Each year it seems the food and drink situation for Halifax diners just keeps getting better. It’s become common to welcome new and noteworthy establishments to the scene every year — and 2018 was no exception. We saw the arrival of destinations like Bessie North House, Beach Pea Kitchen + Bar, Morris East (Vernon Street), Antojo Tacos + Tequila, The Ostrich Club, Café Good Luck, Rumble Fish Food Co., Rasa, Taco Linas, and Tokyo Roll.  

Along with the expected openings, there were notable closures as well, including Fleur de Sel, Lion & Bright, Suzuki Restaurant and Sushi Shige. Rarely celebrated, closures are part of a natural progression that keeps our local scene fresh and looking forward.

In 2019, the scene has reached new heights — our glass is very much half full. So much so, we decided it was time to split the 25 Best into two complimentary lists. Welcome to The 25 Best, times two! 

The 25 Best x 2

Our response to the fast-growing number of quality places to eat is to expand our 25 Best Program. Now with two lists — the first ranking establishments with average entrée prices above twenty dollars, the second those with prices below. It’s a ‘best of both worlds’ scenario, where diners can flip through our 25 Best issue and choose from a wide selection of places to eat, picking those best suited to their desires and wallet.

Areas covered

Like last year, we focused on drinking and dining options in Halifax’s urban core, the Annapolis Valley, and along the South Shore. This will change in 2020, as we expand our editorial borders, starting with the release of our 2019 Curated Guide this May. 

For now, we’re sticking with what we know – which happens to be the five communities in Halifax’s urban core, the Annapolis Valley, and the South Shore. Together they form what we call “The Golden Triangle” and we are proud to recognize and celebrate these magnificent regions, and the great things they do for our palettes and province.

The judges

To rank local food and drink accurately, you need a team with experience. For 2019 we had 73. This year we welcomed a mix of Curated contributors and friends, local bloggers, and invited guests to the judging table. Each was charged with rating individual establishments from a shortlist of 132 (including three wildcards), with scores reflecting dining experienced in 2018. 

During this process, we were reminded that consistency – when it comes to a restaurant’s performance — is key, and that seasoned diners are a discerning bunch. In the end, the cream rose to the top. Thank you to the judges who participated — without whom there would be no 25 Best! 

Official Judges

Shane Beehan, Bartender/Writer
Crissie Brenton, Phototype
Jules Chamberlain, Red Door Realty
Jill Chappell, Chappell Media
Kelly Clark, kelly clark fotography
Andrew Donovan, Phototype
Michelle Doucette, East Coast Food Stories
Helen Earley, Food writer
John Furness, Simple Square
Arthur Gaudreau, Halifax ReTales
Alexander Henden, Curated Food & Drink Magazine
Charles Hsuen, Seaside FM 105.9 and CKDU 88.1 FM
Brandon Johnson, Spadewerk
Gaétan Lang, Lang Optometry
Jessica Muzzerall, Halifax Marriott Harbourfront
Kelly Neil, Food photographer
Lindsay Nelson, Eat This Town
Laura Oakley, Food writer
Josh Rankin, Life of Burgers
John Rudolph, Nationwide
Missy Searl, The Dream Team
Kayla Short, Short Presents
Chantelle Webb, Lunn’s Mill Beer

Guest Judges

Stephen Barrett
Sarah Blanchard
Fallon Bourgeois
Lauren Caines
Alex Campbell
Jui-Yun Chang
Emilie Chiasson
Karynne Cianfaglione
Laura Crane
Steve Crane
Catherine Craven
Daniel Curren
Carl Daniels
Raina DeBrouwer
Gale Dempsey
Erin Donovan
Tyler Eddy
Suzie Embury-Foster
Anna Eyrich
Kirsten Godbout
Patti Granville
Jennifer Halpin
Kurt Hepditch
Christine Hooper
Amy Hunt
Julia Johnson
Atima Kamra
Shan King
Damian Lidgard
Marlene Ma
Susan MacDonald
Mario Mazraany
Robyn McNeil
Reilly Mooring
Dawn Morrison
Christina Mullen
Laure Nolte
Laura Nuth
Kyulee Park
Emily Rae
Mallory Rae
Heather Sadkowski
Anthony Sanderson
Gillian Schraefel
Kyle Smith
Michele Tessier
Megan Thompson
Catherine Van Helden
Eoin Whelan
Jill Wilson