Halifax Nova Scotia

Best Food in Dartmouth

The actual title of this post should be: “The Best Food in Halifax is actually in Dartmouth”, but to appease the algorithm I’ve chosen the title before you. The inspiration for this post came to me from my gym coach (Hi Cooper!), who was talking about all of the good food there is in Dartmouth. When I thought about it, I realized that you could make the argument that Downtown Dartmouth alone has the best of all the most crucial categories.

Let’s prove it!

Best Fine Dining: Oxalis

Oxalis recently made #1 in Curated’s 50 Best Places to Eat. The top 50 is based on ratings by a panel of vetted judges, as opposed to popularity contests like The Coast’s Best Of Halifax. Full disclosure: I am one of those judges. And while Oxalis isn’t my personal #1, it is objectively highly executed food from a technical point of view, and also quite creative.

The argument is easily made that the best restaurant in all of Halifax is actually located in Dartmouth.

Best Fish ‘n Chips: Evan’s Fresh Seafoods

Whenever someone asks me where to find good seafood in Halifax, I always tell them to go to Dartmouth. Just a ferry ride across the harbour will land you in Aldnerney Landing, where you’ll find Evan’s Fresh Seafoods.

Every element of this fish and chips is perfect, and I always recommend it without hesitation. It also happens to be gluten-free, making it the best gluten-free fish and chips in Halifax.

It is also worth noting that all of the best views of Halifax are in Dartmouth – and Evan’s has a great vantage point right on the waterfront.

Best Seafood Chowder: The Canteen

The other restaurant I always recommend for seafood is The Canteen, which has a chowder with a nice light (gluten-free) broth thickened only by the starch from the potatoes. It is zipped up with leeks, celery, fresh dill and lemon zest. For depth it’s got double smoked bacon, and then it’s chock full of smoked and fresh haddock, scallops, lobster and mussels. That tea biscuit isn’t joking around, either.

Best Lobster Roll: The Canteen

The Crobster Roll is legendary. Cape Breton snow crab and lobster combined in a creamy truffle aioli with mustard seed and dill jammed into a toasted bun. This item is somewhat seasonal/occasional but it’s on the lunch and dinner menu right now!

Best Burger: Side Hustle Snack Bar

Smash Burgers are all the rage right now and there is no better rendition than the Smashie at Side Hustle. They keep it simple: double patties, double cheese, burger sauce and pickles. It is simply the best.

Good burgers can also be found at Battery Park and The Canteen. There is no shortage of good burgers in Dartmouth!

Best Sushi: Doraku

Doraku Dartmouth is the best sushi in Halifax and it’s not even close. Last year I wrote the story of Shuji Manabe for Curated Magazine, but since then he has sadly passed away. The reigns fell to his protégé, Erika, who continues his craft of the most delicate warm rice and quality seafood.

Best Pizza: Yeah Yeahs

Yeah Yeahs specializes in New York-style pizzas, and their slices are some of the best in the city. Of course, we could argue for days about who actually makes the best pizza in the entire HRM, but downtown Dartmouth birthed this amazing contender (which will soon have a location in the new 2 Crows Oxford St. taproom).

Downtown Dartmouth is also home to Jacob’s Lounge, which makes a very decent pub pizza with its own following.

Best Ramen: Buta Ramen

The Dartmouth location of Buta Ramen is temporarily closed, but I’ll include it here in anticipation of its reopening. Sure, Buta’s original location is in downtown Halifax (and there is one in Bedford), and sure, you could argue that Truly Tasty is better, but Buta Ramen offers a more typical ramen experience, offering a solid creamy tonkotsu and the unqiue Nagasaki Champon (pork broth with seafood and pork belly).

Best Cocktails and Oysters: Dear Friend

You know the cocktails are good when the place is run by The Clever Barkeep!

Oyster Happy Hour is every day from 4pm-5pm, but the food is delicious and the menu is inspired, and you won’t be able to stop at oysters. For $75 you can enjoy a tasting menu for two.

Best Donair: Revana Pizza

This is a highly contested category, but I think you could at least make a case for Revana having one of the best donairs in the city. This pizza shop also has an interesting history (which you can read about in my book: Book of Donair). And the best part about it? It’s attached to Whiskeys, a lovely dive bar, so you can order your donair plated with a side of beer.

Best Dive Bar: Staggers Pub

Downtown Dartmouth has a few dives and dive(ish) bars, if you are so inclined to frequent such places (I personally love a good dive bar). But one of my favourite dive bars in the city is the wonderful Staggers Pub. The food is above average (just look at those hand-cut fries) and the owner, Debbie, is a wonderful human being. Staggers is home to live entertainment, from cover bands to drag shows, and they prepare free Christmas dinners every year for those in need.

Best Chicken Wings: Jacob’s Lounge

Photo courtesy of Halifax Wingman

It’s tough to find a chicken wing that is head and shoulders above the rest, but Jacob’s Lounge is known to have some of the best in the city. Between the pizza and the wings here, you certainly can’t go wrong!

Best Cider: Lake City Cider

Photo from Lake City Cider Instagram

Technically cider is not a food but it’s made out of apples so it’s close enough! I find Lake City has a mastery of balance, mouthfeel, acidity and dryness. For me, it’s the perfect cider. My favourite is the Vanilla!


Well, there you have it! I think I’ve made a pretty good case that the best food in Dartmouth is the best food in Halifax! There are a few other places I could have mentioned like Two If By Sea for croissants (controversial!), Maria’s Pantry for pasta, Cafe Good Luck for coffeeshops, Portland Street Crêperie for crêpes, Battery Park for nachos (I haven’t tried these yet!), The Vines for Caesar salad and the amazing Humble Pie (for New Zealand style pot pies).

And that’s just downtown Dartmouth!

What do you think is the best food in Dartmouth? Let me know in the comments!

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