Story by Lola Augustine Brown
Halifax is home to Canada’s best donairs and counts deep-fried pepperoni as its local specialty, but if you eschew all that is drenched in oil and are more into gourmet culinary experiences, you won’t go hungry in this stormy east coast city. Here are five must-try restaurants in Halifax:
This is my absolute favourite restaurant in Halifax. Every meal is started with a brown paper bag of biscuits, served with butter and bowls of warm molasses (honestly, you’ll be sold on this place before your starter even arrives). Chef-owner Craig Flinn is a local legend with three best-selling Canadian cookbooks under his belt. His menus embrace local foods, with producers often credited on the menu, which change with the seasons and availability of produce. There are always seafood, meat and vegetarian choices, and whatever you go with, you’ll dine happy and leave full (portions at Chives are very generous).
Location: 1537 Barrington Street, Halifax (see map below)
Reservations: 902-420-9626 or online at Open Table.
Hours: Daily, 5-9:30 p.m.
If you’re after a carnivorous adventure, you can’t go wrong at Cut Steakhouse, where the steaks are dry aged slabs of perfection that melt in your mouth and are always cooked exactly how you want them to be. The steaks are brought out raw on a wooden tray so you can pick exactly what you want, and then sides are ordered separately (try the tempura onion rings – big as donuts and absolutely delicious). The room is pretty formal, but the Urban Grill (located downstairs) has a casual vibe and more of a high-end bar menu (with items like Kobe beef sliders instead of big hunks of meat).
Location: 5120 Salter Street, Halifax (see map below)
Reservations: (902) 429-5120 or online at Open Table.
Hours: Daily, noon-3 p.m. for lunch; dinner from 5:30-10 p.m. (last reservation)
This much-loved local’s favourite serves the best gourmet pizza in Halifax, cooked in an oven imported from Napoli. The pizzas are superb (my favourite is the peach, goats cheese and prosciutto version) and everything is locally sourced wherever possible. Morris East has an inventive cocktail menu (their watermelon gin sling was particularly dangerous, as it goes down far too easily), and you simply have to try one of their salted caramel tarts for dessert. Be prepared to wait for a table on weekend evenings, or go there for a reasonably priced lunch special mid-week.
Location: 5212 Morris Street, Halifax (see map below)
Reservations: (902) 444-7663 or email@example.com
Hours: Tues-Thurs & Sun 5-9 p.m.; Fri-Sat 5-10 p.m.; closed Mondays
This Portuguese and Brazillian place has an intriguing menu full of stuff you just won’t find anywhere else in the Maritimes. The food is excellent and the restaurant is housed in Halifax’s oldest building (dating to 1759). There are lots of great appetizers, so many in fact that you could just order a load as tapas (be sure crispy breaded shell), but the mains are also great (I loved the salt cod with eggs and olives). Also, if you’re a fan of custardy desserts then you must order the goat’s cheese pudding, as it is heavenly.
Location: 1685 Argyle Street,Halifax (see map below)
Reservations: (902) 407-7472
Hours: Sun 4-11pm; Mon-Sat 11am-11pm
The Coastal Cafe
This North End diner is hands down the best place in Halifax to go for breakfast. Big appetites will love the “Elvis” – a buttermilk waffle sandwich with peanut butter, bananas and bacon, drenched in maple syrup, and there are always different interpretations of huevos rancheros on an ever-changing menu. Portions are massive, and their coffee is really good. Lunch at Coastal is also great (go for the duck tostadas if they are on the menu). The Coastal attracts a hipster and creative crowd, and is tiny so gets packed fast (you’re best off visiting in the week if you want a table without a lengthy wait).
Location: 2731 Robie Street, Halifax (see map below)
Reservations: (902) 405-4022
Hours: Mon-Friday – 8 a.m.-3 p.m. (breakfast until 2 p.m., lunch 11-3); Saturday – 8 a.m.- 3 p.m. (brunch only); Sunday – 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (brunch only)
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