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Best Halifax Restaurants

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Haligonians, as Halifax natives are known, really are spoiled for choice. To visit all the best restaurants in Halifax you’d need to spend a few weeks here. Seafood is plentiful and featured on pretty much every menu in one form or another. There are plenty of ethnic restaurants; sushi is especially easy to find and really, really good. There is a strong locavore food movement, spearheaded by Fid and Chives Canadian Bistro (two of the city’s finest restaurants), and a real sense of pride about the wonderful food grown, produced, fished for and farmed in the province. There are also some great local vineyards producing award-winning Nova Scotian wines. On the low end there are lots of food choices, too. Pub fare in Halifax is greasy, but satisfyingly so. Deep-fried pepperoni is something of a local specialty, and as gross as it sounds, has to be tried, and donnairs in Halifax are legendary.

Fid Resto

Neighborhood: Downtown Price: Expensive
Fid offers innovative and exciting food, which you can see being prepared in chef Dennis Johnson’s open kitchen. Johnson is somewhat of a locavore hero in Halifax, and has encouraged other restaurants in the city to follow suit and use local ingredients on their menus. Definitely a splurge restaurant, you’ll sample delicacies like caramelized sea scallops with pork belly and dishes like The Mayhem, which is a vegetarian plate of Johnson’s creation from whatever he picked up at the farmer’s market that day. Don’t skip desserts here —they are absolutely delectable.

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Fid Resto  

5 Fishermen (The)

Neighborhood: Downtown Price: Expensive
This super-posh silver-service restaurant is pricey but good. As the name suggests, seafood rules here and it has a popular mussel and salad bar (where the mussels and salad are unlimited). It is located in one of the oldest buildings in the city, which served as a funeral home at the time of the Titanic disaster and was where many of the bodies were brought (look up and you’ll see the original hoist from the funeral home). The restaurant has a fabulous local wine list, and the knowledgeable sommelier will happily guide you through it. 

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5 Fishermen (The) »

Stories Casual Fine Dining

Neighborhood: The South End Price: Expensive
Stories is one of Halifax’s hidden gems. Located in the Halliburton Hotel, this cosy and intimate restaurant offers an innovative and exciting menu that relies heavily on game and meat. Here you can try the likes of venison carpaccio, bison tenderloin and fois gras in a number of different dishes. If the prices are a bit steep, head there for coffee and dessert, as it is a perfect place to finish off a romantic evening (who could resist with choices like cactus pear sambuca sorbet or blackberry brown butter tart with white chocolate fig ice cream?). The restaurant also has a nice private room for larger groups.

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Stories Casual Fine Dining »

Chives Canadian Bistro

Neighborhood: Downtown Price: Expensive
It is worth going to Chives for the heavenly biscuits alone, which are served in place of bread, with bowls of molasses and whipped butter to spread them with. Owner Craig Flynn is a local celebrity with two cookbooks under his belt, and everything created at Chives is truly incredible. Local foods feature heavily on the menu, and there are lots of yummy fish and seafood dishes to try (as well as steaks and decent vegetarian options). The local charcuterie and cheese plate is great to share, and the lobster risotto that comes as a side with various dishes is superb. Chives is an essential Halifax eating experience.

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Chives Canadian Bistro  

Saege Restaurant

Neighborhood: Downtown Price: Moderate
This Asian fusion restaurant is popular with the lunchtime crowd for its reasonably priced but very special dishes. The menu features lots of seafood starters (the miso-marinated Digby scallops are incredible), locally raised meats are the stars of the main course menu, and the desserts and baked goods are very good — be sure to try the Florentines; you can buy a bag to take with you, and you’ll want to because they are THAT good. The restaurant is cosy and has a fun vibe, and there is a fireplace that you can ask to sit by (good for wintry days).

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Saege Restaurant  

The Coastal Cafe

Neighborhood: The North End
Price: Moderate
The Coastal does the best breakfasts in town. Here you can grab all manner of huevos rancheros, the Elvis (a heart attack-inducing buttermilk waffle sandwich with peanut butter, bananas and bacon drowned in maple syrup), the richest variation on French toast ever and truly great coffee. Lunches are also decadent and portions are huge (you could easily split one with a friend). The Coastal Café attracts a young, fun crowd and is definitely a locals’ favourite. Be warned, though, that you may have to wait a while for a table if you arrive for brunch on the weekend (common with all great brunch places in Halifax).

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The Coastal Cafe  

Hamachi Kita

Neighborhood: Downtown Price: Moderate
The sushi and Asian food served here is really, really good and different than you’ll see on most sushi menus. Treat yourself to a sushi pizza (excellent) or a Caribbean fusion maki roll, and then try one of the delicious Thai curries. The staffers here are all lovely and happy to help you choose if there are dishes you’ve never encountered before. The restaurant recently expanded and has ample table space, but you might want to book a table on weekends. (Hamachi is a local chain, with restaurants all over Halifax; see their website for other locations.)

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Hamachi Kita  

Athens Restaurant

Neighborhood: Quinpool Price: Budget
For the past 25 years, Athens has been serving great Greek food to the good citizens of Halifax. Here you’ll find all the staples, such as roast lamb (so tender it melts in your mouth), Dolmades, moussaka and souvlakia, but there are plenty of other dishes on offer (such as the ubiquitous fish and chips, which you can get just about everywhere in Halifax). You can get a great breakfast at Athens for under $10, including coffee. The restaurant is huge, so you won’t have trouble getting a table.

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Durty Nelly's

Neighborhood: Downtown Price: Budget
This authentic Irish pub (really, they aren’t faking it) serves rib-sticking meals on the cheap. Here you can tuck into traditional Irish meals like boiled ham and potatoes or Guinness-braised lamb steak, and other more regular pub-style fare and sandwiches. The food is good and filling, and you’ll not leave hungry. Durty Nelly’s is a fun spot, especially on quiz night, and often has live music in the evenings. It is massive, so you’ll likely get a table even at the busiest of times.

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Durty Nelly's  

Creperie Mobile

Neighborhood: Downtown Price: Budget
You can pick up one of Crêperie Mobile’s delicious crêpes in both the old Alexander Keith’s Brewery building (the original farmer’s market site) and at the new Seaport Farmers’ Market. For no lineups hit the brewery location—you’ll wait eons on weekends, especially at the new location. Watch the staff create a sweet or savoury crepe in front of you. The menu is far from ordinary—try the Westphalia ham, arugula, dried figs, sweet onion, honey and mustard vinaigrette crêpe for a unique and delicious lunch.

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Creperie Mobile  

The Ardmore Tearoom

Neighborhood: Quinpool Price: Budget
The Ardmore offers true diner-style food. Here you’ll get great breakfasts and all kinds of old-fashioned staples, such as meatloaf, spaghetti and fish and chips. The Ardmore is no frills but gives good value and is very popular with locals (be prepared to line up for brunch on weekends). It has been around since 1958 and is very quaint and charming as a consequence, and the menu probably hasn’t changed an awful lot since in the past 50 years. (Be sure to try the fishcakes.)
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