I booked the table from Vancouver a month in advance knowing its popularity. From start to finish, it's understandable that En Route Magazine recently named Raymond's Canada's Best New Restaurant 20011 (http://enroute.aircanada.com/en/articles/canada-s-best-new-restaurants-2011/page:11).
The restaurant itself is beautiful, elegant nearly 100-yr old building on Water Street. The decor is traditional with a modern twist. I loved the little details - the door stops are small farm animals; there 2 large oil paintings in the main dining room hang on ornate wallpaper under modern chandeliers. The staff were all attentive, lovely and unpretentious in their professionalism.
We started with cocktails in the bar. I tried the house special which was a martini that had cucumber 'pearls' - small roe-sized drops of cucumber. Very fresh.
My friend and I shared everything and ordered all the specials our server recommended because they sounded so good. For appetizers, we shared the 2 Fresh Hand Crafted Pasta dishes on special - moose ravioli and pappardelle with rabbit. I can't recall the preparation or sauce, but they were both lovely. We carried on with lamb and special halibut to share for our main courses. Exquisite. For desert, we shared a chocolate fondant and carrot cake. The chocolate ruled!
I opted for the wine pairing for appetizers and mains and ordered a port to accompany my dessert. The sommelier paired a 2-oz pouring for each dish and delivered each one with a description of his choice. The wine pairing is a great idea to try a few different wines and to complement each dish.
The meal was expensive by St. John's standards, but it was worth every penny. I would highly recommend Raymond's for that special night out.