ISO: Cheap Eats in Nova Scotia
I'll be going to Nova Scotia in July (7/3-7/13) and I need some good places to eat - cheap to moderate - really good food - not fancy, family friendly - one problem - I have a picky son who is allergic to shrimp.
We need good Italian, continental, restaurants - but can be places that have buffets or have Canadian and other foods. Also, looking for good U.K. based meals.
Any help would be appreciated.
We'll be in the following areas:
Baddeck, Amherst, Digby, Cape Breton, New Glasgow, Halifax, Smith's Cove, and Truro. We might need places in between these too.
I would really like to try places that locals eat, not necessarily tourists. I'm a traveler, not a tourist (as Anthony Bourdain would say).
Let me give you some Halifax-area suggestions.
Good family-style eating can be had at Kempster's in Halifax, on Kempt Road. They send a lot of plates out of that kitchen every day and they have a huge menu. Lots of business types go there at lunch and lots of families in the evenings. Hardly gourmet food, but kid-friendly and not too expensive.
At the Kearney Lake Road exit from Highway 102 (the main route out of town) is The Brass Rail, another family-type restaurant. Order their grilled haddock.
Halifax isn't much for buffets. Aside from the Sunday brunch buffets at the downtown hotels, which can get expensive, the only one that immediately comes to mind is the Dragon King buffet in Bayers Lake Park. It's very kid-friendly, and if you are judicious in your selections you can get a decent Chinese-style meal that isn't overdone with fried battered checken balls and sweet and sour sauce. This is definitely eating as opposed to dining, but it seems popular.
Locals in the know go to one of the following places for Chinese: King Wah; China Classic (both on Quinpool Rd); Cheelin (Brewery Market, donwntown); or Fan's (Dartmouth). There are a lot of other good Chinese places as well; check www.edining.ca for others.
A new favorite of mine is Vivo, on the corner of Windsor and Almon Sts in Halifax; nice Italian food and nice atmosphere without breaking the bank. If you're looking for a quick lunch on the run and want to avoid the chain fast-food places, try Tarek's, in the 2900 block of Robie St in a little strip mall. Great pita sandwiches and mediterrean style salads. I love his stuff.
What else? The Scotia Square food court has a couple of places to avoid, but ones to try are Ray's, for Lebanese, and a Korean place (forget the name) that's good; Halifax Shopping Center has another food court with a Japanese place that I like for teriyaki beef and veg; plus they have all kinds of other choices. If this is your first trip here, you need to visit Swiss Chalet for a Canadian staple, their rotisserie chicken -- I can take it or leave it, but the places are hugely popular. If you're travelling by car you'll see Tim Horton's everywhere, and although I fail to see the attraction, Canadians are addicted to them. In fairness, in some small locales they are the only place you can get anything to eat, and they do serve a passable soup and sandwich, although I am not a fan of their sandwiches - stick to soup or chili and a tea biscuit.
I can never fail to recommend Il Mercato (2 locations, downtown and Bedford) for good Italian food to anyone visiting, amd Baan Thai (just off Spring Garden) for excellent Thai food. Our liquor laws allow kids with parents in pubs until 9PM, and many of those offer meals for good value -- try the Economy Shoe Shop, the Thirsty Duck, or Your Father's Mustache, to name a few, along with the lounge at O'Carrol's, downtown on Water St.
That ought to keep you going for a while! Enjoy your stay.
re: Greg B
Thanks so much. I grew up in Toronto in the 60's and Swiss Chalet was my most favorite place!!! I am excited to learn I can find it in Halifax. Friends have mailed me packets of sauce over the years (lived in California for many years, now in Mexico) but it's just not the same. I am very excited about this trip. Thanks so much!!
We are also going to NS, Cape Breton and PEI in September and are very interested in what you have to say. We will be three nights in Halifax, one at Keltic Lodge, one in Baddeck, one in Port Hood and two in Charlottetown. I have made notes of everything listed above. Any more thoughts? Charlottetown ideas? While we don't mind paying for great food, it is always more fun to find the less expensive but great spots.
Thanks for any and all suggestions.
Glad to see your request!
I don't know how it happened, but the Canadian side of Chowhound seems to ignore the original idea of the site - there seems to be more "fine dining" posts than "chow" stuff. Places I would list as family-friendly, local favourites, traditional Maritime restaurants:
Truro: The Palliser Restaurant (Exit 14, Hwy. #102, look for the sign and the Motel on the right as you approach Truro on Highway 102, the highway to Halifax). If you want "traditional home style cooking", you won't find better value with their daily specials. The major bus tour companies plan their trips around this place, so be prepared for crowds and be patient, it's worth it. A good view of the Tidal Bore from just outside the place.
Halifax: The Bluenose II Restaurant in the waterfront area (corner of Hollis and Duke Street).
I would call this place a cross between a diner and a bistro. Some of the best Greek dishes in the city, a menu with lots of comfort foods, and the kind of place that puts parsnip in the soup of the day in the winter. Usually busy for a reason.
bluenoseii dot ns dot ca
Jimmy's Homestead Restaurant, 3217 Kempt Road, in the middle of the car dealers. Nothing fancy in the decor, it's all in the food. Another good value place of "traditional home style cooking" with daily specials that have the soup and the jello or tapioca included in the price.
There are others I could mention ...
Sorry, I don't know how to adjust for your son's problem.
I wasn't sure how the prices were lately, so I noted yesterday when the Palliser had an advertisement in the Chronicle:
"Welcome... We are now open for the season
Mother's Day Special Lunch & Dinner $16.95 + tax.
Your choice of Chicken & Peaches (a popular entree unique to the Palliser) or Poached Atlantic Salmon, with dilled hollandaise sauce. Children under 10 years of age $8.95. Meal includes soup or juice, dessert and beverage."
Of course, prices will change with the season.
Hope that you enjoy!
I live on Cape Breton, so I can give you a few ideas for places to eat both here and on the mainland. There are many many places to eat in Halifax and surrounding area. The Esquire Restaurant along the Bedford Highway ( which connects Halifax to Bedford) is a good eating place where locals and visitors frequent. It is small and is always busy what ever time of the day. Carrying on along this road into Bedford you will find Pete's Fruitique. Wonderful fresh produce and a very good eating area for both sitdown or takeout. In Truro you will find the best fish and chips in Nova Scotia ( I think) at The Shamrock. Just after New Glasgow, turn off at the Thorburn exit there is the Crossroads Market and Restaurant ( ask a local if you can't find it). They have a small eating area which is always very busy and there is a great bakery. Just past Anigonish at Lower
South River, another wonderful eatery at Ron's Coffee Shop. Once you are in Cape Breton at Port Hawkesbury The China King which has excellent Chinese food and also a buffet on Saturday and Sunday. Close to Baddeck The Herring Choker and in Baddeck The Highwheeler ( they will make box lunches for a picnic) are highly reccomended. Other places on Cape Breton are The Mull in Mabou (their chocolate brownie pudding is to die for), The Stuffing Box in Dundee, St. Georges Channel Sunday Breakfasts and Valley Mills Sunday brunch. For these two latter places please see a corresponding post regarding their summer hours. Hope this helps.