I’m proud to report that the local food movement is alive and well in my hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia. East Coasters have a great reputation for supporting their local farmers. It shows in the abundance of farmer’s markets and locally-sourced cafes and restaurants throughout the HRM.
So, I’ve extended my Eat Some Good Guide to highlight some outstanding healthy restaurants in Halifax.
My list of recommendations don’t just account for sourcing practices though. I’m pointing out the restaurants in Halifax that proudly cater to those who want more plants in their lives and have a good offering of vegetarian or vegan options. Some restos on the list are exclusively veggie while others cater to the omnivorous and flexitarian crowd and include some veggie-only dishes. They all offer gluten-free options for those on a low-no gluten diet. And, all focus on sourcing local and organic when possible.
I’ve grouped my recos into two categories: Restaurants and Cafes. The restaurants stay open later and serve dinner options while the cafes generally close by about 6pm or 7pm.
Right beside the Lion and Bright on Agricola Street, this fully vegan, casual dining resto makes everything from scratch and uses exclusively organic nuts, beans, grains and seeds. EnVie sources produce locally whenever possible, is completely GMO-free, and does not compromise on flavour! You can find tasty dishes like the creamy Chickpea and Quinoa Salad or a Buffalo Barley Burger with crispy mushrooms, buffalo sauce, and vegan blue cheese, béchamel sauce. They offer lunch and dinner with an eclectic brunch menu on the weekends which is definitely worth checking out. Look out for the California Benny with marinated tofu, arugula, oven dried tomato, sriracha hollandaise, seasonal field greens, potato hash, served on an Odell’s gluten-free English muffin.
5775 Charles St, Halifax, NS B3K 1K7, Canada
This popular eat in or take out home-style kitchen on the Hammonds Plains Road offers a wide range of foods for a wide range of tastes with a goal to provide “responsibly sourced meals to the community” by choosing local and seasonal ingredients when possible. On top of a robust lunch, dinner and weekend brunch menus, Edible Matters also offers lots of salad options, a great selection of sandwiches and two daily soups including the vegan Squash Curry. You can get Fish-cakes and Beans for lunch or a Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” with garam masala and curry spiced squash with onion, garlic, carrots, zucchini, toasted maple pecans, and red wine soaked raisins. (GF and vegan) among many other tasty dishes.
1345 Hammonds Plains Rd, Hammonds Plains, NS B4B 1P6, Canada
The Heartwood has been rocking the plant-based thang before the word “plant-based” was a thang. They’ve been proudly operating from Quinpool Road since 1995 offering a mostly locally and organic-sourced menu with plenty of gluten-free options available upon request. This cozy restaurant makes their own sourdough bread and grows their own sprouts. This veggie-loving hotspot offers soups, salads, hot bowls, burgers (made from high-protein millet and lentils), sandwiches and pizzas (on organic kamut crust or gluten-free). You could even try the Classic Vegan option with tomato sauce, mushrooms, garlic, tofu, artichoke hearts, spinach and peppers, topped with a vegan Caesar (yummy), but don’t worry, there are lots of cheese options too if that’s more your pace.
6250 Quinpool Rd, Halifax, NS B3L 1A3, Canada
With two locations on either end of the city: one on South Park Street and one in the North End’s Hydrostone Market, Humani-T specializes in health-supportive teas, organic coffees and hand-made gelato, but they also offer a small breakfast, lunch and dinner menu including paninis with daily soups and salads. Though it’s small, the cafe still manages to cater to a wide range of dietary needs like their aptly named “Vegan Panini” with roasted red pepper hummus, grilled zucchini, avocado, black olives, spinach, caramelized onions & mushrooms. All their sandwiches can be made on gluten-free wraps and they offer from vegan gelato if you want to indulge without the dairy.
5755 Young St, Halifax, NS B3K 1Z9, Canada
Lion & Bright
This open-concept café and wine bar is all about local local local. In fact the Lion and Bright is attached to their own sister market called Local Source Market where you’ll find an abundance of fresh, organic, produce, locally-sourced meats and fish, artisanal cheeses and a plethora of hand-made personal care and cleaning products. I love shopping there! Back over at the Lion and Bright, both eats and drinks are inspired by the seasons and, while there are lots of free-range meat options, there’s also plenty of sustainable seafood and veggie dishes like: The Veggie Tribute Board, which showcases local seasonal vegetables as well as the Nova Scotia Seared Scallops with roasted veg, kale, goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette & fresh basil.
2534 Agricola St, Halifax, NS B3K 4C5, Canada
Lion & Bright
The Wooden Monkey
With two locations on either side of the Halifax Harbour, The Wooden Monkey not only makes delicious food, but also fiercely champions the real food movement. In fact, their vision statement highlights a fundamental belief in sustainable agriculture which “protects our environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare — it also produces foods that are better for you than the highly processed industrial alternatives and you sure can taste the difference!” On top of locally and ethically raised meats and sustainably caught seafood, they offer lots of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options like Ginger Tofu with organic tofu and quinoa rice noodles in a Nova Scotia red wine ginger tamari sauce, mixed vegetables and pickled ginger. Hello!
1707 Grafton St, Halifax, NS B3J 2C6, Canada
The Wooden Monkey
What started off as a small kale chip stand in The Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market soon blossomed into a full-out raw, dairy-free, gluten-free and sugar-free hub for hungry, health-conscious market-goers. Fruition is co-founded by a Registered Holistic Nutritional Consultant, so you know you’ll be getting real-food goods that not only fill your belly, but also nourish your body. They believe “you deserve to enjoy what you eat and feel good about your choices.” The take-away café uses local and organic ingredients as much as possible and even offers cute little boxes of pickled veg that have been properly fermented for good gut health. Yay! Look out for their cranberry and herb ‘Cheese’ Ball and plethora of yummy dips and sauces. And, yes, they still have kale chips!
1209 N Marginal Rd, Halifax, NS B3H, Canada
Pete’s Gluten-Free Eatery
The Pete’s Location in the Dresden Row Market includes Pete’s Gluten-Free Eatery offering some healthy gluten-free options for customers shopping the Market or just hungry breakfast and lunch-breakers in the neighborhood. All of the gluten-free goods are made in their own kitchen if not brought in from two other popular local, gluten-free bakeries. Pete’s core values include supporting local and sustainable agriculture as well as advocating for a balanced approach to healthy foods. The menu includes variety of breakfast sandwiches, a roasted tomato, garlic and spinach fritatta as well as their popular Arugula Salad with pears, pecans, dried local cranberries, goat cheese, red onion and a house-made maple mustard dressing.
1515 Dresden Row, Halifax, NS B3J 1G5
Pete's Fine Foods
If it’s a decadent sandwich you crave, head to The Canteen on Dartmouth’s Ochterloney Street right above the popular Two If By Sea Café. Although it’s not heavy on the veg options, the daily changing, seasonally-inspired menu always offers a vegetarian option like “The Vegetarian” including roasted portabello mushroom, sweet potatoes, marinated kale, chèvre & roasted tomatoes. This gourmet sandwich shop sources their meat and produce locally and offers lots of seafood sammies too like “the Crobster Roll” with Nova Scotia lobster & snow crab with truffle aioli & grainy mustard. The Canteen’s bread is exclusively made by hand in–house and includes sourdough varieties as well as gluten-free options.
66 Ochterloney St, Dartmouth, NS B2Y 1C2, Canada
The Nook On Gottingen
If you’re looking for a casual place to hang out that will cater to anyone’s tastebuds and offer a great selection of veggie items, you’ll find it at The Nook on Gottingen Street near Cornwallis. This cool, neighborhood coffee shop (that sells only locally roasted fair-trade coffee) also offers all-day breakfast as well as a substantial lunch and snack menu including gluten-free and vegan options with cheeky names like the “Somthin’ Somthin’” sandwich with smoked tofu, caramelized onions, red cabbage slaw, lettuce, & a sweet curry sauce served open faced on organic 7-grain sourdough or the “Hummdiggity” with hummus, tomato, pickles, sprouts, red onion, cilantro & mixed greens on nook rye bread. I’ll take one of those!
2118 Gottingen St, Halifax, Canada
The Nook On Gottingen
This small, neighborhood café at Windsor Street and Chebucto Road offers a local and seasonal vegan menu to please the masses. Their motto is “healthy and creative food that is good for you and the planet.” In addition to their juice and smoothies, the Wild Leek serves all-day breakfast with various tofu scrambles and a killer breakfast bowl that includes spinach, roasted potatoes, warm chickpeas, onions, peppers, coconut bacon and avocado sauce. They operate a bakery with a small selection of decadent, vegan, desserts and have a quality handful of vegan sandwiches and bowls including the decadent Poutine Supreme with roasted potato wedges, sautéed seasonal veggies, sage gravy and chickpea cheese. Who says poutine can’t be healthy?
2156 Windsor St, Halifax, NS B3K 1A1, Canada