Your essential guide to vegan Halifax
Halifax, Nova Scotia is the biggest city east of Montreal, but don’t let that factoid fool you into thinking it’s a big city in the grand scheme of things. It’s not, but is well worth the visit nonetheless. Just try to avoid public transit. And winter.
The place has got a vibrant arts scene and LGBTQ+ community and, as a university town, is filled with young, fresh-thinking individuals and, perhaps consequently, avocado toast and craft breweries.
Here are some of the city’s best vegan-friendly spots.
Entirely vegan venue enVie opened its doors in 2013 and has been massively popular since. The restaurant, which is situated in the city’s ultra-hip North End, serves up beautifully crafted fusion cuisine in a cozy atmosphere with a casual, modern interior.
An extensive drinks list includes cold-pressed juices, lattes made in-house, a number of local beers, wines and meticulously crafted cocktails. Among the best dishes currently on the menu are the Pad Thai, King Wings and Caesar Salad. You need not worry about getting bored, though, as the selection changes seasonally.
Food aside, it’d be a crime to discuss the spot without noting its amazing staff. These people strike the perfect balance between friendly and efficient, and are sure to become fast friends.
Wild Leek is the friendly neighborhood vegan breakfast spot you never knew you were missing, dishing up upgraded versions of diner classics in a casual, cozy setting.
Situated in central Halifax, not far away from the city’s landmark Commons recreational area, this restaurant is the place to be for vegan brunch in Halifax — but offers much, much more.
Among the restaurant’s best dishes are the hearty, healthy Wild Bowl, Daily Benny, and Chocolate Brownies which, despite being gluten free, somehow maintain that chewy, crispy, edge-of-the-pan goodness that the glutton in all of us loves. Even gluttons for gluten, if you will.
There is not enough to be said about this vegan butcher.
Real Fake Meats, founded by culinary whiz and Top Chef Competitor Lauren Marshall, offers plant-based meats, cheeses and meals so good, they’ll make your head spin.
The Garlic Boursin is the definitive answer to “I’d go vegan but I love cheese too much”. Vegan or not, you’ve got to try it. Heck, bathe in it if you get the chance, just maybe not on a date night.
El Niño Vegan Tacos is a new and very welcome plant-based addition to this mini city.
Found at the Seaport Farmers’ Market, this food stand is the passion project of Nemo Lopez, who wanted to share his love for authentic Mexican cuisine with the (eternally grateful) people of Halifax.
You can catch him on Saturdays and Sundays dishing up tasty tacos on the Halifax waterfront and, if you’re lucky, his two ultra-cute kids might just be there with him.
Formerly Fruition, Springhouse is just a few minutes walk from Real Fake Meats, which presents the perfect opportunity for you to stock up on all things vegan.
This spot serves up super nutritious raw and cooked dishes, sure to have you leaving with a pep in your step and ready to take on the rest of your day.
Salvatore’s Pizzaiolo Trattoria, known more commonly in the neighbourhood as Salvatore’s or simply Sal’s, is a restaurant sure to transport you to another time and place entirely.
While this spot is not entirely plant-based, it serves up excellent vegan pizzas, in a casual, warm interior with a European feel.
The menu features house-made vegan ricotta and Italian sausage which you can include on a custom or modified pie, straight out of the pizza oven. Do be advised that substitutions, and the number of ingredients one can put on a custom pizza, are limited because, quite simply, these people know what they’re doing. That is to say there’s not a Hawaiian pizza in sight.
You can also look forward to a number of robust, local craft beers on tap, many of which are vegan.
Image: Emily Court
Heartwood, which now has two locations in Halifax, is the city’s oldest vegetarian restaurant and has plenty of vegan options.
The food served there has a healthy, home-cooked feel. Among the best dishes on the menu are the Bean Melt, Heartwood Bowl with Peanut Sauce, and the Green Poutine — although it’s nothing like traditional poutine, so do be prepared for that.
Again, both locations offer a lovely list of local beer and vegan wine, alongside smoothies, juices, coffee and tea.
The Wooden Monkey is the only full-service restaurant on this list situated downtown. This is likely to be convenient for visitors. However, everything’s within walking distance in Halifax — if you’ve got 10 minutes to an hour and can handle a couple of hills.
While this spot isn’t fully vegan, it has a number of vegan options. Among the best on the menu are the Chocolate Tofu Pie, Spicy Nappa Tacos and a Seitan Sandwich, which is sure to please even the meatiest eater in your party.
Again, there’s an impressive drink list of cocktails, sodas, wine, cider and beer. That said, this is Halifax. Pretty much everywhere serves alcohol, and it’s not a mandate taken lightly.
There is a second location in Dartmouth, which is not without its charm despite the longstanding rivalry between the two cities. Both have great patios. The one in Dartmouth overlooks the beautiful Halifax Harbour.
The other stuff
Nova Scotia is home to wonderful wine, cider, and has more craft breweries than the city’s massive hipster population could ever keep up with. Gaspereau Vineyards makes a ridiculously good Muscat, Chainyard Cider’s range is entirely vegan, and North Brewing serves up a number of excellent vegan brews.
Coburg Social, The Nook, Dilly Dally, and Humani-T café are all peaceful neighborhood coffee shops with vegan options, and Organic Earth Market is the city’s most popular health food shop.
Finally, there’s donuts. To forget them would be a fireable offence. Pop into Vandal Donuts for a selection of vegan delicacies seven days a week. Just try to get there early. They tend to sell out fast. Not a single member of the staff has anything to do with this. We swear.
Image: @itslivb/@laurentoyota/Instagram Header image: Henryk Sadura/Shutterstock.com