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Hot Dining

By Janice Hudson

KITCHEN ALCHEMYGio-Tea--024---Version-2-resized

Downtown at Gio on Market Street, Chef Bee Choo Chair gives traditional recipes an inventive new twist. Her version of poutine includes fried polenta fingers topped with duck confit, red wine jus, and blue “Cheez Whiz.” Open for lunch and dinner, Gio has a curated wine list and a creative mixed drinks menu.


Photo: Timothy Richard

Photo: Timothy Richard

As the weather turns chillier, cozy up in a booth at Stayner’s Wharf Pub and Grill. The menu here has plenty to keep you warm, including steak and chicken dishes, plus local fare like pan-fried haddock and curry-crusted salmon. Most evenings offer live music, too.



There’s a new executive chef in the kitchen at Seasons by Atlantica on Robie Street. Chef Daniel Orovec is passionate about showcasing local ingredients on his new menu, which includes seafood favourites such as bacon-wrapped scallops and seafood linguini with saffron cream. “It’s about supporting local food and letting good ingredients shine on their own,” he says.


Photo: NS Tourism Agency

Photo: NS Tourism Agency

On Lower Water Street, McKelvie’s takes fresh seafood to new creative heights. Try the maple-roasted bacon wrapped scallops or the lobster poutine with hand-cut fries. The crunchy haddock is another top seller, with creamy BBQ sauce and garlic mashed potatoes.

SLICE OF LIFEClam-Pie2-resized

Specializing in thin crust, New York Italian-style pizza for over 20 years, Salvatore’s Pizzaiolo in The Hydrostone has doubled its seating capacity thanks to a recent renovation. The restaurant kept its signature Italian-style décor and stucco walls, but it now has a sleek bar area serving local brews on tap.

GOURMET TO GOThe-Canteen-resized

With chef Renée Lavallée at the helm, The Canteen on Ochterloney Street in Dartmouth serves up a flavourful array of sandwiches, salads, and take-out meals featuring fresh local ingredients. The bread is baked on-site, including gluten-free options.

THE SPICE ROUTEFOOD_Wonton_Soup-resized

Specializing in Chinese cuisine since 1984, Great Wall, located downtown on Bedford Row, boasts robust Cantonese and Szechuan dishes such as Kung Po shrimp and Singapore vermicelli. Owner Patrick Wong also offers tasty Dim Sum on Sundays from 11:30am to 3pm.

Hot Dining: FARM Restaurant

FARM’s famous Mac n’ Cheese. Photo: Adele Brunnhofer.

Located on busy 17 Ave SW, FARM Restaurant celebrates local food in a cozy, rural-inspired setting.

The interior, with its muted floral wallpaper, lace curtains and vintage coffee cups evokes the feel of a prairie farm kitchen. A large communal “harvest table” and bar seating wrapped around the open-kitchen keep the cozy room feeling lively. A large chalkboard at the back of the restaurant lists out the daily specials and for those seated at the open kitchen, Chef Pete Goldberg and his brigade happily engage (more…)

Hot Dining: Chicken à la Kensington

Though it boasts a cartoon rooster for its mascot, Le Kensington Bistro & Rotisserie is hardly some KFC or St. Hubert knockoff. Instead, this homey little spot is the more casual cousin of Loire, a fine French favourite on Harbord Street. Of course, rotisserie chicken ($32 for a whole bird, $16 for half) is prominently featured, but it’s not the only palate-pleaser on chef Jean-Charles Dupoire’s menu—classics like beef tartare ($12), steak frites ($22) and a diverse charcuterie ($15 or $25) are uncomplicated, but nonetheless go far beyond the offerings of take-out chicken joints. And what sommelier Sylvain Brissonet’s Ontario and French wine list lacks in breadth, it makes up for in affordability.

Sizzling Masterpiece

Bison and chicken fajitas at Iron Goat Pub

Bison and chicken fajitas at Iron Goat Pub

The enticing sound of sizzling bison, chicken, peppers and onions on a cast iron hot plate combine with spiced aromas to bring Mexican fare with a Rocky Mountain twist to life. The build-it-yourself fajitas at Iron Goat Pub & Grill are enhanced by the colourful presentation of pico de gallo (hand cut salsa), guacamole, grated cheddar, sour cream and lettuce—all the ingredients to create a mouthwatering masterpiece (the best fajitas I’ve tasted).—LS