BEST OF THE MARITIMES
Planning a solo first time trip in aug-sept for the Halifax fringe fest. ,really just an excuse to wander around and eat amazing food.
Looking for not to be missed,unique, regional experiences (both fine dining and local diners/cafes/artisinal outlets,etc) In addition to Halifax I'm planning cape breton,pei and, hopefully, ile madeline but welcome suggestions for anything truly memorable in ns,nb&pei. Thanks in advance.
A neat place in the Southwest part of Nova Scotia would be Chez Christophe. This is in an Acadian area of Nova Scotia (which is where their are French Speaking people). This restuarnt is in an old Acadian home and features some local cusine such as fresh seafood (this area is a fishing community). Nice home cooked meals. Chez Christophe is located in Grosses Coques, which is off Highway 101 and on the old HWY 1.
Shelburne which is also in the South West part of Nova Scotia but on the South Shore side (or the 103 Highway) has some nice restaurants to eat at. My favorite is a place on the waterfront called the Beandock. This is a little place and the lady that runs it makes something different everyday so there is no set menu. I have loved everything I have ever had there. It also sells coffees and sweets. There is also Shelburne Pastry on Water Street, which has homebaked breads for sale as well as great lunches at reasonable prices. There is also Charlotte Lane, which is a bit more expensive then the Beandock and Shelburne Pastry but really good.
In Yarmouth (which can be reached via the 101 or the 103) you will find lots of seafood. There is a place called Mern's which is in the south end of the Town on Main Street (just around the corner of Main and Argyle Streets). Merns serves some local food, like Rappie Pie, which is an Acadian dish. They have very large servings and great prices. On the waterfront (on Water Street) there is Rudder's which also brews their own beers. On Main Street there is a great Chinese restuarant, New Century. Also on Main Street is Little Lebanon, which you can only pay in cash at. Little Lebanon is also in the south end of the town just before the corner of Main and Argyle Streets. The food here is excellent and you can have vegetarian options as well.
re: Rudders in Yarmouth. I ordered a medium rare strip loin there a month or so ago. It came appearing to have been steamed - totally disgusting, I have never witnessed anything like it. I was totally dumb-founded and sent it back. The waitress was stunned at my request. The steak came back this time with at least visible grill marks but it was the same steak, now well done and tough. What kind of a cook would let a steak leave the kitchen looking steamed? Joe Blow at the backyard bbq would never commit such a crime. That turned me off for good.
Warning - Avoid sitting at the bar for supper. The bartender is seriously hyperactive and she never shuts up.
I agree with chilibean: I have to say Rudder's is overrated. Mind you, I'd never order a steak there. Seafood is really all they do well, especially the fish and chips, which aren't bad at all... but if you're looking for something a little more creative, try Chez Bruno on Main near the tourist info center. The chef is Belgian and does even better fish and chips, a simple delicious scallop dish in garlic butter, and pork loin with a delicious pommery mustard sauce. I also second Mapleleaf17's recommendations of Chez Christophe in Church Point, one of the best and most unique dining experiences in Nova Scotia, and also Charlotte Lane in Shelburne. While I suppose it's expensive for the area, coming from Halifax it seems super reasonable for the quality of the food..esp. the desserts..yumm!
As it sounds as if you will have access to a car, I am going to skip Halifax suggestions altogether (there are those who know its restaurants far better than I do). But as long as you are coming to the area, plan a day down on the South Shore (aka The Lighthouse Trail). First go to The Biscuit Eater in Mahone Bay for wonderful coffee, home-made baked goods, soup and sandwiches all using local ingredients. Then hike around Lunenburg (lots to see) until you can eat again and go to either Fleur de Sel or Trattoria della Nonna. Both are wonderful and take great care to respect local food sources and regional recipes as they add their own twists to sophisticated dishes.
To cap off the day (you'd better book a B&B!) go for a nightcap at the local: Knots Pub and if you can force down some fish chowder (better than their clam chowder) do try!