Unlike my trip to Montreal last summer, I didn’t have a long list of restaurants to try when I went to Halifax.
Unfortunately, there are far fewer online travel guides to Halifax and the local library didn’t have any books–I was left with a few brief recommendations from connections on Twitter. The number one recommendation I received was to go to the farmer’s market, which was my favorite stop on the short tour.
My first restaurant meal was on Argyle St., which is the center of Halifax’s nightlife along with Grafton St., before heading for a tour of the Citadel. I stopped in Economy Shoe Shop, which was mentioned in a few online guides as a trendy bar with rather eclectic decor. As I had been walking about in the sun, I really just wanted a light meal, so I ordered artichoke crab cakes that came on a bed of chopped mango. I later spoke with some locals who didn’t seem to like the food at Economy Shoe Shop, but I defended my order–the balance of flavors between the crab and artichoke was great, and it was enhanced by the mango. There wasn’t too much else on the menu that appealed to me, but those crab cakes were well worth stopping in.
On my search for dinner, I passed by a barbecue joint, Boneheads, just down the street from where I stayed. I figured since it was early, I could get a little barbecue before walking further downtown to find a bigger dinner. How could I go wrong with a pulled pork sandwich for $5? It was tender and smoky, and had great barbecue sauce (they have a few varieties; I chose the spicy). It was also much more food than I expected. I liked that Boneheads is a no-frills restaurant–a walk-up counter and a few tables–with friendly staff ready to help you order.
Being stuffed from the unexpectedly large sandwich, I attempted to walk off my early dinner as I searched for drinks and nightlife. I passed by plenty of restaurants that had interesting menus, but I just couldn’t eat anything else for a while. I stopped in The Wooden Monkey for a couple drinks–they served half-pints, which made it easier to try a variety of beers that included Garrison imperial pale ale with a sharp citrus hop flavor. The bartender helped me plan out the next day to include the Canada Day parade, of which I only caught the tail end.
After peeking into various bars, I found Maxwell’s Plum, which had a large crowd, outdoor seating, and a nice selection of beer at relatively cheap prices (alcohol is taxed significantly in Canada). After talking with some local university students, I decided it was time to eat a bit more. The bar served 1 1/2 pounds of mussels steamed in white wine for $5 ($3 on Sundays), and these were the freshest mussels I’ve ever had. It went well with my personal pitcher of Propeller porter, which had a great rich malt and a hint of coffee.
From Maxwell’s Plum, I headed out in the direction of my Airbnb accommodation, stopping in a few bars along the way in search of new beers and more friendly locals.