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PEI: Best Dining?

I plan to visit Prince Edward Island on an upcoming trip to Canada. What are the best restaurants? (Cost is not a limitation.)

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  1. Michael Smith used to work at The Inn at Bay Fortune....perhaps one of the locals could help you find out if that is still top notch.

    I like the pub fare in Charlottetown myself...but there are plenty of places that sound interesting.....the Claddagh Oyster House in Charlottetown sounds promising, however i've never been, ditto for Sim's Corner which also has an oyster bar (www.simscorner.ca) . Dundee Arms is another mention http://www.dundeearms.com/dinemenu.htm

    Check out the lobster suppers you'll see advertised everywhere. I think i recall eating at the Fisherman's Wharf in North Rustico a few years back, they also do lobster suppers. It was also an experience to have "tea" at Dalvay by the Sea, which if you're an Anne fan, this place was featured on the Road to Avonlea. Touristy stuff aside, it's a beautiful location and the dinner menu http://www.dalvaybythesea.com/result.... sounds very promising....i could only afford the tea when i visited there several years back.

    Canada411.com will provide lots of listings. There is also a culinary institute in PEI, and the website says that they have a fully functioning restaurant http://www.hollandcollege.com/CIC/ind...

    Most of these are just suggestions...a local can best fill you in on the not so obvious places.

    5 Replies
    1. re: im_nomad

      Probably not the best dining, but the best Sea Food Chowder is at Dalway by the Sea a hotel in the National Park about 30 minutes north of Charlottetown, for lunch at about $10 in 2007 (probably more now). Beautiful dining room but informal for lunch guests. Other items on the lunch menu 'ok', but seafood chowder absolutely superb in my judgement --DVR

      1. re: mysterydvr

        We ate at Dayboat last summer a quite enjoyed it (though the room is a bit loud) http://www.dayboat.ca/ . I would NOT recommend eating at the Stanhope Beach resort. Th resort itself is excellent but they have no clue when it comes to food. It's not bad, it's just not worth the money. That being said, many restaurants on the Island are seasonal, therefore things can change a lot for year to year.
        Off Broadway in Charlottetown is also very good. I can also recommend Sims Corner Steakhouse and Oyster Bar in Charlottetown.

        1. re: boynamedsous

          I just had the seared scallops at the LOT 30 restaurant. It was delicious.

          They posted their menu on the website.


        2. re: im_nomad

          Fisherman's Wharf in North Rustico is tragic. Big time on my Avoid list.

          A few years ago I had a pretty decent dinner at Lobster on the Wharf in downtown Charlottetown and yes it's on the wharf. Couldn't tell you how it is now, but perhaps someone else could.

          I had my best experiences in Charlottetown by renting a small cottage with a barbecue and full kitchen, picking up the local and fresh wares, and DIY'ing dinner.

        3. Visited early June and must say that Dayboat has an awesome new chef, and the food was fabulous. So was the view and the service. Flex Mussels in Charlottetown has a great vibe, terrific fresh oysters, wonderful mussels, steaks and ribs too.

          1. Just got back from PEI.

            Did Inn at Bay Fortune - food was top notch. Service didn't really compare to top restaurants elsewhere in the country, but definitely friendly. Only go if you are looking for more of an experience than a hearty meal....

            We also went to the Caridgan Lobster supper. $30 for a lobster, all you can eat chowder, mussels, salad and desert. Really good - sooooo much food.

            Had a nice lunch at Gahan House in Charlottetown. They brew their own beer (yum). Good higher quality pub fare.

            The highlight though was probably buying 10 lbs of mussels straight off the boat ($12), and boiling them up at our cottage.

            1. Dayboat was good the last three summers, so even though there is a new chef the quality should be maintained. The former chef of Dayboat was Gordon Bailey who just opened a new restaurant in Charlottown - Lot 30 --> worth trying as well.

              The lobster suppers are good in the cavendish area as well: New Glasgow Lobster Suppers and St. Anne's. These are basic, mass-produced lobster dinners that are fun to go to with a crowd.

              We love Carr's Oyster Bar in Stanley Bridge for the oysters - awesome oysters that you have to cut with a knife. They have a nightly drink special and sometimes have local music. Call for their schedule 902-886-3355.

              Two good lunch places are Dunes Cafe in Brackley Beach (tel. 902-672-2586). They operate an incredible store full of local crafts. Try to get a reservation or at least put your name down as soon as you get to the place. It's usually very busy.

              Also, Prince Edward Island Preserve Company in New Glasgow has nice sandwiches and salads. They serve tea and breakfast as well.

              Have fun...

              1. My husband and I are major foodies (!) and dine out at least 2 or 3 times per week during the summer. We also are part of a 7 member "dinner club" that gets together at a restaurant 3x during the summer. Let's just say that we enjoy good food! Anyhow, here are my recommendations: At the top of the list - Lot 30 on Kent Street in Charlottetown. It's Gordon Bailey's new restaurant (he used to be head chef at DayBoat until last year) and it is amazing. We are going there again tomorrow night and can't wait to sample whatever is on the menu this week! We used to be huge fans of DayBoat's, but had a very mediocre dining experience there two weeks ago. The quality of the food did not equal the total of the bill - and we do not mind paying for excellent food. Dalvay-by-the-Sea needs to be experienced b/c of it's history and location - and the food is good, too. The Inn at Bay Fortune is excellent, too, but the drive there can be quite a haul - especially if you don't have a designated driver for the return trip! We like Dundee Arms for Sunday brunch and Sirenella's for great pasta dishes (and a very good Italian wine that the owner picks out himself - he is Italian and returns to his home every year). We have also just discovered a relatively new place - The Pearl Cafe - between Rustico and Cavendish. It's small and intimate, but has very good fare! We've given up on Off Broadway b/c it's owned by the same family who owns a few downtown eateries - including Sim's Corner. The food at Off Broadway used to be excellent, but it tastes quite "generic" right now. Flex Mussels is very good and we've had lunch there a few times, but, frankly, the mussels are way overpriced - no matter how little you care about the cost. Nevertheless, a stop there for lunch will delight your tastebuds. And, finally, although it has become a bit over-run with groups of tourists, The Dunes Gallery and Cafe has wonderful, delicious lunches - and desserts that must be eaten! We prefer lunch there, although dinner is also served. Hope this helps!

                1. We are just back from PEI and NB. We had a fantastic meal at Lot 30 in Charlottetown. It is a new restaurant opened by the former chef at the Dayboat. No seaside setting but a nice room and the food was terrific. As well, I did not go but my wife and another couple went to Flex Mussels in Charlottetown and had a great lunch. We heard good things about the Pearl Cafe in Rustico but did not make it there.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jvan

                    Absolutely agree that Lot 30 rocks! Just came back from two weeks in NS and PEI, and that was by far our best meal. Dayboat and Flex Mussels are also good as is Carr's Oysters in Stanley Bridge for a casual lunch. Dalvay and Bay Fortune are both quite good, but not in comparison to Lot 30!

                  2. Just got back from PEI and found a great spot in North Rustico Harbour - Blue Mussel Cafe - definitely worth trying out!

                    1. The Pearl is a wonderful spot for brunch, and Maxine the owner is a real gem herself. Dayboat has a new chef and it's their best season by far. Wonderful preparations of local, fresh food, great wine list, and the most beautiful views on the island. Flex Mussels in Charlottetown is a nice spot for great oysters and lots of mussel preparations. Lot 30 is also good for dinner, but doesn't have the ambiance of the other spots, which are on the water.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: linmore11

                        If you go to Lot 30 (and you should!) ask for a booth when you make you reservation... There are 2 and they are more comfortable than being in the middle of the room.

                      2. If you happen to be in the Tyne Valley area, you should see if you can make a reservation at the Doctors Inn. The food is fresh, well prepared and it's a unique dining experience. They only take one reservation an evening for up to 6 people

                        1. Ate at Dayboat just two nights ago. I had the new garlic soup with seared mussels and bourride. My wife had the grilled calamari with radicchio to start and the blackback sole and crab as a main. The food was excellent (scallops in the garlic soup perhaps a tad over done but beautifully carmelized) - all seafood was pristine fresh. Calamari too big for a starter, bt an excellent size to share. Calamari and radicchio go nicely - richness of one offset by nice bitterness of he other. Service was keen and attentive more than smooth. I suspect that young staff have made pilgrimage to do a stage?

                          1. I just got back from PEI, here are my food thoughts:

                            Flex Mussels - Delicious and worth the price. We had halibut, salmon, mussels, and oysters--a seafood feast. Great service.

                            Dunes Cafe - Mediocre, overpriced food. I could make better at home and I wouldn't stick HUGE flowers in my food.

                            Dayboat - The food was tasty, if a bit overpriced for the quality. The service was insufferable. My sister found a fly in her beer and when she told the waitress, the response was nonchalance. Next, to make it worse, my sister, found a hair in her chicken. The waitress brought a new entree quickly, but w/o an apology. This was unacceptable, especially given how much we paid for the meal. I would not go back.

                            Carr's Oyster Bar - Fresh moderately priced seafood. Nice outdoor setting.

                            Gahan Brewery - The beer was so-so and the food was decent. Good fish and chips.

                            1. I know this is late, but I had to chime in with a restaurant I tried this evening while on a day trip to Charlottetown, and it was simple and fantastic: Castello's Ristorante


                              I am typically underwhelmed by Italian restaurants, but the menu sounded promising when we looked from the street.

                              We shared an appetizer of the Calamari Fritti, and it was divine. Cooked perfectly and tender, and the addition of the two bright fresh sauces, pesto and the tomato, just made it even more delicious.

                              For my main, I ordered the Sardiniolo pizza (caramelized onions, portobello, gorgonzola and basil)....and it was divine. It was simple and perfect, and big enough to serve two. The only drawback was that I didn't do wine with it, because I had to drive. I saw other pizzas leave the kitchen, and they looked equally worth the wow.

                              Also ordered at the table was the Spaghetti Napoletana con Polpette, and the Sicilian Sausage and Meatball skillet, all recieved rave reviews.

                              In addition, the decor was lovely, and the service was very good. I also found it to be a good sign when the place quickly filled during our meal, while another nearby restaurant stayed mostly empty.

                              I highly recommend this place, and plan to return whenever in Charlottetown again.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: im_nomad

                                I want to second this place as outstanding. Partner had the chicken and roated beet rissoto. Came with, possibly the best cooked and seasoned piece of chicken in history. But before that we split a Calabrese pizze as an ap and it was killer. This place has the flavourful sauce thing down and the freshness of the ingredients. I had the pasta carbonera, excellent. But partner's chicken was mind blowing....so that's how it goes. Fab resto, it's now a staple on our trips to PEI.

                                1. re: im_nomad

                                  Based on your rec we had an excellent meal at Castello last night and really enjoyed it. We split a Calabrese pizza to start and it was great. Flavourfull, fresh sauce was a highlight. My partner got the chicken with roasted beet risotto. The chicken was delicious and juicy, and cooked perfectly. I had the pasta carbonera, a bit underwhelmed by the sauce but the chunks of pancetta more than m made up for it. Also super friendly service, made this a really great meal.

                                  I've always enjoyed Gahan's for pub fare. But the fries were different this time and were amazing. Our server said this was something new they were doing. Hand cut, lightly battered and seasoned. I hope this becomes a mainstay because they're something everyone should have on a visit to Charlottetown.

                                2. I have just returned from my eating sojourn to PEI and Quebec City. Thanks to all who advised me about where to eat. I thoroughly enjoyed Lot 30 and agree its the best in Charlottetown. I also ate ate Sims, the Corner House at Prince Water, and Claddagh Oyster House. The latter was the best of those three. I posted detailed descriptions of all on my website.

                                  Although there was no fine dining at the Rodd Crowbush resort, where I stayed 2 nights, there was a wonderful experience there. The first night was pretty disappointing food-wise, so we asked the desk if anyone could bring us in some fresh lobsters when they came to work. Well, they did it! We had great lobster there the second night!

                                  Will post thoughts on Quebec City on other board. Again, thanks for all the good advice, Chowhounders.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: ponocat

                                    I'm sorry that I didn't post a negative review about Simms...We ate there between meals at Lot 30 and it was more way expensive and SO not worth it....We have eaten there several times before and we were not as dissapointed as we were when took 3 other people there in August. The new chef, Troy Baglole, has not done positve things, in my opinion. In the past it was a standard oysters and steak place, but both were well executed. Not so now.
                                    I am surprised about the Water Prince Shop though. We regularly buy our seafood there while on the island, and Shane treats us well. However, we always choose our lobsters and have them cooked to take out.
                                    Just out of curiousity, were you at Crowbush on Saturday, Oct 11th? If so, it's a small world!

                                    1. re: troutpoint

                                      No, but close. Was there Oct 5 & 6, mostly to play golf. Brrr, was it chilly out there.

                                      From the raves about Water Prince, I knew it had to be good most of the time. But, it only takes getting really burned once, I guess, to make one never want to set foot in a place again.

                                  2. Try the west end for sunset dining. The West Point Lighthouse has a robust menu with tasty food and friendly staff. The North Cape restaurant is wheelchair accessible with elevator to all 3 floors (restaurant, gift shop & interpretive centre) where you can choose a window seat for viewing the crashing opposing tides or the beautiful sunset behind the lighthouse and wind turbines. Their seafood crepes will melt in your mouth and their fresh veggies are perfectly cooked!

                                    1. We booked dinner at the Landmark Cafe in Victoria. The setting is idyllic and the service friendly and efficient.

                                      Sadly, much of the food doesn't live up to the surroundings and the cafe is almost comically overpriced.

                                      We started with pickled herring, which was very good, although the accompanying olives were a strange touch

                                      I had a seafood chowder, which was deeply mediocre. Vegetables were in huge chunks and left almost raw and what flavour there was was completely overpowered by the use of too many dried herbs - this in the middle of summer where fresh herbs would be easily available. A chowder should be creamy, fishy goodness. What I got was a thin broth that tasted of that dreaded "Herbs de Province" mix so popular in the 1980's.

                                      For our main course we both had lobster rolls. The lobster was fresh, local and tasty, although there wasn't much of it, but the rolls were dry. We upgraded to the Moroccan beet salad as a side dish.

                                      Tastes of Northern Africa are cumin, mint and lemon. What we got were green salad leaves, slices of cooked beets dressed with raspberry vinegar and some goats cheese.

                                      The bill, including tip, came to over $80.00. The Landmark Cafe charges restaurant prices for food that just isn't worth it. Walking back to our hotel we overhear other guests complaining about the food, and the prices, as well. They singled out the pasta for particular criticism, badly executed and again overpowered by the taste of dried herbs.

                                      A disappointing, and expensive meal, in a beautiful setting.

                                      1. Back in PEI for Summer, 2009 I have found excellent breakfast and lunch in Mt. Stewart , 20 minutes Northeast of Charlottetown at Kristie's Family Restaurant. In Charlottetown, fish lunch and dinner excellent at Water Prince Restaurant, corner of? Water and Orince, of course. Today I'm heading out to Murray Harber for lunch at Brehout's.to see if chowder is still the best on PEI. Will check back.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: mysterydvr

                                          My family and I just returned from PEI and I based some of our restaurant choices on the recommendations of Chowhounders. Flex Mussels was very good, Dalvay by the Sea good and better than I would guessed from comments on this web site, LOT 30 excellent and Dayboat the very best. My husband actually asked me if I was going to lick my plate at Dayboat. It was only then that I let him eat a bite and he understood!

                                        2. I used to live in Charlottetown, and would make the drive back JUST to eat at The Pilot House (downtown Charlottetown), and also if you want awesome fish & chips go to the Gahan House Brewery (also downtown). Enjoy your trip - PEI is awesome, you will have a great time :)

                                          1. Dined at The Pearl yesterday evening. All tables were full, always a good sign.
                                            Service was attentive. Now for the best part. We both had the scrumptious seared scallops served with crispy Rosti potatoes and Zucchini finished in a bit of cream.Had an app of chicken terrine which was a bit mushy for my taste: The saving grace was that it was served with one of the best brioche's that I have tasted outside of France. All in all a great experience. reservations a necissity.