Edna. Amazing local, constantly changing menu. If the mushroom bruschetta is still on the menu when you go, it's a must order. Plus, Edna's design is gorgeous.
Agricola Street Brasserie. Unique menu. Awesome atmosphere.
Ristorante a Mano. Best pasta in the city, hands down. If you're a coffee fan, try the Affogato for dessert. Noisy & fun inside, relaxed patio outside.
Bistro Le Coq. Decadent french food and a stunning metal bar.
The Bicycle Thief. Great food, extensive wine/cocktail list, and the patio with possibly the best view in Halifax.
Chives. This restaurant has been a longtime favourite in Halifax. Super cozy atmosphere and delicious fare from chef Craig Flinn.
Henry House. This is pretty much our favourite spot in the city and our local. It's a classic English pub with awesome food and a quality selection of beer. My go-to meal is the shepherd's pie with a pint of Granite Brewery's Ringwood (and sticky toffee pudding for dessert!). They have 4 different spaces - a super casual pub in the basement (where we usually end up), a nicer dining room on the main floor (where my parents like to eat), an awesome tiered patio outside, and an elegant (and fairly secretive) cocktail bar on the top floor - see below.
The Stubborn Goat. A gastropub with tons of appetizers and an extensive list of beers. Just make sure you take note of the size and price of your beer before you order! Some are huge (and expensive). It's a great place for sharing food, as dishes will come out when they're ready, rather than all at once.
Mother's Pizza. Although not downtown (it's in the north end), this relatively new pizza place is already well-loved. Plus, they have their own special Garrison brew on tap!
Ace Burger. Best burgers in the city. No contest. My favourite is the Deluxe. Ace is a burger place that's opened up inside two different dive bars - Gus' Pub in the north end and Bearly's downtown. They may not look like much but if you're a burger fan, don't let the atmosphere dissuade you. There's nowhere better.
Stayner's Wharf. I wondered whether to include this one or not... It's not somewhere most people seem to think of (even though it's got a prime location on the waterfront) but it's got a huuuuge patio and amazing reviews. I took some visiting friends here a few years ago because they had a last-minute craving for seafood and this was the only place we could still get a reso. EVERYONE was in love with their food - even those who didn't get seafood. Worth checking out.
|The Old Triangle|
Of course, you have to check out one of our infamous pubs. Or more than one. Or all. A few favourites include The Old Triangle (maritime music galore), The Split Crow (first murder charge in Halifax happened here... in the 1700s), The Lower Deck (great patio), Durty Nelly's (popular with pretty much every demographic), and The Alehouse (open late & lots of fun). Also, we apparently have a formula for pub names.
|The Foggy Goggle|
If you're vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free - check out EnVie, The Wooden Monkey, or The Foggy Goggle. Although most local restaurants offer a lot of gluten-free/veg options!
Indochine. This is my favourite lunch spot in the city. Asian fusion, specializing in Vietnamese Banh Mi - although their Korean tacos are also insanely delicious. And well, so is everything else. My absolute favourite is the shrimp Banh Mi. It's a challenge not to get it everyday!
Habaneros Modern Taco Bar. Mexican food is hard to beat and Habaneros doesn't disappoint. Do yourself a favour and make sure you get the taco duo - that's a soft & hard shell taco in one. The pulled pork ones are my favourite.
Suzuki Sushi. Technically, you'll need to call ahead if you want to pick it up quickly for lunch - but this is our favourite sushi spot. It's right downtown, kinda hard to find (you have to wander down a little alley), but always delicious.
Pete's. I mentioned Pete's last week but it's worth repeating. It's a gourmet grocery store right downtown with a great lunch bar. You can get salad on-demand, a fresh sandwich, hearty soup (my go-to) and much more. They also have an awesome smoothie/juice bar - the tart cherry smoothie is my fave.
Seaport Market. I also mentioned the Market last week, but if you're looking for lunch on a weekend, there are TONS of options here. I'm partial to the chinese food from Cheelin (their Saturday noodles are insane) but there's something here for everyone.
Ciboulette. This one is entirely from the boyfriend - I haven't been, although I keep meaning to. It's a little sandwich shop on Barrington Street, owned by Chives (mentioned above) - so it must be good.
Every summer a few more food trucks enter the scene and I couldn't be happier. You'll find them in and around downtown - often in front of the public library on Spring Garden Road or just outside Parade Square on Argyle Street. Their twitter profiles will update with their location each day. A few favourites are The Food Wolf (Get the K-Dog; not kidding), Halifax Press (Gourmet grilled cheese... yes, please), Bud the Spud (Classic french fries and a Halifax staple), Nomad Gourmet (Chicken & Waffles.), Tin Pan Alley (Specializing in frites with a whole array of toppings), and Cheese Gypsy (Which I've yet to try but have heard good things... and with a name like that, how could you go wrong?).
Henry House, The Lower Deck, Your Father's Moustache. And basically anywhere on Argyle Street. Argyle Street is the "entertainment district" and has tons of restaurants. If you're looking for a patio to enjoy on a hot afternoon - this is one of the best places in the city to be, by far.
|Two If By Sea|
Lion & Bright, Two If By Sea (go to the one in Dartmouth if you have time - you can take the ferry over and wander just a few blocks up), The Smiling Goat, Le French Fix, and Uncommon Grounds.
|The Stubborn Goat|
Stillwell Beer Bar. A fave. All local (or local-ish) beers. 12 on tap. Every time a keg empties, the beer changes. Tons of fun and a very cool atmosphere. Tables are family style so you might even make some new friends. If you're hungry, try the diner burger or tokyo fries. And if you need a break from socializing, sneak down to the basement for a game of pinball.
The Stubborn Goat. Mentioned above but worth repeating when it comes to beer. They have an entire legal-size menu of beer options - as well as a bevy of wine selections. There's something for everyone.
Lion & Bright. Also mentioned above, and one of the boyfriend's (and my) favourite places in the city. You'd be equally at home with your laptop and a latte at 9am, your laptop and a beer at 4pm, or a group of friends and a collection of drinks at 9pm.
The bars above are awesome for their extensive selection of local craft beer, but being the beer-loving city we are - pretty much any pub will have something awesome on tap. It's hard to go wrong.
Obladee is a favourite and super adorable inside. Ask your server what you should try - or go for a flight and try a bunch! The Bicycle Thief and The Stubborn Goat, mentioned above, are also pretty awesome in terms of their wine selection.
|The Drawing Room|
The Drawing Room. The top floor of the Henry House. If you didn't know it was there, you wouldn't know it was there. By far, my favourite place in this city. I almost didn't want to include it for fear of it becoming more well-known. Perfect for a date or a special occasion. My favourite - if they have it - is Sun Through The Leaves Of The Poplar Trees. SO good but sometimes elusive. The boyfriend (and pretty much every other person I know) loves the Cat's Pyjamas.
Onyx. Recently moved to Argyle Street and home of an awesome and cozy (if REALLY dark) lounge. Their cocktail list is both impressive and delicious. We're headed here as part of a Bachelorette party this coming weekend and it's sure to impress.
The Bicycle Thief. They have an outdoor champagne bar in the summer. Just saying.
Field Guide. An adorable and TINY little spot in the North End with fantastic hand-crafted cocktails. If there's space - you should stop in.
The Middle Spoon. A dessert place right downtown, formerly home to winner of the best bartender in Canada. He's definitely left his mark on the drink list.
|Macarons from Le French Fix|
Layers. Best cupcakes ever. No arguing.
The Middle Spoon. Peanut. Butter. Pie.
Le French Fix. Do yourself a favour and have a macaron. Or seven.
Freak Lunchbox. If you're on the go and need a snack for the road, stock up any of the hundreds of different candies - some you haven't seen since childhood!
Sugah. Hand-paddled ice cream. Chocolate bars with unusual ingredients. Sugar coma.
Cows Ice Cream. A Maritime staple - PEI, specifically, but we can still enjoy it in NS ;)
Really, there's only one place worth mentioning... and I won't show a picture of it because these things don't need to see the light of day.
Pizza Corner. Halifax's most famous post-bar venue. It's really more of a line now, but it's a tiny block where you can grab pizza, street meat (a.k.a. shish kabobs), poutine, burrito, DONAIR (Donair is a Halifax delicacy. Other cities may say they have donair - but it's not a Halifax donair. Think shaved meat on a pita with onions, tomatoes, and an icing sugar-like sauce. Sounds disgusting, I KNOW - but I swear, you guys: IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.), and I guess if for some reason you don't get a donair (WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!), you could get a schwarma. Weirdo. (Funny story: A photographer for The Globe & Mail took a photo of 20-year-old me and two of my friends devouring post-bar pizza at the now-defunct King of Donair at Pizza Corner at 3am. That photo later went on to be a full page colour image in the country's most respected newspaper... which we only found out when my friend's mom mailed us a copy. #AllClass)
I know that I didn't get everything in here, but these are some of our favourites. If you have somewhere else you think people should try - feel free to share it in the comments!
Click here for Part One of A Local's Guide to Nova Scotia (Things to Do & Places to Go).