Not that long ago, Kentville was, to us, one of those towns you drove by en route to somewhere else. That status changed with the opening of Maritime Express Cider Co., in 2018. Located on 325 Main Street and housed inside a former CP Hotel (Google Canadian Pacific Hotels for some interesting historical background), this gem of a cidery and taproom has been serving food since opening. Though, until now, the offering was limited, in large part due to the absence of a full-sized kitchen. 

Fast forward to January 2020, and we find ourselves headed to Maritime Express to check out their newly launched menu. We were excited to experience, as far as we knew, Chef Steph Levac’s first full menu in an actual restaurant. But, having experienced his creations at various venues and pop-ups over the years, the day felt as though it had been coming for some time. 

Once we arrived, we grabbed a table by the window and ordered a couple of ciders before settling on the Fried Chicken Sandwich, Buddha Bowl, the Daily Soup (Beer Cheddar), and Blueberry & Russian Cream Panna Cotta. Our food doesn’t take long to arrive, and after just a few bites, we are awash in comfort. The meal is one you will talk about for days on end. With everything prepared to perfection, the high-quality ingredients and flavour combos delivered everything we’ve come to expect from Levac and more of what Maritime Express has been doing since day one.

The food selection is well-suited to people with varying tastes, so diners who frequent Montana’s or Boston Pizza will find it as enjoyable as those more inclined to dine at Bar Kismet or EDNA. It’s truly an everyone-wins scenario. These guys are onto something!

For me, the combination of the gorgeous space, the tasty cider, the team behind it all, and, of course, the exciting new menu make Maritime Express Cider Co., a slam dunk. And they’ve put Kentville on our map in a big way. We will definitely be back!

9.5/10 – Excellent