Thanks to ideal ocean climate, tidal patterns, clean water, and sustainable farming, Prince Edward Island is the biggest producer of mussels in North America. PEI is a province in the Canadian Maritimes and, in addition to those mussels, it is also famously known for being the inspiration for the classic novel Anne of Green Gables. These Prince Edward Island restaurants for PEI mussels have helped put the region and its beloved bivalves on the culinary map.
Red Shores Racetrack & Casino-Top of the Park, Charlottetown
You’ll always find local fare at the buffet here, including those PEI mussels. The fresh mussels (which are delivered daily for the buffet) are cooked with a crisp white wine, shallots, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper — and hothouse peppers and green onion are finishing touches. A three-tiered dining room, you’ll have views of all the action from any table. Pan rolls are also on the buffet, the perfect pairing to soak up the goodness. Make a reservation at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino-Top of the Park.
FiveEleven West, Summerside
PEI mussels represent at this hip and cozy spot with a walnut and birch bar. The mussels are steamed in white wine with roasted garlic, carrot, celery, and onion and punctuated with a pinch of fresh herbs, butter, and lemon. And PEI clams are also on the menu. Keeping it local: sip a rhubarb and gin tonic made with PEI rhubarb syrup or a craft brew from PEI Brewing Company. Make a reservation at Five Eleven West.
The Pearl Eatery, North Rustico
A gem on the north shore of PEI, the restaurant is a looker with original artwork, chocolate leather chairs, an eclectic collection of tables, and an on-site garden where herbs and edible flowers thrive. The mussels are, of course, local and dazzle with roasted garlic, double-smoked bacon, Upstreet Commons Pilsner, and cream. You’ll also find those mussels in the Seafood Hodge Podge — a bisque with lobster, scallops, mussels, halibut, and clams. Make a reservation at The Pearl Eatery.
The Inn at St. Peters, St. Peters Bay
Locals and in-the-know visitors make sure to come for lunch Wednesday through Sunday so they can order the local PEI mussels. The bivalves are served in a white wine and garlic sauce. Why mess with a good thing? Diners also know that the St. Peters Bay views from the expansive windows make it hard to leave at the end of the meal — kinda like pulling mussels from the shell. Make a reservation at The Inn at St. Peters.
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Laurie Bain Wilson is a Boston-based journalist, author, and essayist who writes often about travel, food, and baseball. Find her on Twitter @laurieheather.