A review of Wallace, Nova Scotia's Whirligigs Cafe, plus recommendations for nearby restaurants, cafes, and things to do in Pugwash, Tatamagouche, Malagash, and more.
Some of my most memorable travel meals have rendered me speechless; I barely manage a breathless "wow!" if I can say anything at all. Therefore, it threw me for a bit of a loop (or is that a whirl?) when my only reaction at Whirligigs Cafe in Wallace, Nova Scotia was "odd!" It seems like a funny choice of word, but it's the best one I can think of to describe our visit to this colorful, funky, and rather peculiar seaside café in Wallace, Nova Scotia.
As always, I strive for reviews that are honest, fair, and give all visitors an idea what they can expect. But I'm not the only one! You can see more reviews on Trip Advisor to help you plan your visit.
Everything we liked about Whirligig's Cafe
First, let’s start with the good stuff. The inside of Whirligigs is painted in bright pastels, features cheerful tiled tables and mismatched furniture, and our table provided a great view of the Wallace harbour. Whirligigs has lots of art on the walls and there’s also a small book exchange/used book table that raises money for good causes.
My fishcakes eggs Benedict were very good. The fishcakes were fresh and flavorful, the eggs perfectly poached, and the smooth Hollandaise tasted homemade. Similarly, Ryan’s classic eggs Benedict were delicious and the side of potatoes were actual fresh breakfast potatoes, not those bland, frozen squares. In true Maritime culinary tradition, the fishcakes came with a little side dish of ‘chow chow’, a kind of mustardy relish/pickle concoction traditionally served with fish. The only downside to the food was that my side biscuit was small, hard, and made with whole wheat (and we all know how I feel about whole wheat biscuits!) and Whirligig's coffee was average at best.
Confusion over breakfast versus lunch
You’re probably thinking this sounds like a pretty good breakfast, but we were actually there for lunch! A whiteboard beside the cash displays all the food options and there were 7 all day breakfast options but only 3 lunch options. Now, I’m a big fan of all day breakfast but this isn't a dive diner next to a dingy bar – it’s a charming café! I also couldn't quite figure out why so many of the breakfast items were not easily converted into lunch items (like fishcakes with salad or soup). It's possible that they were sold out of some lunch options which were erased from the menu board but it wasn't quite 1:00 pm when we visited.
Big prices, small service.
Inside the cafe, there was a big sign inside stating that they would only accept debit (with NO credit option) for transactions of $10 or more – hardly the kind of policy that encourages the spontaneous purchase of coffee and treats. I understand that many small businesses feel the pinch from debit service charges but this was hardly a not-for-profit joint. Our breakfast (um, lunch?) for two came to $34 for tax and tip and, while it was an adequate and tasty meal, much better and bigger portions can be found elsewhere (heck, even in Toronto!) for much less – and at full service restaurants at that.
The final aggravation was that the service was less than friendly. I got a cold look when I asked if there was a separate lunch menu that I had missed and Ryan got a look that was decidedly frosty when he asked for the Wi-Fi password (but they had a visible and branded network!)
My final verdict? Chances are that you’ll love Whirligigs if you have a hankering for all day eggs or if you’re looking for some creative breakfast combinations. But this isn't the place to go for a classic lunch fare or even an inexpensive, simple breakfast.
If you're in Wallace, give Whiligigs a whirl and let me know if you agree with my assessment! And if you don't, that's okay too.
Whirligigs Cafe (Wallace Nova Scotia) Hours of Operation and Location
This is where things get confusing! According to Trip Advisor, the cafe is open Thursday to Tuesday from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM and is closed on Wednesdays. But the cafe's own Facebook page has different information listed. According to their July 2019 update, they are open Thursday to Monday from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM and they are closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.
They are usually just open on weekends during the down season (starting mid November) and they are usually closed for a few weeks around Christmas. Before you make firm plans, you better check their social media for greater details and up to date schedules.
The cafe is located at 13909 Highway 6 in Wallace.
We have more foodie and fun recommendations for the North Shore of Nova Scotia!!
Dining Aboard A Historic Railcar in Tatamagouche
North Shore Nova Scotia's Greatest Grub
Travel Memories Are Made When... I Search For Coffee
Art, Wine, and Memories of a Travel Splurge... Nova Scotia Style!
Nova Scotia's Most Scenic Spots
Posts by Location
Posts by Date