We hadn’t been in Nova Scotia for longer than a week when we started getting good recommendations for restaurants — from the local RCMP constable no less…! As soon as we were out on the street, we were off to try all they had to offer — and we developed this list of our favourites pretty quickly!
The Crow’s Nest at Hillsburn
The first restaurant we heard about was the Crow’s Nest — it can be a popular place, so make sure you call for reservations just to be sure. Although it’s a bit off the beaten path near Granville Ferry, the food is certainly worth it and the views you get on the way there of the Bay of Fundy are amazing too.
The Crow’s Nest has a take-out window, a nautical themed small-ish (but comfortable) sit-in dining room, and a souvenir shop with local Nova Scotia oriented gifts.
I’ve had their seafood chowder a couple of times and it’s well worth it — a bowl of it fair fills you up and you may or may not need an entree afterwards. Jackie had the haddock, which came lightly breaded with a foil-wrapped baked potato and veggies and cole slaw. The price for both of us (including tax) ranged from $45 to $85 — our Valentine’s dinner was the most expensive of our three visits!.
Fort Anne Cafe & the Annapolis Brewing Company
As new Nova Scotians, we initially explored the province close to our temporary accommodations. The historic town of Annapolis Royal is the location of our next favourite restaurant, the Fort Anne Cafe, just across the street from historic Fort Anne.
It’s a smaller restaurant with four booths and a few tables as well as a music-themed decor. What really got our attention was the fish dinner — lots of fish on the plate and just the right amount of light batter. For $10 a plate it was a good dinner and just what this tight Scotsman likes to order.
The other great thing about the Cafe is that you can either eat in the small dining room or Jeff will bring your food next door to the larger hall of the Annapolis Brewing Company. Craft beer or cider with your fish dinner is just what the doctor ordered! They also have t-shirts, glasses, hats, and growler bottles to fill up with your favorite cider and take it home!
We’ve been to the Fort Anne Cafe several times since then and the food and service is consistently good and an affordable price. Jeff and the Fort Anne Cafe are definitely on our favourites list.
Caught in the middle of a February blizzard while house-hunting, we stayed at the Best Western hotel in Bridgewater. Stuck in the hotel for the night, we had dinner at the in-house restaurant, 27 South, which turned out to be a hidden gem.
The melt-in-your-mouth pot roast is a local legend, served with veggies and small roasted potatoes. I often have their seafood chowder as well — it’s the only one I’ve had so far that has mussels-in-the-shell mixed with large chunks of lobster, shrimp, fish, and scallops bathed in a lighter broth.
Dinner for two will set you back anywhere from $50 to $90 (including taxes and tip), depending on what you order and the drinks you have with dinner.
The Bayport Pub
Nestled in the peaceful, quiet countryside between Lunenburg and LaHave, the Bayport Pub offers indoor and outdoor dining. Their varied menu includes vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options as well as Nova Scotia pub fare. They have a kids’ menu and are family friendly.
They also serve both local craft beer and well-known national beer brands and some of our favourite ciders.
We found that It’s best to have a reservation since once the warmer weather arrived, we weren’t able to get a table (inside OR outside) without one.
I had the creamy and chunky seafood chowder, hot chocolate, and creme brûlée for dessert. Jackie had fish and chips the first time and the All-about-the-meat Naan Pizza the second time. Dinner for the two of us, including tax and tip, was around $60 including the dessert and a cider.
The Chowder House Cafe
Close to the shores of the Northumberland Strait that runs between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island (PEI), Tatamagouche (Tata-Ma-Gooch) is a small town with big ambitions. We’d seen several YouTube videos of the town, including one of a hotel that features rooms made from railway cars! The main street is short but packed with shops and made for tourists.
I’m always on the lookout for a good seafood chowder and I spied a restaurant called the Chowder House Cafe. We didn’t need a reservation but I think we were lucky as it was rather busy.
It has both indoor and outdoor seating, which is private and largely sheltered from the traffic of the street. The seafood chowder was all seafood (clams, shrimp, scallops, and fish) and no potato, seasoned perfectly, and served with warm bread. The broth is a little creamy but not overly so and enough seafood to keep me full until dinner time.
I’m rating this chowder as my favorite so far. YUM! 🙂
Paddy’s Brew Pub
Paddy’s Brew Pub is an Annapolis Valley restaurant in Wolfville, a university town with a noticeably younger average age than we’re used to. We met friends for lunch, but missed the live music in the evenings – so it will be worth another visit.
You can make reservations online (although we arrived at noon and didn’t need one) and they have a newsletter to keep you up on what music is scheduled, menu changes, their brewery, and special offers.
They have an extensive menu with some Irish/Celtic fare but lots of traditional food as well.
Their chowder is pure seafood (lobster, haddock, scallop and shrimp) — not a trace of a potato anywhere which is something I like. Jackie had the French toast, always a favourite of hers. Our lunch for two with tax and tip came in around $40.
Of course, we’ll continue to enjoy new restaurants as we travel around the province more and more — so check back and I’ll continue to add to this list!