By Cynthia Dennis
Casa Mia Café, 131 Queen Street [map]
If you’re not quite feeling the greasy diner, but you’re not exactly on the yogurt-and-granola train, Casa Mia Café in downtown Charlottetown is where you’ll find hearty, healthy flavours in dishes like potato pancakes with ham, cheddar and green onion or the full country breakfast with local sausage and house-recipe potato hash. Owned and operated by a husband-and-wife team, Casa Mia is one of the only joints in town serving a proper latte or cappuccino to accompany your traditional breakfast with an upscale twist. Big tables and Wi-Fi are added perks. Spread out, relax and, for the love of Pete, order a side of potatoes made with caramelized onions.
Cedar’s Eatery, 81 University Avenue [map]
Cedar’s Eatery on University Avenue is practically an institution in Charlottetown. Serving hands down the best Lebanese cuisine anywhere outside of Lebanon itself, the Abdallah family has this thing down to a science. For well over 30 years, Cedar’s has been serving up consistent quality in the form of lunch specials such as shish taouk, (grilled marinated chicken skewers), kafta (seasoned, baked and skewered lean ground beef), mjadera and fatoush (lentils with rice, carmelized onions and spices accompanied by a Lebanese “peasant salad” with zesty dressing), and—not a word of lie—the most delicious falafel you’ll ever meet. Equally worthy Canadian fare is also on offer. Snuggle up in a cozy booth and know that your stomach is in capable hands.
The Pearl Café, 7792 Cavendish Road, North Rustico [map]
Near the North Shore, 40 minutes north of Charlottetown in North Rustico, is a fairly regular-looking old house with a sign advertising The Pearl Café. If you were thinking of making tracks to some big, bus-tour-type buffet on your way back from the beach, don’t be a fool, and pull over immediately here instead. The first floor of this historic estate has been converted into an intimate and charming dining room decorated with top-notch local artwork. Be sure to peer out the window at the gardens, as you’ll likely find the chef out gathering greens and garnishes for your can’t-get-any-fresher, casual fine-dining experience. The menu changes frequently depending on what’s in season, or what can be locally sourced, so it might be Raspberry Point oysters to start, with lobster-encrusted halibut to follow, always ending with a perfectly decadent dessert.