Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives (Canadian Version)
My boyfriend and I have spent the entire summer working so we can travel around Canada from mid Sept - December. We're huge fans of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives so we really want to do our own version. We're from Toronto so we want to get out of the city and venture around northern Ontario. We're also going to PEI, Nova Scotia, and British Columbia. In case you haven't seen DDD, we are looking for places with huge portions of homecooked/fresh food. We want to chow down with the locals so no chains and no shmancy gourmet food!
Thanks for your help!
We have a couple suggestions.
Mono Cliffs Inn, In Mono, Ontario. (near Orangeville). Map It, see the pics. Great day drive. You'd never believe they would serve anything more than bar food.
They have a wine cellar, scotch and beer menu and a chalk board menu that changes each day. Mussels, pasta, salads etc. the atmosphere does not fit the type of food you'd expect.
The basement is the best, small and cozy. live music on the weekends, backgammon boards, stone walls, an "Aussie" feel. We have no comparison...truly different.
Yeah, you can find deep fried pepperoni all around the Maritimes in pubs.
Donairs are Halifax's "thing". Not sure where the best place to go would be... King of Donair is an ok bet. Halifax's Pizza Corner is a thing to behold late at night. Oh, and garlic fingers are also an east coast food we love.
I second the Chickenburger.
John's Lunch for deep fried seafood.
Ray's Falafel in the Scotia Square Mall for cheap Lebanese.
My favorite NS pub is the Knot Pub in Lunenburg, which serves up fish cakes, pan fried haddock, scallops, mussels, chowder, a Lunenburg sausage burger, a great philly steak sandwich, AWESOME east coast style potato skins, deep fried pepperoni, Knotwurst & Kraut, just to name a few things.... and it's a hard choice for me between their fries and their salads... which is saying something. In Lunenburg you can't avoid the tourists, but the pub is tucked away in the shadows away from the waterfront, and it is loved by locals.
For diners/breakfast, the Ardmore Tea Room is the most classic.
Darrell's peanut butter burger is a local legend, and to a lesser degree, so is the Thanksgiving pizza at Extreme Pizza ( I can't lie and say the food is quality but you can get donair eggrolls and they are open very very late).
For Chinese, Robie Foods is the ultimate dive. But also a hidden gem.
Oh, and I've never been, but the Midtown Tavern is an established classic local place serving up very basic pub fare. Unfortunately, it's original location has been torn down and I'm not sure on its current status or whether it will now have the same vibe.
The Knot Pub
4 Dufferin St, Bridgewater, NS B4V, CA
I second that vote for The Knot Pub...just great pub grub and an genuine pub atmosphere with a great blend of locals, business people and fishing folk all greeting one another, the tourists welcomed right in and the CFA's who live here now...all treated with respect.
But I respectfully disagree on the Ardmore Tea Room: I think it is resting on it's laurels.
Coastal Cafe (on Robie Street) in Halifax - Used to be a Chef at upscale restaurants; got sick of the BS that comes along with that, and opened his own little cafe (maybe 10 or 12 tables in the place!)
Check out the awesome menu:
I have heard nothing but RAVE reviews for the food (see below if you want)
Happy Chowing :)
If you find yourself driving down to Joggins (for the fossil cliffs) / Advocate (a beautiful area) / Economy / Five Islands areas of Nova Scotia you will find a few places serving huge portions of fully belly fried clams from Five Islands. While I'm not a fan of clams, when I first moved to the area people insisted I try the clams. I had them at the Harbourview restaurant down in Parrsboro, but lots of places in the area serve huge portions of these during the summer.
If you do go to Advocate and are in the mood for fabulous local food, try the Wild Caraway, it really is a hidden gem, and is fairly casual really. They just opened for the season. There is another small restaurant in Advocate that I can't recall the name of that occasionally will feature fresh flounder on the menu, and that is also good.
If you do this drive and find yourself down in Five Islands (it really is beautiful down there), Mo's is a nice spot. I was just in for coffee but was with a friend who raves about the place. Keep driving and if you're in Economy, the Dutchman's Farm is also a treat to check out and they have loads of fabulous cheeses to purchase. (both the aforementioned have websites btw). It is nice to do this drive towards Halifax, you'll come back out onto the highway around Great Village, before Masstown Market, another nice stop (which also has really good food), which is a few minutes away from the turn off to go towards Halifax, if that is your destination.
On the opposite shore (eg Pugwash to Truro), that's also a nice drive along the Amherst shore, and restaurants like the Chatterbox Cafe, Sandpiper etc. McMahon's take-out/restaurant is worth a stop too, I had an excellent lobster chowder there once that I swear had an entire lobster in the bowl. The train station restaurant down in Tatamagouche is also a fun stop (and they had a coconut cake there once that I would love the recipe for). You'll also find Jost winery along this shore.
Before turning off to PEI, the Irving Big Stop there in Aulac is a great place to get HUGE pieces of cake with boiled icing and massive pies. I love the white cake with lemon filling and vanilla boiled icing. A slice is huge, it is a meal in itself. You might have a wait for a table there though, especially on weekends, there is usually a line-up. The same desserts also feature at Patterson's in Sackville (NB).
There is also a Schniztel Haus in Aulac that is pretty good, and I hear very good things about the Old Germany restaurant in Amherst, NS although I haven't been yet. Decor is most definitely not fancy ! (that would be as you're also heading east towards Halifax, my recommends are coming in an odd order!)
If you're making friends with the locals, maybe you'll get invited to a big lobster supper! If you're staying in cottages, some places will also make arrangements for you to have your own lobster boil.