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Apr 20, 2009 01:51 PM

Where to eat in Halifax

I am in town till Friday, staying at the Marriot Harbourfront, where should I eat?!?
I am from NYC so I don't mind wandering around, and I love ethnic food as well as local fare.
If there's anything within walking distance please send it my way.

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  1. Two of my favourite casual-type places are Morris East and Janes' on the Common.

    Morris East is a few blocks South of where you are, walk south along the boardwalk until you get to Bishop's Landing, which is a condo/apartment development sitting on some restaurants, shops, and services. Head up the hill into the city for two/three blocks to Barrington St., then turn left. Morris East is on Morris St., just off Barrington, about two blocks from here. They serve seasonally inspired pizzas utilizing a mixture of local and interesting international ingredients - was there last week, and the salted caramel tart was fantastic

    5212 Morris Street, Halifax
    phone: 902.444.7663

    Jane's on the Common is on Robie St., near the corner of Robie and Cunard, and I have never had a bad experience there. Friendly service, unpretentious, unfussy good food, and I consider it to be good value for the price. Jane's is fantastic for dinner, and just as great for brunch. If it were later in the season, you'd get a good view of people out enjoying the Common, playing baseball, sunbathing, and running their dogs.

    2394 Robie Street

    For something more upscale, you could try Bish. Which bills itself as contemporary world cuisine. I've been a number of times and never really enjoyed it as much as Fid, but Fid has just undergone a revamp and I don't know what the storey is there anymore. Bish is pricey, and well done, I have no real complaints, I've just never felt it was that special.

    This is in Bishop's landing

    Cut Steakhouse is nearby, and while I haven't been, people I enjoy dining with, and whose advice I trust say that it is a great steakhouse, and while expensive is something they'd recommend. Cut is essentially across Lower Water St. from Bishop's Landing, in the Marriot Courtyard. Downstairs is the "Urban Grill" and upstairs is the steakhouse

    The standard spot to take out of towners for atmosphere (and I don't mean faux fishermen, tartan and sou'westers), is the Shoeshop on Argyle St. Shoeshop is a collection of bars under one roof, and they serve starndard fare until late. A good spot for some beer and nachos.

    I wouldn't say that Halifax is a hotbed of culinary greatness, but I would say there is a wide range of above average dining experiences available. Surprisingly so given the conservative nature of this musty little town.

    3 Replies
    1. re: eastcoastal

      I'll second Janes on the Common and Bish. Both are absolutely worth the visit.

      There is an Indian place kitty corner to the hotel just off the boardwalk near Pier 21, but I cannot for the life of me remember the name.

      1. re: eastcoastal

        Just back from 1o days touring Nova Scotia and I am glad to see Morris East at the top of the list. We had a fantastic meal there, pizza was excellent (thin crust, great toppings) and really wonderful service. Also loved Charlotte Lane Restaurant in Shelburne, best scallops of the trip (and we ate lot of scallops!). Best chowder was at Cheesecake Gallery in Mahone Bay.

      2. I would also try:

        The Henry House Pub
        This is my absolute all time favorite place in Halifax. It has some of the best microbrewed beers there (the Ringwood and the Peculiar are my absolute favorites). They also have pretty good pub-fare. On Saturdays some local musicians get together and play traditional celtic music in the basement. The combination of beer, fish-and-chips and music will guarantee that you have an authentic Nova Scotian time.

        The Coastal Cafe
        This opened up recently and is great for brunch. They have a limited menu but everything on it is good.

        The Wooden Monkey
        This place is known for having a menu based on organic locally grown ingredients. There are a few duds on the menu (some appetizers are bland) but they're fish and braised beef sandwich is excellent.

        Chives Bistro
        This is a bit pricey but never fails to disapoint.

        6 Replies
        1. re: rahfromnychfx

          Rah: I'm not clear on this. Are you saying Chives is good but expensive or do you really mean "it never fails to disappoint"? Should I try it, or not?

          1. re: FAT Traveler

            Chives is great, and not "pricey" compared to other restaurants that bill themselves as fine dining. It's absolutely the best value in town.

            1. re: quof

              and Chef Craig won "Chef of the Year" among "Haligonians", so that says something right there =)

          2. re: rahfromnychfx

            just returned from a long weekend in halifax. seafood chowder, lobster dip (um, fattening, much? lol) mussels in white wine with LOADS of garlic and terrific fresh beers on tap made the henry house lunch a stand-out.

            i'd also like to give a shout-out for the raw oysters at the warehouse. being a bostonian, i was a little surprised so few places offered raw oysters, because some of my favorites come from this area. the warehouse offered 5 local varieties that day, so my b/f and i got 2 of each. they were expertly shucked, nicely presented on tons of chipped ice and served with 4 dipping sauces, plus FRESHLY grated horseradish. they were excellent and our server, beth, was a sweetie.

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              I agree with all of eastcoastal's picks, as long as one emphasizes not to order anything but the nachos at Economy Shoe Shop. The rest of the food there has never impressed. Jane's on the Common and Morris East are favorites of mine also, and great for value. I will be eating at the 'new' Fid within the next week, I'll be sure to post how it is. I've heard nothing but good things on here and from friends, however, and knowing the skill of the chef there, I'd expect nothing less. The food is much, much cheaper than it was... average mains have dropped by 5-10 bucks.

              I also second 'quof's' opinion of Chives: it's always excellent, and not at all pricey if you're comparing it to other restaurants in its category. It's pricey compared to the Steak and Stein.

              A few other suggestions: Bear was fantastic (the new celeb. chef owned place on the south end of Barrington near Morris East but further down toward the Westin. Expensive, but not as expensive as Da Maurizio and not much more expensive than Bish or The Press Gang (depending on what you order I'd say comparable, really). Gio's, which is the restaurant the aforementioned Bear owner used to cook at, hasn't dropped in quality since Ray Bear left, at least not on my last two visits. The food is still very good.

              For something completely different, if you're looking for a grease-fest, head over to Dartmouth and gorge on a fried-clams platter or fish 'n chips at John's Lunch (near the new NSCC Harbourfront Campus and Dartmouth General Hospital). You can even take the ferry from downtown Halifax to the WOODSIDE terminal and walk over to the restaurant from the terminal. It can't be more than 5 minutes, just across the huge parking lot. For more upscale dining in Dartmouth, Nectar, on Ochterloney Street is very good, and that's just a 5 minute walk from the main downtown Dartmouth ferry terminal.

              1. re: traccan555

                Hmmm - seems as though I should give Chives another go. I've heard good things from many of my friends, but a visit there left me feeling ho-hum. Nothing bad. the food was decent, and the service acceptable. Nothing outstanding though, and I was really hoping for an outstanding experience in a restaurant that focused on local food in a contemporary way.

                I've yet to be to the new Fid. The old was always a favourite of mine. Inventive, but not kooky food. Great service. Loved the menu. I too hold out great hopes for the new incarnation - I don't think that Dennis and Monica could get much wrong given their past efforts.

          3. We just returned from Halifax and while there we a scrumptious indian meal that needs to be trumpeted!

            It was at the Taj Mahal on South Street.

            The service was slow because the place was short-staffed, but they served us a dish of pappadum while we waited for our meal. That was nice of them. The pappadum were light and crispy, a great way to get the juices flowing. The vegetable samosas were light and tasty as well and the onion Bhajia was brilliantly light and crispy, just the way I like it and for a change, you could actually taste the chickpeas in the batter. They served it with a runny liquid tamarind chutney that was quite nice and very tamarind although, I prefer my chutney a little chunkier.

            The Vindaloo was not just hot but flavourful and Greg remarked that Sam knows how to cook lamb. He ordered it hot, and although it wasn't as hot as Greg had hoped, he was sweating up a storm by the end of the meal.

            The prawns weren't, they were actually jumbo shrimp, but I've come to expect that anywhere east of Vancouver. The curry was delectable but not very hot, although I didn't ask for it hot.

            I've heard some negative reviews from locals about this particular restaurant, but have never in the last two years had a bad experience.

            I highly recommend getting a dish of the Kheera Raitha, it is made with their homemade youghurt and is absolutely delish, perfect side for the curry and the vindaloo, especially if you order them hot.

            The naan was light and fluffy and perfectly buttered and certainly among the best naan I've had.

            The sticker damage wasn't bad at all considering the high class air of the place. I will go again the next time I am in Halifax.


            1 Reply
            1. re: Pepperfire

              Taj Mahal recently was burned out in a fire. It will be a while before it re-opens.

            2. I know this thread is old, but since people will still be reading it when looking for places to go I will give a few suggestions. The OP stated that they love ethnic food, and yet nobody gave any ethnic suggestions! Halifax has some great Greek, Lebanese and Thai food. Taj Mahah was the best Indian, but I don't know if it reopened after the fire. I'll just give one recommendation for each category...

              Greek: Opa

              Lebanese: Mezza

              Thai: Talay Thai

              Seafood: 5 Fishermen or John's Lunch for deep fried

              Pizza: Morris East

              Steak: Cut

              Pub Food: The Old Triangle or Durty Nelly's

              Also, donairs are Halifax's big "thing" ... so you should try one. Or, try a slice of donair pizza, or a donair pogo, donair eggrolls, donair poutine, donair nachos, donair burgers..... Halifax really loves its donairs.

              Morris East
              5212 Morris St, Halifax, NS B3J, CA

              Opa Restaurant
              1565 Argyle St, Halifax, NS B3J, CA

              1. I will add also - on a different level

                South End Dinner - Best fishcakes in Nova Scotia. On a weekend breakfast one of the few places you will hit a line up in halifax.

                Costal - for breakfast!

                4 Replies
                1. re: PemaD

                  Just tried to look up South End Diner for an upcoming trip to Halifax and Yelp is showing it as Closed. Can anyone confirm if this place is open or closed? Thanks for the help.

                  1. re: fryerlover

                    sorry can't confirm (i live about 6 hours away) but my second choice for fish cakes is the Armview Dinner.

                    1. re: fryerlover

                      It burned a month or so ago. I believe it's being rebuilt.

                      1. re: CanadaGirl

                        Thanks for the info. Hope it's rebuilt before mid June when I'll be down. Counting the days!!!!