52 Pick-up: how to get a taste of Halifax | Education | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

52 Pick-up: how to get a taste of Halifax

For your crash course on eating and drinking in Halifax, we’ve rounded up 52 amazing things to taste in town—from the farmers’ markets to the cocktails, baked goods to cheap burgers, we’ve found a flavour for every week of the year.

1. Fresh tofu at Chen Popa
Seaport Farmers’ Market, 1209 Marginal Road
Tofu comes in all sorts of varieties. But the freshly made—and inexpensive—stuff from the Taiwanese stall formerly named Biscuit Lips at the Seaport Market is in a class unto itself. It tastes of fresh soybeans, perfect for gentle sautés, simmered in soups and much more. —ST

2. Canelé at Le French Fix Pâtisserie
5233 Prince Street
If there is an underappreciated pastry in this city, it is the canelé. Small and fluted, like a mini-bundt cake, but filled with a luscious custardy centre, there are few places to find this french beauty. But Le French Fix has it down pat with crusty exterior and soft tender interior. To you, we say merci. —ST

3. Chocolate milk at Fox Hill
Seaport Farmers’ Market, 1209 Marginal Road
Here’s a challenge: go to Fox Hill’s counter at the market. Buy an icy cold, glass bottle of chocolate milk. Try not to crack it open while you’re still paying for it. You failed? OK, how about this one...try not to drink the entire litre in one day. Failed again? Us too. —AS

4. Lamb kofte at Turkish Delight
5680 Spring Garden Road
You’ll find kofte in most Middle Eastern eateries in this city, but there is something special in the ones served at Turkish Delight. Succulent, but not fatty. Flavoursome with spices, but balanced so that you can still taste the beautiful lamb. Arguably the best in Halifax. —ST

52 Pick-up: how to get a taste of Halifax
Melissa Buote
5. Prosciutto provolone croissaint at Two If By Sea
66 Ochterloney Street
It’s a scientific fact that we are hard-wired to seek out salt and fat. Knowing this, engineers at food production companies have worked to seek out how to make things taste better through chemistry and calculations using these two items. If only they knew that the gang at Two If By Sea have this figured out, in spades. The prosciutto provolone croissant delivers an addictive hit of these two flavour behemoths, with buttery croissant dough wrapped around savoury ham and cheese, which delivers lovely fatty goodness to the already rich dough. Forget plain or chocolate croissants. This is crack, in pastry form. —ST

6. Omakase at Sushi Shige
1532 Granville Street
To order omakase is to entrust your chef to not just make your meal, but your decisions. They will be the one who chooses what is best, and what you must try that day. At Sushi Shige, this is a smart thing to do as chef Shigeru Fukuyama will deliver bite after bite of beautiful sushi, sashimi and more. —ST

7. Trini Doubles at Doubles Plus
Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market, 2 Ochterloney Street
In a sea of sandwich options, the Trini Double really stands out. Doubles Plus offers these chana and chickpea masterpieces up with a sweet, tart tamarind sauce and Trinidadian hot sauce that, used to excess, will knock the taste off your buds. —MB

8. Classic burrito at Dee Dee’s Ice Cream
5668 Cornwallis Street
A burrito can be one of two things: a boring, sodium-laden lump in the pit of your stomach, or a fresh, belly-filling meal that leaves you feeling like you ate something good for you. The classic veggie burrito (which is also vegan) at Dee Dee’s Ice Cream falls in the latter category, and we couldn’t be happier (or healthier) because of it. —ST

9. Msa’a at Mid East Food Centre
2595 Agricola Street
Served throughout the Middle East, msa’a consists of eggplant, tomatoes, chick peas and savoury spices. Is it a stew? A dip? A meal unto itself? Best served cold or hot? It doesn’t matter. It is a delicious a dish for eggplant lovers and haters. Try it, love it, buy it again. —ST

10. Clam bellies at John’s Lunch
352 Pleasant Street
Ignore the fries. They’re not bad, but they’re not the reason to go there. You’re there to eat fish, not chips. You’re there to watch the seasoned pros dip their hands very gently into the flour that will coat the clam bellies. They move deftly and with great care, as if they’re worried they’re going to bruise those little gems, and so are as protective as possible before they are blasted in the hot oil below them. Do NOT dip them in ketchup. Tartar sauce is acceptable. Eat your fill of fish and if you’re still hungry—fine—eat your fries. But don’t waste valuable stomach capacity on potatoes. —ST

52 Pick-up: how to get a taste of Halifax
Melissa Buote
11. Fish burger at Evan’s Seafood
Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market, 2 Ochterloney Street
Listen, dummy: you’re in Nova Scotia. You need to figure out your fish, so let’s start with the burger. If you’re living in Dartmouth, good start. If you’re living in Halifax, get on the ferry! You’re going to find what you never knew you were looking for at Evan’s Seafood in Alderney Landing. Flaky, fresh haddock, a crisp coating that has the right hint of salt, creamy, tangy tartar sauce, a snappy lettuce leaf and a juicy slab of tomato—the Evan’s burger is perfect. —MB

12. Pita bread from the Fancy Lebanese Bakery
2573 Agricola Street
Since 1962, the Fancy Lebanese Bakery has been churning out pita after pita, which is pretty amazing when you imagine the lack of culinary diversity jn this town during that time. These pitas are the workhorse of pitas, you’ll find them in restaurants and grocery stores across town and likely end up eating them at every possible occasion. —ST

13. Black Point Oysters at The Shack
Queen’s Landing, Halifax waterfront
The plump Black Point is a delicately sweet oyster, with a lusty, briny finish. Sidle up to The Shack on the Halifax waterfront and get yourself a few of these meaty treats and slurp them down in the sunshine. It’s the perfect end-of-summer treat. —MB

14. Spruce Beer at Garrison Brewing Company
1149 Marginal Road
Like a lot of craft brewers in this town, Garrison’s offerings rotate throughout the year, and one of its best is the spruce beer. Not only is it tasty, it’s also an historical offering—it’s one of the oldest styles of beer brewed in Atlantic Canada. —ST

15. Classic martini at Roy’s Lounge
Westin Hotel, 1181 Hollis Street
Roy Clorey knows a good martini. He started working at the Westin in 1963, and the hotel cleverly named the bar after him as a sort of 50-year anniversary present. Get a stiff, perfect two ounces shaken, not stirred, by a true master at Roy’s Lounge. —MB

16. Saucisson Sec at Ratinaud French Cuisine
2082 Gottingen Street
It sounds tough to pick a favourite cured meat at Ratinaud, but its delectable saucisson sec makes it easy. This chewy dry-cured sausage is garlicky, peppery and freckled with fat. Get a crusty loaf of bread and some robust cheese, or don’t. This is a standalone sausage if ever there was one. —MB

17. Spring Roll Vermicelli Bowl at Just Spring Roll
Park Lane Mall, 5657 Spring Garden Road
One of the true gems of Halifax’s underground maze of food courts, Just Spring Roll is a legend, not just for the great Vietnamese food, but because of the thoroughly delightful ladies that work there. Forget the pad Thai and the lemongrass, though, and follow their suggestion for dinner: vermicelli with just spring rolls. —MB

18. Seoul Chicken at Korea Garden Express
Scotia Square Mall, 5201 Duke Street
Korea Garden might as well change its name to Seoul Chicken, that’s how legendary this dish is. There’s a smoky, rich, piquant flavour that has just the right bit of funky sweetness to it. Don’t even get me started on the boiled potatoes and homemade kimchi. —MB

19. Peanut Butter Balls at Karyn’s Cookies & Treats
Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market, 2 Ochterloney Street
Karyn’s Cookies and Treats are a delight across the board, but let’s be honest: a great peanut butter ball is, perhaps, the most perfect sweet on Earth. Karyn is doing them right. —MB

20. Pork Belly Banh Mi at Indochine Banh Mi
1551 South Park Street and 1701 Barrington Street
The pork belly banh mi, complete with pate, is a winning sandwich. Acidic pickled daikon and carrot cut through the fattiness of the pork and the rich Ratinaud pâté and citrus mayo. Slivers of fiery bird’s eye chiles buried in the sandwich add pops of heat, while the cilantro brings additional brightness. Good stuff. —MB

21. Street meat at Rocky’s Fillipino BBQ
5237 Blowers Street
You could stand in line at Pizza Corner for your ubiquitous slice. But if you’re smart, you’ll notice a line that leads you to two smiling gentlemen, cooking up pork kebabs that taste of smoke from the grill, and sweetness from Rocky’s famous BBQ sauce. —ST

22. Trinidad Sour at Field Guide
2076 Gottingen Street
Giuseppe Gonzalez, a bartender at New York’s Clover Club, should maybe have been working at the Clove Club when he came up with the Trinidad Sour. The drink is dominated by cloves, cinnamon and allspice thanks to the ounce and half of Angostura that make up the base of this cocktail. Lemon juice, nutty orgeat and fragrant rye make up the balance of what is a drink that is sweet, tart, fruity and bitter in perfect measure. Jeff Van Horne introduced me to the drink, and he and Shane Beehan pour them to perfection at Field Guide. —MB

52 Pick-up: how to get a taste of Halifax
Samson Learn
23. Twice Cooked Pork at Jincheng Chinese Cuisine
1569 Dresden Row
Get that pork belly in my belly! If Daft Punk wrote a song about this dish it would sound like this: Steam it. Chill it. Cut it. Wok fry. Chiles. Black bean. Mind blown. —ST

24. K-Dog at The Food Wolf
various locations, @thefoodwolf
It’s easy to dismiss a hotdog slathered in kimchi, bacon and green onions as just a “fusion” dish, but this serious snack is so much more. It’s perfect for breakfast (shut up, it really is), or a late-night snack. Eat it. Now. —ST

25. Dim Sum at Canton Garden and Chinatown
30 Farnham Gate Road and 381 Bedford Highway
We don’t live in a city with dim sum carts, get over it. But we do live in a city that does dim sum and is improving in its standards every year. Case in point: Canton Garden’s shanghai style dumplings, which are fragrant with ginger, or Chinatown’s “special” ribs, which aren’t on the dim sum menu, but are worth every penny. —ST

26. Halifax Cookie Cravings
If you want to make someone feel realllllly special, you send them a package from Diana Manuel. She’ll deliver a sweet-looking (and -tasting) brown paper package of her freshly baked cookies to your door, by bike. It’s as adorable as it is delicious. Whether classic chocolate chip, lemon shortbread and blueberry buttercream, potato chip or s’mores flavoured these cookies are all so amazing you won’t feel a drop of shame when you send a special package directly to yourself. —AS

27. Donairs
It’s a cultural institution, and part of our culinary makeup in Halifax: the donair. Seasoned meat, paired with a sweet sauce. On paper it sounds bizarre—and maybe it is—but dagnabbit, we love our donairs. You can’t say you’ve been to Halifax—or live here—and not had one. —ST

28. Fresh juice at enVie
5775 Charles Street
We get it. Fresh juice is trendy. But it’s nice to be reminded why trends happen, which is what will happen to you when you taste some of the ridiculously fresh and tasty bevies on the menu at enVie. Besides, after all the fried food you’ve been eating from this list, it won’t kill you to have something good for you. —ST

29. Soft Serve at Giggles Ice Cream
2 Ochterloney Street
I’m going to be honest, this isn’t going to be the best ice cream anyone has in their life. But if you’re looking for a sweet summer treat, with Giggles’ 24 flavour mix-ins available to add to a vanilla or chocolate cone, you should really get it served soft. —MB

30. Bulwark Cider at Lion & Bright
2534 Agricola Street
There’s no reason this perfect summer patio drink can’t make the other seasons awesome, too. A thirst-quenching alternative to brewskies, this Nova-Scotia-made craft cider is made from Annapolis Valley apples, but isn’t puckeringly sweet. This dry, fresh, gluten-free drink tastes a lot like more even when the sun isn’t out. —AS

52 Pick-up: how to get a taste of Halifax
Melissa Buote
31. Biscuits at Chives Canadian Bistro
1537 Barrington Street
Chives is going to change the way you look at brown-bagging. At the beginning of your meal, your lovely server will drop a kraft paper bag of buttermilk biscuits on the table in lieu of a bread basket. These buttermilk biscuits, you should know, are nothing short of proof of god’s grace. Fluffy and airy, buttery and salty, these little buddies are the best, especially when you pile on some butter and molasses. Classic Maritime goodness. A friend and I once ordered so many at a meal that we got cut off. True story. —MB

32. Florentines at Scanway Catering, Cake & Pastry Shop
1567 Grafton Street
The Florentine is a difficult cookie to master, and Scanway has done just that. Each little disc is an irresistible crunch of caramel, shaved almonds and chocolate. In their shop they’ve been known to offer broken bits of Florentines. Remember that episode of Jem & the Holograms with Laura Holloway? It’s like that, but with cookies. —MB

33. Meringue Cookies at Gourmandises Avenue
Seaport Farmers’ Market, 1209 Marginal Road
Gourmandises Avenue actually specializes in chocolates, but its perfect meringue clouds are arguably the best cookie in Halifax. Crisp on the outside with a slight chew to the middle, they are melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I’d suggest eating until you’re on cloud 9. —MB

34. Vegan French Toast at EDNA
2053 Gottingen Street
The French Toast at EDNA should basically be on an episode of Mythbusters that tests the validity of a lot of people’s perception of veganism. This is a perfect brunch dish, and with the rich banana and coconut milk batter, the best version of French toast in town. —MB

35. Sweet Potato Breakfast Biscuit at Jane’s Next Door
2053 Gottingen Street
Just as Aaron Sorkin perfected walk-and-talk TV, Jane’s has perfected walk-and-eat breakfast. This dense, savoury biscuit has an egg cooked smack-dab in the centre of it. The sweet biscuit is accented by smoky bits of bacon or bright pops of corn, depending on whether or not you’re a vegetarian. —MB

52 Pick-up: how to get a taste of Halifax
Samson Learn
36. Golden Pocket at 9 + Nine Cuisine
480 Parkland Drive
A soft and round pillowy bread, studded with scallions and covered in sesame seeds, served with a dipping sauce consisting of ground pork, chiles, garlic and oyster sauce. Simple, maybe, but you’ll find yourself ordering it again and again at this Clayton Park eatery. And it’s pretty much the only place you’ll find it. After introducing a friend of mine to the dish, the next day he called me up and said, “Why doesn’t every Chinese restaurant have a golden pocket on their menu?” I don’t know, and I don’t care, as long as Nine + 9 does. —ST

37. Chocolate Caramel Cupcake at The Filling Station O’Regan’s Toyota,
60 Baker Street
You know, when it comes to cupcakes sometimes you just want a scattering of silver dragées. These moist cupcakes are filled with a sweet caramel and topped with a cloud of fine frosting and little silver balls of light. Worth a trip to the car dealership. —MB

38. Cheese Pancakes at Nena’s All-Day Breakfast
273 Wyse Road
Some of the best things in life start as mistakes (Hi, Mom! LOL!), and so it is that these pancakes, which were born from a typo on the menu at Nena’s, have become the best thing on that menu. The fluffy pancakes are accented by a slight crispness to the grilled, melted cheese on the top. Add some syrup and you’ve found that perfect sweet/savoury spot. —MB

39. Pork burgers at Happy Veal Hot Pot
1333 South Park Street
There’s nothing like these pork burgers anywhere else in Halifax. Served up on split flat bread, they are sweet and savoury, slightly spicy. If you like a good pulled pork sandwich, this should be on your To Do list. —MB

40. Cheeseburger at Westcliff Restaurant & Convenience
3089 Oxford Street
There are actually a ton of reasons to plant your butt at the Westcliff’s counter—many of them aren’t even food-related—but let’s focus on the cheeseburger, shall we? The little west end diner has been making perfect burgs since the ’80s, using local meat from Dartmouth’s 2 Boys Smokehouse & Deli and letting the fresh, juicy, homemade patties speak for themselves by not burying them with toppings upon toppings. Because a really great burger doesn’t need more than ketchup, mustard, relish and friend onions (and cheese, if you please). The icing on the beef cake? These simply delicious cheeseburgers are $3.50 a pop—save your change for onion rings. —AS

41. Eau de Vie from Ironworks Distillery
Seaport Farmers’ Market 1209 Marginal Road
This bracingly beautiful distillation of pears is Ironworks’ raison d’être, a quaffable embodiment of hard work and attention to detail. Unlike sweet liqueurs, this water of life will remind you of why you are living—to drink, and appreciate this.  —ST

42. Propeller Bitter from Propeller Brewing Company
2015 Gottingen Street
If I were a hummingbird this would be the bright-red sugar water wooing me to somebody’s window sill. The malty, hoppy, English-style bitter is an international award-winner, a much-loved member of the Propeller family of brews and a veteran on Halifax’s craft beer scene—and to put it simply, it’s the fucking greatest. —AS

43. Blueberry Hand Pies at Boulangerie la Vendéenne
Seaport Farmers’ Market, 1209 Marginal Road
The pie game in Halifax is pretty weak overall, but Boulangerie la Vendéenne is nailing it with its tarts. The blueberry hand pie is especially lovely. The tartly sweet berry filling has a feathery, sugary texture. But the crust—the crust!! A pâte sucrée with a crisp texture and a sweet crumble to it, this crust can’t be beat. —MB

44.Brothers Pepperoni from Brothers Meats & Deli
2665 Agricola Street
It doesn’t matter if you put it on pizza, fry it and serve it with mustard, or are just tearing off pieces with your teeth like a caveperson—this stuff is amazing, and it’s as much a part of Halifax’s gastronomical history as donairs and Keith’s beer. Eat it with pride.  —ST

45. Croissnut at the Maritime Pasty Company
Seaport Farmers’ Market, 1209 Marginal Road
When Leah Jones of the Maritime Pasty Co. realized there was no Canadian equivalent of the absurdly famous Cronut she created her own. And her eloquently named take on the croissant-donut hybrid immediately had market-goers going bananas. Delicately fried two at a time, these melt-in-your-mouth, appear-in-your-dreams, flaky-but-moist, layered-with-custard pastry creations are heavenly. —AS

46. Lebanese Shawarma at Mezza Lebanese Kitchen
1558 Barrington Street
If you haven’t been hypnotized by the spinning spit of marinated chicken breasts at Mezza before, you are a strong-willed individual. For a Lebanese shawarma that local chicken’s carefully carved and wrapped up in a pita with lettuce, pickles, French fries and a garlic sauce you’ll wish you could taste forever (bonus: it’ll linger for a long time). Highly addictive. —AS

47. Curry at Cafe Karachi
16 Titus Street
There are nothing but good vibes and great flavours coming out of Cafe Karachi. Its cozy little Pakistani and Indian restaurant in Fairview serves up different curries daily (the Aloo Gobi AKA cauliflower curry is super), along with rice dishes, naan, desserts and a Lazy Brunch on Sundays— it’s homey, delicious and halal. Lucky for you Dal peeps, Karachi also has a spot in the SUB. —AS

52 Pick-up: how to get a taste of Halifax
Melissa Buote
48. Heartwood Bowl at Heartwood
6250 Quinpool Road
Would you play the lottery if you were guaranteed to win every time? If you answered “well duh” you should probably try the Halifamous Heartwood Bowl, a vegan melange of roasted and toasted veggies and seeds an tofu, on a bed of vermicelli or rice, doused with either spicy peanut, coconut curry sauce or sweet and spicy tomato. A wholly satisfying meal. —AS

49. Coffee at The General Cafe Historic
Farmers’ Market, 1496 Lower Water Street
Having a piping hot drink from Daina Tavenier and Sam Kinsley feels kind of like having one at a pal’s house, except the coffee’s way better (no offense, pals). Brewing up espresso based drinks using beans from Java Blend, North Mountain Coffee Company and Anchored Coffee, pairing them with baked goods, or a bowl of granola, and nailing it on the ambience front, The General Cafe is one of the Historic Farmers‘ Market’s coziest corners. And that’s saying a lot. —AS

52 Pick-up: how to get a taste of Halifax
Melissa Buote
50. Calamari at Efendy Turkish & Mediterranean Grill
1569 Dresden Row
Sometimes asking a server for their recommendations from the menu is a crapshoot, but not at Efendy. When they tell you the calamari is quite possibly the best in town, believe every word. This isn’t your typical salty, greasy, over-fried dish—light, flaky batter allows the perfectly cooked squid to shine and a cool dose of haydari sauce for dipping completes the package. If you’re into heat, ask for a side of the house chili sauce, too. —AS

51. A glass of Nova 7 at Obladee, A Wine Bar
1600 Barrington Street
There is a reason that people buy Nova 7 by the caseload when it’s released every spring—it’s something truly special. That and it’s been known to sell out. Benjamin Bridge’s pink-tinted, subtly sparkling wine has become one of the province’s most famous, for its sweet summery aroma and its refreshing, highly drinkable flavour. This year, its lucky seventh, Nova 7 graced shelves in eight provinces, clearly we’re not the only ones who can’t get enough. —AS

52 Chocolate peanut butter milkshake at Darrell’s
5576 Fenwick Street
While we’re of the opinion that it is hard to mess up a milkshake, we’re also of the opinion that it’s hard to do better than this one. Besides the obvious reason this flavour’s a stand-out (chocolate + peanut butter = true love always), it’s the use of crunchy peanut butter that makes the difference, and Darrell’s doesn’t skimp on the cold stuff—these shakes are thick enough to stop you from inhaling them at a ice cream headache inducing speed (or at least slow you down). Eat or drink in, and you’ll get a glass full, plus the bonus bits that won’t fit in your glass. —AS
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