HRM is a delight when it comes to food we have great restaurants, great stores and great products. I am often asked what should I try or what’s new and good to eat? I have curated a list of The 101 Best Things to Put in Your Mouth in HRM. I asked a series of people from different walks of life and I have come up with this list I am sure there are those that will feel there are glaring omissions and I invite you to comment, as I plan to update this annually.
Let’s start off with the belle of the ball, Brooklyn Warehouse the West End charmer with a constantly changing and evolving menu there are some reliable items with (1)Pig Fish, confit Pork Belly & Seared Scallops to perfection every time, the (2)Chacuterie Board is best in the city and great table share, (3) Dragon’s Breath salad, it strength is in the Dutchman’s Dragons Breath Blue Cheese but utilized as an ingredient to perfection, and that’s just the starters. While you are waiting for your food though, Brooklyn’s signature (4) Wasabi Caesar is a Caesar lover’s dream! Maybe Clamatto isn’t you’re thing how about the (5) Elderflower Fizz a delicate and satisfying drink, the sort of thing you would never attempt at home.
Not far away in Gus’ Pub on Agricola at North is the offshoot of Brooklyn, Ace Burger whose (6) Deluxe Burger a perfectly executed burger loaded with quality maritime ingredients, you can get a similar burger at Brooklyn but then you would miss out on the charm of Ace. In season Ace also offer the (7) Clam Po’boy which is a seafood sandwich lover’s dream.
A few doors down is the long standing Brothers Deli the centre for NS style (8) Pepperoni, Hot is the usual go to but you can get Mild or TNT. The Pepperoni is also available at the major grocery stores and remember it’s just Brothers, not Chris Brothers.
This neighbourhood has other treats going for it as well. Bridge Brewing Company on Agricola for example, this nano-brewery has their immensely popular (9) Farmhouse Ale, a light yet full bodied beer. Chez Tess around the corner is home to crepe goodness, the (10) Euro is the Nutella flavour you desire in a sweet crepe.
Heading across the MacDonald Bridge to Dartmouth there are some delightful bites just on the other side, Wyse Rd. offers us up Kel’s Deli, which has the best (11)Mixed Meat Sandwich, rye bread is the way to have a thick sandwich of cold cuts, if you’re at Kel’s pick me up some jerky. Across the street is Hoang Minh, which has a delicious bowl of (12) Special Beef Pho, what makes it special? 3 cuts of Beef, in a balanced broth to warm up your insides.
In downtown Dartmouth we have the always loved Two If by Sea, who make fabulous delicious large dense and fluffy buttery croissants, I give the number to (13) Prosciutto & Provolone, but the plain, chocolate or croissants of the week also are sure to please your taste buds, I’m particularly partial to the turkey croissants at Christmas. Now TIBS has their offshoot Anchored Coffee next door their coffee roasting business and the (14) Koke Aricha has been receiving praise. You can also take the Ferry across the harbour to their Historic Properties location.
The Waterfront has tasty snacks you can enjoy, like The Battered Fish (15) Fries with Wasabi Mayo, a perfect fry seems simple in concept but often you don’t get that however these ones measure up. Sugah! In Bishops Landing has a collection of house made chocolate bars and a standout is the (16) Brew Bar a combination of Garrison Brewing, roasted barley and dark malt make this Halifax combo a winner. They also have the (17) Big Kahuna, a hand paddle ice cream masterpiece I suggest, mixing Brown Sugar fudge with Rum Cake in vanilla ice cream. The cake is made by their adjoined company Rum Runners. It will make you forget you ever loved Blizzards, Sugah! also has a location in the Public Gardens if you prefer.
Speaking about Garrison Brewing they have special limited runs and everyday go to, well maybe not every day but my favourite is taking half Garrison Nut Brown and half Garrison Raspberry Wheat and voila (18) PB & J Garrison style, visit their seaport brewery and try it out.
The Downtown Halifax core has many a treat for your mouth, Chives offers up sensational meals, and top notch soups but it’s hard to pin a particular dish as the menu changes constantly and loaded with local in season goodness but one consistent is the (19) Biscuits, they keep you happy as you wait for your sure to please meal. Next door for lunchtime Ciboulette has delicious soups, baked goods and paninis with the highlight being the (20) Meatloaf Panini. Another treat but only available on Thursday is (21) Croque Monsieur from LeFrench Fix, ham and cheese melty awesomeness, but everyday their (22) Macarons with inventive flavours like Guinness for St. Patrick’s Day, though La Fleur d’ Oranger is pretty special. If they are in their regular spot on Argyle St. Nomad Gourmet has food truck fare down, whether it’s (23) Chicken & Waffle Sandwich, fried local chicken in between Belgian waffle with apple slaw, or (24) Smoked Chicken Burrito which is the enemy of hunger. The Wooden Monkey has a treat for the non-meat eaters the (25) Spicy Vegetarian Stir Fry which is suitable for carnivores as well.
Maybe some Downtown grub with an Asian flare people have been flocking to The Great Wall for years to have their pretty much perfect (26) Ginger Beef, if noodles are your thing Dharma has the best dashi in the city which makes their (27) Tempura Udon, a very fulfilling bowl of Japanese happiness. Indochine has great bubble tea and the Banh Mi, (28) Pork Meatball is a quality sandwich.
Downtown is also home to Pete’s Frootique, Pete’s has a variety of local goodies and prepared food, You can get all the ingredients to make a gourmet meal at home or something prepared their (29) Create Your own Salad, (30) Mango Tango Smoothie or (31) Carvery Sandwiches, with a store full of top notch ingredient it’s now surprise that their prepared food really delivers, you can even get the carvery meat on your salad if you like. Pete’s has another full Frootique in Bedford and the Salad & Sandwiches are also at their “to go go” locations in DAL and on Lower Water St.
Perhaps you want something for your sweet tooth, (32) Cupcakes, at Susie’s Shortbreads are delicious but picking a stand out flavour is a hard task they are all good, the Red Velvet, Root Beer, Lemon, Egg Nog, Peanut Butter Cup & more. Or when you are at Pete’s, they carry Sweet Things (33) Mint Swirl Marshmallows, oh my theses are fluffy little squares of homemade love; I never knew marshmallow could be so good. Maybe a hot beverage while downtown is what you seek and tea lovers should visit (34) World Tea House, with more than 100 types of tea to choose from you will have to control yourself, and you can take home loose tea or have it brewed to perfection in house. Back down ate the waterfront there the handmade chocolates of Chocolates by Design but their (35) Hot Chocolate is a hot sweet rich treat, especially on a damp and cold Halifax evening.
Downtown Halifax’s Bar Scene provides more bounties for your bouche, if Martini’s are your game then (36) Bitter End is where you should be from classic to exotic they have you covered. The Seahorse has two bites that are lots of fun. First up (37) Triple Pickle a large sour dill pickle battered and deep fried and served with a dill dip, well that’s just double, the triple is a 1oz shot of pickle brine that has a 1oz Jamieson’s whiskey chaser, second is (38) Megan’s Number 17, a chilled Mars bar battered and deep fried, if it’s good enough for Scotland it’s good enough for New Scotland. Half a block away is The Carleton where you can find a quality (39) Grilled Cheese, smoked Gouda and cheddar with a paprika mayo. Down the hill Old Triangle is the Halifax master of (40) Sweet Potato Fries, what makes them special is the curry mayo that comes along with them to make a perfect balance. The King of HRM club sandwiches is in the patio-tastique Your Fathers Moustache, the (41) Pub Club is a crowd pleaser and great treat on a Saturday afternoon, if you can get a seat.
You know what goes with the bar scene the late night grub, and Blowers St is where it’s at whether it’s the best (42) Donair in the city in the newly renamed Mezza Kitchen (formerly Venus) or the always satisfying (43) Meat on a Stick, at Rocky’s, amazingly marinated and BBQ’d pork skewers, though I admit in a certain late night state I have order 2 Squirrel Sticks. Also just above Rocky is Willy’s which has the best classic (44) Poutine in the city and I hear there gravy is vegetarian!
Maybe you are more of a prepare your own food and entertain guests at home kind, well the Seaport Farmers Market has the ingredients for the start of something awesome, Saturday mornings this is the place to be. Maybe picking up some adorably cute yet amazingly delicious (45) Mini Cupcakes from Little Red Kitsch’n or (46) Eccles from Maritime Pasty, Buttery pastry filled with currants is divine, (47) Granola from Schoolhouse Gluten Free is quinoa happiness. That Dutchman’s Farm offers up quality cheese the (48) Dragon’s Breath Blue, as featured at Brooklyn Warehouse is a stinky cheese lovers treat, (49) Old Growler a crumble in your mouth aged Gouda. Sweet William’s is meaty delight their variety of (50) Sausages has a flavour for all and I haven’t met one I haven’t liked yet, in addition their (51) Damn Hot Pepperoni will be a prize for those you know like their food spicy. Salad greens and herbs can be found at (52) Riverview Herbs, the best selection of fresh green things, their signature basil, pea shoots, Micro Mix, cilantro, rosemary, etc. The other treat is in the spring you can buy transplants to put in your own garden. You can usually find a line up at Boulangerie la Vendéenne who have (53) Sourdough Baguette that is quality. Julien’s upstairs has a (54) Apricot Sourdough which is a great base for French Toast or their (55) Kilo Baguette, the base of great sandwiches. Julien’s also is available in the Hydrostone every day. FoxHill Cheese has milk in glass bottles and the (56) Chocolate Milk is a decadent drink, now if I can just remember to bring my bottles back when I buy another.
Sweet Williams, Foxhill are also available at the old Brewery Market where you can visit (57) The Spiceman who carries Épices de Cru spices that will improve all and any meal, any spice shop that has Ras-el-hanout you know loves spices. Quite a few of the products from both markets can be found at places like Pete’s Frootique and Local Source who also both carry Greens of Halifax (58) Spicy Lentil Mix which make a salads or sandwiches sing.
Other great products you can find in many places around town are Made with Local’s (59) Sticky Squirrel, an oaty bar of Peanut butter and molasses, Propeller (60) Root Beer, the way root beer is meant to be. Just Us (61) White Chocolate Bar, I hearing you muttering that white chocolate is not good but this really is something special. Manhattan is famous for bagel and lox and the (62) Smoked Salmon from Willy Krauch is fine example of why they love to emphasize the salmon is from NS.
When I asked folks the question “What item is something, you keep going back to a restaurant for” I did get a 3 things from big chain restaurants that kept coming up, (63) 1/4 Chicken Dinner at Swiss Chalet, (64) a Double Double from Tims and (65) Steak Dinner at the Keg with Double Baked Potato.
Reaching out to the burbs there is a diverse selection of choices from the throw back simplicity of a (66) Cold Cut Sub at Kaisers in Sackville, to the (67) Kopanisti at ela! in BLIP and Dartmouth Crossing. The (68) Tzatziki at Euro Pizza on the Bay Rd, the (69) Butter Chicken from Dhaba Express in the BLIP, or the (70) Fish Cakes with homemade chow from Emma’s in Eastern Passage are all pleasers. Jamiesons in Dartmouth has the simple yet elegant (71) Poached Pear Salad or the simple adding of honey to a well made (72) Onion Rings from CheeseCurds.
Mexico Lindo is a go to in Fairview that offers up an always refreshing (73) Agua Fresca which washes down the satisfying (74) Combo 10, with a Chicken Chimichanga and Beef Enchilada.
Folks of Waverley Rd and beyond have flocked to the Mic Mac Tavern for years and (75) 70z Bacon Wrapped Steak is the weekend brunch lure. Dartmouth also has the must visit Rocco’s if you haven’t you should just to have the (76) Caesar Salad made from scratch right beside your table.
Now if you are looking for a quality (77) Sunday Brunch Buffet the Prince George Hotel is the place to indulge in a top notch spread of food that you can’t possibly eat your way through. It’s also a great spot for those Sunday Holidays like Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Easter, Father’s Day who am I kidding it’s great every Sunday.
I was surprised at how little came up from Quinpool, but the (78) Burgers at Relish! were popular and to the extreme other end of Quinpool the Armview was tops for their (79) Coconut Creme Pie and the best of the classic Greek diner favourite (80) Rice Pudding.
The South End offers up goodies in walking distance for the students of Dal and SMU. The Henry House has a combination of English tavern charms whether it’s the (81) Granite Brewery Sample Paddle a collection of 3.5oz glasses of quality ale, it goes well with the (82) Steak and Mushroom Pie and then finished with the (83) Gingerbread Cake. Do you need a pick me up Uncommon Grounds (84) Fog Burner will give you that java boost. If you want to learn that it’s a grill that is on your deck and what BBQ really is, then Boneheads will educate you with their succulent (85) Ribs or the fantastic (86) Pulled Pork. Or if Peanut Butter is your thing Darrell’s has been serving up the legendary (87) Peanut Butter Burger don’t knock until you try it, and then why not have a (88) Peanut Butter Chocolate Shake. If you want something a little more upscale in the South End then Stories will have you dreaming of their (89) Paper Wrapped Scallops.
On the other side of the Halifax peninsula the “hip” North End already anchored by Brooklyn Warehouse, you can eat at Tareks the entire menu is worth a try but, the (90) Calamari and the (91) Chicken Caesar Pita are perfect place to start. Sully’s on Novalea has wasted little time making themselves a must eat the (92) Smoked Meat but try it Montreal Style, rye and yellow mustard, nothing else. The best sandwiches continue in the North End Halifax with the Cold Cut masterpiece (93) Vesuvius at the Italian Market on Young. While you are the Italian Market pick up bottle of their house made (94) Spicy Tomato Sauce and cook a masterpiece at home. Not far down the street the (95) Meatball Hero at Salvatore’s is the best sandwich in all of HRM, but Sal’s is actually more well known for their perfect (96) Original Pizza so classic that you don’t need any toppings to enjoy the perfect meld of garlic, cheese, tomato sauce on outstanding crust. Or maybe you need a Caribbean Twist visit them and have their (97) Ackee and Saltfish, Jamaica’s national dish.
If you are looking for ingredients to impress the North End has the Highland Drive Storehouse full of goodness and the divine (98) Bone Marrow Butter or if charcuterie is more your style Ratinaud has lots of artisan treats the (99) Duck Rilette or the savoury (100) Saucisson Toulouse will make guests happy, or just eat all yourself there is no shame in that.
How do you end a list great eats well the only I can think of is to spend time with Emily and her fantastic (101) Local Tasting Tours, which has a combination of fabulous Halifax eats on few different walks, and what goes with good food, good conversation about the food it’s a perfect way to embrace our great food city.