The secret is out. And it’s something Canada’s Atlantic coast diners have known for years. The Maritime Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, along with Newfoundland and Labrador have caught up with the rest of Canada’s burgeoning culinary fame. Resourceful chefs have mastered making every ingredient count, and it’s all about dedication to quality. Whether you’re exploring the region on a family vacation or you’re a local teaming up with a fellow foodie to discover your new favorite spot, check out some of these top Atlantic Canada restaurants. Not in the area? OpenTable has you covered with more than 50,000 restaurants around the world, including eateries in your city.
Italian By Night, Saint John
Modern kitchen and old-world cooking techniques, a generous and relaxed atmosphere, food that’s pure and sensual – this is how the culinary team describes Italian By Night. This lovingly appointed eatery has old favorites that die-hard Italian cuisine aficionados crave plus a few surprises, like crostini with chicken liver pate, pickled fennel, and candied lemon zest, and agrodolce pizza with white sauce, mozzarella, caramelized apples, chevre, toasted walnuts, and cinnamon sugar. As expected in this region of Canada, there’s a bounty of seafood to garnish the pastas, like the scoglio with scallops, jumbo shrimp, baby clams in the shell, grape tomatoes, pancetta, garlic, white wine, and parsley, along with risotto di mare and scallop penne carbonara. The main course standout among many is the osso bucco di agnello with half-day braised lamb shank, sofrito, tomato-wine sauce, deep-fried polenta fries, garlic wilted greens, and a citrus garlic gremolata. Make a reservation at Italian by Night.
The Ostrich Club, Halifax
The moniker for The Ostrich Club is that it’s a restaurant designed for friends – that’s a good thing since you’ll want to bring a few along as it’s nearly impossible to choose just one dish at this Hydrostone Market locale. Items like miso-glazed oysters, fish cakes, and potato and quail egg stand out, along with squid ink strozzapreti with butter-poached lobster and house sausage, pangrattato, and mint. Moqueca, a Brazilian seafood stew, should be on the list of can’t-miss dishes. The co-owner is a Certified Sommelier, which makes this a favorite among local oenophiles. Make a reservation at The Ostrich Club.
Braxton’s Restaurant at The Algonquin Resort, St. Andrews-by-the-Sea
Braxton’s honors one of the first chefs at The Algonquin from the late 1800s, in the first seaside resort town of St. Andrews, New Brunswick. A previous fire roared through the main building, save the painter wing, kitchen wing, and tower. Today, the indelible spirit of the Algonquin Resort remains in this marvelously remodeled Tudor structure – including cuisine of which George F. Braxton himself would be proud. Starters include tuna tartare, duck carpaccio with sundried cherry compote, and a warm goat cheese tart with tomato chutney and arugula, while notable entrees include salmon, halibut with dill and peach butter, and beef tenderloin with Algonquin rooftop herb potato roesti. Make a reservation at Braxton’s Restaurant at The Algonquin Resort.
Cut Steakhouse, Halifax
For carnivores along the Atlantic coast, the Cut Steakhouse is an irresistible choice for dinner. The steaks are prepared with in-house seasoning and finished under a 1,500-degree broiler. To taste the Angus steak from Brant Lake, Alberta, is to comprehend why Canadians need not look anywhere else for outstanding proteins. And not much makes diners salivate more than bone marrow with kale, parsley, and burnt lemon spread across house sourdough bread or the addictive toasted vanilla tart with foie gras ganache, apple, and sour cherry. Be sure to add a side of bacon fat confit potato to your order. Make a reservation at Cut Steakhouse.
The Watch That Ends the Night, Dartmouth
In what could be the coolest name for any restaurant, The Watch That Ends the Night references the acclaimed Canadian author Hugh MacLennan’s 1959 novel. In the realm of King’s Wharf in Downtown Dartmouth, views of the Halifax skyline and harbor draw new diners, while the cuisine and nearly 200 choices in spirits keep them coming back time and again. The décor in this sizzling hot gathering spot harkens back to mid-century North American hotel lounges with a library feel, along with the soundtrack trained on that fabulous, funky time in history. The cooking staff likes to call The Watch That Ends the Night fare Canadian terroir. That’s apropos considering the varied menu includes borscht made from locally farmed beets, oven-roasted cod, confit chicken, falafel, and pork loin with garlic and herb bread pudding. Make a reservation at The Watch That Ends the Night.
Agricola Street Brasserie, Halifax
Inventive versions of classic favorites take center stage at Agricola Street Brasserie. For example, if you thought you loved risotto before, wait until you try it the Agricola way – past creations have included nasturtium butter, peas, and horseradish risotto, and, most recently, smoked salmon, crispy leeks, fish roe, saffron, and lemon risotto. Confit duck leg with pear, bacon, shallot, currant, and lentils makes the cut as one of regulars’ top entrée choices, while dishes like buta kimchi, Agricola’s signature pork belly, and rotolo with béchamel sauce, zucchini basil cream, and soft yolk are perfect for sharing. Make a reservation at Agricola Street Brasserie.
The Five Fishermen, Halifax
In a tale full of lore and legend, The Five Fishermen Restaurant draws history buffs as much as culinarians. The building dates back to the early 1800s during which it has transformed from schoolhouse to mortuary and now into one of Nova Scotia’s beloved eateries. The Nova Scotia seafood chowder is a must-order along with lobster pot pie, whole grilled fish, spiced pork belly tostada, and the five fish special with green pea risotto. Make a reservation at The Five Fishermen.