.

        2. I just finished dinner at Skipper Ben's in Cupids, about an hour outside of St. Johns, off Route 70. It's right next to Brigus and not far from Bay Roberts, if that helps. You'll need a car to get here. IT's a great, fun bed and breakfast, and Viola, the chef, serves a very nice bfast. But best is her dinner: soup or salad, seafood or chicken entree, and dessert and coffee. Really nice, romantic setting, right next to a quiet, beautiful harbor. Service is really excellent, unless she is very busy. Call ahead for reservations, and ask her what she's serviing. 1-877 528-4436

          Also good, but farther away: Nanny Hayley's in Elliston, and R&J's, in Twillingate.