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wabi

Nova Scotia/ PEI

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My wife and I are planning a trip to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island this August.

Being members of eGullet, our interests are simple......dining and eating.

I have been to Nova Scotia many years ago, but my wife has not. Our plans are to fly into Halifax, rent a car, and go from there. We plan to drive the Cabot trail, and spend several days on PEI.

The various web sites we have visited give the nice, wholesome.....read "GENERIC" places to stay and dine at. I am posting here to get real opinions from eGulleters to tell us where to stay and where to eat.

Bring it on.....Where to sleep, where to go for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Where not to miss, what to avoid......

That said, any other links, discussion forums that would help us in our travel plans.

I want to thank everyone in advance for their opinions and responses.

wabi

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In PEI, I stayed at a place called Kindred Spirits, in Cavendish. They have great cottages, well equiped. It is a quiet place, a bit out of the way, and just a short walk to the beaches.

I prefered to buy fresh seafood and to simply prepare them at the cottage. It is great to have lobsters, shrimps, scallops, crabs or halibut, outside on a nice summer day, with a good bottle of wine. I suggest you bring a few good bottles as there is not much choice on PEI

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wabi

Haven't been there for a long time but if you are taking the Cabot trail don't miss the Alexander Graham Bell Museum in Baddeck Nova Scotia. He was involved in Aviation, Photography, de-salination, and many more things other than the telephone.

Cheers

Baconburner

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wabi:

First of all, hope you enjoy your trip to "God's Country". The Cabot Trail in particular is a wonderful drive.

We were last in PEI and Nova Scotia some years ago so my information may be dated but here are some wining and dining suggestions.

Halifax:

da Maurizio's: in the restored Keith's Brewery Bldg.

[some of the best Italian food I have had anywhere - excellent, Italian dominated wine list with all of the "heavy hitters"]

Bish: part of Bishop's landing just off the harbour - same owners as da Maurizio

[varied menu - good list]

Il Mercado: Spring Garden Rd.

[third of the 3 spots in dowtown Hlfx - another in suburban Bedford - owned by the Bertossi family - trattoria - tile - lots of antipasto selections]

FID: just off Spring Garden Rd. on Dresden Row

[limited menu and wine list - chef/owner & partner - always changing and interesting menu]

Chives: Barringston St.

[restored old bank building including table in the vault - regional fare - funky, interesting]

Sweet Basil: Historic Properties

[thai/asian influenced fare if you are looking for a change]

Five Fishermen: downtown - near the Metro Centre [ice rink/stadium]

[often "put down" as being a "tourist trap" but I have had several decent fish meals there and even got my non-seafood eating wife to try their mussels from the mussel bar]

The Press Gang: restored historic bldg. near the trendy and popular Economy Shoe bar

[i mention it although I cannot recommend it as it was the one disappointing expensive meal we had during our last visit to Hlfx. - however, I may be in the minority in this regard as others have "raved" about it]

Others that have been recommended are Seven, La Cave , Fiasco, The Bistro, Janes on the Common [comes recommended as a nice neighbourhood bistro], McElvies [again I would not recommend it although others would it - I found it fit into the standard fish filet with an ice cream scoop of white rice and typical diced carrots and peas type of place]

Do avoid Salty's, Murphy's On The Wharf and the like unless you want steamed mussels or deep fried this and that.

This is a good web-site for more info on dining in Halifax: www.eatinghalifax.ca/

Annapolis Valley:

Grand Pre Winery:

[can dine outside under their Pergola or in the restaurant - pricey but good particularly the home cured meats and cheese - the bugs can be bad outside attracted by the smells of the wine and cider being produced]

Newman's: Annapolis Royal

[terrific food - good wine list]

Blomidon Inn: Wolfville

[had a nice lunch in this restored Victorian home - there is another that most people recommend in Wolfville whose name escapes me]

Tempest: Wolfville

[this is strictly 3rd hand info - have not been to it nor have I heard much about it here or at other "foodie" web-sites - however was featured on the Food Network's "Opening Soon" program and if it survived may be good - others may be able to "chime in"

Sherbrooke:

On the drive up to Cape Breton you may stop in at the historical village in this town. There is a period restaurant in a restored building outside the village itself where we had quite a good meal.

Malagash:

Jost Winery:

[we had a nice picnic lunch with meats, bread and cheese bought in the tasting room]

Pictou

The Consulate Inn:

[stayed and ate one dinner here - better than average food]

Cape Breton:

Inverness:

Casual Gourmet: am advised that it has moved from the location where we ate as part of a campground and trailor park

[this was our "find" of our last visit - backhanded complement - better than we had expected as a lot of Cape Breton is pretty basic when it comes to food]

Chedicamp:

[cannot really recommend one spot over another here - hopefully others can]

Ingonish:

[Keltic Lodge - have not eaten here as it is usually shut down for the season when we have travelled]

Baddeck:

[much like Chedicamp - we have eaten and stayed at the Telegraph House - great oatmeal cakes - down home basic cooking - nostalgic spot as my late godmother used to cook there - we had terrific food in a small inn - 3 or 4 rooms - across from the bigger Inverarry Inn but I cannot for the life of me remember its name and it may very well be gone by now]

Louisbourg:

[we stayed and ate at the Cranberry Cove B. & B. just adjacent to the road to the restored fortress - accomodations were excellent - the food o.k.]

PEI

PEI is a nice spot especially if you are a golfer or are a family with children who are looking for a cottage to relax at. However, we found it a tad "desperate" for two adults who were there for 10 days.

Deep fried foods seemed to dominate the menus.

Charlottetown:

Our favourite spot "McAssey's" I am told was closed after our visit. The food did not go over with the locals I was advised.

We did enjoy:

Sirenella [sp?]

[mediteranean fare - I had some great grilled squid]

Off-Broadway [may be On Broadway]

[best wine list we saw in Charlottetown - as Francois said above - you may want to stache a few bottles of wine before taking the ferry or the bridge to PEI as the selection is pretty poor - if I had a nickel for every bottle of Jackson-Triggs White Label Chardonnay that we saw being drunk, I likely could retire - there is however a local winery Rossignol that is worth the visit - some of their wines were not too bad although we found their fruit wines better that those from grapes]

Kim's Bisto:

[we were disappointed - others recommend it - house smoked fish is reputed to be very good]

Gahan Pub:

[standard pub fare with very good micro brewed ales on the premises]

Merchantman Pub

[adjacent to the Delta Prince Edward Hotel - much more than standard pub fare]

Water-Prince Store:

[missed this one - we walked right by it and mistook it for what it had orginally been, a corner store - basic, fresh seafood that others have heartily recommended]

The Pilot House:

[was not there during our visit but others from PEI have told me that it is/was the spot to go for fine dining]

Charlottetown also houses a cooking school and I am told that its dining room is quite good. We tried but could not get reservations.

Montague

Windows On The Water:

[as the name suggests - small spot near the wharf/docks - good steady home cooked fare]

Souris

The Inn at Bay Fortune:

[we stayed here for a couple of days and had two outstanding dinners - the inn itself is ok vis-a-vis accomodations but a short drive brings you to beautiful ocean views and beaches - the wine list was eclectic and interesting]

St. Peters

The Inn at St. Peters:

[we stopped here for lunch en route back from the The Inn at Bay Fortune - very good food - staffed by graduates of the culinary school in Charlottetetown and others]

Prince Edward Island National Park

Dalvray By The Sea:

[had an excellent lunch here in the historic building just inside the park - well worth the drive even if staying in Charlottetown - touristy yes, seasonally run with a lot of students doing the serving - everything we had was good as was the service]

Hope this assists and look forward to reading your post upon your return because your "interests" mirror ours.

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am bumpinb this up since johnnybird and i will be heading up that way in mid- to late july. anything new we shouldn't miss? anything near where john can see puffins(his main request for this trip) and whales?

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I would hit Dunes in Dundrave and Dayboat in Oyster Bed Bridge.

Another one to hit in Charlottetown is The Claddagh Oyster House on Sydney Street.

Without doubt the best selection of fresh oysters and expertly shucked by John Bil, 3 time Canadaian and 2 time North American oyster shucking champion.

I disagree on the Off Boadway having the best wine list quote as I was disappointed at their selection available.

You can put anything on a wine list but do you have it?

The Claddagh has a wine list of 70 wines and is well put together considering the challenges posed by having almost no selection at the government run liquor stores.

The Pilot House is a definite must go as the food is incredible.

The Inn at Bay Fortune, I wouldn't bother with.

Worst meal I had down there. How that asshole Michael Smith ever got a cooking show is beyond me.

Most of the restaurants down in PEI are staffed by papered chefs fresh out of culinary school so the food is surprisingly good from what it once was.

Have fun and enjoy your trip

Keep on shucking

Oyster Guy

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Bringing up this old thread because I'm planning a trip to PEI on the last weekend of July and would very much like to gorge on oysters and mussels while there. However, as I understand it, there are two fishing seasons on PEI: April 30 – June 30, and August 10 – October 10.

What happens between these dates? Are oysters and mussels still readily available at restaurants and seafood suppliers? If so, are they stockpiled (with detrimental consequences for freshness/taste)?

And I guess while I have your attention, any restaurant suggestions beyond what Frank Bruni suggested in 2007 (i.e. Dayboat and Flex Mussels)?

Many thanks!

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Will be in NS last week of July. I really dont know the different varieties of bivalves in NS. Any recs on fishmarkets aka fishmongers. I will bring my shucking knife.

I am allergic to lobster, shrimp, and crab. But I dont have a problem with bivalves.

However, the wife loves lobster. So she will be expecting a memoriable meal(hopefully at a locals place).

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My how plans change...11 years later and John and I have just spent 16 days in Newfoundland.  Came acrosd on the ferry yesterday and spemt the night in Bras d'Or.  Found a little place across from the motel we were staying in called 1840 Kitchen right on 105.  Nothing terribly fancy but good, well seasoned food.  I had a cup of chili which was not too spicy but I have a question for y'all. What is it with mushrooms in chili?  I noticed several other places that they were a regular imgredient and when I was speaking to the staff last night they were surprised that I should even ask.

The winner last night was John's choice: fish cakes and baked beans.  He said the fish cakes were the best he had had all trip;fresh tasting anf mot fried to super crusty.  The beans were creamy and sweet but not as sweet as commercial products.  I suspect molasses and maple syrup and salt pork.  The outstanding things were the sides: coleslaw and "chow"which is used in place of tartar sauce.  The slaw was one of the best I have ever tasted...creamy with just a touch of sweet.  But the chow!!!! It is their version of chow-chow relish.  It was sweet, vinegary, spicy all at once.  I asked if they got it from the local market next door but they said it wasade in house.  I was sad and told them I had hoped to get a jar to take home with me...and a small styrafoam container appeared with complimemts.  Sad to say I opened it and snarfed a couple of warm spoonfuls and was teased by our server...but I didn't care.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I've never seen mushrooms in chili either.

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Posted (edited)

It's not at all uncommon in this neck of the woods, though I've never understood the reasoning. Don't be surprised, either, if you're offered some with olives in it.

 

If you're driving up from Cape Breton you'll pass the Jost winery in Malagash, which turns out some cheap plonk but also some pretty fair German-style whites. Most NS wineries have a wine called "Tidal Bay," using the signature local grape varietals in varying but legally defined combinations, and Jost's is quite drinkable. They're created by the respective winemakers specifically to be served with the local seafood, an idea that originated with the provincial government and its Taste of Nova Scotia program. You'll also see a number of craft breweries (NS has more per capita than any other province) though I'm not personally familiar with those.

 

If you'll be crossing the Confederation Bridge on your way to or from PEI, take a detour to the small town of Baie Verte NB and visit the Winegarden Estate winery and distillery. The wines there aren't at the same level as wineries in NS (or at least they weren't as of a few years ago) but they distill a vast selection of schnapps and eau-de-vies, which are excellent. During the season I believe they serve German-style food there as well.


Edited by chromedome E TA to clarify where Baie Verte is.. :P (log)
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Did you like the mushrooms in the chili?   I went through a phase of putting sliced Spanish olives on top of my chili.  I'm over it now, but at the time I loved it.  Around here people sometimes put vinegar on top so it kind of harkened back to that I guess.

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