I recently returned from exploring Halifax, Nova Scotia, and I could not be more appreciative of the opportunity the Muir Hotel downtown Nova Scotia presented to me. One cannot get much farther East in Canada. I accepted the idea of a journey from Palm Springs, California, without the slightest bit of hesitation. I never thought about putting this charming city on my Bucket List, but now I cannot help but be more grateful for the opportunity.
Nova Scotia is one of the ten provinces in Canada and is almost surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. With fabulous views everywhere you travel in this city, one starts to see why this now relatively quiet town will soon become a popular visitor’s destination. The cruise ships already have a designated stop here for their East Coast fall foliage cruises.
I made the journey with the expectation I would be eating lots of fresh seafood in most of the restaurants in Halifax. However, I was not prepared for the diversity of the cuisine.
The area comprises various ethnic groups: Canadians, of course, Scottish, English, Irish, and French descent. Thus, I chose to try their traditional foods. If you like oysters on the half-shell, you will be in heaven here.
Since I was staying at the Marriott Bonvoy Muir Autograph Collection in the heart of downtown, most of my exploration of the restaurants was mere steps away in the Queen’s Marque.
The Queen’s Marque is a new district built as a gathering place for locals and visitors to gather, connect, and dine with ocean views. Outstanding art installations dot the perimeter of an expansive open space serving as a venue for music, plays, and festivals.
The 5 Best Restaurants in Halifax
102-1709 Lower Water Street // +19024076042
It is located on the lower level of the Muir Hotel and adjacent to the hotel’s lobby. The welcoming fireplace on a chilly night helps set the stage; this restaurant believes in making its guests comfortable.
The large art installation over the seating area surrounding the fireplace demands attention– not only for the large glass globes but also for an imaginative lighting system that urges anyone nearby to take a photo.
Since Drift is also known for its craft cocktails, I ordered the Boom at Noon. This is a drink much like an Old Fashioned but made with gin. It is named after the historic Citadel’s cannon that famously goes off at noon daily.
I smile when thinking of Drift, for this was my first experience with traditional Nova Scotian food. When asked what food is only found in Nova Scotia, I was told it would be Hodge Podge. A stew with root vegetables helped sustain immigrants through the cold Canadian winter.
Of course, I had to try it. However, Chef Walsh had his version since his signature style is to take classic regional dishes and give them a modern flair.
My stew was served in a bowl with scallops, shrimp, clams, and haddock. A Foodie will be more than satisfied, for the chef showcased the sea’s bounty perfectly.
104-1709 Lower Water Street // +19023341010
When walking into the restaurant, I didn’t know where to look; art surrounded me. Rafael Siveria was commissioned to help design this Latin-inspired restaurant.
A Brazilian, award-winning artist, Rafael’s art combines pop art with surrealism. Thus, the results showcase a décor that is bright with color and a conversational piece.
Even if you are not dining on the outdoor patio, seeing the Rainbow Mountain mural adorning the patio’s wall is worth seeing.
At Bar Sofia, you will want to order small plates to share. I have to say, my favorite was the Beef Birria Tacos. They were filled with perfectly braised beef, cabbage, pico de gallo, salsa verde, and queso fresco.
I ate the tacos with a cold beer, but Bar Sofia has many craft cocktails, including their version of an Argentinian margarita. This is the perfect place to meet friends after work or a long day of sightseeing.
107-1741 Lower Water Street // +19023345999
During a sail on the beautiful harbor, I mentioned I was hungry and wondered where a good place for lunch would be. Without hesitation, a crew member suggested I head to Salt + Ash, because it was one of the restaurants in Halifax with the best seafood. She said she goes there every chance she gets.
Literally on the water’s edge, I opened the door and walked into a very light and open space. Off to the left was the bar;
I could see the chef cooking on a live fire oven behind it. Friendly staff guided us to a window seat where one had an unobstructed view of the harbor.
There was a wide selection of seafood, including lobster salad and fish and chips. However, I opted for the Lobster with Biscuits. Oh my, so good.
You will want to share, for it is very rich, but you will want to order this unusual, hearty dish. Warning: don’t fill up on the jalapeno cornbread, even though you will be tempted.
1709 Lower Water Street #110 // +19023344874
The waterfront was alive with lights as we arrived at Queen’s Marque’s Darya. Located on the water’s edge and the end of the U surrounding this fabulous development of the Armour Group Limited, I marveled at the scenic beauty of the star-filled sky and harbor lights.
Known for its craft cocktails, I ordered a Cardamon Espresso Martini made with Johnnie Walker Black, Fisherman’s Helper white rum, Haseeb coffee system, espresso, and pistachio Halawa. Seriously, one of the most outstanding espresso martinis I have ever had.
I ordered chicken breast kebabs with shawarma spice, garlic basmati, house pickles, toum, and harissa. My selection made for more than a satisfying meal in this comfortable and classy setting.
11143 Evangeline Trail, Wolfville // 1+902-542-7774
A lovely 45-minute drive from downtown Halifax, the Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyard appeared on the horizon. Sitting in the middle of the vineyard was a grey barn-like building.
Entering the door, one could not help but be surprised, for you walked right into a restaurant, with tables set waiting for the noon-time crowd journeying from the city.
Off to the left, a large tasting room was ready to reveal the wines, bottled in small batches, waiting for visitors to sip and enjoy the view over the vineyard.
If you want an exceptional souvenir, you might want to purchase a 100% wool blanket with fibers woven from their sheep from their retail area.
Since there was a group of us, we were delighted when the charcuterie plate arrived, filled with local products, cured meats, pork rillette, local cheeses, Tidal Bay mustard, house-made preserved pickles, and crostini.
Note the order of fresh oysters on the half-shell in the background and the wine that accompanied our meal. Our pizza from the wood-fired oven had a delightful hint of smokey taste, leaving one eating much more than usual.
Could you resist a pizza made of garlic butter, softshell clams, chili flakes, Ciro’s mozzarella, chives, garlic aioli & lemon?
While I had the opportunity to experience a few restaurants in Halifax, Nova Scotia, I hardly scratched the surface.
When I walked to the Public Gardens, I passed many restaurants with inviting signs and posted menus calling out to me.
Restaurants in Halifax: Wrap Up
The Nova Scotians take great pride in showing off their Province and the seafood and local produce bounty.
When you go, be sure to take a hearty appetite and be prepared to be surprised and delighted about what you discover.
Visiting other destinations in Canada? Check out our other guides:
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- 10 Best Mont Tremblant Restaurants
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- Canadian Food Guide: The 16 Best Examples of Canadian Cuisine
- 15 Must-Try Vancouver Restaurants
Journalist and travel writer with immense curiosity that has taken her to 29 countries, 16 islands, and 49 states (Alaska on the bucket list). She is the author of two books: Face-to-Face Networking: It’s All About Communication and It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask: It’s All About Communication, which was named Best Book Finalist by USA Book News.
Her motto: Let me help tell your destination’s story to the people throughout the world.