Wondering Where To Eat This Weekend? We profile different parts of Canada with a list of great dining recommendations for you to check out — from fancy to hole in the wall and everything in between! If you're planning a trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia look no further. Lindsay Nelson of Eat This Town takes us on a tour of Halifax restaurants with some suggestions for Dartmouth restaurants as well. You'll want to check it out whether you're a local or planning a trip - now you'll know where to eat in Halifax.
Editor's note - this article was updated on May 29th, 2018 with additional notes from Gabby Peyton.
Where to Eat Brunch or Lunch in Halifax
The Coastal Café offers chef-driven breakfast fare in a casual environment. While the menu may seem fancy-pantsy in places (Cab Sauv reduction on your omelette?!), you’re still ordering at the counter in your pajamas. Breakfast and lunch is served until 2pm on weekdays. Weekend brunch features a more elaborate menu alongside staples like Huevos Rancheros or the McCoastal breakfast sandwich. This place is popular and seating is limited, but the wait is worth it and the price is right.
Robie St. Station
The newest addition to the brunch scene, Robie Street Station, specializes in all-day (til 3pm) “global comfort food” — from fish ‘n’ chips to bibimbap burgers and brunch favs like bread puddin’ French toast and Turkish poached eggs in yogurt. Or you can just have “The Remedy” for some good ol’ bacon and eggs. Robie St. Station is also a spot where you can grab a coffee and a baked goodie to go. Doughnuts make appearances on weekends. If you’re really lucky, you may get to try the notorious donairnut!
After several years operating as a must-visit gourmet sandwich shop situated in the mezzanine of Two If by Sea coffee shop, this Dartmouth spot moved just down the street to become a full-blown restaurant called The Canteen on Portland. The brightly coloured restaurant pays homage to its humble beginnings with soups, sandwiches and salads that had Haligonians taking the ferry for lunch across the harbour. Dinner is more formal with dishes like Grilled Radicchio with seared halloumi, honey and hazelnuts and Mushroom Fettuccine with king oyster, shiitake, cream and a savoury nut crumble.
Where To Eat Dinner in Halifax
2 Doors Down
“We cook the food we as chefs love to eat: Fun, Rewarding, Unpretentious” — an accurate mission statement for 2 Doors Down, the sister restaurant of Chives Canadian Bistro (literally two doors down on the corner of Barrington and Salter Streets) where Chef Craig Flinn is creating a mini-empire. One of the busiest restaurants in the city, 2 Doors Down doesn’t take reservations. It's a touch more casual than Chives, with the best burgers in the city alongside fresh seafood, local meats and inspired vegetarian dishes. I was recently blown away by the smoked local pork chop served with a slab of deep fried mac ‘n’ cheese. This is how chefs love to eat? Bring it on!
You can’t really talk about the restaurant scene in Halifax without mentioning Edna, listed in EnRoute magazine as one of the best new restaurants in Canada in 2014. Edna is all at once a neighbourhood bistro, a late night wine and cocktail hotspot and one of the most popular brunch destinations in the city. Dinner is served until 11pm on weekends, but they don’t take reservations and it fills up quickly. The menu is a revolving roster of locally sourced dishes, updated every day at 3pm. I recently enjoyed a corn fritter dish (pictured), but whenever there’s swordfish on the menu I’m all over that!
This butchery-inspired restaurant specializes in local meats and craft beer, and is the latest addition to the Halifax dining scene. At Primal Kitchen everything is prepared in-house: the butchering of primal cuts, smoking, grinding and curing. There are raw items, a charcuterie menu and lots of meaty entrees. The calamari could very well be the best in the city and you gotta try the biltong — a cured meat of South African origin and recipe of the chef’s dad! Whether you opt for beef short rib, duck confit, steak frites or wild boar sausage, you're guaranteed a meaty indulgence!
Other Fun Places to Eat in Halifax & Dartmouth
Lion & Bright
There aren’t many places in Halifax like Lion & Bright: this coffee-shop-bar hybrid located on Agricola Street caters to freelancers and coffee meetups in mornings and those in search of Nova Scotian libations at night. Daytime counter service consists of damn good coffee and fresh baked pastries, sandwiches and simple salads. In the evening this bustling cafe turns into a romantic wine bar with the simple turn of the dimmer switch and the addition of candles and table service. Dinner consists of heartier but no less delicious dishes like caprese pasta, pan seared steak and vegan falafel burgers.
Natalie Morin and Julien Rousseau had never been to Halifax, but after studying this fine city from abroad they decided to open their dream business here. Julien is the man behind the chocolate. At Rousseau Chocolatier you can see him in action through the viewing window while Natalie guides you through all the varieties of artisanal chocolates. My favourites are the lemon and the feuilletine, but you gotta love unique flavours like smoky chili and orange balsamic caramel. The house-made hot chocolate is a liquid injection of decadence, and the macarons …. Oh, the macarons! They're so soft and fresh in flavours like coconut, lemon, passionfruit, chocolate, and apple cinnamon. I think this place has ruined me for macarons.
DeeDee’s Ice Cream
In 2004 at scenic Peggy’s Cove, Dee Dee’s scooped up its first batch of handcrafted ice cream. Now its Cornwallis St. location is an iconic Halifax shop specializing in ice cream and burritos. They make their ice creams in nine litre batches with flavours like Mexican Chocolate, Banana Cardamom, Haskap Berry and, of course, Mint Chocolate Chip, just to name a few. Locals know this is the best ice cream in town. I’m personally a sucker for the burritos, which combine local free range chicken or grass fed beef with organic refried beans, rice, fresh salsa and guacamole — wholesome AND delicious.
Halifax has never been much of a hot dog city, but now we have the hot dog cart that Halifax deserves! The specialty item at T Dogs is authentic Texas Hots (i.e. chili dogs!). The hot dogs are handmade using local ingredients: pork shoulder, beef brisket, sheep casing. Condiments are also house-made. Daily specials vary — hot dogs dressed like Frito Pie, Banh Mi, Big Macs or L.A. Danger Dogs. You never know what these crazy hot dog guys will come up with! You can usually find them around North and Agricola or a food truck party near you.
The owners of T Dogs have opened up a brick-and-mortar spot focusing on American Italian treasures like mozzarella sticks, meatball heros and pizza called Rinaldo’s. But don’t worry, their hot dogs can still be devoured at Good Robot Brewing on weekends.
Want More Great Places to Eat?
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Where To Eat This Weekend: Halifax and Dartmouth was written by Lindsay Nelson. Lindsay (Eat This Town) lives and works in downtown Halifax and has made it her mission to cover the restaurant scene, champion regional foods and to engage her fellow Haligonians in her food quests. A self-proclaimed food nerd, pizza junkie, burger ambassador, tofu apologist and friendly local, Lindsay knows where the good food is at, and will probably take you up on your offer to buy her a beer.
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