Karen MacRae tastes her way around the best catches in Canada’s eastern provinces
Lobster on the Wharf: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Charlottetown, the pretty capital of Prince Edward Island, is a fine place to sample the fruits of the sea. One popular pick is Lobster on the Wharf. It is, as the name says, on the wharf, and while they have a lot of seafood choices, the main attraction is lobster. Delicious lobster. The melted butter and fresh lemon juice option is king, though there are plenty of other lobster dish options. The bacon-wrapped scallops are also too good to miss. Enjoy the food in an open, relaxed hangout with uninterrupted views along the water.
Phil’s Seafood: Halifax, Nova Scotia
This local favourite opened in 2003, with a refurb in 2016. The atmosphere is casual and friendly, while the seafood menu not too extensive, or expensive. Large plump, lightly-fried scallops and shrimps, clams, delicately beer-battered fish and chips, and hearty local chowders are the mainstays. Situated in a not-particularly touristy area, it’s worth the trip: the scallops are what make the Halifax residents choose this as a regular dining spot.
Grand Banker: Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
The town of ‘lovely Lunenburg’ (as the tourist board dubs it) lives up to its name. Walking through its picturesque World UNESCO Heritage Site streets, taking in the charm of the more than 200-year-old buildings, breathing in the salty sea air, you’ll soon feel ready for some local fare. Grand Banker brings the convivial feel of the small town to life, with owner Adam greeting and chatting with customers, while you chow down. The menu offers great Acadian stew, juicy fish and chips, and very generously proportioned seafood chowder packed with tasty haddock, shrimp, scallops and clams.
Maple Leaf Restaurant; Sydney, Nova Scotia
The small Maple Leaf is a place where everybody knows your name, even after one visit. The charm of the restaurant is the pure Cape Breton warmness of the people working and dining there, coupled with the tastiness of the home cooked food. Beer-battered scallops and lobster poutine (chips and cheese, smothered in gravy, with lobster), while not the healthiest of choices, are certainly some of the most mouth-watering. Served with a smile and good hot coffee.
Steamers Lobster Co: St John, New Brunswick
This family-friendly, lively establishment delights locals and tourists alike with daily fresh catches and a fun atmosphere. Lobster bisque, clam and seafood chowders, buckets of mussels, and fully-loaded seafood platters make sure guests have very full, happy tummies on leaving. On selected evenings, Water Street Dinner Theatre entertains while diners eat.