Perhaps it was the fact that there’s no such thing as fresh lobster in the Canadian Rockies, but my culinary experiences throughout Nova Scotia were nothing short of incredible. If you’re looking for a guaranteed great meal, try one of these Nova Scotia restaurants. While I’d recommend all of these restaurants to travelers looking for one of Nova Scotia’s unique dining experience, I’ve given my personal ratings (☆), which are outlined at the bottom of this post.
Five Fishermen Restaurant and Grill ☆☆☆☆
Website • 1740 Argyle Street
This restaurant provides the quintessential Nova Scotia experience with some of the best seafood in the province. One of the best things about it is the decor, which is mostly marine-themed – wooden beams, rigs, pulleys, ropes and the side of a ship – but also has a series of stained glass windows. The building has a fantastic heritage. Once used for an art school by none other than Anna Leonowens (of “Anna and the King”), the building was eventually converted to a mortuary, which was used to house bodies from the Titanic and the great Halifax explosion. Naturally, there are many reports of hauntings, but don’t let that deter you from experiencing this downtown Halifax gem.
FID Resto ☆☆☆ – now closed (update 05/2013)
Website • 1569 Dresden Row
This restaurant serves all local and sustainable food. It is a small, cozy restaurant with clean, contemporary decor, a reasonably priced menu and views right into the kitchen. I had the Ran-cher acres goat cheese with jonagold apple, terra beata farm cranberries and walnuts to start and the FID Resto roasted free-range chicken breast with fresh potato gnocchi and white sauce. Both dishes were fantastic. The only downside was that the service was so-so that evening – timely and attentive but not overly friendly.
Tempest Restaurant World Cuisine ☆☆☆
Website • 117 Front Street
Lucy Waverman from The Globe and Mail called The Tempest “one of the best restaurants in the province,” so my expectations were high. The restaurant was absolutely packed on this October evening, so it seems others thought it was, too. Chef Michael Howell is practically a celebrity in Nova Scotia, and for good reason. He focuses on using quality, regional ingredients and brings a unique flair to this award-winning restaurant. My expectations were met, but not exceeded.
Le Caveau Restaurant (Domain de Grand Pré Winery) ☆☆☆☆☆
Website • 11611 Highway 1
This was a personal favourite. Previously this day we had done a wine tour and tasting at the Grand Pré Winery, which now stands on the oldest vineyard in Nova Scotia. The food in this location was some of the best I experienced in Nova Scotia (I nearly fell over at the Seared Arctic Char). The description off their website was totally accurate: “Chef Jason Lynch and his team focus on regional Nova Scotia product prepared with a global flair, and our experienced service staff makes everyone feel welcome.” The friendly and knowledgeable service made the evening spectacular.
The Port Pub: A Gastropub ☆☆☆☆
Website • 980 Terry’s Creek Road
For a great lunch or dinner, tracking down The Port Pub in Port Williams is well worth your time. They had great food and handcrafted brews, but what I loved the most about this pub was the story behind it. With a growing community and nowhere for friends to gather and socialize, Port Williams needed something. Thus, The Port Pub was built by a group of friends and is owned by community shareholders. Their goal is to “provide employment, minimize ‘food kilometers’” by using food sourced from regional providers where possible.
The Salt Shaker Deli ☆☆☆
Website • 124 Montague Street
I had already fallen in love with all of Lunenburg, so it wasn’t hard to fall in love with The Salt Shaker Deli. It is a small deli with a quaint and cozy decor. They serve mostly comfort foods – “nibbles,” soups, salads, sandwiches – as well as a long list of gourmet pizzas, which were perfect for the rainy, dreary day I had in this waterfront town. You won’t be disappointed!
Fleur de Sel ☆☆☆☆☆
Website • 53 Montague Street
Time for the cream of the crop. This Four Diamond restaurant offers traditional French cuisine and incredible attention to detail every step of the way. Converted from a heritage home, this restaurant offers an intimate, romantic atmosphere. The service was impeccable and the food absolutely worthy of the plethora of awards this restaurant has received over the years. As it was with most Nova Scotia restaurants I visited, Fleur de Sel highlights local ingredients. Well worth the price.
☆ Yum. And that’s all.
☆☆ Food and Service. Worth the price but not necessarily a second visit.
☆☆☆ Really great. Worth stopping by and experiencing.
☆☆☆☆ Fantastic in food, atmosphere and philosophy.
☆☆☆☆☆ Superb. Worthy of the awards they’ve already received. Take me back there anytime.
© Meghan J. Ward, 2010.