Silver Donald Cameron

Silver Donald’s Rustic Restaurants: South Shore and Valley

February 15, 2009

Last month, I asked readers to tell me about good year-round restaurants in small Nova Scotian towns. Here’s the first of two reports, covering the Annapolis Valley and the South Shore.

In Hantsport, Judy and Arnold Forsythe recommend the R & G Restaurant on Wednesdays for their fishbits, served with fries, garden salad or potato salad. Down the road in Wolfville, Margaret Archibald likes The Front Street Cafe, especially the fresh haddock and the bread pudding.

Also in Wolfville, with a second location in Kentville, is Paddy’s Pub and Rosie’s Restaurant, recommended by Robert MacNeil and others for “good food, good service and great beer brewed in house.” He and others also admire The Port, a spacious “gastropub” in nearby Port Williams, with a great menu featuring its own beers as well as local foods, notably beef and cheeses. The Port, writes chef Michael Howell, is “a collaborative community investment” with more than 40 community shareholders.

Two readers praise Vicki’s in Coldbrook, which Angela Leighton describes as “a little ‘hole in the wall’ in a small strip mall just past Valley Volkswagen, with haddie bits and home fries to die for.” Belle Darris ranks Vicki’s fish and chips “the best in the province. And don’t get me started on the pies…” Vicki’s recently expanded, and also includes a small fresh fish market.

In Berwick, two readers favour the Union Street Cafe — which is on Commercial Street. My niece Sharon Kendall describes it as “quaint and cozy,” with owners who frequently host east-coast musicians. To satisfy Marjorie’s haddock addiction, however, Sharon suggests Kellock’s, across the street. Harvey Freeman champions a third restaurant on Commercial Street, the Driftwood Take Out, which, despite its name, actually has tables and booths, and seems to be Berwick’s lunch-time hot spot..

In Middleton, journalist Scott Milsom dines at The Capitol Lounge and Grill, located in the former theatre. Calum MacKenzie, however, avoids his Friday-night cooking obligations by taking his wife and her 97-year-old Mum to Pasta Jak’s on Main St. He particularly approves “the salmon and haddock dishes, pan fried and slightly browned.” Further west, Jack Swan nominates the 35-seat Lawrencetown Restaurant, whose specialties include a Saturday night bean and scalloped-potato supper.

Numerous readers passionately endorse Chez Christophe in Grosses Coques, on the French shore, where chef Paul Comeau specializes in traditional Acadian dishes like rappie pie and fricot au poutines. The restaurant was the home of Comeau’s grandfather, and patrons may eat in the original kitchen with the old kitchen stove. All the seafood dishes are splendid, says Dr. Gerald Boudreau. Comeau’s seafood lasagna is “uniquely delicious,” and his rappie pie with local clams is “simply heavenly.” Claire Boudreau contends that Marjorie “will adore not only the haddock, but everything else on the menu.”

In Yarmouth, Pierre Belliveau suggests Chez Bruno, just up the hill from the ferry wharf, while Margo Riebe-Butt favours Mern’s for “really great home cooking” including a notable lobster poutine. Eileen Coady nominates Rudders Seafood Restaurant and Brew Pub, located in an old warehouse on the Yarmouth waterfront, for its fish cakes, pub steak, Acadian rappie pie, hot lobster sandwiches and coconut creme pie. Marjorie and I agree. In 2004, we moored our boat at nearby Killam’s Wharf, and walked to a memorable dinner at Rudders.

Scott Milsom thinks that Harris’s Quick and Tasty is in “Dayton, on the northern edge of Yarmouth,” while Joan Czapalay places it in Hebron — but both recommend its seafood and pies. Author Laurent d’Entremont is a regular at the Dennis Point Cafe in Pubnico. He likes their sweet potato fries, and he vigorously applauds the seafood at the nearby Red Cap Restaurant. Marjorie agrees.

Further up the shore, Mary Anne White likes The Two Chefs in Bridgewater. In Lunenburg, Joan Czapalay suggests breakfast at Large Marge’s Diner, while Madelyn LeMay favours Historic Grounds for lunch. Deborah Gass reports that The Trellis in Hubbards, within walking distance of the wharf, offers art on the walls, music on Thursday and Friday nights, and good haddock too.

That’s it, gastronomes and travellers — our readers’ recommendations for year-round restaurants on the South Shore and in the Valley. Next week, eastern and northern Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton.

Bon appetit!

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