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“We liked the experience so much we had to go back”

Bacalao - Nouvelle Newfoundland Cuisine
Ranked #34 of 383 Restaurants in St. John's
Cuisines: Canadian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Large groups, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Business meetings
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Neighborhood: Downtown
Description: Newfoundland Seafood Risotto - sweet local coldwater shrimp, succulent bay scallops, local mussels and lobster. Finished with lobster oil and asparagus!
Reviewed September 24, 2009

We were in St John's the 2nd week of September. We had taken the time to research the restaurants that we were planning on visiting (including reading the reviews on this site). We made a reservation for Bacalao on Tuesday the 8th. When we arrived we were immediately made to feel welcome and at home. We noticed that others who arrived after us were treated the same whether they had reservations or not. The same cannot be said for some of the other restaurants we visited that week.

Our server was very well prepared and carefully explained the menu and the daily specials. We chose the Brie and Partridgeberry cigars for the appetizer and the Salt Cod and Caribou Medallions for entrees. For dessert the Rhubarb Crisp or Crumble. Everything was well prepared, fresh and extremely well presented.

The pace was just right for us. We don't want to feel rushed but neither do we want to feel forgotten. We were not disappointed.

After we left we decided that we would have to make one more trip there before we left town so we called and made a reservation for Friday. We weren't disappointed that evening either. We had asked for the same server and this time we had a different salt cod dish and the lamb chops. We finished with a cheesecake.

Recommending a restaurant can be a very risky event because everyone has their own concept of taste and style, however, we have no qualms about recommending this one. The price may be at the high end for St. John's (but not compared to many other places we have been) but it was certainly worth it in our minds.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank NotLostFound
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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435 - 439 of 456 reviews

Reviewed August 7, 2009

Several of my friends and I dined at Bacalao this past Monday, August 3rd, 2009. We had heard wonderful things about the food and were very excited. We knew the prices were moderately high, but we were game to try a great new restaurant. Bad idea.

The evening started out ok, we ordered appetizers and drinks which were delicious. Then we waited, and waited, and waited...... the story of the night. All of our glasses from water to alcohol were empty for a LONG time. And there was a HUGE time gap between appetizer and entree. In fact, one of our party went to use the restroom and mentioned to our server that we all needed drinks. She actually hesitated and wasn't going to bring them because our entree was coming out shortly!!!

To make a long story shorter... our entire meal last **3 and 1/2 hours**! Yes, I'm not joking. Our glasses were empty all night. Our server didn't ask if we wanted coffee or tea with our dessert. It even took 20 minutes to get the check!!!

As if all this wasn't bad enough, because our party was large (9 people) our server was guaranteed a tip. Believe me, she didn't deserve it at all. And I HOPE the service wasn't bad because she knew she was getting the tip.

So in the end, I DO NOT recommend Bacalao, as good as the food is. The wonderful food is the only reason it got 2 stars instead of 1. For the amount of money we spent ($185 just for myself and my boyfriend), I expect fantastic, prompt service and the exact opposite was what we got. And to be fair to the server, the kitchen might as well been having a nap back there for the speed at which our food came out.

Maybe if they started doing takeout....

2  Thank hrwvt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
amaunder, Owner at Bacalao - Nouvelle Newfoundland Cuisine, responded to this reviewResponded August 9, 2009

I'm very sorry to hear of your bad dining experience but I believe you must have selected the WRONG RESTAURANT to review. We are closed on Mondays. You could not have dined with us on August 3rd.

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Reviewed February 22, 2009

This is a great fine dining restaurant which focuses on local produce, seafood and game, as well as locally made products. It puts a fine dining twist on tradional Newfoundland food with great success! I had salt cod fritters to start, with a spicy aioli, then grilled loin of caribou served with a partridgeberry-port reduction. Both were superb. I finished with a warm ginger cake which was made in house and served with scald cream (very much like clotted cream). It was a wonderful end to the meal. Also a nice wine list. I plan to go back the next time I am in St. John's!

Thank NfldTraveller66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 29, 2009

This is a destination restaurant. It presents traditional Newfoundland food, fish, game, wild berries, transformed into delicacies for the modern palate. Fresh local produce is emphasized and used in non-traditional combinations. Can you imagine cod tongue salad? Delicious. My wife and I visited for dinner with guests in September 2008. Andrea Maunder, the co-owner, served us. She was a fountain of knowledge on their food and wine. This added nicely to our enjoyment. In fact we enjoyed our evening so much we returned for Sunday brunch. It was also excellent. Had we had more time in St. John’s I am sure we would have returned to try more of the interesting menu. We spent the following two weeks in Portugal and enjoyed many excellent meals but I found my standard for comparison was Bacalao.

Thank NewfHalifax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 30, 2008

Yes, I know, I'm a vegetarian that went to a restaurant that specializes in meat and seafood. So I should expect very little right?
Except this is the first time I've been to a 'nice' restaurant that they haven't been able to accomodate my diet. I always ask if my meal can have a subsitute or the meat just left out - and I have actually had some of my best meals when a chef decides to get creative for me. Unfortunately, all I got was unseasoned carrot, potato, and turnip. Not good.
However, everyone else at the table was in heaven! The waitress/co-owner was incredibly knowledgeable about the desserts and wines and was a pleasure to talk to.
So, just be careful if you have one of us pesky vegetarians in your party - other than that - ENJOY!

1  Thank ttbnf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
amaunder, Co-owner at Bacalao - Nouvelle Newfoundland Cuisine, responded to this reviewResponded April 2, 2009

We were so sorry to see this review! When composing our menu, we made sure to include several vegetarian appetizers and also a completely veg main course - that are always available. We pride ourselves on being able to accommodate all sorts of dietary restrictions and allergies - and do so regularly. Our servers are usually great at making suggestions and Chef Mike has made many special dishes for vegans as well as vegetarians. I can't imagine what might have happened when you were in but please accept my apologies for any oversight. I'm am glad to hear that your dining companions enjoyed their meals. As it happens, we're having one of our regular staff meetings tomrrow and I'll be sure to raise this point to ensure nobody ever slips through the cracks again. (This is the first review that isn't 100% positive Bacalao has ever had and I'll make sure it's the last.) Sincerely, Andrea

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