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Most Overrated/Underrated Fine Dining in Halifax

Hey all!

Can anyone recommend a restaurant in Halifax that would actually impress a Torontonian? A New Yorker? An Angeleno?

Planning a trip to Halifax in August and I want to eat well. I'm a Haligonian who lives across the country now, and if there's one thing fellow transplants and I discuss a lot it's why is Halifax so bereft of fine food? With the abundance of farm-fresh produce so close by, great seafood walking distance away and a vibrant arts community attracting young talent, why can't I get a meal on the level of, maybe not Vancouver or New York, but somewhere like Cleveland, Tampa Bay or Portland?

Last time I was in town I checked out a few places that people gushed about and was shocked at the low quality of the food. However, there were a couple of spots that surprised me, that no one was talking about.

UNDERRATED -

Bistro Le Coq - French food near Neptune Theater - I had some super fresh mussels, wonderful Beausoleil oysters and overall the food quality was high. Good cocktails, friendly bartender. Just did lunch but looking forward to dinner on this next trip - can't wait to try their french onion soup. Service was great too.

Fries and Co - On Chebucto Rd - not much going on in the neighborhood but damn those fried clams were fantastic

OVERRATED -

A Mano - Italian by the waterfront - Bland, uninspired, even for the price point. Should I even bother doing The Bicycle Thief or is it more of the same?

Morris East - Pizza with an overly thick/tough crust that seemed out of a freezer, very little tomato sauce (that tasted like out of a can), vegetable toppings had a clear lack of freshness - not sure where they get their ingredients, but it ain't farm fresh or imported from Italy. Gotta give them points for that salted caramel tart which was BRILLIANT and definitely ranks up there with some of the best desserts I've had. But the pizza was a huge disappointment.

RATED JUST RIGHT -

Hamachi House - Usually fresh and high quality - it boggles the mind why so many sushi joints in Halifax just don't use fresh fish!

The Coastal Cafe - Lovely brunch, wish the menu was a little less meat-heavy - when I'm in the maritimes all I want is smoked fish.

What do y'all think - what are the most underrated/overrated joints in Halifax? Any places that stack up against Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver?

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  1. When were you last at Fries & Co since the ownership change 6 months ago it has not been nearly up to snuff

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      1. When visitors ask me where to go for seafood in Halifax I'm at a total loss. I've lived here forever and have never had a recommendation. I would have to send them off tioFleur de Sel in Lunenburg, unless it was a busload of tourists that would do with the touristy Five Fisherman on Argyle.

        Over-rated - Saege, spiffy spot (plastic flowers out front!), poor service and mediocre food. Chives - good service, generous prtions, food cooked well but plates are a jumble of too many things & tastes, if only they could keep it simple they'd fare much better.

        Quite a few that have impressed New Yorker friends, mainly ethnic though Fid stands high on their ultimate list.

        Coastal Café meat heavy? You wouldn't gain weight on the amount of meat served in their great dishes.

        4 Replies
        1. re: chilibeanpaste

          I was in Halifax a few weeks ago. I'd have to say the happy hour oysters are a greatdeals at Five Fisherman. We could not get those types for those prices in Toronto. So for that, I'd go back, although not for a meal. In Toronto, happy hour is usually only malpeques and $1.50, although only at odd places.

          1. re: fryerlover

            I couldn't find any mention of Happy Hour oysters in the FF website. Could you recall the price and which hour(s) and days of the week it applies to?

            1. re: kwy_li

              Happy hou is either 4:00-600 pm or 4:30-6:30 pm. Maybe call to be sure as a google search brings up diffetent answers. We saw a sign outside and thats why we went. They had three different types of oysters available at happy hour. Also drinks were on special, and other than cesars don't recall the drink specials. Service was friendly as well. We actually felt underdressed and they assured us we were not and we're very welcoming.

          2. re: chilibeanpaste

            Wharf Wraps in the eastern passage is amazing

          3. Wharf Wraps best clams in the city and best fish n chips

            1. I thought the brunch at Fid was as good as most upscale, hipster market-driven restaurant brunches in TO or NYC at the same price point.

              I liked The Battered Fish's fish & chips better than any fish & chips I've ordered in TO.

              1 Reply
              1. re: prima

                Any fish n chips in the maritimes is better than Toronto