Saint St Grill
By Tracey Rayson

A Neighbourhood Jewel

Port Moody's most extravagant restaurant interior gives the eye no idea where to settle. Inside Saint St Grill, the decor is an original mélange of French and Mediterranean art, antiques, tapestries, picture frames, ornate gold mirrors, and wall sconces. The nuances of Old World European sophistication that adorn the walls, brick columns, and the exposed ceiling of wood beams and ducts are the creative stylings of owner Ross Edwards.

The artful pieces have materialized from a variety of sources over the years, from Ross' personal collection and items gifted to him by the staff, to tokens of thanks and spontaneous drop-offs by customers.

"The Lower Mainland is home to such rich diversity, which is brilliant for coupling foods and flavours from so many fantastic gastronomical and traditional ethnicities," Ross explains. "For me, the multifarious atmosphere of Saint St Grill pairs beautifully with our extensive wine list and Chef's passionately crafted dishes."

We've come to know many customers by name; our repeat business is one of our most positive things. - Jay Smith, manager
Manager Jay Smith has been with the restaurant since it first opened in 1977.
Manager Jay Smith has been with the restaurant since it first opened in 1977. Photo by Tracey Rayson

Smart Casual Meets Comfortable

Amid the atmosphere's funky elegance, the chandelier-lit dining room and white linens create a special occasion feel, but there isn’t a hint of stuffiness thanks to the friendly vibe of managers Jay Smith and Pavlina Pechacova, who've been with the restaurant since it's opening in 1997. "Once you've been here a couple of times, we get to know you," says Jay. "It's always nice to see a friendly face you recognize."

Although Saint St Grill is labeled fine dining, the restaurant strikes a balance between upscale and casual. Jay assures that diners of all types fit in easily. "No one feels out of place here; we have a very comfortable casual feel."

Considered both a destination and special occasion restaurant, out of town guests are wowed and locals return time and again for a myriad of celebrations. "We are here for so many things in people's lives," explains Jay. "Milestone birthdays, engagements, anniversaries, rehearsal dinners, many memorable occasions. We've come to know many customers by name; our repeat business is one of our most positive things."

There are 75 seats inside with additional room to accommodate large parties, plus an intimate back deck that holds 30.
There are 75 seats inside with additional room to accommodate large parties, plus an intimate back deck that holds 30. Photo by Tracey Rayson

Smartly Styled Menus

The menu at Saint St Grill changes with the season to ensure the freshest product but the creamy West Coast seafood chowder is a perennial favourite. Chef Tyler Ross takes a modern approach to Pacific Northwest cuisine, preparing and serving a range of pasta dishes, seafood, steaks, poultry and game. Innovative tweaks keep starters interesting: in-house smoked duck carpaccio with locally foraged pickled chanterelle mushrooms, pulled roasted pork belly risotto, and citrus cracked pepper seared calamari Tabouli salad are among the offerings. Mains are equally attractive; think soft pillows of handmade saffron-scented gnocchi in a rosé sauce, slow-braised wild boar in an apple coconut milk curry, and wild king salmon sesame crusted filet.

"Some things stay from menu to menu, customer favourites, but they still get tweaked," says Jay. "We always have some game, we've done kangaroo and ostrich before, but we never change the seafood chowder, customers love it. All my seafood comes from Albion; they're the best supplier for being ethical and sustainable."

Among many accolades, Saint St Grill recently earned a slew of awards from the Tri-Cities News in Ostober 2016: "Best Fine Dining," "Most Romantic Restaurant," "Most Sustainable Business," plus runner up for "Best Wine List."

"I've been in the industry many years and I've always loved my job," reveals Jay. "Although I had many regular customers when I worked in Vancouver, I'd say these people are my friends. Everyone has become more than customers. I get a lot of personal thank-you emails and it's rewarding to know I've made a difference in people's dining experience."

The room's interesting decor is as eclectic as it is comfortable and warm.
The room's interesting decor is as eclectic as it is comfortable and warm. Photo by Tracey Rayson
Close menu