When I found out The Captain’s Table served gluten free fish & chips, there was no holding me back!
Crispy batter and Atlantic cod that tastes like it was just plucked from the ocean, and probably was. If you’re like me, fish & chips is a rare treat. Few places do a gluten free version, so when I get the chance, I take it.
We’re here in Newfoundland on a little summer holiday. After spending a few months this past winter in Tampa, we decided to keep our summer vacation dollars in Canada and visit our most easterly province. Did you know that Cape Spear, just a short drive from St. John’s is the first place in North America to see the sunrise each morning?
But I digress. The Captain’s Table is 35 minutes outside St. John’s in the town of Mobile. The coastal drive is incredibly scenic with small towns, soaring cliffs and the deep blue ocean off the east coast of the Avalon Peninsula.
The restaurant’s backstory is as intriguing as the menu. It’s named for Captain William Jackman who in October 1867 saved 27 lives from a shipwrecked fishing schooner off Spotted Island. He did this by carrying them one at a time on his back to safety.
The current owners of The Captain’s Table are Melissa and Martin Barrington. They bought the restaurant from Melissa’s grandparents, who originally opened it in 1988.
Coming down the highway from St. John's you'll see several signs guiding you into the Captain's Table. After the buildup you might be surprised by unassuming little wooden building on the left-had side with a weathered dinghy on the front lawn.
Here at this tiny roadside diner, you’ll be greeted by iconic Newfoundland hospitality but do call ahead. We arrived about 1:30 pm for lunch and without a reservation we had to wait about 20 minutes for a table.
The restaurant is small, about 10 tables in total. The décor and atmosphere are homey with lots of varnished wood and hanging sails. If the Captain Jackman backstory interests you then you’ll want to check out the photos, memorabilia, and framed newspaper clippings.
We were shown to our table by the friendly hostess. When I asked about gluten free options, she informed me that “everything on the menu except the chowder” could be made gluten free. Yes, there is a separate fryer for gluten free items.
The owner of the Captain’s Table is gluten free, so that explains the extensive menu choices. Don't you find knowing the chef is gf gives you confidence? Our server also assured me that they are very familiar with celiac disease and that they host a weekly gathering of the local celiac association.
I reviewed the menu but there was really no decision to be made. I ordered the Fish ‘n’ Chips.
The service is shall we say, “attentive but relaxed”. The wait for the table is to be expected; after all, we didn’t have a reservation. We told the hostess we came here right off the plane and Hubby’s charming embellishment that we flew all the way from Ontario for their fish & chips may have encouraged her to squeeze us in.
Our server came and took our order right away. She was very knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful. It took about 25 minutes for the food to arrive, but it was worth the wait.
The gluten free fish batter is crispy and delicious. It’s a little darker and heavier than the regular version, so I wouldn’t say it’s a perfect duplicate of a traditional beer batter, but it was very good. The chips were hot, crispy, and satisfying too. The homemade tartar sauce tops off the fish nicely. The meal came with a side of creamy coleslaw.
Hubby ordered fish ‘n’ chips as well, not gluten free. He said his were very good too.
Would I eat at The Captain’s Table again? Yes definitely. I’d like to try some of the other menu items, but it’s so hard when faced with the opportuning for gluten free fish & chips.