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No. 36


AFTER THE MUCH-ADMIRED Raymonds closed, long-time chef de cuisine Ross Larkin and his wife, pastry chef Celeste Mah, set out to open their own place… right across the street. Luckily, they brought the wine cellar with them, but they left the traditional fine-dining outlook behind. Larkin and Mah are still carrying the torch for elevated cuisine in Canada’s most easterly capital city — but without affectations. Portage is casual and convivial, with large windows facing the street, kelly green tiles, unadorned wooden tables and a bright open kitchen. The culinary style is Newfoundland Canadiana, with global influences informed by travel and Mah’s Asian heritage. Bibimbap beef tartare is seasoned with gochujang and pickled carrots. Pork dumplings are classic, with sweet soy and chili crisp. Cured char comes with cream cheese, lavash and crispy capers. Modest local vegetables are cleverly enhanced — rutabaga with Thai red curry and parsnip with miso, maple and sesame. The desserts encapsulate the chefs’ roots. A just-set mango pudding is served with sweet cardamom milk (a riff on Carnation evaporated milk) and wild bakeapples. Wines favour oldworld bottles, while beers and ciders are mostly crafted locally. Cocktails are inventive.

Everything you have heard about Newfoundland — warm, friendly, and they make you feel like family. Bonnie Stern
Best Seats
Table 61, across from the bar, by the wine wall.

Photography by Ross Larkin (Beef Tartare), Johnny Lam (Larkin And Mah, Preserves), Celeste Mah (Apple Galette)

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