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The Best Restaurants in Dartmouth

Take the ferry from Halifax for a taste of Dartmouth’s dining scene, from local craft beer and fried clams to New Zealand pies and French-inspired cuisine.

The Canteen on Portland Street

Photo: Doug Townsend

The Canteen on Portland Street

For French-inspired fare

Chef Renée Lavallée serves up classic dishes made with local ingredients in a dining room, lined with shelves of knickknacks and cookbooks. Start your meal with the Canteen Chowder, made with bacon and Nova Scotia seafood, including smoked haddock, mussels, lobster and scallops. For the main course, try the grilled steak of the day, served with Bernaise sauce and hand-cut fries. The wine list focuses on Nova Scotia vineyards like Blomidon Estate Winery, while the province’s breweries dominate the taps. North Brewing created a special beer for Lavallée, the dry-hopped sour White Lightning.

22 Portland Street, 902-425-9272,

John’s Lunch

For fried clams

Praised across the country for its fish and chips, John’s Lunch is also the place to go for tender whole clams. Served with slaw and fries, the clams are lightly floured and fried. The place fills up quickly, so grab a spot at the counter if the five booths are taken.

352 Pleasant Street, 902-469-3074,

Il Trullo

Photo: Kelly Neil

Il Trullo

For alfresco harbour dining

Located on the ground floor of the waterfront’s Aqua Vista building, the 50-seat patio provides 180-degree views of McNabs Island and the harbour’s countless sailboats and ferries. The patio, which gets plenty of sun, is equipped with umbrellas, as well as glass partitions to block the wind off the harbour. Enjoy a glass of Rivera Bombino Bianco from Apulia or the Cheeky Rose cocktail, made with gin, prosecco, rosemary syrup and lemon juice. The thin-crust, Roman-style Il Trullo pizza – topped with housemade fennel sausage, salami, mozzarella, chili and lavender honey – comes highly recommended.

67 Kings Wharf Pl. #102, 902-461-2030,

Humble Pie Kitchen

For New Zealand-style pies

Using local ingredients and a secret puff pastry recipe, Humble Pie Kitchen brings savoury New Zealand-style single-serving pies to Nova Scotia. Pop in to their casual shop for the Steak and Cheese, filled with local free-range beef from Withrow’s Farm, or the All Day Breakfast pie, made with eggs, Sweet William’s Country Sausage and double-smoked bacon from Vessel Meats. Take it to go (Kiwis, including co-owner Mike Noakes, eat them like sandwiches) or grab one of the restaurant’s twelve seats. Pair your pie with a local soda, like Propeller’s ginger beer.

77 King Street, 902-431-0444,

Portland Street Crêperie

Portland Street Crêperie

For handmade crêpes

Working four griddles, Dartmouth native Neil Cook and his son Max make sweet and savoury crêpes for dedicated regulars who often form a line out the door. Working with local suppliers, the Cooks’ serve classics like Lemon Sugar, along with locally inspired combinations, like the Donair, made with donair meat from Antigonish. The Bon Matin with bacon, egg, cheddar cheese and roasted garlic aioli is a best seller, and Neil suggests first timers try the Flatliner for its peanut butter, bacon and banana filling. Take yours to go or eat in at one of the simple wood tables.

55 Portland Street, 902-466-7686,

New Scotland Yard Emporium

For coffee and vinyl records

There’s a lot going on in Dartmouth rocker Joel Plaskett’s New Scotland Yard Emporium, from a recording studio to a café, which serves drinks made with beans from Toronto’s Propeller Coffee and local Java Blend Coffee. (The eclectic playlist varies from blues and free jazz to Lou Reed.) The building also houses Elk's Haircutting and an outlet of Taz Records.

45 Portland Street, 902-407-3899,

Battery Park

Photo: Doug Townsend

Battery Park

For Nova Scotian beers

This casual eatery has 20 rotating taps showcasing Nova Scotia microbreweries, like Tatamagouche Brewing Company and Big Spruce Brewing, as well as local nano breweries like Brightwood Brewery, located two kilometres away. Don’t miss chef Mark Gary’s Notorious Biggie Smalls sharing board, featuring housemade preserves and pickles, east coast cheeses and cured meats. Grab a spot at one of the back patio’s communal picnic tables and don’t leave without buying a growler from the North Brewing Store on the mezzanine.

62 Ochterloney St., 902-446-2337, batterypark.cas


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