Friday, May 31, 2013

The Feisty Chef Shacks up

Blowing boardwalk food out of the water with fresh oysters, mussels, lobster rolls and chowder

Posted By on Fri, May 31, 2013 at 11:30 AM


Holy shuck, the waterfront's newest seafood hut is open!

Now, I know what you’re thinking, "Another one? Really?". But I can assure you this isn't your average fish and chips stand. Started by the Feisty Chef herself, Renée Lavallée, along with fish fanatic Nicholas Budreski, The Shack Oyster Bar (Queen's Wharf, Halifax Waterfront) offers raw oysters, chowder, mussels, scallops and a lobster roll that will make you re-consider every McLobster you’ve ever consumed (if you weren't already doing that). Most importantly, all of the seafood comes straight out of Nova Scotian waters—this is fresh shellfish at its best.

“We want to bring something fresh, local and sustainable to the waterfront. You can get fish but you’re getting it deep fried," says Lavallée. "We wanted to do something so that people coming from downtown offices could come down and get a pound of mussels and homemade lemonade or a bowl of chowder and not feel gross afterwards."

The Shack will be open on sunny days (like today!) from now until October. Dig in!

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dartmouth gets a slice of Big Life

The veteran whole food bakery has got itself a space on Portland Street

Posted By on Wed, May 29, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Big Life pizza will do you and your tummy good
  • Big Life pizza will do you and your tummy good

Soon, you’ll be able to get baked on Portland Street. John Dalton, owner and president of Big Life Whole Foods, has been selling healthy and delicious baked goods from the Historic Farmer’s Market every Saturday since 1995 and now the little bakery that could is opening a new, permanent location in downtown Dartmouth.

Big Life uses an organic porridge made of brown rice, millet, rye, oats and barley as the base of almost everything they make. This mixture makes their buns and bread soft, easily digestible and not to mention tasty. The bakery also offers seven signature pizzas, soup, pancakes, seitan sandwiches and cinnamon buns. And the majority of the ingredients and supplies used are locally sourced.

The Portland Street location will have 20 seats for hungry visitors and will offer staple items on the menu, along with some new options. Even with this new restaurant, the bakery will still be staying true to their roots and selling at the market. And Big Life is also opening a booth at the Alderney Landing Farmers' Market, truly taking the Dartmouth by storm.

While there's not an exact date for Big Life's opening at 84 Portland Street, Dalton estimates it'll be within the first week of July. In the meantime you can still enjoy macrobiotic treats at locations like The Wooden Monkey, Morris East, Planet Organic, Coburg Coffee and Steve-O-Reno’s. You can also place an order by calling 444-3830 or by emailing

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Presenting, the 12th annual Best of Food Awards

Hungry for the results? Find 'em here.

Posted By on Thu, May 23, 2013 at 10:23 AM


Oh, hi everyone. Happy Thursday. And Happy Best of Food day! You dined and dished on your favourite bars and restos in town, and after much tabulating we're serving up the results. Old reliables! Big upsets! Major meal inspiration!

Find it all HERE.

Thanks again for voting, Halifax. You've got great taste.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Back Stage Pizza passes

Pizza at the Marquee! Pizza at the Marquee!

Posted By on Wed, May 22, 2013 at 5:36 PM

With The Marquee Ballroom (2037 Gottingen Street) re-opening it only makes sense that its pizza is making a comeback, too. So, we present to you—Back Stage Pizza , now serving up 18-inch, extra-large pizzas for $15. You can pick up these bad boys on Friday and Saturday nights for now, but soon Back Stage will have pizza seven days a week. And even better? Co-owner Todd Matheson (who works in tandem with Brock Unger) says Backstage Pizza will also have personal pizzas available in the near future.

How does it work? Place your order by calling 444-4234 or using social media and pick up your pizza at the backdoor of the Marquee. Next steps? Enjoy. Tell friends. Repeat.

What a delicious encore to the Marquee’s re-opening.

Let's celebrate, shall we?

Thanks to Gif Editor, Michaela Cavanagh, for endless inspiration.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hideaway Pub & Grille closes

A hard Halifax winter and disappointing numbers seal the deal

Posted By on Tue, May 21, 2013 at 5:28 PM

The Hideaway signs off
  • The Hideaway signs off

John Mihelcic and Hope Francis, owners of 5677 Brenton Place's The Hideaway Pub & Grille, announced today via Facebook that their cozy, downtown hangout had closed.

Citing a "harsh reality of Halifax in the winter" and the "lack of regular patrons" as the main problems the Hideaway faced since opening, it was financial strain that forced the resto's owners to make the tough call in the end. The Hideaway Pub & Grille opened in the former Cellar Bar and Grill in November.

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Friday, May 17, 2013

The Shoe Shop's 18

Another Argyle anniversary!

Posted By on Fri, May 17, 2013 at 11:13 AM


Today, one of Halifax's most iconic bars and Best of Halifax Hall of Famer, the Economy Shoe Shop (1663 Argyle Street), is celebrating 18 years in the business of great drinks, great nachos and an atmosphere that keeps people coming back (or maybe keeps them from leaving). To celebrate the occasion, from 11:30am—just in time for your lunch break—until 2am there'll be live music all day and toasts every hour on the hour, because why not?

Happy birthday to you, Shoe Shop!

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hamachi Dartmouth closes

The economy gets in the way of good sushi

Posted By on Wed, May 15, 2013 at 5:08 PM


Sayonara to Hamachi Grill & Sushi House (644 Portland Street, 444-4688). After five years, the Dartmouth location is closed, Teppanyaki table and all.

The restaurant is shutting down due to issues with the current economic situation. Hamachi’s loyal following can rest assured the four locations in Halifax and Bedford South will remain open and Teppanyaki dining is available at their waterfront Bishop’s Landing restaurant.

In addition, the staff customers have known to love will be transferred to other Hamachi restaurants.

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Five alive—Happy anniversary, The Carleton

Argyle Street's historic spot for food and music has reason to celebrate

Posted By on Wed, May 15, 2013 at 11:45 AM

The corner of Prince and Argyle Streets, now home to the The Carleton Music Bar & Grill (1685 Argyle Street, 422-6335), has always been a prime piece of real estate. Halifax’s first governor Sir Richard Bulkeley, a known entertainer, chose this spot to build his mansion. and the doors were officially opened in 1760 to a plethora of guests including Prince Edward and Sir Guy Carleton, the then Governor General of Canada who Bulkeley decided to name his house after.

The Carleton House became a lot more musical when Mike Campbell and Mike Rhodes opened its oak doors once again in the spring of 2008. The goal of entertaining remained but this time the co-owners had a vision of a hybrid music venue-restaurant.

It’s safe to say that their vision has been realized because the establishment has hosted approximately 1,000 nights and counting of not only intimate music but also great food and drinks. Plus, the proof is in the hardware—it's won two ECMAs and four Nova Scotia Music Awards in a row, all for Venue of the Year. Amd this month marks the fifth anniversary of the bar.

Musicians and patrons alike have made many memories at The Carleton since its rebirth in 2008. It was admittedly hard for Campbell to choose a favourite memory out of so many from his five years, but he puts Lloyd Cole's performance at the Halifax Urban Folk Festival at the top of the list. This was a ‘holy shit moment’ for Campbell because when he worked at MuchMusic, where he met current business partner Rhodes, Cole was on constant rotation.

As for the next five years, the owner hopes that the bar will live long enough to earn legendary status like Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern, his self-proclaimed second home while he lived in the city. “I want to see us at the forefront of a burgeoning live music scene in Halifax. I want to see a resurgence of it,” says Campbell of the future. “I’d like to be able to provide a space where people trust that even if they don’t know who is on stage, they know it will be great.”

In true Carleton fashion, they are celebrating with a two week long series of concerts (check out Aidan Knight and co. TONIGHT) that'll conclude with Three Sheet and Anna Ludlow on May 17. Get your tickets either online or at the door and join in on the party.

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Parkside Pub's smoke show

The Dartmouth hangout welcomes a new menu, and a new smoker

Posted By on Wed, May 15, 2013 at 11:05 AM

Goodbye Parkside Pub & Grill, hello Parkside Pub & Smokehouse (14 Highfield Drive, 464-1310). The Dartmouth pub is switching its name, and its menu, and installing smokers this week. The new selection will feature a brunch and a series of smokehouse favourites including ribs, brisket, pulled pork as well as a new pasta selection and homemade desserts. 

Why the change? Why not!  “We’ve been thinking about it for a while and there’s quite a demand for that kind of stuff, so we tested the market and everyone was overwhelmed so we decided to go full blast with it,” says owner Dan Latter. He's particularly enthusiastic about the new chicken poutine, which he says people are coming in more then once a week to enjoy. Uh, yum!

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Cafe Chianti's quarter century

It's been a long and winding road, but this resto's stronger than ever

Posted By on Wed, May 15, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Happy patio peeps at Chianti
  • Happy patio peeps at Chianti

The end of May marks 25 years of Café Chianti (1245 Barrington Street, 423-7471) and the restaurant is launching a new menu to celebrate!

With a new chef, Terry Vassallo (who formerly wowed at Lunenburg eatery Trattoria Della Nonna) and 25 new items on their menu, Café Chianti is celebrating its quarter-decade anniversary quietly but in a way that definitely won’t disappoint its loyal customers.

The restaurant has remained open despite being put out of business temporarily —and almost closing for good— after a fire in January 2010. It was because of encouragement from loyal customers, Café Chianti moved around the corner and it has all been downhill from there.

“It put so much stress on us that we were thinking of not opening but we got so many calls from our customers encouraging us, I guess we are a part of the neighbourhood, and people sent us letters of encouragement and we decided to give it one more try,” says Jan Wicha, the resto's owner.

Chiani’s food, which Wicha describes as combining Eastern European cuisine with a little bit of Italian influence, is going to be a little more “mainstream Italian” now.

Additions to the menu include homemade gnocchi made with spinach and potato pasta, raviolis made with roasted butternut squash, grilled leeks and marsceponi with lobster sage and brown butter cream, steak, and of course, seafood. Vassallo’s also a pizza expert who will be bringing pizza to Café Chianti with flat thin dough and fresh ingredients.

Wicha says he thinks one of the keys to their success has been appealing to Halifax’s Eastern European population, as the homemade food is a tasty reminder of their roots. Adding that even the pasta and bread are made on the premises. With all that deliciousness, let’s hope for 25 more years of Café Chianti.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Light it up at Mary's Place Café II

Hookah, boardgames and a new menu

Posted By on Tue, May 14, 2013 at 9:55 AM

Mary’s Place Café II (5982 Spring Garden Road) is smoking! Well, hookah, that is.

The downtown Middle Eastern restaurant now offers hookah from 7pm until midnight every night and there’s a new menu for hookah hours, which includes falafel wraps, chicken shawarma and dips like hummus, baba ghanoush and more. To smoke a hookah, it’s 10 dollars and after that, it’s only five to “change a head” (to refill the shisha, essentially). All you have to do is order some food, even if it’s just an appetizer, pick your flavour and start inhaling. The flavours available currently are double apple, grape, guava, cherry, mango and even more. And the fun doesn’t stop there; Mary’s also has backgammon and card games to entertain during hookah hours.

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Let's get Wild Leek

Three cheers for vegan food coming to the west end, SOON!

Posted By on Fri, May 10, 2013 at 1:59 PM

Coming soon, to a mouth near you
  • Coming soon, to a mouth near you

Local vegans (and hungry people in general, for that matter) prepare to say many thank-yous to Kirsten Taggart. By the end of May, your life (and diet) will be a lot greater thanks to her.

She’s the brains, and culinary skills behind the Wild Leek Food & Juice Bar (2156 Windsor Street, 210-5335) the vegan restaurant that’s in the process of taking over the former Gracious Indian’s space, brightening things up with a bright green coat of paint. After studying culinary arts, and working with many styles of food, in many cities across the country, Taggart moved to Nova Scotia five years ago, around the same time she went vegan. Her realization of her lifestyle-meets-work dream is the Wild Leek, offering a fully vegan menu, daily specials, quiches, soups breakfast burritos and fresh juices and smoothies. This resto isn’t just aimed at vegans, but good food lovers. “You don't have to be vegan to eat vegan food. It’s just about the experience of trying something new and fresh,” says Taggart who’ll offer cooking classes as well as her seasonally inspired menu, and a wall of urban art that'll change monthly. "Community is very important to me, and since I moved here it is what drives me to invite others to share my space and love."

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Keith's can-do attitude

Posted By on Thu, May 9, 2013 at 2:19 PM

Loyal Keith’s and Oland drinkers may be wondering why there have been fewer cans then normal at the liquor store. Oland Brewery’s can line was down at the end of April which delayed production for a while.

 “We have been working to rebuild our supply of beer,” says Wade Keller, spokesperson for Oland. “Several brands were affected, but we are now caught up and cans are being shipped to liquor stores.  In places where there was a shortage, that should be resolved by now, or will be resolved shortly."

Keller says the machinery took longer to fix than usual but the problem has now been solved.

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Cool Karachi

New Pakistani eats in Fairview

Posted By on Thu, May 9, 2013 at 12:55 PM


We love it when a restaurant pops up and really fills a void in the food scene. The newbie Cafe Karachi (16 Titus Street, 431-4949) is doing just that, serving fresh, home-cooked Pakistani and Indian cuisine. This Sunday (May 12, 10am-2pm) Karachi’s cooking up a centuries-old, traditional Pakistani “lazy breakfast” that’ll feature national dishes, plus classics like kebabs and tikkas. Pairing laziness and tasty eats? You don’t have to ask us twice.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Flipburger hits Argyle

Clayton Park's beefy burger joint to open a second location downtown

Posted By on Tue, May 7, 2013 at 6:27 PM

Flipburger Argyle will look a lot like this one
  • Flipburger Argyle will look a lot like this one

The burger mania continues! If you didn’t think there were enough burger places in Halifax, then you’ll be happy to know Flipburger is opening a new location downtown. Owner Chris Tzaneteas says it is set to open some time between the middle and end of June.

Fans of the Clayton Park burger haven will be able to enjoy burgers flipped and served from the corner of Argyle and Blowers streets (1565 Argyle to be exact), exactly where Tzaneteas’ former restaurant Ela! Greek Taverna (which closed in November) dazzled for years. The new location will be similar to its Clayton Park twin and will be self-serving, but will cater to the downtown crowd and stay open late—Tzaneteas says around midnight most nights, and 2am Thursday through Saturday—and, get this, it will have a liquor license.

“I think it will do tremendously, I’m feeling optimistic about downtown these days,” says Tzaneteas. And boy, is that refreshing to hear.

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In Print This Week

Vol 27, No 16
September 12, 2019

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