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Artful mixed seafood plate.
A seafood dish from the Five Fisherman.
Five Fisherman/Facebook

The Essential Restaurants of Halifax, Nova Scotia

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

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A seafood dish from the Five Fisherman.
| Five Fisherman/Facebook

Home of the donair (the East Coast answer to doner kebab), bountiful seafood platters, and a surprisingly robust wine and cocktail scene, Halifax isn’t just the largest city in the Maritimes — it’s also a dining and drinking destination. With some of the best seafood in the country and a prodigious craft cider and beer scene, there’s more than deep-fired fish in the coastal capital.

In the North End, you’ll find nationally acclaimed restaurants, cocktail bars, and great burgers. Or head down bustling Barrington Street or Spring Garden Road, where offerings range from classic Italian bistros to Spanish tapas bars. The much-appreciated late-night eats at Pizza Corner or pub-style fish and chips, eaten to the tune of live trad music at one of the dozens of Irish pubs.

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Two If By Sea Cafe

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A quick ferry ride across Halifax Harbour leads to giant croissants and great locally roasted coffee at Two If By Sea Cafe in Dartmouth. This bustling cafe, known to locals just as “TIBS,” offers a selection of oversized delicious pastries,and put Anchored Coffee (the coffee roastery just next door) on the map. 

A croissant on a white plate over a checked napkin.
A croissant from Two if By Sea.
Two If By Sea Cafe/Facebook

Yeah Yeahs Pizza

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What started as a small to-go pizza shop just above Two If By Sea is now a must-try slice in Halifax. With a second location on Barrington Street, Yeah Yeahs Pizza offers ultra-thin, New York-style pies, slices of white pizza and garlic fingers (a necessity in any Halifax pizza joint). 

The Canteen on Portland

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Downtown Dartmouth’s dining scene is slowly starting to rival Halifax and The Canteen has a major influence on beckoning Haligonians across the harbour. This self-proclaimed neighbourhood restaurant serves comfort foods with a local focus like snow crab dip, steak frites, and their famous Crobster Roll (a divine duo of crab and lobster in a roll).

Bar Kismet

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This intimate cocktail bar and restaurant in the North End is the reservation to snag in Halifax. Since Bar Kismet opened in 2017, its garnered national acclaim for its inventive cocktail list, sparkling seafood crudos, and expertly made pastas, served in a charming, dimly lit space.

Two whole fish plated on a yellow sauce.
Fish from Bar Kismet.
Bar Kismet/Facebook

EnVie is arguably Halifax’s best vegan spot, and this refined restaurant skips the tired shaved beet and carrot salad in favour of contemporary dishes using farmer’s market ingredients, featuring everything from dumplings and oyster mushroom wings to “charcuterie” boards and fried chick’n sandwiches.

Chips, veggies, dips, and other dishes.
An assortment of dishes from Envie.
Envie/Facebook

The Brooklyn Warehouse

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The Brooklyn Warehouse is a cosy bistro with a big personality. As one of the restaurants in the city to champion hyper-local and slow food, the menu continues to focus on producers from Nova Scotia, with salads made with That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm Dragon Breath blue cheese, seared scallops with green goddess dressing, and cheeseburgers with Nova Scotia ground beef. 

An exterior shot of signage.
The Brooklyn Warehouse.
The Brooklyn Warehouse/Facebook

Field Guide

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This small restaurant on Gottingen was one of the first restaurants in the North End transformation with its tiki-style cocktails — now it’s a cocktail-lover magnet with at least 20 on offer, including a great selection of non-alcoholic options. There are always a taco and a bao on the menu (their donair bao wowed the city), along with charcuterie and larger plates of crudo to satisfy any hunger level. 

The Five Fishermen

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Touted as one of the most “haunted” buildings in Halifax, it also happens to be one of the nicest spots to enjoy a seafood dinner. Historic details pair well with an old-school-meets-modern menu of oysters Rockefeller, Nova Scotia crab cakes, pesto-crusted halibut, and lobster thermidor.  

A mixed platter of seafood.
Seafood from the Five Fishermen.
The Five Fisherman/Facebook

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 such as burgers, sandwiches and pizzas; while it’s vegan-friendly, it certainly doesn’t shy away from the freshest, locally grown meats and seafood.

Ribs with two sauces.
Spicy apple barbecue ribs.
The Wooden Monkey/Facebook

The Press Gang Restaurant and Oyster Bar

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When on the East Coast, shellfish is at the top of the must-eat list, and Press Gang offers a wide variety— at least a dozen types of oysters are on offer daily from New Brunswick’s Beausoleils to PEI’s Malpeques — served right at the bar. Not in the mood for oysters? No problem. Atlantic halibut, salmon, and lobster are available, along with steaks and the restaurant’s sought-after peanut butter pie.

Highwayman

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This cocktail bar stands out amongst the plethora of pubs in Halifax with its Spanish-influenced menu and vibes. Dimly lit and moody, Highwayman offers classic and one-of-a-kind cocktails, an impressive liquor list (they offer at least a dozen liquor flights ranging from Speyside Scotch to Mezcals) to pair with their pintxos, patatas bravas, tinned fish, and flank steak with mojo verde.

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 in the late 2000s. Here, you’ll find everything from Irish whiskey and N.S. craft beets to P.E.I. mussels and local fish and chips, along with a raucous party scene, dancing to live traditional music.

A look into the bar area and stairs.
Interior shot of Durty Nelly’s.
Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub/Facebook

Obladee

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This wine bar has the best selection of biodynamic wines and local vintages in the city, with an impressive by-the-glass offering ranging from Gaspereau Valley sparkling to Carignans from the Rhone. Pair a tasting with their menu of seasonal vegetable dishes, charcuterie, and French cheeses. In the summer, its hillside patio gives way to a great view of Barrington Street below.

Tartare topped with egg yolk.
Tartare from Obladee.
Obladee/Facebook

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.

The Bicycle Thief

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This upmarket Italian institution is a cornerstone of Bishop’s Landing on the Halifax waterfront. Its outdoor patio offers unparalleled views of Georges Island and of the waterfront boardwalk, making for great people-watching while enjoying a Negroni. Expect plenty of Italian classics: pasta, panzanella, cioppino, and more.

Patio seating with a red umbrella.
Patio at The Bicycle Thief.
The Bicycle Thief/Facebook

Stillwell Beergarden

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Inspired by Toronto’s beer-focused Bar Volo, the owners of Stillwell beer bar on Barrington helped catapult craft brewing in Halifax to a whole new level. A dozen rotating taps feature local and international cider and beer, along with special casks and a great bottle list — try their burger and their famous Tokyo fries. Stillwell’s ever-expanding beer empire also offers up Stillwell Freehouse on Agricola Street, a nod to the British pub, and in the summertime, Stillwell Beergarden on Spring Garden Road takes advantage of an empty lot and turns it the best patio in the city. 

Your Father's Moustache

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This classic pub shines brightest in the summertime. While the standard 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.

Henry House Pub

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Built in 1835, Henry House is a designated National Historic Site of Canada and has been one of the most beloved pubs in Halifax since the late 1960s. Crowded with locals and tourists, Henry House serves up great fish and chips, in addition to traditional Nova Scotia seafood chowder and fishcakes, alongside British pub favourites like curry and shepherd’s pie. 

Two If By Sea Cafe

A quick ferry ride across Halifax Harbour leads to giant croissants and great locally roasted coffee at Two If By Sea Cafe in Dartmouth. This bustling cafe, known to locals just as “TIBS,” offers a selection of oversized delicious pastries,and put Anchored Coffee (the coffee roastery just next door) on the map. 

A croissant on a white plate over a checked napkin.
A croissant from Two if By Sea.
Two If By Sea Cafe/Facebook

Yeah Yeahs Pizza

What started as a small to-go pizza shop just above Two If By Sea is now a must-try slice in Halifax. With a second location on Barrington Street, Yeah Yeahs Pizza offers ultra-thin, New York-style pies, slices of white pizza and garlic fingers (a necessity in any Halifax pizza joint). 

The Canteen on Portland

Downtown Dartmouth’s dining scene is slowly starting to rival Halifax and The Canteen has a major influence on beckoning Haligonians across the harbour. This self-proclaimed neighbourhood restaurant serves comfort foods with a local focus like snow crab dip, steak frites, and their famous Crobster Roll (a divine duo of crab and lobster in a roll).

Bar Kismet

This intimate cocktail bar and restaurant in the North End is the reservation to snag in Halifax. Since Bar Kismet opened in 2017, its garnered national acclaim for its inventive cocktail list, sparkling seafood crudos, and expertly made pastas, served in a charming, dimly lit space.

Two whole fish plated on a yellow sauce.
Fish from Bar Kismet.
Bar Kismet/Facebook

Envie

EnVie is arguably Halifax’s best vegan spot, and this refined restaurant skips the tired shaved beet and carrot salad in favour of contemporary dishes using farmer’s market ingredients, featuring everything from dumplings and oyster mushroom wings to “charcuterie” boards and fried chick’n sandwiches.

Chips, veggies, dips, and other dishes.
An assortment of dishes from Envie.
Envie/Facebook

The Brooklyn Warehouse

The Brooklyn Warehouse is a cosy bistro with a big personality. As one of the restaurants in the city to champion hyper-local and slow food, the menu continues to focus on producers from Nova Scotia, with salads made with That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm Dragon Breath blue cheese, seared scallops with green goddess dressing, and cheeseburgers with Nova Scotia ground beef. 

An exterior shot of signage.
The Brooklyn Warehouse.
The Brooklyn Warehouse/Facebook

Field Guide

This small restaurant on Gottingen was one of the first restaurants in the North End transformation with its tiki-style cocktails — now it’s a cocktail-lover magnet with at least 20 on offer, including a great selection of non-alcoholic options. There are always a taco and a bao on the menu (their donair bao wowed the city), along with charcuterie and larger plates of crudo to satisfy any hunger level. 

The Five Fishermen

Touted as one of the most “haunted” buildings in Halifax, it also happens to be one of the nicest spots to enjoy a seafood dinner. Historic details pair well with an old-school-meets-modern menu of oysters Rockefeller, Nova Scotia crab cakes, pesto-crusted halibut, and lobster thermidor.  

A mixed platter of seafood.
Seafood from the Five Fishermen.
The Five Fisherman/Facebook

The Wooden Monkey

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

Ribs with two sauces.
Spicy apple barbecue ribs.
The Wooden Monkey/Facebook

The Press Gang Restaurant and Oyster Bar

When on the East Coast, shellfish is at the top of the must-eat list, and Press Gang offers a wide variety— at least a dozen types of oysters are on offer daily from New Brunswick’s Beausoleils to PEI’s Malpeques — served right at the bar. Not in the mood for oysters? No problem. Atlantic halibut, salmon, and lobster are available, along with steaks and the restaurant’s sought-after peanut butter pie.

Highwayman

This cocktail bar stands out amongst the plethora of pubs in Halifax with its Spanish-influenced menu and vibes. Dimly lit and moody, Highwayman offers classic and one-of-a-kind cocktails, an impressive liquor list (they offer at least a dozen liquor flights ranging from Speyside Scotch to Mezcals) to pair with their pintxos, patatas bravas, tinned fish, and flank steak with mojo verde.

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 in the late 2000s. Here, you’ll find everything from Irish whiskey and N.S. craft beets to P.E.I. mussels and local fish and chips, along with a raucous party scene, dancing to live traditional music.

A look into the bar area and stairs.
Interior shot of Durty Nelly’s.
Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub/Facebook

Obladee

This wine bar has the best selection of biodynamic wines and local vintages in the city, with an impressive by-the-glass offering ranging from Gaspereau Valley sparkling to Carignans from the Rhone. Pair a tasting with their menu of seasonal vegetable dishes, charcuterie, and French cheeses. In the summer, its hillside patio gives way to a great view of Barrington Street below.

Tartare topped with egg yolk.
Tartare from Obladee.
Obladee/Facebook

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.

The Bicycle Thief

This upmarket Italian institution is a cornerstone of Bishop’s Landing on the Halifax waterfront. Its outdoor patio offers unparalleled views of Georges Island and of the waterfront boardwalk, making for great people-watching while enjoying a Negroni. Expect plenty of Italian classics: pasta, panzanella, cioppino, and more.

Patio seating with a red umbrella.
Patio at The Bicycle Thief.
The Bicycle Thief/Facebook

Related Maps

Stillwell Beergarden

Inspired by Toronto’s beer-focused Bar Volo, the owners of Stillwell beer bar on Barrington helped catapult craft brewing in Halifax to a whole new level. A dozen rotating taps feature local and international cider and beer, along with special casks and a great bottle list — try their burger and their famous Tokyo fries. Stillwell’s ever-expanding beer empire also offers up Stillwell Freehouse on Agricola Street, a nod to the British pub, and in the summertime, Stillwell Beergarden on Spring Garden Road takes advantage of an empty lot and turns it the best patio in the city. 

Your Father's Moustache

This classic pub shines brightest in the summertime. While the standard 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.

Henry House Pub

Built in 1835, Henry House is a designated National Historic Site of Canada and has been one of the most beloved pubs in Halifax since the late 1960s. Crowded with locals and tourists, Henry House serves up great fish and chips, in addition to traditional Nova Scotia seafood chowder and fishcakes, alongside British pub favourites like curry and shepherd’s pie. 

Related Maps