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A few days in Halifax

slyeats Feb 16, 2010 08:22 AM

I will be visiting Halifax for a couple of days and am looking for some great places to dine (alone). I particularly love seafood, dim sum, and unique local food experiences.

I am staying at the Marriott Harbourfront and won't have a car but would cab if necessary.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack recommendations all happily considered.


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    eastcoastal RE: slyeats Feb 20, 2010 08:58 AM

    I haven't had Dim Sum in Halifax, but Great Wall is walking distance from your hotel and has excellent Chinese, I would think that Dim Sum would be similarly good.

    Seafood is difficult to get without being in a boring tourist place - though I've enjoyed the oyster Po' Boy Sandwich at Little Fish on Argyle St.

    Close enough to walk in good weather:

    Morris East - fantastic pizzas with changing seasonal toppings. They cook other stuff in their apple wood fired oven - wood fired caesars and bloody marys are great. Weekdays from 5-6 they have happy hour specials with nibblies and drinks. I have always enjoyed my meals there - small, stylish, and very relaxed.

    Chives - fresh local food. I've never been absolutely wowed, but most people I know who've eaten there can go on and on about how much they love it.

    Fid is a little farther away. I'd walk it if I were you, but you may prefer a cab (I'd walk to most of theses places from your hotel if the weather was nice enough). Used to be higher end local food, prepared in a French way. They've removed the linen from the dining room and lowered prices. I've been since they've changed and can safely say that the food is still very high quality and still sourced at local farmers markets.

    A little further away, but worth it in my opinion, is Jane's on the Common. So. Good. They aren't a seafood restaurant, but whatever way they're doing the haddock it's always fantastic. They also have a way with scallops and shrimp cakes.

    All of my suggestions above are pretty casual - especially Great Wall. Jane's, Fid, and Morris East are all stylish but still casual. If you're looking for something a little higher end, I would suggest Da Maurizio (excellent Italian), or Bish ("world cuisine"). Gio is the restaurant in the Prince George Hotel, and they're a nice higher end place.

    Further from your hotel, but in a very interesting space is Fred/Whet. This is a hair salon/gallery/cafe in a neighbourhood in transition. Sounds odd, but really works. This is a lunch or weekend brunch type spot - no dinner. It's in a mid-century bank building and is all high ceilings, polished concrete, and pretty lights. It's not a "local" experience if you're looking for fiddles and lobster, but is an authentic piece of my Halifax (the guys who run the place grow their own herbs, and raise chickens ostensibly for their eggs, but I can't vouch for how local their food is in all cases). If you go, you must have a cupcake.

    In the same neighbourhood is a place called Coastal Coffee - it's a breakfast brunch lunch place. Small room. No reservations. And often a well deserved and well rewarded wait.

    2 Replies
    1. re: eastcoastal
      Greg B RE: eastcoastal Feb 21, 2010 12:21 PM

      The unfortunate thing about staying at the Marriott Harbourfront is that except for a few places, all good restaurants are steeply uphill from your room. I would echo most of these recommendations with a couple of caveats -- the Great Wall is a bit of a dive in terms of atmosphere, though the food is excellent and I have dined alone there several times without feeling uncomfortable. Jane's may or may not be worth the trip, but they do not take reservations and the place is almost always jammed, so prepare to be disappointed. I have never been a fan of Fid but have not been there in their current incarnation. Gio is very, very good indeed. One other place I would not hesitate to recommend is Fiasco, just off Spring garden on Brenton. High-end and elegant.

      I would add Il Mercato on Spring garden for Italian bistro food done very well indeed, and Estia, just down the street, for good Greek cuisine. I was at Ryan Duffy's for lunch not long ago (across the street from the Great Wall) and was surprised by how good it was.

      Places to avoid: close to your hotel, Salty's and any of the Murphy's on the Water enterprises, both of which are tourist traps. Same goes for the Waterfront Warehouse.

      1. re: Greg B
        seemac70 RE: Greg B Feb 22, 2010 05:57 AM

        Murphy's on the Water: Open Sewer... On the water!

    2. h
      hfxleo RE: slyeats Feb 22, 2010 03:48 AM

      EastCoastal and Greg B are bang on with their suggestions except that once you get up that one big hill from your hotel its easier and more fun to explore the city on foot, even as "far" away as the North-End where Jane's, Coastal, and Fred's are located - commonly referred to as The Plateau and recently dubbed NoQu (meaning North of Quinpool). These are all fine eateries, each with its own special offerings. One other place in the area which should have been mentioned is the award-winning Brooklyn Warehouse - yes, a little further than the rest but well worth the visit. Maybe consider taking that cab to Brooklyn and then strolling back toward City Centre - now, that would be a nice walk.

      2 Replies
      1. re: hfxleo
        starlings RE: hfxleo Feb 22, 2010 06:55 AM

        The Plateau? NoQu? Really?
        I've lived in this neighbourhood for 15 years, and I've never heard either of these terms used. Commons, North Commons/Commons North, North End...these all seem to do the trick nicely.

        1. re: starlings
          boynamedsous RE: starlings Feb 25, 2010 05:18 AM

          Not sure which crowd hfxleo is hangin' with but I've never heard the North Commons referred to as "the Plateau". This ain't Montreal here.
          Does that make Brooklyn Warehouse NoWeQuNo?
          I would most definitely avoid Murphy's and would recommend both Fid and Coastal Coffee.
          I've never been impressed with Ill Mercado...ridiculously salty food.

      2. l
        LJS RE: slyeats Feb 28, 2010 05:40 PM

        Never mind the geography-vocabulary...what about Press Gang for a 'unique local food experience' --- terrific food and within (easy?) walking distance.= of your hotel.

        1 Reply
        1. re: LJS
          clevergirl RE: LJS Feb 20, 2011 02:44 AM

          Second the rec for Press Gang. Great food and atmosphere, and friendly to a solo diner who can sit at the bar or at a small corner table. We are regulars for dinner at the bar on a Friday when they have a pianoman playing - a great place for a grownup tgif.

          The Press Gang
          5218 Prince Street, Halifax, NS B3J 3X4, CA

        2. l
          luv food RE: slyeats Apr 13, 2010 06:13 AM

          Newer place with Portuguese and Brazilian food on Argyle St, not too far from the hotel, called Pipa. Not too big, comfortable, good food. Good dimsum on Quinpool rd at China Classic. Pree Gang has good seafood and oyster bar,a bit pricy but good. Try FID too!

          10 Replies
          1. re: luv food
            chilibeanpaste RE: luv food Oct 16, 2010 06:55 PM

            China Classic has closed its doors but has been replaced by an excellent new Sichuan restaurant called Ji Xiang. We now have to go to Fan's in Dartmouth for dim sum, good but not quite up to China Classic standards.

            1. re: chilibeanpaste
              simonathibault RE: chilibeanpaste Oct 19, 2010 09:36 AM

              chilibeanpaste- they moved to a new resto called Canton Garden. Makes their old china classic stuff taste insipid and bland. wonderful stuff.

              1. re: simonathibault
                chilibeanpaste RE: simonathibault Oct 28, 2010 05:15 PM

                Thanks simonathibault. So I heard, friends ate at the new location recently - corner Hammonds Plains Rd and Bedford Hwy. They weren't impressed with the Sichuan.


                1. re: simonathibault
                  chilibeanpaste RE: simonathibault Oct 28, 2010 05:18 PM

                  Sorry, removed and posted to CanadaGirl.


                2. re: chilibeanpaste
                  CanadaGirl RE: chilibeanpaste Oct 20, 2010 11:51 AM

                  I never had dim sum at China Classic, but I could eat Fan's Taro Root balls all day, every day! Yum!

                  1. re: CanadaGirl
                    chilibeanpaste RE: CanadaGirl Oct 28, 2010 05:19 PM


                    The taroballs at the China Classic were the best. Fan's are good but can't compare with the former China Classics. Sorry you missed their savoury dumplings too - hard to describe them. I had dimsum at Fan's recently and generally everything was very good especially the spare ribs.


                    1. re: chilibeanpaste
                      chilibeanpaste RE: chilibeanpaste Nov 21, 2010 07:07 AM

                      We went back to Fan's for Dim Sum a couple of weeks ago. The service was so so but the dim sum were off - sui mai were dry and the taro balls were almost white - not the crispy golden brown they should be. I don't know why this has happened but we plan to try the Great Wall for the first time.

                  2. re: chilibeanpaste
                    chilibeanpaste RE: chilibeanpaste Oct 28, 2010 05:26 PM

                    Be warned, while the food at Ji Xiang (aka Ji Shung) on Quinpool Rd. is the best Sichuan in town it may not be the place for you if you're in a rush or starving. Allow 45 minutes minimum for your order to come even if the restaurant is empty. Allow an hour for takeouts for pickup. The portions are very generous and worth the wait! Phone is 429-2828, I give this as directory assitance is hopeless when calling for their number.


                    1. re: chilibeanpaste
                      simonathibault RE: chilibeanpaste Nov 3, 2010 06:59 PM

                      I had the same experience. waited an hour for a meal with six other people and the resto wasn't that busy. odd.

                      1. re: simonathibault
                        chilibeanpaste RE: simonathibault Nov 21, 2010 07:03 AM

                        Simon - One chef only from what I understand. He must be totally maxed out but he's still a brilliant chef!

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