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The Bill Freedman Nature Reserve near Halifax
Halifax Trails/Shutterstock

The Essential Restaurants of Halifax, Nova Scotia

Where to get superb seafood, pub grub, donair, and more

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The Bill Freedman Nature Reserve near Halifax
| Halifax Trails/Shutterstock

Heading to Halifax for a weekend? A scenic 12-hour drive or hour-long flight from Montreal, Maritime Canada’s largest city is a seaside haven brimming with some of the best seafood in the country. But there’s more than the typical seafood by the seashore. Head down bustling Barrington Street or Spring Garden Road, and offerings range from a classic French bistro and Italian to local staples donair and garlic fingers.

In the mood for a traditional plate of fish and chips? Henry House has you covered. Something a little more refined? Newly-opened Bar Kismet is just the place. And of course, no trip to Halifax is complete without grabbing a slice at Pizza Corner after a night of pints and a live trad session at Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

The Brooklyn Warehouse

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The Brooklyn Warehouse is a cozy, no-fuss watering hole catering to all diets and palates. From local wine and beer to oysters, fish & chips and falafel plates, there’s something for everyone in this dimly lit resto-bar.

King Of Donair

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King of Donair is credited as the creator of the Halifax donair, and over the years, it has developed a loyal following — and for good reason. The King’s original donair has been around since 1973 and is a staple in every Nova Scotian’s fast food repertoire. Fancy some garlic fingers (that’s garlic and cheese pizza slices)? King of Donair does those too, and very well.

Bar Kismet

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Opened by two alumni of Toronto’s Bar Raval in 2017, Bar Kismet offers everything from fresh seafood and seasonal veggies to natural wine. Their intimate dining space is unpretentious and welcoming but get there early — the whole restaurant only has a few dozen seats.

Lion and Bright

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Located in Halifax’s North End, Lion & Bright doubles as a light-filled café by day and an intimate wine bar by night. From coffee to cocktails, this contemporary restaurant offers it all, including an ever-changing rotation of local beer and wine, and a solid brunch.

Envie is arguably Halifax’s best vegan spot, but there’s no granola here. This refined plant-based restaurant skips the tired shaved beet and carrot salad in favour of contemporary dishes crafted from locally sourced ingredients, featuring everything from dumplings and pizza to a “charcuterie” board.

Your Father's Moustache

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This classic pub and eatery shines brightest in the summertime. While the standard pub grub and decently priced drinks are great, the sprawling rooftop patio is even better. Grab a spot by the roof’s edge to glimpse Spring Garden Road and the Public Gardens below.

Tom's Little Havana

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Tom’s Little Havana is one of those rare haunts that feels as though it’s been plucked straight out of a nineties sitcom — kick back and stay a while while sampling their ample board game shelf and affordable local beer selection alike.

The Wooden Monkey

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The Wooden Monkey has been paving the way for hip, vegetable-heavy venues across Nova Scotia since 2004. Expect casual fare in the burger, sandwich, and while it’s very vegan-friendly, it certainly doesn’t shy away from the freshest, locally grown meats and seafood.

Spicy apple barbecue ribs
The Wooden Monkey/Facebook

The Press Gang Restaurant and Oyster Bar

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When on the East Coast, it would be a major mistake to skip out on shellfish. And Press Gang offers a wide variety of them, served right at the bar alongside one’s drink. Not in the mood for oysters? No problem. Their T-bone steak and peanut butter pie are also highly sought after options.

Economy Shoe Shop

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Not a discount footwear store, but rather, a bistro tucked into a cozy alcove on the most picturesque part of Argyle Street — and it’s been there since 1995. While they offer hearty and homey traditional pub fare, Economy Shoe Shop also known for its unique and intimate setting complete with indoor tree, live jazz and creative cocktails.

Durty Nelly's Irish Pub

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When Haligonians say “authentic Irish pub” about this place, they aren’t kidding. This watering hole was designed and built in Ireland before it was shipped to and assembled in Halifax back in 2008. Here, you’ll find everything from Guinness and Jameson to Prince Edward Island mussels, fish and chips, and rum glazed Atlantic salmon.

Obladee

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A relaxed spot to spend an evening, Obladee Wine Bar feels like an old friend, with a charming set of seasonal vegetable dishes, ample charcuterie and biodynamic wine on offer. In the summer, its hillside patio gives way to a great view of busy Barrington Street below.

Johnny K's Authentic Donairs

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A relative newcomer to the infamous Pizza Corner (that’s the corner of Blowers Street and Grafton Street), Johnny K’s is a modernized take on the classic east coast donair joint case in point: it offers one of the city’s only vegan versions of the classic shawarma-adjacent sandwich with its oddball sweet garlic sauce. Meat donairs are on tap as well, and fare well on the flavour front.

Sushi Fujiyama

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Through an alleyway and past a hidden door, this ground level sushi spot boasts sushi, sashimi and an intimate cave-like setting. Think of it as a delectable sushi speakeasy — with impossibly fresh fish.

Red Stag Tavern

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Nestled inside the Alexander Keith’s Brewery, the decidedly divey Red Stag Tavern is a must-see for all beer lovers. Stop by for a quick pint and pub grub after the brewery tour for some of the freshest IPA on the East Coast.

The Bicycle Thief

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This upmarket Italian haunt is situated right in the middle of downtown Halifax’s Bishops Landing. Its outdoor patio offers unparalleled views of Georges Island National Historic Site and of the waterfront boardwalk, making for great people watching while enjoying a cocktail. Expect plenty of Italian classics: house-made gnocchi, panzanella, scallopini, and more.

Henry House Pub

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Built in 1834, Henry House is a designated National Historic Site of Canada. Perhaps more importantly for hungry locals and tourists alike, it also serves some of the best fish & chips in the city, and a great veggie burger as well.

Two If By Sea Cafe

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For flaky croissants (including creative filled permutations), coffee, and a more-than-decent view of Halifax, look no further than Two If By Sea. This Dartmouth-based coffee shop overlooks the cityscape and is a quick jaunt from downtown Halifax.

Yeah Yeahs Pizza

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Just above Two If By Sea, there’s Yeah Yeahs Pizza, where ultra-thin, New York style slices await. Well worth the quick ferry ride across the harbour to Dartmouth.

The Brooklyn Warehouse

The Brooklyn Warehouse is a cozy, no-fuss watering hole catering to all diets and palates. From local wine and beer to oysters, fish & chips and falafel plates, there’s something for everyone in this dimly lit resto-bar.

King Of Donair

King of Donair is credited as the creator of the Halifax donair, and over the years, it has developed a loyal following — and for good reason. The King’s original donair has been around since 1973 and is a staple in every Nova Scotian’s fast food repertoire. Fancy some garlic fingers (that’s garlic and cheese pizza slices)? King of Donair does those too, and very well.

Bar Kismet

Opened by two alumni of Toronto’s Bar Raval in 2017, Bar Kismet offers everything from fresh seafood and seasonal veggies to natural wine. Their intimate dining space is unpretentious and welcoming but get there early — the whole restaurant only has a few dozen seats.

Lion and Bright

Located in Halifax’s North End, Lion & Bright doubles as a light-filled café by day and an intimate wine bar by night. From coffee to cocktails, this contemporary restaurant offers it all, including an ever-changing rotation of local beer and wine, and a solid brunch.

Envie

Envie is arguably Halifax’s best vegan spot, but there’s no granola here. This refined plant-based restaurant skips the tired shaved beet and carrot salad in favour of contemporary dishes crafted from locally sourced ingredients, featuring everything from dumplings and pizza to a “charcuterie” board.

Your Father's Moustache

This classic pub and eatery shines brightest in the summertime. While the standard pub grub and decently priced drinks are great, the sprawling rooftop patio is even better. Grab a spot by the roof’s edge to glimpse Spring Garden Road and the Public Gardens below.

Tom's Little Havana

Tom’s Little Havana is one of those rare haunts that feels as though it’s been plucked straight out of a nineties sitcom — kick back and stay a while while sampling their ample board game shelf and affordable local beer selection alike.

The Wooden Monkey

Spicy apple barbecue ribs
The Wooden Monkey/Facebook

The Wooden Monkey has been paving the way for hip, vegetable-heavy venues across Nova Scotia since 2004. Expect casual fare in the burger, sandwich, and while it’s very vegan-friendly, it certainly doesn’t shy away from the freshest, locally grown meats and seafood.

Spicy apple barbecue ribs
The Wooden Monkey/Facebook

The Press Gang Restaurant and Oyster Bar

When on the East Coast, it would be a major mistake to skip out on shellfish. And Press Gang offers a wide variety of them, served right at the bar alongside one’s drink. Not in the mood for oysters? No problem. Their T-bone steak and peanut butter pie are also highly sought after options.

Economy Shoe Shop

Not a discount footwear store, but rather, a bistro tucked into a cozy alcove on the most picturesque part of Argyle Street — and it’s been there since 1995. While they offer hearty and homey traditional pub fare, Economy Shoe Shop also known for its unique and intimate setting complete with indoor tree, live jazz and creative cocktails.

Durty Nelly's Irish Pub

When Haligonians say “authentic Irish pub” about this place, they aren’t kidding. This watering hole was designed and built in Ireland before it was shipped to and assembled in Halifax back in 2008. Here, you’ll find everything from Guinness and Jameson to Prince Edward Island mussels, fish and chips, and rum glazed Atlantic salmon.

Obladee

A relaxed spot to spend an evening, Obladee Wine Bar feels like an old friend, with a charming set of seasonal vegetable dishes, ample charcuterie and biodynamic wine on offer. In the summer, its hillside patio gives way to a great view of busy Barrington Street below.