The number one question I ask when visiting somewhere new is where to find the tastiest food and drink. Where to eat and drink in Halifax quickly became this trip’s quest once I learned of Halifax’s burgeoning foodie scene.
Whether you’re an enthusiastic eater like myself, or simply a hungry hungry human, these are some (but definitely not all) of the food and drink spots in Halifax to check off of your To Do list!
HEADS UP: The 1st link for each restaurant is to their website, and most of the 2nd links are to social media accounts.
BREAKFAST & BRUNCH
Are you one of those people who can’t eat anything before they have breakfast or breakfast-y foods? I most definitely am not. To be honest, I could probably skip breakfast and not lose sleep over it. Actually, I’d take sleep over breakfast any day! I will also eat (almost) anything to start my day, with cold pizza an enduring favourite even though university days over (for now).
Surprisingly, one of the best foodie spots this past trip was a place where we brunched (Side poll: Do you use “brunch” as a verb?). The service was excellent, the decor was minimalist hip (sans pretentiousness), and the food was abso-freaking-lutely fantastic.
Black Sheep Restaurant
Cue, Black Sheep Restaurant. Slightly under the weather from the previous night’s escapades, our group rallied instantly after the first few bites. Food, folks, good food, is magical I tell ya!
I ordered the Cuban AM and savoured every morsel of their house smoked gouda, dill aioli, and braised pork butt. MmmmmmmMmm! The occasion (/the whole weekend) was fun and indulgent so I splurged and paired the Cuban with a refreshing UK-inspired Pimm’s delight. “It’s Always Sunny in Dresden” immediately brightened my day. Did I mention Black Sheep‘s name game is also on point? If you’re wondering where to eat and drink in Halifax (clearly you are, because you’re reading this!), start here.
The team at Auction House may be new to the brunch scene, but they’re already are rocking it. If it hadn’t been 5 million degrees outside (I think it was high 30s and humid as hell when we were there), we probably would have soaked up some sun on their petit patio. Needless to say, we took refuge from the scorching weather inside.
Our server, a genuinely friendly young buck, was on the ball. For $3 a tipple, the whole table enjoyed (a couple of) mimosas and caesars. You can’t get those prices in TO!
Intrigued by the pistachio gremolata and wanting to try challah toast, I ordered the OG Hipster not quite knowing what to expect. I’d tell you how it tasted, but then that’ll ruin the fun for you. (Order it!) Auction House, I’m sold!
Indochine Banh Mi
I. Love. Vietnamese food. Like, I want to move to Vietnam because the food is so freaking incredible. Unfortunately, I have no immediate plans to migrate to this magical strong country, so I scout out Vietnamese food everywhere I go. Sometimes places are a hit, sometimes they fall short. Every time I grin with that first bite as it reminds me of the 3-week adventure I had in buzzing Vietnam.
When I got to Halifax and was scoping out where to fill my (insatiable) hunger for the week, I came across Indochine Banh Mi. While it pangs me to pay $15 for a banh mi (in Vietnam they’re only a few dollars and they taste like a million), there were a couple of options that peaked my interest. Indochine Banh Mi is an Asian-fusion inspired joint with hints of Indonesian and Korean fare that had me wanting to order one of everything.
Making up my mind is an arduous task that I avoid fairly often when it comes to food. For this reason, buffets, smorgashbords, and a hungry partner willing to share are the solutions to all dining experiences. Unable to narrow the playing field to a solitary sandwich, and full-well knowing I did not have the stomach to eat more than one, I ordered two. This is also why saving money on food while travelling is rarely my game plan, and another reason I love to travel with other people (sharing is caring, after all).
Lemongrass chicken and Rendang pork banh mis in hand, I walked through nearby Victoria Park and found a bench to complete the dining experience. The banh mi didn’t quite match what I was looking for, yet they hit the spot. In fact, I enjoyed half of each for breakfast the next morning and they were decent cold! I would still suggest checking them out for a relatively well-priced, healthy lunch or dinner option. Their coconut curry sounds tasty too.
The Daily Grind Cafe and Arts Bar
Though it was only a quick pick-me-up pitstop at The Daily Grind, I want to go back. First off, they have a really cute patio, twinkling lights and all. Second, upon doing a bit more research, I learned that it is an artisan café that features locals’ creations. Third, they serve huge portions of ice cream at their Sugar Fix location that I missed out on. Not. Acceptable.
What do you think? Is it worth flying back to Halifax to try The Daily Grind’s ice cream?
The Wooden Monkey
This is a spot I didn’t eat at. However, several friends recommended the farm-to-table restaurant, and one family friend was over the moon about The Wooden Monkey. On their recommendation, try it out, and let me know what you think below!
The Old Apothecary
“Don’t judge a book by its cover” typically refers to something mediocre or sub-part on the outside, with a pleasant surprise on the inside. The aphorism does no justice for The Old Apothecary, which is actually quite cheery and bright at first glance. Upon entering the coffee shop/bakery, you’re greeted by a friendly barista, lively muraled walls, green chaise lounges, and hot pink tables. Then you bite into their baked treats, fireworks burst in your mouth, and you think you’ve died and gone to heaven. I’m not kidding.
The travelling mother-daughter duo that envisioned and established The Old Apothecary, have created something special. I don’t think I can ever erase the joy of savouring their S’mores bar. Think I’m exaggerating? Try it, I dare you.
I’m genuinely gutted that I did not make it back to The Old Apothecary to stock up on a box of goodies to bring home. (Almost missing my flight, I made the wise and practical, though boring and distasteful, decision not to stop and secure an overflowing box of baked nirvana.) In the words of Arnold, “I’ll be back”!
From what I have gathered, Bicycle Thief is one of those unmissable restaurants when savouring Halifax’s food(ie) scene. Located on the beautiful Halifax harbour, they clearly understand the “location, location, location” mantra. A sizable wrap-around patio provides perfect people-watching opportunities while breathing in the Atlantic air, with bright red umbrellas sheltering patrons from the sun.
We went for dinner, and thus experienced the dim, cozy atmosphere of the interior dining area. The speed of service had room for improvement (it took an extremely long time for food to arrive and we had to ask for it a few times). However, the manager graciously covered everyone’s drinks to ease the hunger pains, which was appreciated.
I ordered the Red Ravioli with Ricotta, mascarpone, spinach & herb filling, fresh thyme & sweet butter cream sauce, and Parmigiano. Yeah, you heard that right. It was quite delicious. Once the food arrived, a chorus of “mmmm!” echoed around the table as we reveled in our feast. We chalked up the slow service to what was probably a one-time mistake and agreed we would return again for Bicycle Thief‘s mouthwatering dishes.
Julep Kitchen and Cocktails
Just a wee’un in the food scene (established in 2019), Julep is a stylish modern date night / drinks spot / small group gathering place with fantastic food. Wishing now that I had visited with a larger appetite, I’m plotting to return with a large group so I can eat a bit of everyone else’s order!
For dinner, I ordered Julep’s Handmade Tourtière Ravioli with browned butter, sage, and pecans. Are you salivating yet? The ravioli were large and filling enough that the small number of them was not disappointing (I also made sure to ask about this in advance. As a ravioli lover, I typically avoid them in restaurants as they’re often served in portions sufficient to feed a toddler.).
The Lower Deck
The Lower Deck is a fantastic venue – especially for warm summer nights. There were so many features of this multi-floor historical music venue that seriously rocked.
Outside, nestled between another historical building and covered by twinkling lights, is a large patio for dancing and sitting, and a small stage.
I live for live music. Outdoor concerts and music festivals honestly whip my heart and gut into a frenzy in ways that a kid at Christmas can’t rival. It’s been too long since I’ve attended an outdoor music festival in summer, so I was thrilled to see the stage and join the enthusiastic crowd.
Inside there are many floors to suit your fancy – delicious food, casual pints, or carefree sweaty dancing. After the band outside finished their set, we headed upstairs for some boogy tunes. The DJ was fantastic and played a solid range of oldies (well, what the kids today call oldies – to me they’re the goodies!) and current tunes, which entertained the crowd until the lights came up. In addition to the great music, I am crazy about their low wooden beam ceilings, which, as a 6 foot female, I needed to duck under. The cozy dimensions and historic framework made for brilliant atmosphere.
With a track record of fantastic music (Great Big Sea and Signal Hill are among bands to have played here in their earl days), a range of dining and drinking options to enjoy day or night, and historic vibes to immerse yourself in, The Lower Deck is a must visit in Halifax.
The Pint Public House
For maximum sun soaking while imbibing and snacking, check out The Pint Public House’s rooftop patio. They’ve got huge comfy couches and space for larger groups to sit together. Their wings and stuffed canoes (potato skins) were a hit with us.
LATE NIGHT EATS
Let it be known that there is a location in Halifax dubbed Pizza Corner (<– link to a fantastic ode to the corner from 2014). Ummm, YES PLEASE! Sicilian Pizza can be found on this legendary corner, and boy, what a gem it was. The slices here were bigger than my head, the dipping sauce wasn’t in plastic containers (yes, I am trying to go plastic free and yes I feel conflicted and weak when I want dipping sauce and it’s in a plastic container), and the price was just right.
According to the article linked to above for Pizza Corner, this treasure trove is a rite of passage for Haligonians and resident university stomachs alike. Pizza Corner has even seen its fair share of controversy (and not because of post-bar shenanigans).
If When I return to Halifax, though I am neither a local nor a university student, I will most definitely be enjoying a gigantic slice at Sicilian Pizza.
Where to Eat and Drink in Halifax
If you’re salivating as much as I am after writing this article and you’re curious to know what else Halifax’s foodie scene has to offer, here are some more articles, local food tours, and ideas to wet your whistle until you arrive.
Halifax Food and Drink Tours
- Halifax Foodie Adventure
- Local Tasting Tours, recommended by the Globe and Mail
- Halifax Food (and Beer) Tours
Halifax Food and Drink Festivals
- To Do Canada’s Food, Beer, and Wine Festivals in Nova Scotia
- Discover Halifax’s Official List of 2019 Food and Drink Festivals in Halifax
- NovaScotia.com also has a Food and Drink Festival list
- Savour Food and Wine Festival
- This looks amazing! Devour Film Food Festival
- This list is 2 years old (written in 2017) but festivals are usually an annual event, so check out Narcity’s 12 Amazing Festivals
Halifax Foodie Scene Information
- Halifax has a rocking farmers’ market too!
- The Coast’s Best of Halifax 2018 List for all things food and drink
(To entice those tastebuds a wee bit more, head on over to the Travel with TMc Instagram page for some taste tickler photos!)