The Best Restaurants in St. John’s for a Business Lunch

The Best Restaurants in St. John’s for a Business Lunch

SHARING A MEAL IS a great way to get to know clients and lighten the mood when talking about tough subjects — who can get mad over a plate of spaghetti? Atlantic Business Magazine asked local business owners and executives to tell us about their favourite restaurants in St. John’s to host a business lunch. The answers will make your mouth water.

Portobellos
115 Duckworth Street | Fine-dining restaurant downtown

Classic is the perfect word to describe this eatery with its iconic views of Signal Hill and menu selections like Caesar salad, shrimp scampi and salmon with white wine butter sauce, making it a sure bet with clients.


“They have a parking lot, which is great if you are coming from out of downtown and don’t need to worry about parking. It has a lovely view over the harbour and a bright atmosphere for daytime, but still classy. The tables are set up well to have private conversations as needed. They also have delicious food – though I rarely order anything but salmon!”

Tracey Gaudet, Owner, Squish Innovations

Bernard Stanley Gastropub
223 Duckworth Street | Casual pub with inventive dishes

Brunch makes everything better, so why wouldn’t it impress clients? Hollandaise flows every day of the week at Bernard Stanley’s making those midday meetings even more delicious. Stuffed French toast and omelets are served alongside lunch staples like Montreal smoked meat sandwiches and blueberry and avocado salads.

“Great historic interior. Awesome food and service.”
Anita Carroll, Owner, Posie Row

Exile Restaurant and Lounge
115 George Street | Fine dining meets rock and roll

As the resident eatery of JAG Boutique Hotel, this spot doesn’t often get the credit it deserves. But its sunlit dining room paired with an internationally motivated menu (think chicken mulligatawny, sesame and udon bowls and cod tacos) is a great spot to make an impression with clients.

“The seating at Jag is so comfortable and the food is delicious (the moose masala is a winner!). There is ample space between every table, so you feel like you’re in your own private meeting room. And who doesn’t like to listen to a bit of rock ‘n roll during lunch?”
Jenny Smith, President/Creative Director, Ray Creative Agency

St. John’s Fish Exchange
351 Water Street | Modern fine dining with laid-back atmosphere

There’s nothing fishy about lunch at SJFX… unless you want there to be. Local seafood abounds on this menu and caters to the lunchtime crowd with at least five different salads, rich lobster bisques and even fancy fish n’ brewis.

“SJFX is one of my favourite atmospheres for business lunches – it’s a big enough restaurant that you don’t always need a reservation and the layout works well for pairs and small groups. They have great service and there’s never been a long delay in the food being served. They’re consistent. For out of town clients it’s an easy way to provide a great view of the harbour and seafood options that they associate with NL. I also think the portion sizes are right for lunch – you won’t leave feeling groggy for the rest of your afternoon.”
Johanna Brown, Account Manager, zedIT Solutions Inc.

Piatto Pizzeria + Enoteca
377 Duckworth Street & 60 Elizabeth Avenue | Cheerful, casual and easy on the wallet

There isn’t a person in the world who doesn’t like pizza, especially when it’s a real good pie. Piatto has a following among the movers and shakers in St. John’s — Atlantic Business Magazine got dozens of messages demanding this eatery make the list (it was making the list anyways).

“Piatto has a great lunch deal, quality food, and if it’s a drinks meeting, great drinks too! It’s ideal for a business meeting that doesn’t require quiet or confidentiality.”
Mandy Woodland, Partner, Jellyfish
“It’s a well-designed spot with good atmosphere and an open space. Not to impress clients, more for the environment and good food.”
Kurt Dunphy, Creative Director & Owner, Dunphy & Company

Mill Street Brewery/Bier Markt
135 Harbour Drive | Nation-wide brew pub

The only chain to make our list is there for one reason: the beer. The expected offerings flow from the taps at Bier Markt along with new brews devised in-house.

“My go-to would be the top level of Mill Street/Bier Market (especially if the weather is nice). They open their entire wall of windows and there’s normally a stunning view of the narrows. That’s my wow-factor spot for out-of-towners. The fact that there’s locally brewed beer on site doesn’t hurt when trying to give them a taste of St. John’s!”
Kayla Walters, Director of Marketing & Sales, Rocket Bakery

Chinched Bistro
5 Bates Hill | Fancy sandwiches for the win

When Chinched moved into their Bates Hill location, they started filling their new deli counter and the bellies of fans who could now go to their favourite bistro for lunch. Sandwiches and heroes dominate the menu.

“No wait for a table (in my experience), quick service, and meals are made with mostly local ingredients or by local vendors. It’s been my go-to lunch in St. John’s for highlighting the best of Newfoundland when colleagues came from out-of-town to meet with me.”
Mathieu Boudreau, Research Fellow at Montreal Heart Institute

Mustang Sally’s Flaming Skillet
203 Water Street | Uncomplicated counter service with lots of flavour

What once was a staple after a night at the bars on George Street is now a downtown lunch destination. Mustang Sally’s is calm, cool and collected while offering up their famous wraps, as well as stir frys, pizzas, and even nachos.

“I know it’s chill — but everyone can get exactly what they want at Mustang’s. The Wi-Fi is great, not loud and there’s QV on tap!”
Anna Smith, Owner, FreeForm Events

The Rooms Cafe
9 Bonaventure Avenue | Mid-range dining with priceless views

Housed within the province’s museum, art gallery and archives, The Rooms Cafe offers respite from the city while injecting a dose of culture to client meetings. The large menu of soups, salads and sandwiches is enough to appease any palate. Make sure tor arrive early for a table with the best views in town.

“Lunch at The Rooms is awesome with a spectacular view.”
Tina Butler RN BScN, Owner, The Foot Butler

The Pantry Cafe & Catering
Clinch Crescent | Relaxed service and comfort food

Lunch is always bustling at this hideaway behind the Health Sciences Centre. While most of the executives advocated for downtown locations, many also suggested the Pantry as a favourite for a small business lunch or office event (be sure to make a reservation).

“A little biased here but The Pantry Cafe and Catering is a great spot for a business lunch. It has first and foremost great food and all its proceeds go to fund programs and services here at the Autism Society, Newfoundland & Labrador. It’s quiet but not too quiet and it doesn’t have too many distractions. Although it’s a 10-minute drive from downtown it has free parking and is an especially good place to meet if you’re working in or around the hospital or university.”
Alex Collins, Manager of Finance and Property, Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador

1 Comment to “The Best Restaurants in St. John’s for a Business Lunch”

  1. Tonia Sheridan // September 11, 2018 at 12:56 pm // Reply

    All super suggestions. I’ve been to every one of these locations and I have to say I concur 100% on all the attributes mentioned. I would also add Oliver’s Restaurant, 160 Water Street, to this list. Their menu and service had always been first class. I highly suggest checking them out for lunch or dinner.

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