Uptown Saint John/Boardwalk

Saint John has a wide variety of dining options, whether at the boardwalk or in the heritage quarter. While touring the city, we stopped in at three restaurants.

Uptown Saint John

Saint John Ale House is located right on the boardwalk. It was recently featured on the Food Network’s “You Gotta Eat Here“. It may be classified as a pub, but the Saint John Ale House creates some delicious food sourced from local suppliers, including some of the freshest scallops I’ve had in Canada. New Brunswick farmers play a key role in what winds up on the restaurant’s menu.

Bacon maple scallops, Saint John Ale House
[Bacon maple scallops at the Saint John Ale House]

While there for lunch, I started with a local berry salad ($11.98), filled with greens, seasonal berries, and a berry vinaigrette. My bacon maple scallops ($13.69) were lightly smoky in flavour, complimented by a dash of Briggs maple syrup aka Liquid Gold!

Pumphouse Brewery taps

There’s a casual dining room, bar, and summer waterfront patio all available for guests’ enjoyment. Local and international craft beers are on tap, including Moncton’s own Pump House Brewery, with their bright red fire hydrant-designed taps.

Saint John Ale House is located at 1 Market Square.

Bourbon Quarter interior, Uptown Saint John

Bourbon Quarter is located at 114 Prince William Street, an area filled with heritage buildings and restaurants. New Orleans dishes take on Canadian classics in a menu filled with meats, fish, risottos, jambalaya and lovely desserts.

Bourbon Quarter/Grilled Watermelon Salad
[Grilled Watermelon Salad]

I chose the grilled watermelon salad ($10) to start, its watermelon coulis, goat cheese, mixed greens and tomatoes working divinely with the slightly charred watermelon’s sweetness.

Bourbon Quarter/Halibut Provençal, maple carrot purée, veggies
[Halibut Provençal, maple carrot purée, veggies]

I couldn’t resist ordering the Halibut Provençal ($26) with maple carrot puree. My plate was filled with potato wedges and asparagus, both cooked to perfection and great for dipping into the puree.

Both the Bourbon Quarter and sister establishment Magnolia Café located adjacent are family owned.

The Opera Bistro is located nearby at 60 Prince William Street and was opened in 2005 by German husband and wife team Axel and Margret Begner. The restaurant has received numerous accolades over the years, starting with a stint on Food Network’s “Opening Soon” right through to Progress Magazine’s “Best Restaurants in New Brunswick” and “Best Desserts in New Brunswick”. Wine Spectator has called Opera Bistro “one of the 100 best restaurants in Canada”. Opera Bistro is also part of the Buy Local NB network, focused on sustainable, local food ingredients.

In 2006, the couple opened an outside patio (pati-oh!); in 2008 they launched “The Phantom”, a bar in the restaurant’s upper level to greet guests waiting for tables.

The interior is music-themed with sheet music hanging from the ceiling fixtures as well as cool atmospheric lighting.

Opera Bistro, Saint John/mixed green salad with prosciutto

I started with a mixed green, spiced pecan, and prosciutto salad. A delightfully baked chicken breast with lobster risotto ($28) followed as a main course.

Opera Bistro, Saint John/Chicken breast, lobster risotto
[Chicken breast, lobster risotto]

Big pieces of mouth-watering lobster were enhanced by the smooth sauce in the risotto.

Opera Bistro, Saint John/Carrot cake

Margaret’s desserts will not disappoint: I tucked into her many layered carrot cake to top off my dinner and brought half of it home to my hotel. The word calorie-free dessert is included in the Begner Dictionary of Wishful Thinking 🙂

An extensive wine list caters to pairing any dish on the menu and many options are available by the glass.

Saint John harbour/sunset

My dinners at Saint John Ale House, Opera Bistro, and Bourbon Quarter were all courtesy of Tourism New Brunswick. Opinions, as always, are my own.


  • Comment by Ron Pomerleau — August 19, 2012 @ 9:33 am

    Local Merchant Account Services Provider !

  • Comment by TL — August 21, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

    From a Saint John resident…where the hell is the ‘heritage’ quarter? The whole uptown is 275 years old…it is sort of ALL heritage…there is no such area here referred to as the ‘heritage quarter’ confused us with New Orleans perhaps??

  • Comment by arianec — August 21, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

    I was referring to the area close to the cruise ship terminal. Some of the buildings there are older than the businesses I noticed closer to the New Brunswick Museum. I also noticed several older restored homes up the hill near the stone church, so Saint John probably has more than one heritage area.

  • Comment by Robert Morrisey — August 21, 2012 @ 6:22 pm

    Hi Ariane,

    I served you at the Saint John Ale House… I’m originally from Vancouver as well. Thanks for such a lovely review. Really happy that you & your lunch companion enjoyed yourself so much.

    Hopefully we will see you again!

    Kind regards,
    Robert Morrisey
    Server & Bartender @ SJAH

  • Comment by arianec — August 22, 2012 @ 8:50 am

    Hi Robert,

    Thanks so much! I really enjoyed Saint John. And those scallops were to die for. Glad to have made the trek East this summer and I hope to be back again sooner than later 🙂

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