8 Favo(u)rite Places to Eat in Halifax

As I’ve mentioned before, Halifax is indeed one of my favorite cities in all of North America.  I don’t know if it’s the idyllic weather, the excellent waterfront, or the fact that despite continuously growing it still retains a small-town walkability, but I always love going there.  And one of the thing that keeps me going back is the food—of which Halifax has plenty.  The scene there is always growing, and it will keep you satisfied from early morning to, well, early morning, if you want to stay up that late. So whatever time of day you’re out and get a craving for some food, here is a list of my favorite places to give in to that craving.

Stillwell

I’ve mentioned Stillwell before in our beer roundup, but—surprise!—it also has great food.  You should start, without question, with the Okonomiyaki fries: a pile of fries with kewpie mayo, okonomiyaki sauce, sriracha, nori, katsuobushi, and sesame seeds.  The southern-fried chicken sandwich and General Tso’s squash, if on the menu, are also worth trying out.  As is anything they list, because I’ve never had a bad dish there. 1672 Barrington Street

Studio East

I’m a sucker for Asian-inspired anything, and Studio East is no different.  The quirky space has some great good and a solid drinks list, which makes it the perfect spot for a nice dinner out.  Start with the fried cauliflower and brussels sprouts topped with parmesan, and then move on to the Ultimate Pork Ramen Bowl. The bowl includes braised pork belly, char siu BBQ pork, crisp pork cheeks, marinated egg, cabbage, sprouts, cilantro, and Chinese fried donut swimming in house broth.  It could have used about twice as much broth as it came with, but it was still worth buying. 6021 Cunard Street

EDNA

Breakfast steak sandwich

EDNA is a top spot for brunch and should not be missed on a sunny weekend morning.  They have a nice mix of standards and more inventive items, whether you’re talking about their cocktails or their food.  We tried one of their specials—a steak sandwich with breakfast potatoes, but also peeped their hummus and eggs, Scotch egg, and breakfast burger, which looks incredibly good despite Canada’s ridiculous laws about cooking burgers.  While we only stopped in for brunch, on the strength of that meal I would go back for dinner without question. 2053 Gottingen Street

Stubborn Goat

Chicken & waffle tacos

Stubborn Goat is another great brunch spot, and in the heart of downtown.  What would make it an even better brunch spot would be if their chicken and waffles had a full-time spot on the menu; the waffles were thing and served as taco shells for the chicken, corn salsa, bacon, and chipotle cream.  One of my favorite dishes put into taco form? Why would you serve anything else?  But they do serve other food—and quite a bit of it.  This spot should not be missed as a hangover cure, or hangover jumpstarter. 1579 Grafton Street

Pizza Corner

No food rundown of Halifax would be complete without a mention of the junction of Blowers and Grafton, known as the infamous Pizza Corner.  Often crowded in the wee hours of the morning on weekends, the spot is home to—you guessed it—some cheap pizza, as well as other great drunk food like donairs at Johnny K’s and the best newfie fries in Halifax at Willy’s.  Regardless of what else I do while I’m in Halifax, Willy’s is a must-stop for me: their poutine portions are robust and their gravy is perfect.  Add on some turkey stuffing and you’ve got the perfect late-night (or early morning, or any time) snack.  Supplement it with a donair (and, of course, donair sauce) across the street. Blowers and Grafton Streets

Bicycle Thief

Bicycle Thief is your stop for a nicer meal, as well as a meal closer to the beautiful waterfront. It will probably require a bit more forethought than the other spots on the list and you should get a reservation, but a nice night out in Halifax should include this restaurant. They’ve got quite an extensive menu, full of everything you would hope for from your general Italian playbook.  Their fall-of-the-bone short rib was a standout, as were the tuna tartare, mussels, and varieties of seafood pasta. 1475 Lower Water Street

2 Doors Down

Smokehouse burger

With 2 Doors Down and, right across the hall, 2 Door Down Bar + Bites, you can’t go wrong stopping in either one, since one or the other has the propensity to be crowded on a weekend night. Their starters and small plates are tops (I couldn’t resist their chili cheese fries, and the haddock tacos are knock-outs), and even their burgers are good—especially the smokehouse with gouda, bacon, bbq sauce, onion jam, and chipotle aioli. And if you ask nicely, they may even take the burger off the grill a few second before it becomes completely well done. 1533 Barrington Street

John’s Lunch

Best fish and chips (and gravy) in Halifax

Okay, so John’s Lunch isn’t necessarily in Halifax but across the harbor in Dartmouth. However, it is well worth renting a car or taking whatever transportation is available in order to get there.  I’m a sucker for fish and chips, and this is the best I’ve ever had.  I mean, it’s a lunch counter that’s been specializing in fish and chips for the last 50 years, so they know what they’re doing.  You can get a few other items on the menu, but the fish and chips is where it’s at.  You should also order a side of gravy for the fries, because trust me.  Let’s just say it’s a good thing the gravy comes in a little cup, because you’re going to want to drink every last drop. 352 Pleasant Street, Dartmouth, NS

7 Places to Have a Beer in Halifax

When it comes to Halifax, there are two things I know for sure: it’s one of my favorite cities to visit, and it’s got an excellent beer scene.  It doesn’t hurt that the city is incredibly walkable, so tracking down a variety of beers is as easy here—and often easier—than anywhere else.  Throw in mild summers and a harborfront that has everything you need for a nice day out, and you can’t go wrong with a visit (in the summer, or any time of year). There’s plenty to see and do (and eat), but for now let’s focus on the most important part: the beer.

Propeller

Propeller is the OG craft beer in Halifax, and they’re still going strong. Their pilsner is as good as it gets, their ESB is also tops, and their porter may have been the first Canadian craft beer I ever had.  They have a nice brewery/tasting room close enough to the waterfront to be a pleasant walk, or they make a solid stop on your way to the waterfront.  While they may not be the most impressive brewery on Halifax, they’ve been in the game for over 20 years now and are worth a stop. 2015 Gottingen Street

Good Robot

In addition to a comfortable tasting room with solid beer, Good Robot has an excellent outdoor area that hosts various events and concerts.  If you don’t want to spend all of your time downtown on the water, this is a great option to get back in the neighborhoods of Halifax and hang out at a fun brewery, drink some beers, and maybe see a show or a free movie. 2736 Robie Street

2 Crows

With a bright, modern space, and plenty of outdoor seating near downtown, you can’t go wrong at 2 Crows.  The beers tend towards IPA but are varied enough that your palette won’t be overloaded by hops.  The tasting pours are generous, as well, so you’ll be able to spend plenty of time getting acquainted with the offerings on tap.  These guys can also easily be found around town either on tap or in cans, but it’s always better right from the source. 1932 Brunswick Street

Stillwell

Hands down the best beer bar in Halifax—Stillwell knows what it’s doing.  Their taplist always features local breweries, and sometimes even some of their own beer.  If you don’t want to run all over the city but want to experience a cross-section of the best beer Halifax has to offer, this should be your main stop.  They also have a fantastic bottle list which includes a lot of hard-to-find beer that you probably won’t be able to get anywhere else in the city.  Be sure to be hungry when you go, because the food here is excellent as well. 1672 Barrington Street

Unfiltered

While Unfiltered is probably the least-accessible from downtown on this list, it’s probably also the best brewery in Halifax.  The name should be an indication of the kinds of beers they serve—they love hop-bomb IPAs—but is also a nod to the brewery’s general attitude, as evidenced by their website URL (unfuckingfiltered.com).  Don’t expect much grandeur from their stripmall location, but expect to drink a lot of excellent beer.  6041 North Street

Garrison

(You probably won’t run into all these awesome dogs while you’re there)

As a general rule of visiting Canada, I wouldn’t usually recommend drinking Garrison, but their seaport location is big and open and wonderful on a nice summer’s day, and the selection is varied enough to keep everyone happy.  I didn’t have any complains with the beer while we were there, which were all tasty and affordable.  A great spot to meet friends or spend a lazy afternoon having some drinks.  And plenty of bottles and cans to go, if you so choose.  1149 Marginal Road

Alexander Keith’s

Until recently, Keith’s (pronounced by the locals as “Keit’s”) has been a one-beer go-to for maritimers: their IPA (which can barely be classified as such) is the only beer that would come to mind if you said “I’ll have a Keit’s.” Now, however, they’ve started to dip their toes in the craft beer market with some impressive offerings.  The brewery, conveniently located in the middle of downtown, is a must to tour, and you might as well grab the original IPA despite the ominous tagline of “those who like it, like it a lot.” 1496 Lower Water Street

Bonus: Stubborn Goat Beer Garden

You’re not going to find any crazy original beers here, but being right on the water makes this place worth visiting if you’re in town during the warmer months.  Grab a beer, sit in the shade, and enjoy the people watching and the breeze off the harbor.  They have some lighter fare to snack on and are close to plenty of other spots to grab food if you want to make a day of it. 1599 Lower Water Street

Bonus 2: Bishop’s Cellar

Need to take some beer home with you? Bishop’s Cellar is the spot.  Located—you guessed it—right by the water, you’ll be able to find all the local beer you can handle in bottles and cans.  If you have the means to take beer with you when you leave Halifax, this is the place to get it. 1477 Lower Water Street

If you drink too much, there’s plenty of green space by the waterfront…