Go upscale: Fine dining in Halifax

While dining has been trending towards casual in the last few years, there are those who still like a fine-dining establishment. Thankfully, Halifax still has plenty of restaurants where the service and the atmosphere are relaxed and elegant. But the options also abound for those who don't need white table cloths but still want their food top-notch. Whatever you’re looking for, Halifax has your fine-dining needs covered.

The Press Gang

5218 Prince St, Halifax, NS B3J 0B1

At the Press Gang, if you take the time with them, they take the time with you: when something is missing from the menu – an old favourite, perhaps – make a comment and it will often appear beside your main in a new variation. The wood-beamed ceiling and rock walls make you feel like you're back in 18th-century Halifax, when the space was a pub where sailors got "press ganged" (look it up). They are famous for their Maritimes-sourced oyster bar here but everything from the lamb to the duck to the cod is worth the (sometimes steep) price.

Field Guide

2076 Gottingen, Halifax, NS B3K 3A9

Field Guide is known for their frequently changing, locally inspired menu, their inventive cocktail offerings and for being part of the new Gottingen Street food wave. This isn't white-tablecloth fine dining, but gourmet cuisine in a minimal, vaguely industrial, polished-concrete floor kind of space. Go for the taleggio and quail egg pintxo to start – the cheese is so aromatic, your palate will thank you. You won't want to stop with this dish until the pork belly and kimchi stew transports you to a fermented part of paradise.

The Bicycle Thief

1475 Lower Water St, Halifax, NS B3J 3Z2

The Bicycle Thief is known as much for its scene as for its cuisine. Perched on the edge of the boardwalk, with views across the harbour, it attracts a stylish, professional crowd. The expansive menu is upscale Italian, but traditional favourites are given a subtle but effective tweak: the fettuccine with lemon Alfredo sauce is a particular standout, as the sauce pokes through with a perfect little citrus bite to tie the whole dish together. On sunny days, sit outside and enjoy the salty breeze.

Chives Canadian Bistro

1537 Barrington, Halifax, NS B3J 1Z4

With its brightly painted red and green walls, the funky, elegant Chives is a standout on Barrington. The setting is the opposite of stuffy, but where the food is concerned they eschew the relaxed approach: the oysters in the ravioli are as fresh as they should be in a sea town like Halifax, and the fried sage is a new, unusual taste you won't soon forget. Featuring lots of seasonal dishes, the menu depends on what the land and sea of Nova Scotia have to offer. Ask the staff – they’re friendly and unpretentiously proud of what they do here.


Historic Properties, Halifax, NS B3J 1S9

The setting here is classic Halifax: right on the boardwalk, overlooking the harbour, with views out towards Dartmouth and McNabs Island. It's all about the seafood: the thick, creamy chowder – how much can they pack in there? – the tart oven-baked salmon and the salty bacon-wrapped scallops. There's patio seating, but go upstairs if you seek a cozier, more intimate vibe with a low, wood-framed ceiling and traditional white-table cloths. Ask the staff what the freshest catch is, and go from there.

da Maurizio Dining Room

1496 Lower Water St, Halifax, NS B3J 3R5

Don't overlook the old stone, "Brewery Market" building: this is the high bar for traditional fine dining in Halifax. You'll find white tablecloths, a soft welcoming atmosphere, friendly and knowledgeable service and an impeccable menu to boot. It's the Italian classics here – saltimbocca, tonna alla crema, costelletta di vitello – and the prices are truly at a “fine dining” level. But when the Angus steak seems almost to evanesce in your mouth, it's fine, right? Ask the staff to pair your meal with something from the comprehensive, Italian-heavy wine list.

Epicurious Morsels

5529 Young St, Halifax, NS B3K 1Z7

The North End has become known for its young, contemporary vibe, but Epicurious Morsels carries a torch for the old school. The menu features classics like braised lamb shanks in a Merlot stock, filet of salmon and the best Cobb salad in the city – an almost-gooey mix of blue cheese and bacon. The bistro style chairs, white tablecloths and red banquettes, along with the generally low decibel level and composed service, give the place a soft and pleasant feel.

CUT Steakhouse & The Grill at CUT

5120 Salter, Halifax, NS B3J 0A1

The patio at Cut is one of the hidden gems of Halifax. They bring out torches that cast a warm glow on everything, and you've got a view of the harbour and the pedestrians on Lower Water Street. Inside, there’s a pleasing vibe matched by a staff that know their food. The meat is top notch here; the Wagyu beef burger is so juicy and tender, it dissolves in your mouth and goes straight to your memory, where it stays. With a 400-bottle wine list, you'll be sure to find something appropriate to wash it all down.

The Caesar is a true Canadian classic invented in a Calgary hotel in the 1960s. But this beloved Canuck cocktail is just as popular in Halifax as it is on the Prairies. The vodka flows freely, the Clamato juice is plentiful and there’s lots of pepper to go around. From downtown to the North End, sally forth and seek your perfect Caesar.
Halifax has a healthy food scene, but is still finding its footing with ramen; the selection is limited with stark variations in quality and diversity. Don't despair though – there are some wonderful places that have sprung up in the last few years where you're bound to find ramen to your liking.
Halifax is a town built for eaters and drinkers: Whenever a new spot opens, there's always plenty of interest in and debate around it. In order to hold your own as a restaurant here in Halifax, you have to do something tasty and interesting. This holds especially true for that cherished dish: The salad. All the traditional iterations are here, as well as succulent Cobb versions to citrus Caesar salads.
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