If you want to eat like a local, you have to find the places that locals go. I’ve lived in Halifax since I was two years old, so I’ve got a good grasp on the local scene. From old traditions to new adventures, these places are great to check out when you want to see Halifax’s food scene up close and personal. You’ll find local food, local beers, local music, and of course, you’ll find locals enjoying these fine eateries.
Bluenose II Named for one of the most iconic ships built in Nova Scotia, this restaurant is a quiet and friendly stop downtown. They have a wide variety of food on their menu, including a very agreeably priced lobster dinner during the lobster season. Their desserts are to die for (I risked a migraine to have their White Chocolate Brownie Cake, it didn’t end up happening but it would have been worth it), and their prices keep this a great option for people across the economic spectrum. Step in and get a taste of a Halifax classic that’s turning 56 this year.
Address: 1824 Hollis Street
The Press Gang
This is an upscale option for delicious local food, especially oysters (they are partly an oyster bar, after all). Built into one of Halifax’s oldest buildings, the Press Gang serves both surf and turf entrees, elegant desserts, and they have over a hundred kinds of scotch to try. It’s a great place for intimate and romantic dinners, and on Friday and Saturday nights they host local bands to make it even more special.
Address: 5218 Prince Street
The Split Crow
This is Halifax’s oldest bar and one of the oldest bars in Canada. Things have changed since 1749 of course, but their main idea of serving great local food and drink to anyone who walks through their door hasn’t changed at all. Their menu is classic bar fare with a Halifax twist (you’ll find deep fried pepperoni and donair sticks there), and they have a wide array of Atlantic Canadian alcohols available. They have live music nearly every night of the week and will also host events, so it’s a great stop after a day of sightseeing—just look for the crow sign!
Address: 1855 Granville Street
Exploring the Halifax Waterfront is a must year-round (yes, even in the winter if it’s not icy). While you’re down there, check out Salty’s for a fantastic eating experience. They have outdoor seating in the summer, it’s family friendly, and you get a wide range of local Halifax fare, especially seafood. You can also go upstairs if you’re looking for a more formal setting; there they have a slightly more upscale menu and white tablecloths to complement the gorgeous view of the Harbour.
Address: 1877 Upper Water Street
This little diner has been around for over 50 years, and is a staple of Halifax’s West End. They serve a great variety of diner classics, including all-day breakfast, all at great prices. They’ve started expanding their menu over the last few years too, including Belgian Waffles and falafel. Make sure you bring cash, but if you forget there is an ATM just down the road.
Address: 6499 Quinpool Road
Wasabi House Halifax has a pretty solid sushi scene, and Wasabi House is one of the best. They have a huge menu full of great options, and the restaurant is lovely for dine-in. You can also do take out if you want to enjoy your feast at home, and they have platters perfect for when you can’t decide what you’re going to have. Check it out and remember to bring an empty stomach, because you won’t want to miss a bite.
Address: 6403 Quinpool Road
If you want great burgers, you need to go to Krave. If you want great milkshakes, you need to go to Krave. If you want great food at a great price, with local suppliers for everything and options for nearly every dietary restriction? You go to Krave. Seriously, it’s my family’s favourite place to go for burgers because the food is fresh and delicious, the service is top notch, and it’s right at the beginning of the busiest part of Spring Garden, so it’s a great place to start an evening or finish an afternoon.
Address: 5680 Spring Garden Road
This is on the other end of the Waterfront from Salty’s, so it shares the great Waterfront vibe and view. A Mano’s is an Italian ristorante, however, so you’re choosing from a menu from that lovely country. It’s great food and drink at reasonable prices, the atmosphere is great, and their gelato tastes just like it does in Italy. Come for a romantic dinner or for a family and/or friends outing, and you’ll have a great time either way.
Address: 1477 Lower Water Street
The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse
There’s a strong Irish tradition here in New Scotland, and traditional Irish pubs like the Old Triangle are a big part of that. Their menu combines traditional Irish cuisine with Maritime flavours, giving you a huge selection of great food. And of course, they have lots of local and international beers on tap, and some wine if you’re feeling fancy. Check out their website to see their music and events schedule and see if they line up with your trip—it’s not a place to be missed.
Address: 5136 Prince Street
The Stubborn Goat
The Stubborn Goat is one of those places that feels like it’s been there forever but is also a very modern experience. It’s a gastropub that focuses heavily on seasonal menus with nearly all of their food ingredients sourced locally. There’s lots of great seating options for however large your party may be, great options across dietary restrictions, and the service is excellent. If you’re here in the summer, you should check out their Beer Garden on the Waterfront, but you can’t quite beat their Grafton location, which is beautiful and welcoming no matter the time of year.
Address: 1579 Grafton Street
The Foggy Goggle This bar is one of those places you could go for every meal and have a fantastic experience at each one, something some restaurants struggle with. They have incredible food, from their great breakfast menu to their wide variety of lunch and dinner options. They also have a great bar, and I’m told their cocktails are excellent. It’s a fun place with inviting décor and welcoming staff, so go on in on a foggy night!
Address: 2057 Gottingen Street
I was unaware that you could make Eggs Benedict more than three ways, but according to Elle’s Bistro you can make it fifteen different ways (more if you do their jalapeno shredded potato latke substitution). Elle’s is a downtown bistro that specializes in breakfast, but they also have stunning burgers, sandwiches, and entrées on order at seriously great prices. Come in for an early supper before you check out the rest of downtown, or show up bright and early so you can try as many types of Eggs Benedict as you can eat.
Address: 1678 Barrington Street
Ah Darrell’s, a nationally recognized burger restaurant (seriously, they’ve won multiple best of Canada awards for their burgers). This is a classic diner centered around gourmet burgers, milkshakes that have also won multiple awards, and other staples of diners done beautifully well. They only have one dessert option at the moment, a peanut butter fudge brownie cheesecake, but I’m sure that whatever they come up with next will match the quality of the rest of their menu.
Address: 5576 Fenwick Street
The Wooden Monkey
If you’ve got vegetarians in your group, this is the restaurant for you. The Wooden Monkey is consistently in the top three of the Coast’s list for best vegetarian restaurants, and you can see their dedication to that reputation in every part of their menu. With a huge focus on locally sourced food and drinks, it’s a great place to explore the Nova Scotian food scene with everyone in your party; plus, the atmosphere of the place is just fantastic.
Address & Phone: 1707 Grafton Street, 902-444-3844
Address & Phone: Dartmouth Ferry Terminal Level 2, 902-466-3100
EnVie – A Vegan Kitchen
Last but certainly not least is EnVie, a restaurant dedicated to serving delicious plant-based vegan food, and doing a stellar job at it. They can also accommodate several allergies including gluten and nuts, and they also serve cocktails, beer and wine (all vegan) to wash it down. They also serve a great brunch and you can purchase juice cleanses through them. Head to the Hydrostone for a delicious meal and then check out the shops nearby!
Address: 5775 Charles Street