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The Canteen

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.

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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.

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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.

May Hot Dining

By Janice Hudson

BEST IN BEAN

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•A favourite place for downtown coffee aficionados, The Trident on Hollis Street roasts its beans on-site, offering an array of hot drinks, loose tea and pastries. After you recharge, browse the eclectic mix of used books.

•Veteran coffeehouse Java Blend on North Street has been in the bean business since 1938 and roasts all of its coffee on-site. Unique coffee memorabilia and an old (but still working) coffee roaster add to the cozy, laid-back feel of the café.

•In Dartmouth, Two if by Sea Café is the go-to spot for coffee fiends, offering not just fabulous coffee but also indulgent fresh-baked croissants that can stand in for a meal. The café has a second location on the Halifax side in the Historic Properties near the Halifax Transit ferry terminal.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

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Offering French-inspired cuisine, Bistro le Coq on Argyle Street has the atmosphere of a Parisian bistro, with an ornate tin ceiling, elegant artwork and plush booths. Service en français is always available. Choose from tasty French classics like steak frites and glazed duck. There’s an extensive list of wines, with many served by the glass (including champagne). For dessert, try the layered Nutella crêpe cake.

SAVOUR SPRING

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The brainchild of award-winning Chef Renée Lavallée, The Canteen on Ochterloney Street in Dartmouth serves up flavourful sandwiches, salads and take-out dinners. Lavallée changes the menu daily to highlight fresh local ingredients. Breadmaster Jessica Best bakes all the bread on-site, including tasty gluten-free options.

SPLASH OF LIFE

Photo: Janice Hudson

Photo: Janice Hudson

A newcomer on Halifax’s vibrant diner scene, Robie Street Station has become the it-spot in Central Halifax for all-day breakfast and comfort food with a global twist. Colourful murals and local artwork decorate the charming eatery, located near the Halifax Common on Robie Street. Hit up Robie Street Express next door for a coffee and fresh baked-goods to go.

IN VINO VERITAS

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A stylish yet intimate space, Obladee on Barrington Street offers a range of stellar, hand-chosen wines, including special local vintages. Try the monthly cellar wine special: staff uncork top red and white vintages for customers to enjoy by the glass. Pair your choice with charcuterie from the local artisanal producers.