We set out to find awesome burgers, pizzas, and local fare - from Brule to Port Howe.
The north shore of Nova Scotia, incorporating Colchester and Cumberland counties along route 6 and 366, is one of my favourite spots in the world in summertime. It's small town Nova Scotia at it's best, but sometimes you can't help but feeling that dining options are few and far between. We noticed that a few of our favourite spots had closed since our previous visit just a few years earlier and discovering new eateries was at first a necessity; then a fun quest.
Here are some of the favourites that we discovered - and we'd love to hear from you if you have more to add to the list! Our apologies for the lack of shellfish recommendations - allergies kept us away!
The Dino Wagon
The Dino Wagon of Tatamagouche is a permanently parked bus with a second roof and a covered picnic area and it resembles a cross between a deluxe chip wagon and a greasy spoon diner. There's every possible kind of burger platter combination you could desire - along with some unexpected choices as well, like veggie wraps, Greek salad, and occasionally lobster. It's hearty, filling, roadtrip fare and we made several visits over the course of a week as Dino Wagon became our go-to lunch spot.
Big Al's restaurant-slash-lounge is a favourite among locals in Tatamagouche and is a good place to stop if you want pub-style appetizers, classic burgers, and sandwich platters. A particularly good deal on the dinner menu is the homemade haddock fish cakes, which were absolutely delicious. They also have fantastic homemade pie, served not by the slice but instead in the form of generously proportioned individual mini pies.
Big Al's menu suggests you ask for a wine list but this will likely cause confusion - none of the servers there seemed to know they had one. In the end, we got a three year old bottle of red from local Jost Winery with virtually no mark up - another great deal.
PS - Looking for more amazing food in Tatamagouche? Read about our experience at the Train Station Inn!
The Country Bread Basket
The Country Bread Basket of Brule is a little bit off the beaten path but they're easily the best bakery within 100 miles, if not more. They sell very reasonably priced homemade breads, rolls, and biscuits (which are phenomenally good), as well as traditional Maritime sweets like date squares, oat cakes, molasses cookies, cinnamon buns, and fancy treats as well, such as brownies and pies. This is the perfect place to stop and stock up on goodies for a picnic or if you're renting a cottage. They also have a coffee shop that sells light lunches (primarily soup and sandwich combos) and freshly ground coffee.
GK's Pizza is one of the few dining options in Pugwash (one of the others being our beloved Chatterbox Cafe, which is closed in the evening) but limited choice doesn't mean poor quality. The pizzas were fresh, hot, generously topped, and priced right.
But the most important thing here isn't the pizza. No visit to a Nova Scotia pizza place is complete without a side order of garlic fingers and plenty of donair sauce for dipping (both the fingers and the pizza) Donair sauce is like a creamy, tangy, garlic sauce and it's an absolute favourite of mine. I always ask for extra on the side.
Technically in Port Howe, the Sandpiper can more aptly be described as being in the middle of nowhere - but it's well worth the drive to come here. We ate a late lunch at 2:00 pm on a weekday and there were still plenty of tables filled. This is the place to be for fuss-free, Maritime cooking. It would never win any culinary prizes but it will always make me feel glad to be home. Ryan and I tucked into roast turkey dinners (complete with rolls, coleslaw, cranberry sauce, and stuffing), while my mother had the lobster club special. She pronounced it to be very tasty and, ringing in at less than $15, they were very generous with the lobster. They also have great desserts - we took a portion of blueberry cream pie to go.
We had a fantastic time exploring Colchester and Cumberland County, find new special spots and stuffing ourselves with delicious, East Coast delicacies. The hearty food and Maritime hospitality are another great reason to visit this beautiful part of the world.
Read more about our Nova Scotia culinary adventures here!
Dining at Tatamagouche's Train Station Inn
The Chatterbox Cafe, Nova Scotia
Wallace's Whirligig's Cafe, Nova Scotia