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Top Five In Halifax

t
Travelling Gourmet Apr 26, 2010 10:49 AM

We're going to be in Halifax in September and are looking for fine dining recommendations. What are your top five?

www.travellingourmet.com

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  1. b
    boynamedsous Apr 27, 2010 07:00 AM

    1. Fid
    2. Chives
    3. Gio
    4. Da Maurizio's
    5. Jane's on the Common

    1 Reply
    1. re: boynamedsous
      l
      Loftarasa Nov 25, 2010 07:41 AM

      I went to Fid recently and had a pretty lame experience. The service was very good, but the food was below par for sure. Actually, I would say the hanger steak I ordered was the worst steak I have ever had in my life. I didn't know it was possible to have a steak that tough, and my jaw was sore for days after. Also, my mashed potatoes were not warm. The trout/kimchi appetizer was very good though. I probably should have sent my meal back and they would have taken care of it, but this pretty much ruins the dining experience for me and I feel they should just get it right the first time.

    2. Greg B Apr 28, 2010 02:18 PM

      No argument on Chives, Gio and DaMaurizio. Jane's is overrated and Fid has received mixed reviews of late, plus neither would meet my definition of fine dining. I would add Fiasco and the Press Gang.

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

      1. parleek May 2, 2010 04:10 PM

        I'm not even going to try for five, but I will firmly put Fid at the top of any restaurant list for Halifax. (I take Greg B's point that strictly speaking Fid is not fine dining. I would say that from my experience the food is fine dining quality, but the atmosphere is more casual/bistro).

        Although I haven't been there recently, I've been impressed with all of my visits to Gio so I'd echo the others on that one.

        If you're here for a few days and have means of getting out of town, I think a trip to Lunenburg to Fleur de Sel is well worth your while.

        I'll end with a question - what are people saying about Ryan Duffy's lately? A few years ago I can't even imagine myself asking that question, but I recently heard a few things about it and their current chef that have made me interested.

        1 Reply
        1. re: parleek
          Greg B May 3, 2010 02:28 PM

          I can only speak to Ryan Duffy's lunch experience, but I was shocked at how much it impressed me. I say that because the last few times I was at Duffy's in their previous location it was very bad indeed -- to the point where I not only would avoid recommending it, but would actively discourage people from going there. It was a horrible fall from grace for what was originally a pretty good spot under Risley management in the early/mid 1990s. By the time they were finishing up on Spring Garden it was not far above pub food. But the latest incarnation in their new home was outstanding.

        2. troutpoint May 5, 2010 03:36 AM

          MUST go to Fiasco!!!

          1. h
            hooper_75 Jun 4, 2010 03:47 PM

            One place that everyone has failed to mention is Stories (Haliburton House)...it's my favourite "fine dining" restaurant in Halifax. I fully agree with parleek. At visit to Fleur de Sel in Lunenburg is well worth the trip. The Press Gang can be good, but both the food and service are inconsistent in quality.

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

            1 Reply
            1. re: hooper_75
              t
              traccan555 Nov 22, 2010 09:57 PM

              I agree, Stories is very good, and often overlooked. I often forget about it myself. I'm glad they have a few items on their menu that aren't venison, bear, or other large mammal generally considered something to be scared of rather than shot and eaten ;-)

            2. k
              Kritter Jul 13, 2010 07:43 AM

              I went to a place called Athens last fall. Fantastic Greek food.
              I grew up in Montreal and live in Moncton now, and there are absolutely no Chinese restaurants of any quality whatsoever here in Moncton. If anyone has ever been to Montreal they know that you can find fantastic chinese restaurants there. There are 2 places in halifax/dartmouth that compare to chinese places in Montreal. The Great Wall in halifax and Fan's ( formally Fran's) in Dartmouth
              I ate at a restaurant called Opa in Halifax years ago, it was very good.
              Also ate at Maple , a restaurant started by Micheal Smith. The food was awesome but the bill was steep, it was out anniversary so I didnt mind spending the $350 on a meal.

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

              2 Replies
              1. re: Kritter
                t
                traccan555 Oct 21, 2010 02:44 AM

                Boynamedsous's top 3, same as mine. I would also add Morris East and Mix, Ray Bear's latest: although most people probably wouldn't include them strictly under 'fine' dining, I would say they're in the ballpark, at least in terms of the food quality, if not the atmosphere. Morris East does mostly pizza, but not your Italian grandmother's pizza. This is pizza-fusion cuisine at its best, with toppings like peaches, prosciutto, gouda and bechamel (yes, on the same pizza!) I wouldn't be surprised to see blueberries on a pizza there in season. Far out, but it always works, trust me. You get your choice of homemade thin-crust dough in white, whole wheat, or gluten free.

                Mix is a casual comfort food spot... pastas, pizzas, burgers, but again, this isn't your Dad's backyard BBQ kind of burgers.. the bun is homemade brioche, there's delicious in-house spicy mayo, Oulton's beef and bacon, locally sourced cheese, and a scrumptious relish concoction that tasted more like a mango salsa.

                I guess fine dining to me doesn't have to mean foie gras and sea bass; cooking the same kind of food you crave when you get home from a night at the Lower Deck can be fine too, given a chef who can take any raw materials and turn them into works of art.

                Fiasco is often good, but have had a few disappointing meals there, Jane's is not what it used to be IMO, except for brunch, I find dinners have slipped somewhat. I was at Onyx for dinner a few weeks ago, and was really blown away compared to my previous visits. Amazing food and really top-notch service. Best meal I've had overall this year.

                1. re: Kritter
                  y
                  yentocook Feb 11, 2011 05:11 AM

                  There was a lovely vietnamese restaurant on Main Streei in downtown Moncton 5 years ago. I womder if it is still there, as I am coming for another visit in August, to see my 110 year young Aunt Adea...

                2. c
                  chilibeanpaste Nov 23, 2010 04:24 PM

                  I too would skip Chives and Jane's. Cut Steakhouse (pricey) & Bish are good subs for them.

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                  Cut Steakhouse
                  5120 Salter Street, Halifax, NS B3J 0A1, CA

                  1. f
                    foodlovergeneral Nov 27, 2010 02:21 PM

                    Ji Xiang on 6300 or so Quinpool: Go there if you like authentic SZECHUAN (spicy) food. Wonderful experience and very authentic. I had the traditional dish called "spicy water beef" or something like that, which is a giant bowl of spicy beef (pork or fish are optional ways to prepare this) soup. In addition, we had the "pea sprouts with pork" which wasn't on the menu, but I menaged to find out that they had fresh pea sprouts which are wonderful sweet young pea shoots, and are delicious. We also had yu xiang egg plant which was wonderful. Their "mala" style hails from a chef who was raised in Chengdu. Mala is the spicy and tingly result of combining szechuan perpcorns which cause the toungue to "tingle" and spicy hot chines red peppers. The food is oily and spicy, in the traditional way, so be prepared. On the menu were some dishes like spicy chicken or spicy haddock, which are very traditional chinese dishes. For the more adventurous, there was beef tripe soup, and pork intenstine or pigs ear. Most of the dishes are more tame. And the very famous "mapo tofu" was on the menu ofcourse. Not Canadian style chinese, and no dimsum (which is more southern Chinese). The restaurant is reputed to be slow when busy, so expect that, as it seems the chef is not premaking everything, i tended to think. This was better Scechuan than I had previously had in New York City and in nearby Chinese neighborhood in Flusing, Queens.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: foodlovergeneral
                      c
                      chilibeanpaste Dec 1, 2010 03:05 PM

                      "This was better Scechuan than I had previously had in New York City and in nearby Chinese neighborhood in Flusing, Queens."

                      Wow that's quite a commendation!

                      1. re: foodlovergeneral
                        simonathibault Dec 2, 2010 10:48 AM

                        I plan on going again, but I do have a caveat for those who plan on going:
                        expect to wait a long time for food to come out. I don't know why, and I am more than willing to be patient, but it took an hour (my friend timed it) for a meal for six people to come out of the kitchen on a not very busy night.

                        It felt like the kitchen staff (this is me guessing, not knowing) are unaccustomed to large orders or something. I don't know. But yes, it took a long time.

                        I wasn't big on their ma po tofu, but their pig ears were amazing!!!!

                        1. re: simonathibault
                          c
                          chilibeanpaste Dec 2, 2010 03:55 PM

                          re: those pig ears

                          Simon - I am willing to try them. What can we expect?

                          BTW I think the "kitchen staff" is the one fellow from Chengdu.

                          1. re: chilibeanpaste
                            simonathibault Feb 13, 2011 11:54 AM

                            My apologies for not replying earlier. If you have yet to try the pig ears, they are well seasoned, slightly spicy from chiles and szechuan peppercorns. They are served cold, like a salad. Crunchy and soft all at once. I think they're wonderful, but some people may not like the texture.

                            1. re: simonathibault
                              c
                              chilibeanpaste Feb 14, 2011 04:34 PM

                              Had them last time there, about a month ago. Excellent! Thanks for the tip.

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