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Going to Nova Scotia

Any suggestions on places we must to go eat at? I'll be flying into Halifax we have friends who live near Canning, NS. I know they will have some ideas of places but I would also like to take them out one night. thanks. I'm leaving July 15th.

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  1. Hey Janine, there are some great places to eat downtown Halifax; what sort of place are you looking for? If you want stylish, good food but at a big city price, you could try Seven on Grafton - www.sevenwinebar.com , or maybe Bish down on Bishops Landing. Let me know what sort of place you are looking for and I'll make some more detailed recommendations.

    A word of warning, stay clear of the Hamachi Steakhouse. See my forthcoming review!

    Bon Appetit!

    1. I'm looking for great food, possibly something unique to Nova Scotia. I do love fish & seafood. I live in Toronto so there's alot of high end places here so that's not necessarily important, quality food is. I don't want to pay big city prices. ie. $40 for a main course. $30 or under would be preferable. No worries about the steakhouse, we have plenty here that I won't get a craving!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Janine

        I don't know if they do this or not since I too live in TO but on a recent (ish) trip to the gulf coast there was a place encouraging you to go up to the fishing boats that just came in and see what kinda deal you could make. If you have friends who live in the area they could provide you with locations of said fishing boat docks and a means of cooking said sea foods.


      2. Hey Janine,

        Halifax has some great restaurants for you to sample with your friends.

        My favourites are Fid (www.fidcuisine.ca), Il Mercato (www.il-mercato.ca) and Jane's on the Common (www.janesonthecommon.com).

        Of the three Fid is my hands down favourite: they focus on local produce and seasonal dishes and frequently offer a tasting menu that comes paired with wines. I've been probably four times and have been wowed each visit. It is however the most expensive of the three. It's considered high end for Halifax, but depending on what you're used to in Toronto it may not seem that expensive. My recollection is that mains are between $20 and $30 and I think the tasting menu when I was there in May was about $90 a person (three courses). You would want a reservation here but should have no problem getting in with the amount of time you've got.

        Il Mercato and Janes are more moderately priced and both have really high quality food. Il Mercato is Italian, Janes is more bistro. Neither take reservations and are usually really busy on weekends - but if you have a weeknight evening or don't mind waiting a bit for a table on the weekend they would be ideal. Janes is also great for brunch on the weekends.

        I've been to Seven as mentioned above (only once though). I had a really good meal there, but my partner thought his was kind of uninteresting. They are a known for having a really extensive wine list if you're into that. I found the atmosphere a bit weird, a bit too clubby for my idea of a nice dinner out, but I went just with my partner, if you're going with a group that might be kind of enjoyable.

        I don't know much about restaurants in the valley (where Canning is), but if all else fails the farmers markets are just coming into the main season ... perhaps you could get some fish as suggested above and some fresh veggies and have a big ole maritime cookout!


        1 Reply
        1. re: parleek

          I have been to Fid only once and was somewhat disappointed. Maybe I caught them on a bad day but the dishes brought to our table were just not all that impressive. Yet the opinion of many is that it is the best restaurant in town so I probably need to give them another chance.

          I never hesitate to recommend Il Mercato for a casual Italian meal -- it is perhaps my favorite place to eat in Halifax. Jane's, I think, is somewhat overrated. Been there a couple of times with OK food once and forgettable food the other. Plus the permanent crowds and the inevitable wait for a table turns me off. It is certainly popular and trendy though.

          I still think the best food in town is to be had at Da Maurizio. I haven't been yet but also hear good things about the new Gio's, in the Prince George Hotel. One of my favorite places for good dependable food is the dining room at O'Carroll's.

          In the Canning/Wolfville area there are a number of good places. Tempest in Wolfville gets a lot of attention -- Chef Michael Howell is on tap to do a James Beard dinner later this year in NYC -- but my experience there has been mixed, similar to that at Fid. Perhaps the expectation doesn't match reality. Acton's in Wolfville and Le Caveau at Grand Pre Winery just outside town are also good. If you are into microbrews, Paddys Pub in Wolfville makes their own beer and has a good menu as well, although obviously in a more casual style.

        2. We will be in Halifax this weekend and our booked to go to Bish. Any thoughts?

          1 Reply
          1. re: sherry f

            Bish has a great wine list. The food can sometimes be brilliant, sometimes disappointing. If you're hungry, you'll usually need 3 courses -- some of their appetizers, particularly those with shellfish, are disappointingly small.

          2. sherry f:

            I will look forward to hearing your impression of BISH.

            It effectively became our "home away from home" the last time we visited Halifax. Lets just say my attendance at the conference I was purportedly attending suffered after a glass of vino or two at lunch which may then extend into dinner....

            Part of the attractiion was a fabulous server...Dinah I think.. who befriended us and we felt just right at home for the remainder of the week.

            Greg B has certainly been there more recently and often than this Albertan has and can be...perhaps next year we'll get back to "God's Country"

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bob Mac

              We went to Bish this weekend. It was a really lovely setting. I had three appetizers- Tuna tartare, Scallops tempura and some lamb on a crostini. The tuna and lamb were excellent although there was a heavy hand with the tempura and I ended up scraping it off and just eating the scallops. My husband had a shrimp "caesar" (beautiful presentation) and a porterhouse. Our friend both had the Ahi tuna main course. One had the portobello starter and the other minestrone. We all throughly enjoyed our dinner. They brought some complimentary squares after as we were to full for dessert. Not to be ingratious, they taseted like the "two-bite" versions that are available int he grocery stores. It was a very nice gesture though and in fairness to the restaurant we did not order dessert from the menu.

              We will definitely be back when we visit Halifax again.

              I concur with Bob Mac- the service was first-rate.

            2. sherry f

              Glad BISH satisfied.

              We had made reservations there after seeing the OPENING SOON episode on Food TV for the day after our arrival late the previous evening.

              Well we wandered down to Historic Properties and ended up skipping the conference and having lunch. We returned for dinner that evening and by week's end we were almost "family"...just kidding.

              I remember they had terrific champagne glasses and we were drinking way too much New Zealand Sauvignon blanc..label was Nautilus.

              Was nice to be able to sit in their small deck watching the waitstaff go retrieving the umbrellas that puffs of wind sent flying over the boardwalk into the harbour below.

              1. I just returned from 2 weeks in Nova Scotia - you have to go to Piccolo Mondo on Argyle Street in Halifax - really good freshly made pasta, my 10 year old even loved his dish. Perfectly cooked wonderful pasta.

                The ice cream at Cows on the Wharf by the water is soooo good. Very crowded and takes forever but worth it.

                No matter where you go - it's expensive!

                The best and simplest lobster roll we had was at Shaw's Landing in West Dover, right before you reach Peggy's Cove. Do not eat in Peggy's Cove - it is too crowded, and no parking - too many tourists. Go to Peggy's Cove to see the post office in the Lighthouse (the only one in the North Atlantic) but not to eat.

                The lobster roll at Shaw's Landing is on a freshly baked baguette, it has a piece of romaine lettuce and a ton of lobster. It is sooo good and simple.

                The other great meals we had were on Cape Breton, which you won't be near. That would take hours!

                I'm sure your friends will have good suggestions but these were my favorite places.

                Have a great time. What a great city!

                1 Reply
                1. re: RisaG

                  My family and I had dinner at Shaw's Landing and it was horrible. The lobster chowder was basically a bowl of ketchup with a few pieces of lobster meat. The bread was store-bought. The lobster roll again uses regular hot-dog bun not the top-split kind, and not grilled either. It's gotta less than half of lobster meat we got from a roll we bought at Jordan's Snack Bar at Ellsworth. My sea food platter was all deep fried and tasteless. Worst $90 I ever spent.

                2. Your friends in Canning will likely take you to one of two places, maybe both. The first is the Tempest in Wolfville (http://www.tempest.ca). The second is the Port Pub (http://theportpub.com) in Port Williams. The Port is more casual but there's a great brewery on site, if you're a beer drinker. Michael Howell of the Tempest consulted on the menu here when they first opened a few years ago.