Spending time with someone you care about is important. Eating dinner with someone you care about is a great experience. But sometimes the thought of going out to eat is hard to swallow, especially if you’re both on tight budgets. Luckily, in Halifax there are plenty of places you can go and get an incredible meal without breaking the bank. And even if you’re doing very well for yourself, these places are more than worth a glance; these places have all figured out great food for great value.
The Katch The Katch is a local seafood chain with locations on the Halifax Waterfront, the Halifax Shopping Centre, Scotia Square, and Grafton Street. They’re famous for their fish and chips (the haddock prepared up to five different ways depending on the location), but their other seafood options, poutines, and new poke bowls are starting to steal the show. If you’re out on the Waterfront this is a great place to stop and get supper, or you can eat in at their Grafton street location, or even enjoy the ambiance of the malls’ food courts (I’d recommend the Shopping Centre, their food court is actually gorgeous now).
Address: The Halifax Waterfront, Halifax Shopping Centre food court, Scotia Square Mall food court, 1560 Grafton Street (Pizza Corner)
Phone (for all): 902-429-1900
Ardmore Tea Room
One of Halifax’s oldest diners, the Ardmore gives a great option for an earlier-night dinner. With food ranging from hot turkey sandwiches to burgers, they also have all-day breakfast options. They have nightly specials, and they close by 8, which makes this a good place to start the evening. Make sure to bring cash, but if you forget there is an ATM at the gas station down the street.
Address: 6499 Quinpool Road
Krave has great food at reasonable prices, great decor and fantastic service. They have options for vegetarians and vegans, all still affordable, and their milkshakes are stunningly good. It’s a great burger place to go for a fun, relaxed date, and you’re right across from the movie theatre and a few steps away from the rest of downtown. This is a great place to start off Burger Week, too!
Address: 5680 Spring Garden Road
If you enjoy playing board games together, or you’re looking for something to do on early dates where you’re still getting to know each other, the Boardroom Cafe is the place for you. With dozens of board games on offer and a 5$ ‘play as long as you like’ cover, you can settle in for a long, fun night. The Boardroom has an impressively varied menu for the size of the place, and the food is hearty and great for board game playing (lots of finger foods) as well as your wallet. Their milkshakes are wonderful, and you can get your own custom flavors, and their bar menu offers lots of local options.
Address: 1256 Barrington Street
Halifax has a vibrant sushi scene, and the Wasabi house is among the best. The restaurant is crowded most nights, so it’s important to get there early. They have a huge selection of sushi, and if you don’t feel like eating in you can always do take out with the same options. The best part is you get 10% off when you pay in cash, either eating in or taking out.
Address: 6403 Quinpool Road
The Foggy Goggle offers a great range of affordable food and drink options for diverse palates. The atmosphere is light and happy, and they have great staff who are very knowledgeable about the different food options, helping you to choose between all the excellent options, from pizza to seafood to burgers. They have several local beers on tap and offer local wines as well. Their cocktail menu includes classics with a Nova Scotian Twist (like the McNabs Island Iced Tea), as well as lots of non-alcoholic options.
Address: 2957 Gottingen Street
Habaneros Habaneros is one of the best places in Halifax to get tacos. They have lots of different options for fillings (perfect for picky eaters like me), and they have sides from tortilla chips to cilantro lime rice. You can do online ordering if you want a takeaway option, and they have multiple locations in both Halifax and Dartmouth, with a few others scattered through Nova Scotia. The best part is that it’s a moveable feast, with their Gecko bus in the summer showing up in different locations around the city.
Address: South Park: 1551 South Park Street (there are several others)
Phone (902-444-TACO (8226): 1 for Woodside, Dartmouth; 2 for Burnside, Dartmouth; 3 for South Park
The Iron Rooster sells chicken in many ways, all of them fantastic. They focus on offering healthy fried chicken options, from popcorn chicken to a Fried Cornish hen! You can get the chicken breading flavoured with 8 different options, including curry, garlic, plum, and BBQ. Their fries are also fantastic, making this a great option for either eating in, take-out or delivery.
Address: 1677 Barrington Street
Elle’s Bistro does many things well, and all at reasonable prices. They’re not open late except on Thursdays and Fridays (8pm) but grabbing an early bite to eat before an evening activity is a great option. They serve all-day breakfast, but they also have great burgers and entrees, with nothing over 20$. Right in the middle of Barrington, this is a great place to start your evening.
Address: 1678 Barrington Street
The Bluenose II
Another downtown restaurant with really great deals. You could have a varied, healthy meal just from their appetizers, but their entrees are also good deals, with large portions of excellent food. The desserts are also fantastic, with portions big enough to share, and cheap enough that you don’t have to if you don’t want to (and you’ll probably want to savour every bite of your choice).
Address: 1824 Hollis Street
Mary’s Place Cafe II
Mary’s Place sits on the first block where Coburg Road turns into Spring Garden Road, just past Robie. That puts it close to the universities, so there’s a thriving student clientele drawn by location, price, and great food! Mary’s Place does all-day breakfast, burgers, Middle Eastern options, seafood, wraps, and they recently got their liquor license. This is another restaurant that closes early (7:30 pm Thursday to Saturday, and 3:30 the rest of the week), but if you’re having an earlier night this is a great place to go.
Address: 5982 Spring Garden Road
Qiu Brothers Dumplings I stumbled across Qiu Brothers Dumplings on Skip the Dishes with my friend a couple months ago, and now we order from them frequently. Their dumplings are of course, stunning, but they also have pork buns, homemade spicy pig ears, Chinese sausage, and so much more. Everything comes in big, tasty portions, and they taste fabulously fresh. And of course, their restaurant is a lovely spot.
Address: 1335 Barrington Street
Mezza’s serves phenomenal Lebanese cuisine in generous portions at affordable prices. Their signature dish is chicken shawarma, either in a wrap, a bowl, or a plate, but they have lots of other options, all healthy and delicious. My mother’s a big fan of their grape leaves. They have a few locations in Halifax, including a sit-down store on Barrington Street. Or, like the Katch, you can find them at the Scotia Square and Halifax Shopping Centre food courts.
Address: Halifax Shopping Centre food court, Scotia Square Mall food court, 1558 Barrington Street
Phone: 902-453-0606, 902-444-3777, 902-425-8882
If you want to go to an old-school diner with multiple-award winning burgers, a place with the original Pita Club sandwich, a place with milkshakes you can stick your straw into and it stands up? You go to Darrell’s. With over ten different kinds of burgers and so much more, Darrell’s lives up to every bit of their reputation. Just be prepared if you go during Burger Week, because the line is well out the door.
Address: 5576 Fenwick Street
Boston Pizza is a Canadian chain that consistently delivers great food. They have specials every night that make different parts of their menu more appealing, or you could split one of their large appetizers. You have bottomless refills on pop, and the choice of sitting on either the bar side or the restaurant side. If you enjoy watching sporting events together, going there to watch the game is a great outing.
Address: 1858 Granville Street or 194A Chain Lake Drive
Phone: 902-422-8600 or 902-450-0450
By: Adrienne Colborne