Figuring out the most delicious (but not too pricey) yet perfect Instagram opportunity-type places to dine at around Halifax can be time consuming, especially when you’re new to Dal as a freshman. Figuring out the quickest lines to grab a coffee or lunch on the way to class proved to be a long process for me. Through trial and error—and receiving helpful hints from upper years—I am slowly but surely mastering Dalhousie’s food and drinking scene.
To save incoming freshmen (and even some of the less-enlightened upper year students) the time and data spent using your phone to Google “cool places to eat/drink near me,” here is a simple guide to all the goodies that Dal’s campus and Halifax have to offer.
1. Where to go when you’ve got the munchies at 1 am: Triple A Convenience & Pizzeria
Who knew that heaven in a convenience store was just a short, 7-minute walk away (from Howe Hall)? If you’re a current Dal student and haven’t ended up here after a night out, then you are doing it wrong.
This family run business gives us all a justified excuse to eat a slice of pizza bigger than the size of our heads. From huge bags of popcorn to ice cream by the scoop and even your basic toiletries, Triple A has got it all. Order whatever your drunk and hungry heart desires; Triple A probably has it. THE BEST PART: Triple A accepts Dal cards. So really it’s like you’re not even spending the money, right?
#SpoonTip: Don’t go around 12 am. That’s when Triple A is packed with customers and you’ll be waiting outside in a long line for your slice of ‘za.
What to order: Their freshly made pizza served by the unusually large slice is the most popular choice among Dal students.
#SpoonTip: Ask them to put donair sauce on top of your pizza.
Location: 6279 Jubilee Road, Halifax, NS B3H 2G6 (7-minute walk from Howe Hall)
2. Where to go when you’re sick of Second Cup and Pete’s To Go-Go: Coburg Coffee House
I don’t know their secret, but their espresso drinks and teas taste richer (and simply better) than your average latte. Although some may view this coffee house as a bit pricey (but then again, so is Starbucks), it is absolutely worth it. The diverse drink menu ensures that every customer can find something to fall in love with.
If you need more than just a coffee pick-me-up, Coburg Coffee offers a wide variety of food options including fresh bakery, sandwiches, salads, and soups and are happy to accommodate those with gluten-free preferences.
What to order: Get the Power Chai, a mix of their delicious chai latte and matcha latte. I didn’t realize this combination existed until visiting Coburg Coffee, but I am sure happy it does. For food, definitely go with the apple brie panini; you will not be disappointed.
Location: 6085 Coburg Road, Halifax, NS B3H 1Z3 (6-minute walk from the Killam Library)
3. Where to go if you or your friends don’t eat meat: Heartwood Cafe
Heartwood is Halifax’s only vegetarian restaurant and it also accommodates vegans. You have to note that Heartwood is a great choice even if you’re not a vegetarian or vegan, but are just looking for a great meal. They are so dedicated to using local ingredients that they grow their own sprouts and bake their own sourdough bread. With such a large menu, it’s hard to find something that doesn’t sound good (even if you are a meat-lover).
During the summer, Heartwood even has a kiosk shack on the boardwalk called Heartwood By The Sea serving many of their popular snacks and bakery.
What to order: The guacamole and hummus platter is perfect for two to share as an appetizer, or a main for one if you’re not feeling too hungry. For a main course, try the Traditional Heartwood Bowl. It includes all the food groups you’ll need and there are four different sauces to choose from to have the dish prepared with.
Location: 6250 Quinpool Road, Halifax, NS B3L 1A3 (5-minute drive from the Killam Library)
4. Where to go when your parents are visiting and they’re footing the bill: Salty’s Upstairs
This place is as fancy as it is expensive, so by all means take advantage and choose Salty’s Upstairs when your parents offer to pay for dinner while visiting you in Halifax. The main floor of the building is the Salty’s Bar & Grill which is a more casual dining experience, but when you walk up the stairs at the main entrance, the restaurant transforms into a fancy and elegant dining room with a completely different menu. If you love seafood, Salty’s Upstairs has the best prepared and best tasting seafood around.
#SpoonTip: Ask for a table against the window so you can enjoy a view of the waterfront.
What to order: It doesn’t get more fresh or local than the (duh!) Nova Scotia Lobster. The pan-seared tiger shrimp dish is just as satisfying, too, if you don’t feel like putting on a bib and wrestling with a lobster claw and tail all night.
Location: 1877 Upper Water Street, Halifax, NS B3J 1S9 (11-minute drive from the Killam Library)
5. Where to go when you’re hungover: Mary’s Place Cafe II
All-day breakfast at a fantastic value. It’s hard to find a place that offers a tasty and filling breakfast for only $10 other than at Mary’s. If you’d rather have lunch (odds are pretty high that you won’t be out of bed until lunch time after a late night anyway), there are tons of options to meet your cravings at the same great value. Coffee or tea is also included with your meal: Could it get any better than that? Yes, Mary’s Place also offers Middle Eastern-style meals such as shawarma wraps, falafel plates, and chicken or lamb kebabs.
Bonus: There is an original Mary’s Place Cafe on Robie Street that serves up the same delicious meals.
What to order: The clubhouse sandwich with a fried egg added on—a classic sandwich with one tasty twist—or the turkey cranberry sandwich (with a fried egg added too). Chances are you’ll have flashbacks to Thanksgiving dinner while chowing down. The fried egg and side of hash browns served with either sandwich is sure to help cure any hangover.
Location: 5982 Spring Garden Road, Halifax, NS B3H (6-minute walk from Howe Hall)
6. Where to go when you’re “doing it for the Insta”: Lot Six
This restaurant is perfect for celebrating birthdays and special occasions with a big group, but also works when you’re up for an elegant dinner for two. For college students, it may be a little pricey for a meal, but it is absolutely worth it. If you’re an oyster-lover, Lot Six’s oyster happy hour offers six for $12 or 12 for $20 from 4-6 pm daily. It’s important to know Lot Six changes their menu about every three months. I guess that gives us an excuse to keep going back, right?
What to order: The lobster bruschetta is an east coast take on a classic Italian appetizer and Lot Six’s addition of a pineapple reduction to it will surely leave you impressed (and fortunately this starter is in season during summer, too). For a main course, you can never go wrong with one of their pasta dishes or anything involving duck (if you haven’t ever tried duck, trust me, you’ll love it). And, of course, absolutely order a house cocktail.
Location: 1685 Argyle Street, Halifax, NS B3J 2B5 (8-minute drive from Howe Hall)
7. Where to go when you’re trying to be healthy: Norbert’s Good Food at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market
Norbert’s Good Food is Halifax’s first and ONLY farm-to-table eatery. Selwood Green is the farm where all of this delicious food is grown and harvested before being brought to Norbert’s who delivers the freshest meals straight to you. The best part about Norbert’s is its location right on the waterfront and in the farmers’ market, where you can spend the day visiting different stations that offer other treats, homemade jewelry, etc. Norbert’s is ALL organic, so yes, you can walk away feeling healthy.
#SpoonTip: They only take cash so remember to bring some along.
What to order: A must-try is one of their organic fruit smoothies with many different possible fruit combinations. Their all day breakfast should be taken advantage of by ordering the kale scramble or the OMG egg croissant sandwich. But if you’re wondering which dish is it that is all over your Instagram feed, it’s probably the Selwood Harvest Salad topped with an egg and La Vendèene organic bread, sure to fill you up for a day at the market.
Location: 1209 Marginal Road, Halifax, NS B3H 4P8 (7 minute drive or 28 minute walk from Howe Hall)
8. Where to go when you want to see live music: The Lower Deck
Since 1974, this pub has been home to a large group of musicians at the beginning of their careers. During the school year, The Lower Deck is the place to be on Sunday nights. With the local band Signal Hill performing, you’re in for a treat (they even called it Signal Hill Sunday’s).
The Lower Deck has three floors: the Pub (where the live music is), the Beer Market (where you can order food), and the Tap Room (a floor used for events). Unfortunately, for most freshmen, you’ll have to wait until you’re 19 to enjoy The Lower Deck.
What to order: You can never go wrong with an ice cold beer or a cider if you’re dancing the night away on the Pub level. If you’re dining in the Beer Market, you’ll be surprised that the menu contains more than just burgers and fries, but also tons of seafood dishes. The Crew Burger (popular for good reason) is a spicy spin-off a classic burger with Sriracha in the patty and features a thick onion ring and deep fried pickle placed between the buns.
Location: 1887 Upper Water Street, Halifax, NS B3J 1S9 (9-10 minute drive from Howe Hall or the Killam Library)
9. Where to go when you’re trying to be fancy: The Bicycle Thief
Nothing says classy like The Bicycle Thief, and you’ll know what I mean when you dine there. The dim lighting, white tablecloths, and excellent service all enhance the fancy experience. If it’s nice enough during the warmer seasons, definitely eat on the patio where you’re only a few steps away from the ocean. The large selection of cocktails and wine is mesmerizing and I always find myself spending more time than I should trying to decide what dish to order.
#SpoonTip: Go there for your birthday and claim your free dessert.
What to order: The cioppino, an Italian seafood stew loaded with lobster, shrimp, scallops, crab, clams, mussels, and halibut…Can you say seafood heaven? You also can’t go wrong ordering the spaghettini with house-made meatballs stuffed with Fior di Latte mozzarella cheese (as pictured above), because really, how often do you come across cheese stuffed meatballs?
Location: 1475 Lower Water Street, Halifax, NS B3J 3Z2 (7-minute drive or 23-minute walk from the Killam Library)
10. Where to go when you’re craving Vietnamese food: Indochine
Indochine offers traditional Vietnamese cuisine in addition to Asian fusion items including Korean tacos, salads, and bubble tea. You can dine for around $10 and the longest I’ve waited for my meal is five minutes. The portions they give you are not too big but rather perfectly sized, which is refreshing considering how many restaurants usually serve huge meals that leave you feeling overwhelmingly full. The sitting space is small, so if you’re going with a large group it’s best to order your food to go.
#SpoonTip: Sign up for their newsletter on their website for 10% off your next purchase.
What to order: You can never go wrong with a traditional pho soup or the bun rice noodle bowls. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Fusion Salad Box made with quinoa, raw veggies, peanuts, and your choice of an Asian-style dressing. It’s not as heavy or filling as the noodle dishes but it’s just as yummy.
Location: 1551 South Park Street, Halifax, NS B3J 4B4 (14-minute walk from Howe Hall)
11. When you want to order in: Fujiyama
With free delivery for orders over $30 (if you team up with some friends, you’ll have no problem passing the $30 minimum), Fujiyama is the place to order from. This Japanese restaurant has a huge menu and is very inexpensive. Plus, they accept Dal cards…Once again, are you even really spending money? Just make sure to keep your Dal card loaded and then order whatever your sushi-loving heart desires.
What to order: Fujiyama offers way more than just sushi. If you’re starving and feel like you could eat absolutely anything, order Dinner F that comes with miso soup, a small salad, chicken teriyaki, steamed rice, shrimp tempura, three pieces of nigiri and a California roll…You won’t be starving after that. Other local favorites include the Alaska and the Hawaii rolls.
Location: You’re ordering in so who cares? All the same, their restaurant address is 5244 Blowers Street, Halifax, NS B3J 1J7 (7-minute drive or 20-minute walk from Howe Hall)
12. Where to go when you’re craving pizza: Morris East Restaurant
Hands down the best pizza I have had in Halifax thus far, and they even offer a gluten-free crust option. Each pizza sounds as mouthwatering as the next, so it is hard to decide on which one to order. The restaurant space is small so you may have to wait for a table but if you go for an earlier dinner, you won’t have to wait long if at all—and the staff is very friendly. Keep in mind that the menu changes so your favorite pizza may not be there the next time you go.
What to order: The peach wood-fired pizza with fresh peaches, rosemary aioli, and prosciutto combined beautifully for a unique tasting twist on a classic dish.
Location: 5212 Morris Street, Halifax, NS B3J 1B4 (6-minute drive or 19-minute walk from the Killam Library)
13. When you’re craving sushi but on a budget: Wasabi House
Wasabi House is the end all be all of places to go for deals on sushi. Assuming that, as college students, our taste in sushi is much higher than what we can actually afford, this is the spot. I remember my first visit to Wasabi House and thinking they brought someone else’s order to our table by mistake, but really it was just free sushi. I repeat, free sushi.
Wasabi House brings your table as many free dishes as there are people at your table—so make sure to go with a big group. They also offer 10% off your meal if you pay with cash. This place is truly a sushi-loving college student’s dream. The restaurant is small and there isn’t much waiting space for those waiting for a table, so I recommend avoiding usual dinner hours (around 6 pm) and opt for an either earlier or later meal time slot.
What to order: The Maki Crystal combo that includes a miso soup, a salad, and three different rolls all for $16.95. The Wasabi House Roll is a must try too—especially if you love cream cheese and jalapeños.
Location: 6403 Quinpool Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3L 1A7 (4-minute drive or 15-minute walk from Howe Hall)
14. When you feel like day drinking: Split Crow
Split Crow Saturdays are famous for Dal students. You’ll often find the library quiet on Saturdays during the school year as everyone’s at Splitties (students’ beloved nickname for the Split Crow). It’s always packed on Saturdays, so make sure to go early so you’re in line and can get a big enough table for your group. You’ll probably be there early enough to eat, and their brunch menu is definitely worth checking out.
The place gets even better with the live music starts up in the afternoon and has everyone up on their feet dancing. It is, however, a bar so you have to wait until you’re 19 before beginning your routine Saturday visits.
What to order: A pitcher of beer (or two). Or you can order a Caesar, which may go down easier depending on how early in the day you start drinking. Order Where the Crow Fries—a basket of fries either salted or mixed with Cajun spice—for your table and everyone will thank you when they’re a few drinks in and start feeling hungry.
Location: 1855 Granville St, Halifax, NS B3J 3L7 (9-minute drive or 28-minute walk from Howe Hall)
15. If you’re craving carbs: Scanway Bakery
Scanway changes their doughnut flavours daily, which means you get to try a ton of delicious recipes and toppings. There’s one on Grafton Street, but there’s also a second location on Barrington Street (which is a little further away from campus). Scanway offers cakes, tortes, their homemade bread, cupcakes, cookies, truffles, and sandwiches, oh my! The café is small and tightly spaced, so you may or may not get luckyfinding a table to enjoy your treats at.
What to order: Every and any doughnut; they are all so different and all so delicious. Also, definitely try the mac n cheese grilled cheese (pictured above). It’s like a breaded cheese fondue that melts in your mouth.
Location: 1567 Grafton Street, Halifax, NS B3J 2C3 (7-minute drive or 20-minute walk from Howe Hall)
16. Where to go for your basic convenience store needs: The Guardian
Only a few steps across the street from Howe Hall, the Guardian pharmacy has literally EVERYTHING you could ever need. I swear I went once a day during my freshman year. Whether I needed more toothpaste, a small pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, or a big bottle of cranberry juice to chase with, the Guardian has it all. It’s yet another one of the spots in Halifax that accepts your Dal card, and their pharmacy provides a close location to campus for getting prescriptions filled and refilled.
What to order: EVERYTHING. For such a small convenience store, they have a large selection of snacks, drinks, frozen treats, microwaveable meals, etc.
Location: 6199 Coburg Road, Halifax, NS B3H 1Z8 (30-second walk from Howe Hall)