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Halifax Restaurants

Looking for the best places to eat in town...

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  1. Just read through this board - it will give you pretty much all you need to know about dining in Halifax. Halifax isn't that big. It has some good restaurants though.

    1. A few suggestions: FID is very good and has an excellent reputation for use of local produce, meats and fish. It is pricey.

      A good sushi restaurant is Sushi Nami; they have an imaginative menu (check out the black sesame ice cream). Both are downtown, off Spring Garden Road, near Pete's Fruitique (THE best grocery store EVER!!!)

      If you like Italian food, in its many variations, all of them are catered to at one or other of the Il Mercato-Bish-DaMaurizio group (not a chain, same family runs them all).

      On a totally different level, the best "soul food" in town can bve found at the Starlight Cafe.(Halifax has a large population of Afro-Canadians with a proud heritage in NS).

      And, my personal fave, for a good old-fashioned fish fry experience, is out along the Bedford Highway at The Esquire.

      If you make it down to Lunenburg, check out both Fleur de Sel and Trattoria della Nonna, stopping at The Biscuit Eater in Mahone Bay on the way.

      20 Replies
      1. re: LJS

        A tiny correction, LJS, to your otherwise impeccable recommendations. Stephanie and Maurizio Bertossi sold da Maurizio over the summer to the chef and manager who have been running it for the last few years. So it's no longer part of the family.

        Might I also recommend Morris East. My partner in crime, Tempest in a Teapot, recently wrote a review for her own blog, and for infomonkey.

        We really enjoyed it. It's a restaurant that I've been dreaming about for 15 years, since I had my first wood-fired oven pizza in Portland, Oregon.

        1. re: Smartlikestreetcar

          Not only have the Bertossis sold Da Maurizio, but I note that their home is now also for sale. Whether that is a good sign or a bad sign I do not know.

          1. re: Greg B

            As is their bedford location I do believe.

          2. re: Smartlikestreetcar

            Great timing! I am on my way back to NS next week (my daughter and husband both get to live there-I am still stuck in the middle). So where is Morris East? and can you provide a link to Tempest's blog?I have been to Fiasco's and know the others...sigh, so many options, so few meals...

            1. re: LJS

              Hi LJS—

              Morris East is on Morris Street, just at the intersection of Morris & Barrington, next door to Ginger Grass (the old Khin Do). The menu is supposed to change every month— I haven't been this month to check.

              Some reviews:
              http://www.hfxnews.ca/index.cfm?sid=6...
              http://thecoast.ca/119803.113118body....
              http://halifax.infomonkey.net/nova.sc...

              Bill Spurr did one the same week as Valerie Mansour, but The Herald deleted it. His only complaint was a crust that got soggy after "a couple of minutes on the plate"; a complaint echoed by Liz Feltham, above. I've visited repeatedly and never had a soggy crust, but it's often very busy, so it's not beyond the realm of possibility.

              Hope you like it there as much as I did!

              1. re: tempest in a teapot

                Ate at Morris East twice. Pizza very good but the service was so bad as to make me forget the food. Waiters were the typical good looking young women dressed in black who acted as if they could care less about diners. Answering the phone seemed important though

                1. re: bikerider56

                  I'm sorry to hear that. We've been in about six times (sometimes at odd hours— late lunch, etc.) but we've always found the waitstaff attentive and charming.

                  1. re: bikerider56

                    I'm also surprised (and sorry) to hear that. I've been to Morris East a bunch of times and always had great service.

                    1. re: bikerider56

                      Had a wonderful dinner at Morris East just last week. The service could not have be better....warm, attentive, professional....and the pizza was superb. A great place!

                      1. re: josephnl

                        I took three people to Morris East in March based on the recommendations from this thread. We arrived around 9:30 on a Friday and it looked like they were closing up shop for the night. Another party arrived at the same time, so Jen (the owner) decided to stay open and asked her staff to stay on. We had fantastic food and service. The flavour combinations were well thought out, and the traditional pizza (tomato, basil, mozza) was expertly prepared. I can't coment on the crust getting soggy because it didn't have a chance. Recommended.

                        1. re: shaggydee

                          That is gratifying...its not like I cooked the meal or anything, but it does make me feel pleased that somebody ate well because of a restaurant I think is swell, too. Yes, Jen is marvelous...she really listened to my daughter's allergy mention and won friends for life. My daughter and her partner go twice a week for her gluten free pizzas and desserts.

                    2. re: tempest in a teapot

                      I made it to Morris East a few weeks ago and thought it was very good. It is a restaurant that specializes in pizza, not a pizza joint, so don't expect to get out of there cheap.

                  2. re: Smartlikestreetcar

                    Ate at both da Maurizio and Morris East last week. Although the two restaurants could not be different (the former quite formal, and the latter super casual), we thought both were terrific. Actually we were wondering if da Maurizio might not be better since it was sold...the service there was far better than we recently had at Bish.

                  3. re: LJS

                    I actually really didn't enjoy my meal at the Esquire. My fish was overcooked, which was completely disappointing. I know so many people that have had good meals there, but I really didn't have a great experience.

                    1. re: FashionDiva84

                      I've visited the Esquire a few times over the last couple of years and have never been impressed. It is sort of like a "worst of" 1950s food experience. One visit I ordered the tuna melt because I never had one in my life previously, believe it or not. This version, at least, was terrible. Came with a salad of mostly iceberg lettuce, some carrot shreds, a couple of tomato slices and Kraft italian dressing. Ugh. I've never been keen on the place after that, though the atmosphere is straight out of the 50s and authentic. A majority of their customers seem to be older than average, maybe because of that.

                    2. re: LJS

                      can someone tell me where the starlight is located? thanks

                      1. re: ddb

                        5467 Cornwalis at the corner of Gottingen and Cornwalis. Most definitely call ahead before going as I am not sure when they are open.902-425-8051

                      2. re: LJS

                        I looked at the website from Trattoria della Nonna.
                        It looks great.
                        But what about the prices.
                        Are they expencive?

                        thanks

                        Anita

                        1. re: anita82

                          You know that is one question I never dare to answer of behalf of others: MY 'totally doable' may be your 'NO WAY'...my husband I paid $180 there a couple of months ago for the whole deal: drinks before, wine with, appetizer, meat entree with full veg, dessert and tip.

                          We could have spent $250 if we had added soup/salad and a better wine or we could have spent $80 if we had pizza, salad and the house wine.

                          It is so hard to judge...

                          1. re: anita82

                            Compared to Chives, Bish, Cut and Gio, no. It's in Lunenburg so do your homework first. Check out the menu on line, food and wine. Our meal there was a pleasant surprise. We ended up in the 'basement ' and it is noisy but the service and food, quality and quantity, made up for any apprehension we may have had. The best Osso Bucco, hopefully that's the correct spelling, I have had in some time. The wine suits the food. As a hint as to how relaxed /confident the staff is; I asked our waiter how to pronounce the name of the winery. The waiter said, In my best Blue Rocks accent I would say.......

                            Blue Rocks is a village outside Lunenburg. Enjoy your visit.

                        2. Some others to consider: Fiasco, Seven, Onyx, and Chives.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: tempest in a teapot

                            HIGHLY reccommend Fiasco, Seven and Chives. I've only had drinks at Onyx

                          2. I had dinner recently at Mezza, on Quinpool. Remarkable! It is mostly all Lebanese food, but prepared very well indeed and served in a high-style atmosphere. Highly recommended if you like Lebanese dishes,.

                            1. Never been to Sushi Nami itself, but there was a takeout location of their stuff at the Sunnyside mall outside Pete's Frootique that I was always sure to stop at when in Halifax after my Pete's shopping. Love the moon-pie pizza there at that food court too. A take-out favorite down by the Spring Garden Pete's location, is the Italian Gourmet.

                              I still love Opa however i wish they'd bring back the Swordfish souvlaki. A platter there can do two meals easy, and they let you substitute vegetarian or seafood options for the meat dishes easily (love the vegetarian moussaka). The vegetarian stuffed pepper though was kind of bland and watery. The saganaki opa for appetizer is great. Athens on Quinpool was also very good.

                              Love The Old Triangle for atmosphere and they've got some good food there too. Been to Saege for brunch which was nice but not mind-blowing. Had a great seafood meal at McKelvie's once. Sweet Basil has been really good both times i've been. Enjoyed the Celtic Corner on my visit there. Fantastic seafood chowder at Peggy's Cove.

                              Have been to a couple of fantastic Indian and Thai restaurants in Halifax. Not great at remembering names...I think it was Thai Chin i've been to a couple of times and it was fantastic, green papaya salad that knocked my socks off. Lucked into the Thai beer only once. Had a shrimp vindaloo at i think Curry Village (reasonable prices..no debit machine..ring a bell?)...that was so hot it felt like my face was melting but it was so flavorful that i couldn't stop eating it.

                              Can't beat the historic properties for summertime eats or just lounging with a beer.

                              Had a disappointing experience at Piccolo Mondo and service at the Waterfront was poor from what i could recall, but the lobster pasta was good.

                              Just a couple i've visited in my travels to the city, i look forward to trying more.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: im_nomad

                                The Wooden Monkey located at 1685 Argyle Street is really good. They try to use local products and also ones that are farmed or caught in environmentally friendly or sustainable ways. I have had the Monkey Pita and the Country Sausage Pizza. Also one of the best pieces of Pumpkin Pie I ever had was there. They also have pizza on wheat free crusts and have lots of vegetarianoptions if you need.

                                1. re: im_nomad

                                  We have been visiting Nova scotia in June last year.
                                  My mom lives there and we are from the netherlands.

                                  We visited Opa and I loved it.
                                  Tippical that every kitchen is differend in every country.
                                  Greek tastes totaly differend in a restaurant than it does in canada?????
                                  Straings but it doesn't mather.

                                  I love the lobster in the restaurant at the Halls harbour lobsterpound.
                                  But that's not in Halifax.

                                  Anita

                                2. Wanted to add another recommendation for Tarek's for fantastic cheap eats. I haven't checked out any meat dishes , but the vegetarian plates i've had a couple of times were soooo good. Well worth a look.

                                  1. I've been to FiD 3 times so far with my partner (most recently last fall) and except for the first time, we really weren't that impressed with it. We had a wonderful experience at Da Maurizio before they sold it - we havn't been back since so I can't vouch for it. Our favourite place by far for the last year has been Gio Restaurant at the Prince George hotel. We have been so thoroughly impressed with the consistency of the food and the waiting staff attentiveness, that we have chosen to hold our wedding rehearsal dinner there to show off contemporary Atlantic Canadian fare to our many out-of-town guests that will be coming.

                                    1. We can't recommend FID , overpriced and not what it should be,also, Nectar in Dartmouth. We can STRONGLY recommend,Cut,Da Maurizos(new owners),Morris East,Five Fishermen(expensive),It's all greek to me,Ryan Duffys,Opa and Fizz.
                                      You have a lot of choices,but I think you won't go wrong with these. Enjoy..

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: ahlref

                                        Clarification please: are you saying you do NOT recommend Nectar in Dartmouth? If so, please post details as I have heard nothing yet about this new place.

                                        Also, my relatively recent experience with Ryan Duffys in their old location prior to the move downtown would not have resulted in a recommendation. Their performance in the post-Risley ownership era was not at all impressive given the price point they are at. Perhaps they have stepped up their game with their relocation, but again, I have heard no reports on the new place.

                                      2. I lived in Halifax for ten years. In my mind the best places to eat are FId, Cheelin for chinese, either Dharma Sushi or Sushi Shige, The Coastal Cafe ( former chef at Bish) for brunch, Trident Coffee or Steve-o-Rino's for coffee, Bhaan Thai, Bish, Da Mauritizo, Il Mercato, Jane's on the Common, Starlight Cafe for caribbean, only eat nachos at the Economy Show Shop but do eat them, Italian Gourmet for simple italian lunch, Fries and Co. for Fish and Chips ( though Murphy's Fish and Chips in Truro is the actual BEST), Salvatore's for pizza (the Pizza Miguel is amazing thin crust), Taj Mahal for Indian, Athen's on Quinpool for homestyle Greek, Opa for fancier Greek, Mexico Lindo for adequate Mexican, Tarek's for lebanese. Find a Donut Machine Donut- they are the best. Most places on the waterfront cater to the bland tongues of tourists and are priced for their pockets as well. La Perla in Dartmouth, if it is still around, was nice and the Ardmore Tearoom was a cute basic diner. Go to Pete's Frootique and the Farmer's market to look and sample the best local food and if you want to see the most interesting food shop in the world, find the Newfoundland Grocery on Willow street- the only place you'll find cod tongue and such. If you are in Mahone Bay or La Havre- go the the La Havre bakery.
                                        Halifax has lost some great restaurants, RIP-Chicken Tandoor, The Libertine, TuDo, former Mediterranio, Silver Spoon, Thackerey's.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: elang

                                          I think you have summed up the eating experience at the Economy Shoe Shop perfectly!

                                          You'll be sad to know the Donut Machine closed awhile back.

                                          1. re: elang

                                            Good analysis-some recent experience to add.

                                            Tarek =amazing food, zero atmosphere-take out

                                            Italian Gourmet, same thing and be careful NOT to buy their food products (like parmaggiano reggiana) if you can possibly get them elsewhere: their mark-up is frightening, versus Pete's, for example.

                                            The Ardmore Tearoom has lost itself with all the buzz it used to get and deserve. A recent breakfast there was positively painful. Lousy, cold food and disinterested service. It took forever.

                                            Salvatores for Pizza (though Morris East are giving them a run for their money).

                                            Mexico Lindo is weird, quirky, sometimes great food and sometimes its like they just aren't into it. But so worth the experience.No liquor licence as I recall.

                                            And if you do make it down to Mahone Bay, YES to La Havre's, but also to The Biscuit Eater (around the corner).

                                            1. re: LJS

                                              I thought Mexico Lindo closed..? I also however, heard it was very bland, and not worth a repeat.

                                              I love the Italian Gourmet, and it used to be the only place I could get the sliced kalamatas in bulk before Pete's started stocking them.

                                          2. I didn't see it mentioned, so I'll add The Press Room. We ate there last week and thoroughly enjoyed our dinner. Lovely room, great service, good prices compared to TO. Hubby had the halibut and I had the lobster poached in champagne butter. We shared a ceasar salad to start and washed it all down with a nice Pinot Grigio. all fo $128. Very good.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: dinin and dishin

                                              You mean the Press Gang. My experience is that it can be very good, but is inconsistent, especially in the service department, depending on who you get to serve you.

                                              1. re: Greg B

                                                Yes, the Press Gang. Unfortunately I've found of late that inconsistent service is a problem in almost every restaurant these days.

                                            2. I know i've mentioned this one in other posts, but another recommend for sure is Chabaa Thai restaurant . It is sooooooooooo good there.

                                              1. Anyone eaten at Tribeca on Granville Street lately?

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: somegoodyou

                                                  I realise that this reply is a few months late but I had dinner there the other night and it was fabulous. Good drinks, decent wine list and wonderful service. I had the burger ($10) which is served with crispy shoestring fries and amazing tomato relish. I was very impressed and the prices were very good.

                                                2. I'm looking at some of the restaurants that have been mentioned and am dismayed to see that nobody has mentioned Stories at Haliburton House. It is hands down my favorite "fine dining" establishment in the city. The menu is seasonal, the food is outstanding and the service has always been great. Try the chefs table (five to six courses) for $60 and you won't be disappointed. Fiasco was up there when I left Halifax two years ago, but I haven't been back since, so I can't vouch for it right now. The Press Gang is alright, but both quality and service are inconsistent.

                                                  Tarek's is a great little place for Lebanese and other Mediterranean fare.

                                                  If you're looking for good sushi check out Dharma sushi on Birmingham just off Spring Garden road.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: hooper_75

                                                    Correction to my last...Doraku vice Dharma...1579 Dresden Row off Spring Garden.

                                                    1. re: hooper_75

                                                      We spent four nights at the Halliburton House last month, and we unfortunately did not eat at Stories. It looked very nice, the menu was appealing, but the restaurant was pretty empty most of the time, and this scared us away. In retrospect we should have gone there. The hotel is terrific by the way. We did have four nice meals at Bish, Morrison East, Five Fisherman and a wonderful Italian restaurant which was previously owned by the chef at Bish...the name escapes me.

                                                      I am not surprised that Sories is excellent....everything else about the hotel is!!

                                                      1. re: hooper_75

                                                        Just a note to agree Stories is one of the best kept secrets in town. The quality, selection, creativity, presentation and service rivals the'best' restaurants and should be considered one of them. We have eaten annually on New Years Eve, and even with the steady crowd and full house, my comments above apply.

                                                      2. Seen 'em come, seen 'em go.
                                                        These are my top ten reasons to live in Halifax:

                                                        1. Farmers' Market - best ever, anywhere
                                                        2. Pete's Fruitique - funnest shopping and eating, nothing like it
                                                        3. Dharma Sushi - like a good Japanese diner: nothing fancy but all fresh, good and cheap
                                                        4. Classic Fish and Chips - ah ,crisp haddock tips and clams, perfect fries, homemade dilled tartar sauce, everything super fresh
                                                        5. Jane's on the Commons - you can't believe the ability and inventiveness you get for the price
                                                        6. It's All Greek To Me - terrible name, but raises fine Greek to a whole new level
                                                        7. Tarek's Cafe - always fresh, classic middle eastern
                                                        8. Chabaa Thai - panang prawns!
                                                        9. New Fortune - only place for pho
                                                        10. Salvatore - classic thin crust pizza, beautifully and simply dressed

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: juanitayesteban

                                                          juanityayesteban...have you tried the pizza at Morrison East. We thought it was outstanding, and would definitely recommend your trying it.

                                                          1. re: juanitayesteban

                                                            The panang at Chabaa hardly resembles actual panang. It is a thin paste of peanut butter and chillies. As for the hype around Morris East, I've been there once, found the pizza mediocre at best. The pizza was small, and heavy handed when it comes to the flavors while the place itself is too tiny to even call cozy. They should cut 2-3 of the stand-alone tables to make it slightly more inviting.

                                                          2. Adding another rave review for Morris East. My first visit last month was a joy from start to finish. Terrific, imaginative starters, great pizza, interesting desserts. The only (slight) qualm that I have is that it is SO popular, we felt the lineups should not be allowed to intrude into the main dining area. Now, how you get around that with such a small space and so many customers trying to get a table, I don't know.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: LJS

                                                              Maurizio and Fiasco rank high for consistency - the standbys for consistent quality
                                                              Gio has gotten better since change over to Ted Grant as Chef - now the food tastes as it should instead of like someone trying to replicate other's genius to varying degrees of success
                                                              Can't understand why anyone would go to Piccolo Mondo - bad service, bad food and it smells odd
                                                              Morris East is good but needs some more wine choices to become a true dining experience - hopefully more restaurants in the city take on the philosophy that great dining experiences don't require white linen
                                                              Mezza has impressive cuisine - not your average lebanese food - ingredients are impeccable and wine list and cocktail list are good
                                                              Chives ranks high for food quality and commitment to local both on food and wine front - some good wine selections with Clos Jordanne and Thirty Bench ranking high in my books - ambience could stand a major improvement
                                                              Haven't dined yet at Bear but earlier indications are that this could be a short-lived restaurant. Its hype seemed to fizzle before the doors even opened. Keep driving by and no one is in the restaurant.
                                                              Press Gang has always been the high end resto I lhave east respected in downtown - inconsistent often extremely bad service, often mediocre food, snotty attitude - hopefully management change in last year has led to positive changes - there a couple times recently at bar for snacks and wine and major improvement over past

                                                              1. re: WINEWOLF

                                                                Ate at Bear this weekend and was VERY disappointed! As with his tenure at Gio, everything looks great but no one bothered to taste anything. The service was good but not up to the level of the finer restos in town.
                                                                When the "chef" has a film crew follow him around the Halifax Farmer's Market and is spouting off about "market fresh" food and then puts asparagus and corn on his menu in m late December in Canada!!! Not good enough for the prices they are charging.

                                                                1. re: boynamedsous

                                                                  My words exactly. We ate there, no; five of us dined there earlier this year (2009). Too much emphasis on the chef and not enough attention to the service or flavour. We enjoyed a wonderful meal but it could have been so much more satisfying. Servings were impressive but I'll have to review what we ordered and post here later going into more detail.

                                                                2. re: WINEWOLF

                                                                  Dined at MorrisEast last night for the first time and loved it!Service could not have been better;very warm yet professional.I would agree the wine list could use some expansion but the pinot noir we had with our pizza was delicious and a great value,so perhaps a bit of a quibble.