Good Cheap PEI Eats in Charlottetown and East
We will be doing a bike trip in a couple of weeks in Eastern PEI, mainly on the confederation trail. I'm looking for some good, cheap, family-friendly (we will have our kids, 5 and 8, with us) places to eat in the area. Not sure of our exact route, but if anyone has suggestions for Charlottetown, Mount Stewart, St. Peter's, Souris, Cardigan, Georgetown, or Montague, it would be much appreciated.
Also, if anyone knows of any hidden dining gems along the confederation trail itself, I would love to know about those.
We're looking to go fish/seafood heavy but the places also need to have at least fries or something for the kid (isn't there one in every family?) who doesn't eat fish.
Am already planning to hit the new glasgow lobster supper and also read here about a good fish and chips place in St. Peter's (is it ricks?)
I heard the corner store in Charlottetown is good. Can we bring our kids there?
Again, not looking for upscale dining, just good, reasonably priced food.
Also, we love oysters but are probably not going to make it to western PEI, where it seems most of the oysters come from. Is there a good place in Charlottetown or East for oysters? Also, we will be driving across the confederation bridge. Is there a good place not too far from the bridge to sample some oysters?
Back from our trip and just wanted to report.
overall, I found the good informal eats scene in PEI to be somewhat unexciting. It's the same things over and over again, though they are often done well.
1. Thai Food restaurant in Charlottetown, on kent street near Prince. Nice folks, great food. got the tip from this board--thanks! was surprised to find such good thai/szechuan food in PEI. Recommend the mapo tofu and the twice boiled beef noodle soup.
2. Trailside Cafe in Mount Stewart: good but slightly overpriced for what it is. good seafood chowder and scallops.
3. Rick's seafood in st. peter's. The fried fish is amazing. however, if you're completely tired of french fries, as i was at this point, do yourself a favor and get the fish platter with caesar salad instead. the servers won't clue you in that this is a choice, but just ask to do it.
Overall, got tired of the abundance of fried food. also thought that the lobster wasn't that great, which makes sense since lobster is better from cold waters and the waters surrounding PEI aren't that cold.
also, the lobster rolls were in general mediocre. as far as i'm concerned, without a buttered toasted hot dog bun you might as well not even bother, and all the ones on PEI were served on big bready rolls, untoasted.
lots of places made great-looking homemade pie, but then they refrigerated it, which killed the crust.
i think the fine-dining scene might be better, but with kids we weren't up to it. didn't make it to one of the lobster suppers, which was my one regret.
missmasala: Glad to found the Thai restaurant in Ch'twn, PEI. If you're back this way we just had spectacular Szechuan food last night at the Hungry Chili here in Halifax. Everything we had was exceptional but never having had Cumin Beef before was the highlight - smoking hot but surprisingly foiled by the celery! I think it's know as Bee-stung Swollen Lips Beef.
By the way, would anyone have a recipe for the Cumin Beef mentioned above. It was not in a sauce, a bit of excess chili oil on the plate: beef sliced thin in cumin, long diagonally cut celery, green onions, huge red chilis fried, onion, chili seeds detected.
I have not found the Chinese name for it either. May have to return to the Hungry Chili for a re-examination.
We were in Charlottetown (and Brackley Beach, north of Ch'town) last month, with our 10 year old son. Here are some of the reasonably priced family-friendly restaurants we dined at.
Water Prince Corner Shop - went in for lunch. Casual, diner-style. I had the lobster roll (served with a scoop of potato salad). Hubby and son split an order of fish (halibut) and chips. Very large portion, your two kids could easily share an order. With drinks, total lunch order came to about $30 (before tip). My son loved looking at the big lobster tank, they have a really huge lobster that's been in there for years.
Gahan House Brewpub - located in a former residence, lots of interesting little dining rooms, friendly service. We all went for the paper bag fish (haddock) and chips. Delicious! My son also really enjoyed the birch beer (like root beer), brewed on site, along with their fantastic beers. Dinner came to about $43 (before tip).
When you're travelling with kids, sometimes you just have to stop at a burger joint. Peter Pan is a take-out burger place, I think it's been around for nearly 50 years. They do have picnic tables outside, which we took advantage of. We did notice lots of people just sitting in their cars and eating. We had great burgers, fries, onion rings and milkshakes. Total bill was $21. We noticed lots of people ordering lobster rolls, and scallop burgers. They also had fried fish. Everything they were turning out looked really good. Popular place, we had to wait about 15 minutes for our order.
We are vacationing in PEI as I speak, and have oysters 5-6 times in 10 days. Our favorites by far this trip are from Raspberry point, just past Cavendish. We bought them from this little Shack (more than a shack, but less than a warehouse) on the dock. $10.00 a dozen. They were taken out of the water 2-3 hours previous. They were spectacular. And they are on the east side of the Island. :Bring your shucker!
Just came back from dinner in town. We had apps at Claddagh Oyster House, and Mains at Off Broadway. Both very good. We had oysters at Claddagh-both raw and Rockafeller style....Very well shucked....Right in front of us, btw. (That means no shell, disconnected from the shell properly and laid out well in the shell after shucking) (yes- bit of an oyster snob-mind you it's the DH that has to do the work)
We both had the orange glazed halibut with beet risotto and bok choy at Off Broadway. very well done- seasoned well and (despite what it may sound like) the flavors all matched up well.
We also went for a drink to Flex Mussels- right on the water in Ch'town...Seems like a place that kids would enjoy, and parents also...Great mix of seafood dishes that would appeal to most. (Oysters there too)
We "toured" the island in sep 2004 and were very discouraged. Being a tourist trap, the island's restaurants seemed to respond appropriately. In general we did not find anything above Husky House quality outside of Charlottetown. That said, we did have some small success in Charlottetown. Best picks were:
1) Off Broadway restaurant: actually had a very decent wine list
2) the Dundee Arms Inn: http://www.dundeearms.com/cuisine.htm yes it is really an Inn, but the restaurant is very good.
3) Sirenella: simple good italian http://www.sirenella.ca/menu.htm (not pizza & spaghetti!)
I was in PEI last weekend and am sorry to report that I did not come across any great places.
In general fried oysters and fried whole clams were very small and dry. None of it was juicy. Fresh oysters were very good but small in size...generally about $2.50 each.
At Carr's Oyster Bar in Stanley Bridge I had a bowl of steamed mixed seafood which was quite good. Reasonable price and family oriented. About 10 minutes from Cavendish, Anne of Green Gables Land.
I was totally not impressed with the dinner at New Glasgow Lobster Supper, though it seems to get glowing reviews. Yes, you get tonnes of food and the service is great but we found the food nothing to speak of. The lobster was way overcooked so was very chewy and dry. You get a bucket full of mussels and I mean a bucketful and more if you want but it was tasteless. The seafood chowder and coleslaw was good. The best part of the meal for me was the lemon meringue pie....great crust, filling and meringue.
Strawberry shortcake was not bad...lots of strawberries. Whole wheat slices of bread were divine.
Had dinner at Fishbones on Victoria Row in Charlottetown. Was not too bad. Doesn't seem children oriented though. Had good fresh oysters as well as bacon wrapped scallops.
Had lunch at the Water Prince corner shop. Seafood chowder was excellent as well as the biscuit that came with it. Fries were good and fried fish was huge, though a bit too much batter....one order would be more than enough for 2 kids to share. Atmosphere is diner style so definitely suitable for children. Pricing is reasonable.
The best seafood item we had during our stay was from the Tyne Valley Oyster festival which was held last weekend only. We had fried scallops which were total heaven. Big and plump and sweet and so juicy.
Perhaps you can find some fried scallops on the menu elsewhere and give it a try.
For breakfast we picked up stuff at Shelley's Bakery at 73 St Peter's Rd in Charlottetown. It's a couple of minutes drive from the main tourist part of town. There is no seating there....it's your basic bakery. Excellent blueberry muffins as well as chicken pot pies. They advertise the best breads, but I tried their split rolls and felt they were too dry. Their cheese biscuits were pretty good. I would advise going early as I went a second time and they ran out of their blueberry muffins.
Cow's for ice cream is really good.
Not sure if you are aware, the toll charge to cross the confederation bridge is $40.75 per car leaving PEI but no charge to enter PEI. I didn't go across it, but I heard there is no view crossing as the bridge walls are quite high.
Hope this helps a little.
Flex Mussels in Charlottetown just got a good review in the Halifax Chronicle Herald today. Their critic is not always the most reliable but on this he seems pretty safe:
Here's a snippet:
"Flex Mussels has an oyster shucker on the premises, and we sat at a table next to his little booth, where orders are fed to him by radio from the dining room. "A half dozen Colvilles, and a dozen mixed."
There are two signature dishes here, and the menu says the goal is to serve the best mussels and french fries on the Island.
A whole page of the website is devoted to an explanation of the way the hand-cut fries are prepared, and there are 23 flavour options for mussel eaters. These include the Mexican, made with Corona, chipotle, lime and coriander, and Wild Turkey, cooked with roasted corn, green onions, kumquats and bourbon.
While we waited for the mussels and the rest of our meals, Dad had a half dozen Colville oysters as an appetizer. The oyster shucker in residence has apparently won some sort of shucking contest, but he wasn’t showing off his speed on this day, as the oysters took a while. In fact, the whole place operates with that laid-back P.E.I. style — no one is in much of a hurry.
When the oysters arrived, they were presented beautifully and accompanied by a palette of eight different sauces, which the shucker explained.
"Excellent," said Dad after the first oyster. "I could eat these all day." (Not at 15 bucks for half a dozen and me paying the tab, he couldn’t.)"
2 Lower Water St, Charlottetown, PE C1A, CA