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Seafood in Halifax

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So... I know this may seem like a stupid question, but where exactly is the best seafood in Halifax these days? I have never been wowed by the 5 Fish or McKelvie's - maybe there is a dish I should be trying? I know that Cafe Chianti now has the chef from Trattoria Della Nonna in Lunenburg, which used to make the best halibut I've ever had...

I am a big fan of Evans for fish 'n' chips and such. But where is the best place to go for mussels and scallops? Where is the best lobster roll? Best fish cakes? Best pan fried haddock? Seafood pie? What is the best oyster eating experience?

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  1. It's not a silly question, but my immediate reaction is that I don't know, as I almost never order seafood! I tend to eat it at home, unless we go out for fish n chips.

    But, I am interested to see if anyone else has any replies....

    2 Replies
    1. re: CanadaGirl

      This is exactly it. I come from a seafood family and we often eat it at home AND when we go out. But when a tourist asks me where they should go, I'm always hesitant to recommend anything.

      1. re: existential_crisis

        Tell me true...

        ...You don't wish to dump on your neighbour.

        Same here in a small resort town in Ontario.

        Also, this is beef, lamb and freshwater fish country and we do those things better at home.

    2. I mostly eat seafood at home, but I had a fantastic meal at the Press Gang (chef's menu). The scallops were fantastic as was the tiny taste of chowder and they are famous for their oysters.

      1. I would be curious to know the best place for mussels

        2 Replies
        1. re: Kittycatpizza

          It's difficult to ruin mussels. If they are fresh and steamed for a couple minutes they are good.

          1. re: Kittycatpizza

            If you want a variety of styles of mussels, Brussels has a good reputation. Personally, I just like dipping them in butter so as long as they're fresh I'm good.

          2. Very late response... I live in Halifax and love seafood. Five Fishermen and McKelvie's are competent seafood but overpriced and not the best.

            For oysters: surprisingly Waterfront Warehouse does a great job. It is far better than the oyster happy hour at Five Fishermen Grill. Agricola Street Brasserie also has great oysters. I am obsessed with oysters and have traveled to Providence (Rhode Island, US) and Vancouver (B.C, Canada) specifically to eat them.

            For lobster: again Waterfront Warehouse is surprisingly good - at a lower price point that other "high end" restaurants and also with lobster specials that delight my visiting friends who live far from the ocean and love Red Lobster

            For mussels / scallops: I'm not a fan of mussels but Brooklyn Warehouse often has them available on their appetizer menu. They often have scallops as well and they do a great job with them (perfect crisp sear on the outside and deliciously creamy within)

            For seafood in general: Brooklyn Warehouse always has at least one seafood main (the menu changes regularly) and the selections are always fantastic. The chef is phenomenal. Hamachi Kita is surprisingly good for Eastern Canada, if you love sushi and sashimi and have tasted the best

            Pan Fried: I really like the pan-fried fish at Janina's in Dartmouth but it is usually only on Friday's (they are not open for dinner, just breakfast and lunch). The pan-fried fish at Seamus David's pub in Dartmouth is even better

            2 Replies
            1. re: Cthulette

              Thanks for your response. Better late than never! Have you ever sat down for an Oyster feed at the Press Gang?

              I'm surprised to hear you recommend a Hamachi venue for sushi. Have you tried Sushi Shige or Suzuki? I'm no sushi expect but have eaten my fair share - personally I have never had anything better in Halifax than at Ko Doraku (same owner as Suzuki). The chef at Sushi Shige was apparently trained by Jiro Ono!

              Haven't heard of either of those Dartmouth places, but I'm intrigued.

              1. re: existential_crisis

                I have never been to the Press Gang though I pass by regularly on my Wednesday night pilgrimage to the comic shop. I will try again next week and advise!

                I myself was surprised by Hamachi Kita. I will try your recommendations, namely Susi Shige, and report back. I lived in the predominantly Asian Toronto suburbs for years, where it was no problem to get fresh uni served in the actual shell for maybe $10- $15 at strip malls. When I came to Halifax I looked for a sushi place that had proper fresh fish (I don't care for the North American style rolls that are very popular) and found Hamachi Kita did a great job. The mackerel sashimi was fresh, did not have little bones in it which cheaper venues tend to leave in by accident, and they did serve ikura (salmon roe) which is hard to find in some spots... Though you can buy it at Pete's grocery and eat straight out of the jar worst case :)... Sadly there is no uni and many menu options are not actually served. And, it is nothing like Japango in Toronto (for presentation) or my local favorites in Mississauga (for quality and the availability of yumminess like sea urchin), but it certainly beats out a lot of spots in Vancouver that I have paid over $200 just on a meal for one. I like it for the freshness and skill to make "average" fresh fish delicious.

                Janina's is in a strip mall and advertises itself as authentic Polish cuisine. I think they cater to the Burnside Industrial Park lunch crowd- they are definitely not open on weekends or after 5 on weekdays. I can recommend their dill pickle soup and cabbage rolls as well as the delightful fish, but the rest of their fare is quite average / bland.

                Seamus David's is a popular pub spot that many people recommend and business lunches occur there with startling frequency. It has nicer quality pub fare and the fish is succulent - not at all dry.

                My favorite restaurant in Halifax as a fish lover remains Brooklyn Warehouse with Agricola Street Brasserie as a runner up, with Obladee for great wine. The fish at Brooklyn really is superb.