I went to Halifax last weekend and I did what I always do to discover a new city : sample it’s cuisine. Being a natural harbor, Halifax is strategically situated to have a food culture centered around seafood. So when I went there, I had my fair share of fish and chips, sushi and chowder. So here are my thoughts about the food I had in Halifax. (Sorry I don’t have pictures of my meals, I’m too busy eating them and trying not to look like a tourist, which fails miserably the second I open my mouth and they hear my cute French accent).
Let’s start with a chowder top 3 (I went there 4 days and I had 3 chowders!) :
#1 - Henry House Pub
This is a very decent Irish pub on Barrington near South street. They have a good selection of microbrew beers (Granite, Propeller and McAuslan mainly) and scotch (including the Glen Breton, a single malt distilled in Nova Scotia). Their food is pretty nice too, especially their Henry House Seafood Chowder. Oh my! This is the best chowder I had in my life, and I’ve sampled quite a lot of them in Boston and in Halifax. It’s a splendid mix of mussels, salmon, shrimps, and other fish/seafood in a rich creamy broth with small cubes of vegetables. But what make it so special? The dill. Yep, fresh dill that is. It really pulls the dish together. It’s like the Grand Unification taking place in your bowl. I’m not exaggerating, it’s THAT good! And at 8$ (it’s big enough for a meal, and served with bread), it’s a steal. They also have a lobster chowder on their menu, but I didn’t had the chance to taste it (so many things to try, but only 3 meals a day). Chowder rating : 11/10.
#2 - Waterfront warehouse
When you enter the Waterfront Warehouse, the smiling waitress asks you if you want to dine inside or on the terrace with a view. Naively, you want to sit outside to glance at the boats but surprise! the view is actually on the big parking. Trees are blocking the view so you don’t even see the water. Then, a glance at the menu will convince you this waterfront scam is a pretext to boost prices by 25% of what you can get two streets from there. Enough whining, let’s try the seafood chowder, shall we? This one is also a mix a mussels, salmon, shrimps and other fishes/seafood in a creamy broth – well, the definition of a seafood chowder. Interestingly, it is served with molass bread. It was nice, but that’s all. It’s good, but not out-of-this-world-good. At 12$ for a bowl of OK chowder in a parking lot, I’d rather be at Henry House pub and spend that extra 4$ on a beer. Chowder rating : 7/10.
Last and least : Economy shoeshop
This isn’t a shoeshop, nor is it economic. It’s an overrated trendy restaurant on Argyle street. You actually pay for the decor (which is very nice by the way), but the food is quite ordinary and too expensive. Their seafood chowder have no taste (I had to add a lot of salt to make it edible). I also tried their 100% Angus beef burger, which claims to be the “best burger in town”. Gotta try the chef’s specialty, right? Well, the “best burger in town” was raw in the middle. Ughh. Chowder rating : 3/10.
And now, where to go for :
The best fish and chips : the Captain’s catch, a small restaurant on the waterfront. 10$ for two fried haddock pieces served with fries. It’s pretty decent and is very akin to what I’ve had in Scotland.
The best sushi : Hamachi house fine japanese cuisine, on Morris at Barrington. You can’t afford to miss their salmon nigiri sushi, the fish is so fresh it melts in your mouth. Interestingly, they have a selection of “sustainable” seafood (though Brittish Colombia scallops are not a very local choice). The food is really good, but it’s not cheap : count at least 25-30$ per person. It’s worth it!
The best apple salad : the Wooden Monkey, on Grafton at Prince. Yep. Apples, goat cheese, walnuts and greens with a delicious rice vinaigrette. That’s what to eat when you’re tired of greasy fish and chips of heavy creamy chowder. ;-)