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Gio

Hot Dining

Dining_Your-Fathers-Moustache

ABOVE IT ALL

Take a lofty perch above the bustle of Spring Garden Road to enjoy the rooftop patio at Your Father’s Moustache. This perennial summer favourite is the ideal place to laze away a sunny afternoon with a cold beverage, including four house-brewed beers. There are daily lunch specials and the weekend brunch menu (with offerings like skillets, french toast, pancakes, and more) is always popular.

 

Dining_Athens-Restaurant

LOCALS LOVE IT

Athens Restaurant on Quinpool Road offers the Greek mainstays you’d expect, but Haligonians love it for weekend brunch: omelettes, eggs Florentine, and a buffet chock full of breakfast favourites like sausage, baked beans, pancakes, perogies, pastries, and more. Get there early to beat the crowds.

 

Dining_Shore-Club-Lobster-Suppers

Photo: Tourism Nova Scotia

A SHORE THING

The Shore Club Lobster Suppers in Hubbards are a must for Nova Scotian visitors. Enjoy a huge feed of fresh Atlantic lobster in the rollicking and informal setting of a community supper at one of the province’s last old-fashioned dance halls (live music on Saturday nights in season). The menu includes all-you-can-eat mussels, and vegetarian, steak, chicken, and kids’ meals. 

 

Dining_Cut-Steakhouse

DIAMOND DELIGHTS

Two Halifax restaurants recently claimed the coveted AAA/CAA Four Diamond Award. For the tenth straight year, Cut Steakhouse on Salter Street was feted. “It is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and meticulous attention to detail over the past decade by our entire team,” says general manager and sommelier Melissa Carey in a press release. The other Halifax award went to Gio on Market Street. This stylish spot is noted for a globally-influenced menu, creative cocktails, and exquisite service.

 

Dining_Primal-Kitchen

Photo: Trevor J. Adams

STEAK OUT

As the name suggests, Primal Kitchen on Brenton Street is a carnivore’s haven, boasting local meats smoked, cured, and butchered in-house. Guaranteed date-night all-star: the 35-ounce bone-in prime rib for two paired with truffle fries.

 

Dining_Dhaba

ASIAN APPETITE

In a historic building on the corner of Morris and Hollis streets, Talay Thai serves up heaping portions of traditional dishes like creations like Gung Pad Pik Pow (basil prawn with chili paste), Pla Muek Tod Katem (garlic shrimp), and curries aplenty. 

—Japanese fine dining, showcasing traditional and fusion dishes, is on offer at Sushi Nami Royale. Check it out at locations on Queen Street in the heart of the downtown, Lacewood Drive in Clayton Park, Hector Gate in Dartmouth Crossing, and the Bedford Highway. 

—Don’t let the strip-mall exterior or industrial-park cul-de-sac location deter you: Dhaba Casual Fine Dining & Express on Oland Crescent serves some of the tastiest Indian food around. The butter chicken is a reliable choice.

 

Dining_Sugah

Photo: Tammy Fancy

CHILL OUT

When exploring city streets, beat the heat with a tasty treat. At Sugah on the waterfront boardwalk in Bishop’s Landing, you’ll find all manner of confections, but the star of the show is the house-made hand-paddled ice cream, showcasing unique Nova Scotian ingredients.

 

Dining_Primal-Kitchen

Photo: Bruce Murray/VisionFire Studios

POUR A PINT *Editor’s Pick*

Continuing through May 6, Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week offers a great chance to discover the best of the province’s fast-growing brewing scene. This month’s highlights include a nano-brewery tap takeover at Good Robot Brewing on May 3, as the popular urban tasting room pours creations from Nova Scotia’s smallest breweries alongside its own creations. Visiting later in the month? Local brews abound at spots like Battery Park beer bar and Jamieson’s Irish-House & Grill in Dartmouth, stylish Stillwell on Barrington Street, and long-time local favourite The Maxwell’s Plum on Grafton Street.

Concierge Q & A

Concierge_Phil-Osborne

A member of Les Clefs d’Or, Phil Osborne holds a diploma in hospitality management from the Irish Tourism Board and is the current delegate-experience team supervisor at the Halifax Convention Centre. Originally from Manchester, U.K., Phil lived in Ireland, New York, and Vancouver before settling in Halifax.

Q: What’s your pick for May’s top events for visitors?
A:
 On May 2, the Halifax waterfront (at 1549 Lower Water Street) hosts the all-ages outdoor East Coast Music Awards Kick-Off Concert. This free show features some of Atlantic Canada’s top musical talents.

Q: What Halifax-area spot do you recommend for a relaxed weekend brunch?
A: 
My favourite go-to spot for brunch is usually Robie Street Station. Since 2014 it’s been serving a great all-day breakfast and brunch. My favourite dish is the Remedy: two eggs with potatoes and a biscuit, plus your choice of pork belly, bacon, pulled pork, or fruit. It’s a great start to your day!

Q: What’s your pick for a lively night on the town with friends?
A: 
Well that would be Durty Nelly’s, especially when there’s live music. In the heart of the downtown (and just steps from the Nova Centre and Scotiabank Centre), this Irish pub is a great spot to have a few drinks, have a laugh, and meet some new friends. The menu features burgers, wings, nachos, and Irish-pub favourites like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, and curry.

Q: Where do you suggest for a romantic dinner for two?
A: 
For a romantic dinner, I would always recommend Gio at the Prince George Hotel on Market Street. Don’t think of it as a hotel restaurant; it’s a restaurant with its own identity, a great globally-inspired menu, creative cocktails, comfortable private seating, and top-notch service.

Q: What’s the best thing about May in Halifax?
A: 
The changing weather and then the patios beginning to appear around the downtown core. When the patios and beer gardens open you know summer is just around the corner and the vibe in the city changes, becoming even more upbeat and welcoming.

Q: What’s a great day-trip destination for visitors to Halifax this month?
A: McNabs Island 
is an overlooked gem of a tourist spot for a day trip. Take the Harbour Taxi (harbourtaxi.ca) out to the Island and spend the day on the trails. Kattuk Expeditions (kattukexpeditions.com) offers a popular McNab’s Island Sunset Kayak Tour: you can kayak to the island and then sit, relax, and watch the sunset over chocolate fondue with fresh fruit.

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.

SOUL FOOD

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.

SEASONS CHANGE

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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.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

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.

October Hot Dining

By Janice Hudson

CULINARY KINGSIMG_9887-resized
Held in cities across Canada, the Gold Medal Plates competition showcases top chefs, battling to crown gold, silver and bronze culinary teams. On October 29, eight Nova Scotian chefs will compete in Halifax, including Chef Terry Vassallo of Café Chianti, Chef Bee Choo Char of Gio, and Chef Mark Gray of The Brooklyn Warehouse. Visit www.goldmedalplates.com for tickets.

A TALE TO REMEMBERHall_Sept050017-resized
At Stories, the intimate restaurant located at The Halliburton hotel on Morris Street, Chef Scott Vail’s inspired menu changes with the seasons. His mainstays include local game, lamb, seafood, and housemade charcuterie.

GREEK RENAISSANCEIMG_0865-resized
A staple of Halifax’s West End dining scene for more than 30 years, Athens Restaurant on Quinpool Road boasts a menu of flavourful classic Greek dishes, including lamb souvlaki, moussaka and calamari. The space seats about 150 people and is a popular breakfast spot on the weekends.

BANGKOK CALLINGmango_salad-resized
Baan Thai on Blowers Street has a fresh menu and colourful furnishings from Bangkok. Choose from any number of curries, Pad Thai or a special all-you-can-eat lunch buffet on Fridays. The delicious menu offers spicy noodles, cashew chicken, shrimp cakes and spring rolls, plus much more.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

Photo: Kelly Neil

Photo: Kelly Neil

Chef Andrew Farrell of 2 Doors Down is making his mark on Nova Scotia’s dining scene, creating soulful recipes like deep-fried mac and cheese, and traditional potpie using fresh local ingredients. Find the restaurant in the heart of the downtown on Barrington Street.

TOAST THE GOOD TIMES078A0277-resized
• Downtown on Prince Street, the Old Triangle Irish Alehouse is a large, three-room pub with live entertainment nightly and no cover charge. A great place to relax with friends, the Old Triangle has a classic pub menu and serves weekend brunch.
• Celebrating one year on Halifax’s brewpub scene, Gahan House is a popular destination in the picturesque Historic Properties. Choose from a range of Gahan’s own handcrafted beers on tap, including blueberry ale and Sir John A honey wheat ale.

September Concierge Q&A

Angela-OBrien-byAMacPhotography-webAngela O’Brien is an executive host at Casino Nova Scotia. She graduated from Saint Mary’s University with a Bachelor of Commerce and has a true love for the city of Halifax. She says that being part of Les Clefs d’Or as a professional affiliate has been a great complement to her position.

What’s your favourite spot in Halifax for a romantic dinner for two?

I would have to choose The Prince George Hotel. Their restaurant Gio is an amazing culinary experience and the patio
area at The Level Bar is a great place to relax with a drink after dinner. This patio is a hidden gem in the middle of downtown Halifax. Make sure you order the “Tuk Tuk,” created by their
talented mixologist.

What’s the best place to find a unique Halifax souvenir?

The Uncommon Group have a few locations onthe Halifax Waterfront that have unique Nova Scotia products. Choose from a selection of vintage-logo tees from Lost Cod Clothing to the whiskey glazed Glen Breton Rum Cake at Rum Runners.

What’s the best way to spend a rainy day in Halifax?

I suggest a tour of the newly renovated exhibition at Canada’s Immigration Museum at Pier 21 on the Halifax waterfront. Immerse yourself in the past and experience what it was like to immigrate through Pier 21. Next stop would be the Halifax Central Library with its 180-degree view of downtown. Its unique design and environmentally sustainable five-storey building have been shortlisted for World Building of the Year 2015.

What’s a great spot to experience live entertainment in Halifax?

Neptune Theatre, located downtown Halifax, is the largest professional theatre company in Atlantic Canada. I look
forward to seeing the upcoming performances, especially Great Expectations, when the season opens on September 15.

What’s your favourite spot for a weekend brunch in Halifax?

Edna Restaurant on Gottingen Street knows how to do brunch! They showcase a delicious menu with an emphasis on local ingredients. The space has a cozy, urban feel and the service is friendly and attentive. Very popular and well worth the wait.

September Hot Dining

By Janice Hudson

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LOCAL FLAVOUR
Edna is a vibrant eatery on Gottingen Street that offers a unique dining experience. Showcasing fresh local ingredients like oysters, charcuterie from nearby Ratinaud French Cuisine  and free-range chicken, the menu changes with the seasons. Socialize at the restaurant’s communal harvest dining table that seats 18 and is made of salvaged barn board. Open daily for dinner and weekend brunch, plus late-night tapas from Thursday to Saturday.

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CALLING CARNIVORES
With a private patio for two overlooking the courtyard, Cut Steakhouse on Lower Water Street is ideal for a romantic late-summer meal. One of the city’s finest steak restaurants, Cut matches its premium beef (dry-aged on-site) with an artful wine list, delicious sides, and attentive service. Choose your steak from the rolling display trolley of cuts.

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THE PERFECT PINT
Rockbottom Brewpub’s Wreckoning Russian Imperial Stout won top honours in the Imperial Stout category at this year’s Canadian Brewing Awards. The only East Coast beer to earn a prestigious gold medal at the event, Wreckoning is a dark, small-batch, premium brew that Rockbottom brew master Greg Nash ages in casks for four months to achieve a rich, unique taste. The Spring Garden Road brewpub boasts six eclectic handcrafted brews.

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GOOD TO THE BONE
Southern flavours rule at Boneheads BBQ on Barrington Street. This BBQ joint has all the classics in fine form: brisket, pulled pork, baby-back ribs, all hand-rubbed with special spices and slow-roasted over a low, hardwood-fired grill. Pick from a variety of generous-portioned sides, including coleslaw, baked beans, mac and cheese or spiced hand-cut fries smothered in smoked sausage gravy. Finish things off with a slice of chocolate peanut-butter pie.

Photo: Dennis Evans

Photo: Dennis Evans

CREATIVE COMFORT
Downtown at Gio on Market Street, Chef Bee Choo Char offers an imaginative array of tastes and textures. Try the poutine, featuring polenta fries with duck confit and blue “cheese whiz.” Or the game hen stuffed with leg confit and kimchi. Featuring three mini desserts, the “nibble or bite” is the perfect coda to your meal. Open for lunch and dinner, Gio also offers an extensive bar with a sommelier-chosen wine list, plus inventive cocktails and martinis.

Photo: Julé Malet-Veale

Photo: Julé Malet-Veale

EDITOR’S CHOICE
Agricola Street Brasserie serves up French-inspired home-style cooking that reflects the changing seasons. Chef Ludovic Eveno combines classic culinary techniques from his native France with fresh ingredients sourced from local suppliers and farms. He makes charcuterie, cured meats, sausages, breads, desserts, jams and preserves from scratch. A popular entrée is the roasted duck breast with wild mushrooms, spätzle, cognac and cassis sauce. Save room for a decadent vanilla crème brûlée with house-made Oreo-style cookies.