PEI restaurants - vegetarian friendly
My wife and I are spending 5 days/4 nights in PEI this July. My wife is a vegetarian (no seafood either), so we are looking for recommendations for restaurants that are vegetarian-friendly (i.e., have at least one veggie option on the menu and/or are willing to make something off-menu to accommodate a vegetarian). I am not a vegetarian, and really enjoy seafood, so restaurants that do a good job with seafood in addition to being veggie-friendly would be exciting for both of us. We will be celebrating our 5th anniversary, so at least one recommendation for a special occasion restaurant (price is no object) would be particularly welcome.
Thanks to everybody for advice, but especially troutpoint. We had a lovely time in PEI that included some incredible meals:
Dinner our first night was at Dalvay-by-the-Sea (we had just arrived and didn't feel like driving for dinner). The dining room is gorgeous, and the experience was completely worthwhile, although the food didn't quite live up to the atmosphere. Everything was fine and well executed, but nothing (even the famous sticky date pudding) was particularly memorable. The next day we had a picnic lunch prepared by Dalvay that was substantially better than the dinner: a salmon salad sandwich for me, roasted veggie sandwich for my wife, plus a good-sized container of delicious, fresh Island strawberries.
Our second night we had dinner at Dayboat. The food was clearly a step up from Dalvay, as good as anything we ate on the Island (except Lot 30). I started with oysters -- very fresh, very tasty, served with a nice house-made cocktail sauce. My wife had a roasted root vegetable soup (with parsnips and a few other things that gave it a nice complexity). Our entrees were crisp-skinned trout with sauteed fennel and grapefruit for me, and a vegetarian plate for my wife (the highlight was Israeli couscous with rose oil). Everything was both creative and well-executed. I would highly recommend Dayboat; the new chef seems to be doing a great job.
Lunch the next day was at The Sand Box in Cavendish, which was mostly forgettable. It was certainly edible, and fine for what it was, but I wouldn't recommend it as a hidden gem or anything.
Dinner our third night was at Lot 30. Wow. We had the tasting menu (regular for me, vegetarian for my wife). Everything was good, and a few of the courses were sublime. In particular: seared scallops with a carrot beurre blanc sauce, halibut "stew" (a piece of halibut served in a tomato broth, that was much more interesting than it sounds), roasted duck topped with cherries, and served with a ginger-potato layered gratin-kind-of-thing. Not only did the food live up to the recommendations of many Hounds, but the service was excellent as well -- our waitress did a nice job suggesting wines to go with our meal, and was very attentive throughout the meal. Definitely a place I would return, and highly recommend.
Our last night I wanted lobster. The only place we could find in Charlottetown that both served lobster and had vegetarian entrees was Off Broadway, so we ended up there. It was solidly good (how hard is it to cook lobster, after all), but certainly not on par with Dayboat or Lot 30.
Finally, for lunch on our last day before leaving, we went to Flex Mussels. Not much in the way of vegetarian options (there is one salad that is vegetarian, which my wife said was very good, plus fries). But the mussels were outstanding -- I had the Phantom (the daily special that day), which was basil, cream, white wine, roasted red pepper. Definitely a nice way to end our trip. Also a great setting, right by the water.
Flex Mussels, Dayboat, and Lot 30 I would definitely return to, with Lot 30 being the real standout. All in all a great trip.
Thanks for the advice so far. We are spending our first two nights at Dalvay-by-the-Sea, and our second two nights at A Garden View Inn in Charlottetown. For meals, we are currently planning on eating dinner at Dalvay the night we arrive, and we have reservations for Lot 30 for our first night in Charlottetown.
For the remaining meals (2 lunches, 1 dinner) while we are on the north shore, we are considering The Pearl Cafe, Dunes, Dayboat, Prince Edward Island Preserve Company, also possibly Cafe Maplethorpe if our plans take us in that direction. Has anyone been to lunch at Dayboat? How does it compare to the dinner?
We are also interested in potentially assembling a picnic lunch at least one day -- however we won't have access to a kitchen. I saw that there is a farmer's market on Saturday mornings in Charlottetown -- does anyone know if there are good prepared lunch foods available there (or other places where we could get cheap but good picnic supplies)?
Finally, we are thinking of something more causal and cheap in Charlottetown for our last night in PEI. Gahan House, Pilot House, and the Merchantman all look promising, but we'll probably just wander around looking for whatever suits our mood. Anything else in particular that is fairly low-key in Charlottetown we should keep our eyes out for?
The farmers market does have prepared foods, but it doesn't open till 9 am. That's just an FYI, becasue we have tried to go earlier (the market in the city that we live in opens at 6)
THere are snadwiches, smoked salmon, dips, cheeses, breads, lebanese foods, indian food etc.
In Ch'town, for low key, Cedar's eatery has great lebanese food and it is "low key" it's on University.
I would steer clear of PEI Preserves for a meal....it's a "bus tour" kind of atmosphere inside. But the gardens are wonderful and worth touring. Dunes is somewhere I would recommend for both lunch and dinner...such a beautiful property, and amazing food. The presentation is excellent as well-on their own pottery, with edible flowers from their gardens. (And the gallery is wonderful- we usually end up buying artwork while there)
Dayboat was fine for lunch. We haven't eaten dinner there. They screwed up our reservation-I left a message for one, then emailed, and didn't hear back from them till the afternoon on thr day of...we had guests with us, and weren't willing to drive out there and find out we didn't have a table....
In Charlottetown, all three options are good. Although all three call themselves "Pubs" , the Gahan is really more of a pub than the other two. Both the Pilot House and Merchantman have restaurant sides too. So there is a little more depth to the food choices.
I would recommend Flex Mussels too. It's right on the water, if it's a nice night, it is beautiful. The Marina is right there, so there is lots of action and a good atmosphere.
THere is also the Water prince corner shop...amazing little place that would pack a picnic for you....seafood so fresh you will die!
Hope you like PEI as much as we do!
tell us where you end up and how things went....
I saw the raves for LOT 30 on the board and it looks very appealing -- do you know if they do a vegetarian tasting menu? It is hard to tell from their web site.
We are considering spending at least one night at Dalvay-by-the-Sea. The restaurant seems to get pretty good recs from hounds, and seems to have a veggie option on the menu. Thought about Dayboat as well, but the website appears to be down so I can't find out anything about the menu.
Other options that I've seen frequently recommended (Flex Mussles, Claddagh Oyster House, Water Prince Shop ) don't seem like great options for vegetarians.
We have eaten at all of the places you have mentioned. All are good, but Lot 30 stands out. I am sure if you were to call (they aren't open for lunch fyi) and make arrangements they would do a vegetarian tasting menu. I seem to remember something being mentioned on the menu, but am not sure (Am SO not vegetarian...so I didn't pay attention)
Flex Mussels is owned by the same people as Dayboat. And the Chef/owner of Lot 30 was the chef that opened Dayboat with the Shapiro's and then left to open his own spot.
There are some good salads and items that could be modified to vegetarian at the Pilot House and the Merchantman...
Dalvay is incredibley beautiful, but the food wasn't what I was expecting....If it were me, when I stayed there, I'd do afternoon tea there (Old school style) and eat at Dayboat....It would be about a 15 minute drive. Or go to the Dunes...It would only be about 5-10 minutes for Dalvay and I know they have vegetarian options. ALso the building has an incredible view, and it is part of a large complex that houses a potter and high end artisan shop. They have their own gardens and use the pottery made on location to serve thier food.
Another place you should look into is Inn at Bay FOrtune...They also do tasting menus and I am sure with advance notice could do a vegetarian option. They also have their own gardens and harvest daily for the restaurant. And it is beautiful there.
I think where ever you choose, you should just do a little advance work and call and speak to the chef or manager and explain your needs....It is very seldom that Islanders say no to an advance request! :)
Troutpoint...good advice there. I would second the recommendation for the Dayboat. There is a new chef there, John Pritchard whom you may remember from way back when at the Dunes. He has been " away" , Bermuda, I believe where he has had some successes. We had his Tasting menu one evening last week and I am still reliving that meal as we speak. I am trying to justify going back Very very soon. It will be a busy spot again this summer so reservations are in order even this early in the season.
I don't eat meat, but I do eat cheese, not sure if your wife does, but I can recommend the food here, not high end or anything, but very good:
I had the sardiniolo pizza and it was soooo good.
Search the board, there are lots of recommends here, also this might help: