Category Archives: Restaurants

The Best Little Oarhouse In Nova Scotia

The Best Little Oarhouse In Nova Scotia is actually a “homemade take-out” restaurant in Bridgewater, NS. What started as an outdoor food stop by the Bridgewater Mall has now moved indoors to 99 Aberdeen Road, where you can still get take out, but also sit down and enjoy your food right there.

Any place called the “Oarhouse” has gotta have great seafood, so we all ordered the fish & chips this time around and, let me tell you, this is NOT your average “fish ‘n’ chips” joint. They specialize in seafood and burgers, but with a local, homemade flavour. All the fries are hand-cut, never frozen and the condiments, such as salsa, garlic mayo, tartar sauce, hot sauce, etc, are all made by hand right there on-site.

The fish is local Nova Scotia haddock and the burgers are all half-pound (8oz) 100% AAA Canadian beef hand-pattied right there. Even the take out trays are made of compostable or recyclable material! There is no frozen, then reheated under a lamp, semi-recycled food to be seen anywhere. The menu boasts creative names, like Riley’s Fish Taco, the Kenny, Wilma, Dynamite and Rugged Dude burgers, as well as coconut shrimp and pan-fried haddock.

As we sat waiting for our food (only 10-15 minutes) we noticed the decor consisted of local artwork all along the walls of fish, lobsters and even a seahorse. Pretty cool! There is not a lot of room inside with only a small amount of tables for sitting and 2 picnic tables outside, but there is also bench seating along an entire wall.

When the food arrived it was immediately clear that this wasn’t some frozen fish triangle and the visual screamed “YUMMY!” before even taking the first bite. It was presented well, the fish was golden browned to perfection and the fries looked tasty and the helping size was just right without being “padded” by fries, like a lot of places love to do.

I was then “hooked” by my first bite of fish at the Oarhouse. The menu claims it to be RD’s gramma’s recipe unchanged over 100 years and now I believe it! The batter was just the right amount of crispy, the fish inside was delicious and the fries on the side were made to perfection. Nothing was greasy or droopy. I ate everything on the plate and think I would have eaten the plate itself if it was organic! LOL

I would also like to point out that we did eat at the outside version of The Oarhouse last year and the food was fantastic then as well. We all had tasty burgers and my only complaint then was that it was so hot outside sitting on the picnic tables. Of course, the weather is not their fault, but now that they are inside I can better enjoy the food itself without worrying about heat stroke by eating under the sun.

BTW, the owner’s real name is Rugged Dude Carson (no kidding…he showed me his real identification card) and he assured me the burgers are just as good inside as they were outside (I’ll be testing that on my next visit).

The prices are good when you consider that you are getting hand-made food at a take out restaurant. Most take-outs just throw some frozen fries in a deep fryer and frozen burger patties on a grill and, in my opinion, they end up all tasting the same because of it. There’s nothing to make them stand out, or be recommended.

The Best Little Oarhouse In Nova Scotia, on the other hand, IS recommended….highly!!

They are a bit hard to find, as they are behind another restaurant (Curry Express) and I fear that potential customers will miss them because of it, but I wish them (and Rugged Dude!) much success!

Overall score: 9/10
Review written by: Henry

UPDATE: It was my Dad’s Bday a couple days ago so I decided to bring him some take out fish n’ chips from The Oarhouse because I suspected he would enjoy it. Let me tell you that my Dad is a retired seaman who spent his entire working life on ships and has eaten a LOT of seafood over the years and he told me this was GREAT food. He’s not a big eater anymore, but he ate every single crumb and it was a good sized 2-piece helping, so I guess that means 2 thumbs up from a senior who knows good fish when he tastes it!

Link to the dude’s website: RuggedDude.com

Privateer Country Kitchen Restaurant Closed

Good food, friendly staff, great prices. The Privateer Country Kitchen in Liverpool closes March 26. A sad end to a restaurant much loved by many South Shore locals. You will be missed.

privateer-country-kitchen

The owner is selling the restaurant contents, so drop by 181 Main Street, Liverpool, Nova Scotia (next to Scotiabank) to pick up a piece of history.

JB’s Restaurant Barrington Passage Review

We went on a business road trip to Barrington Passage, NS, a few days ago and stopped in at JB’s Restaurant for a bite to eat before returning home. JB’s is one of those out-of-the-way restaurants hidden behind a small strip mall (the Causeway Plaza) at the entrance to the Cape Sable Island causeway and you’d likely miss it, if you weren’t looking for it, or didn’t already know it exists.

JBS-front

At first glance it didn’t really look like much when we arrived, and we weren’t even sure it was open. The sign in the front that said “JB’s Restaurant” was very plain and the door that looked like the entrance was dark with some tables visible, but no one inside. We then tried the next door and that turned out to be the right one, so we entered.

jbs-restaurant

Upon entering, we discovered a bright, open concept, restaurant divided into 2 dining sections. There were no booths and each table was the same in the open room. The atmosphere was pleasant with local art and historical photos on the walls, large windows with views of the water and oldies music on the radio. So far, so good…

The wait staff was friendly and we ordered a garden salad, and BLT (for Liza) and Haddock fish bits for me, and it was delivered within a reasonable amount of time and with good portion sizes for the price.

jbs-restaurant-menu

The food itself was awesome! The fish was delicious, as was the salad and BLT. The food was crisp, fresh and tasted great. Even the cole slaw, which is often neglected at other establishments, was so tasty that both portions were totally gone in no time. We ate every morsel on our plates and enjoyed every bite of it. We also shared a yummy piece of coconut cream pie for dessert.

JB’s is one of those rare gems that is worth seeking out. The food is great, the prices are reasonable, the washrooms are clean and the atmosphere is pleasant. It’s hard to find, but you won’t be disappointed.

JB’s Restaurant rating: 9/10

Review written by: Henry

Link to their website: http://www.jbss.ca/index.html (The map above isn’t exact, so please visit their site for location directions when driving there)

Ko’s Restaurant Review Bridgewater

As far as I know, Ko’s is the oldest Chinese food restaurant in the Bridgewater area. It has been serving customers for decades, and in the past few years has undergone some renovations to include an outside deck and more spacious dining area. If you like eating while overlooking the Lahave River, then check it out!

kos-restaurant

The atmosphere is nice and there is also a separate, larger dining room used for family gatherings and events requiring space for a room full of people. The regular dining area consists of several booths near the front and more tables near the back patio with all window views, in case you don’t want to eat outside (or it’s winter…brrr!!!). This restaurant both in and out are wheelchair accessible. 🙂

kos-restaurant-patio

My only complaint in this review was something I noticed right away, so I’ll get it out of the way right now and move on. The day we went there was hot and very muggy outside, so I was expecting some relief in the way of air conditioning inside, but there was none, and all they had was a side door open with a square floor fan blowing air toward the back. I don’t like eating when I’m not comfortable, and I was very uncomfortable that day. Still, we were there to eat, so we did.

During our visit, all 3 of us had Chinese Fried Rice with sweet and sour chicken balls. The waitress was awesome, very friendly. Our food was delivered to our table in a reasonable amount of time and everything was hot and didn’t taste like it was sitting around waiting to be served. Liza always orders extra sweet and sour sauce when getting Chinese food, and it  was delicious! The rice was moist (not like some places with bland, dry rice) and the balls were big and tasty (not shriveled and tough).

Personally, I think their food has improved, as I’ve eaten there before over the years and I used to find the chicken balls to be more like dough-balls with very little chicken, but these were good. Also, the price was surprisingly good, at under 9 bucks for a good individual helping of rice and balls. They also have traditional Canadian dishes as well, such as fish and burgers.

I visited the washroom and everything was clean, smelled nice and was well supplied. It was wheelchair accessible, with lots of room. There were no issues.

As we got up to leave, the friendly waitress took the little guy back and gave him a personal tour of the kitchen, where he met some of the other staff and the owner. He even scored some extra fortune cookies for on the way home. Thanks, guys!!

Overall it is a nice restaurant and a good place to take the family…anytime the A/C is working 🙂

Ko’s Restaurant rating: 8/10

Review written by: Henry

Liverpool Pizzeria Review

Liverpool was sunny and warm the weekend of Privateer Days when we visited to take in the festivities, including the games and vendors in the park downtown and the battle re-enactment on the other end of town. The little fellow with us was quite fascinated by what looked to him like real combat between the “redcoats” and pirates, shooting off their guns and cannons. He did get a bit frightened that Mommy was going to get killed when she went in for a closer pic with her camera, but I assured him she would be ok. Well, that is until one of the soldiers got “shot down” and then he got really upset, but then he calmed down upon Mommy’s return and watched as the fun unfolded.

redcoat-battle

I spoke to one soldier who was very informative about the authenticity of the clothes worn and arms used. The replicas were truly realistic, as well as the tent set ups, cooking utensils, etc. If not for the modern day crowd walking among them, you would have sworn you traveled back in time. The pirates seemed scary at first, but were quite friendly, once we got to know them, and a couple of them (hey, pirate Chuck!), even played a bit of soccer with us on the field later on in the evening!

pirate-family

So, after a full day of pirating, we were hungry and ended up at Liverpool Pizzeria, and we were glad we did! Now, to be honest with you, I wasn’t really in the mood for pizza, but the town has a very limited number of restaurants, and half of them are pizza joints, so pizza won in the 3-way vote.

As we entered the pizzeria, it was spacious with a variety of tables and booths. As we sat down, the lady handing out the menus seemed friendly and pleasant. The booth was roomy and not crowded, which is great because I often feel claustrophobic in a tight booth area.

liverpool-pizzeria

The prices on the menu seemed reasonable with a variety of specials, so we ordered the one with the large meat pizza and the garlic fingers with the works, including bacon…yum!! It was a lot more food than I was expecting for 3 people, but we were hungry and gobbled up most of it in no time.

The best word to describe the pizza was “substantial”. It was NOT one of those light, overly sweet, pizzas that are the trademark of many franchises, nor was it typical of most pizza “joints”. It had a uniqueness about it that I’ve never tasted anywhere else. At first I didn’t like it because I’m so used to a typical slice of ‘za served quickly from under a heat lamp when I’m in a hurry, but this…this was actually a MEAL. It was tasty, filling and not too sweet or greasy…great!!

Oh, but it gets better, my dear readers! The garlic cheese fingers….oh, those delicious fingers!! I love garlic fingers, but it’s probably the hardest thing for most places to get right. It seems easy because there isn’t much on it, but it’s a delicate balance that too many restaurants get way wrong. These delightful fingers were extremely tasty without too much of any one flavor ruining the rest of it.

In fact, with most meals that include fingers, we end up eating them as more of a side dish with the pizza being the main course, but this time we finished the garlic fingers almost entirely FIRST and could have easily just had that as the whole meal. The pizza itself became more of an afterthought because we got so filled up already.

AWESOME!!!

However, there was one negative that must be mentioned in this review, even though the food was great, as we strive to evaluate everything that a person could encounter at any establishment we visit. In this case it was the washrooms. They were only accessible down a steep flight of stairs and a hallway in the basement of the old building. It looked like some renovations had been done, and they weren’t dirty or anything like that, but anyone with any sort of mobility problems would find it impossible to go there, unfortunately.

It’s a shame because this is a great family restaurant where the grandparents and grandkids could go enjoy a meal of pizza in a spacious, full service, setting without needing to go to the usual stuffy spot with 4 stools, plastic utensils and a pop machine.

Liverpool Pizzeria rating: 8.5/10 (would have been a 9 with better washroom facilities)

Highly recommended!!

Check out their menu online at LiverpoolPizzeria.ca

Hebbville Tastee Freeze Review

The Tastee Freeze in Hebbville has been a static landmark in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia for decades. It’s like an institution that never changes, and I remember going there many times for ice cream when I was a kid growing up in nearby Bridgewater. While it’s still a great place to stop by for a tasty frozen treat, it falls short in a few ways when it comes being a full scale restaurant.

tastee-freeze

First, it’s an outdoor food establishment, so there is no inside dining area. You simply order at the take out window and then either eat in your car, take it with you, or sit at one of the 3 picnic tables provided around the restaurant. This in itself is not a huge issue, as picnics are fun, but I firmly believe that ANY place serving food to customers should have bathroom facilities, and the Tastee Freeze does not.

If they are not going to allow customers access to an indoor toilet, then at least have a porta-potty outside somewhere. This should be MANDATORY and against a food serving bylaw to not have one. During our particular trip there this time it became an issue because the little fella needed to go pee and we asked if he could use their indoor bathroom (assuming they must have one inside for the staff working there all day long), but they refused. Refusing the use of a bathroom to a small child is just wrong, in my opinion (feel free to comment below if you feel otherwise). He ended up going in the bushes behind the building because, when a kid’s gotta go, he’s gotta go quickly…no messing around.

Further to that point, I have Crohn’s and the idea being put forth of government issued cards allowing emergency access to washroom facilities would mean they’d have to comply, but really, it’s just common sense that if you’re serving food to anyone paying for it, then do the right thing and spend a few bucks on renting portable toilets during the few months in the summer you’re open. Shouldn’t that be a municipal rule or something? Anyway, it rubbed me the wrong way, but let’s move on to the food.

tastee-freeze-hebbville

I had fish n’ chips and both Liza and her son had poutine. My first complaint was that it was all chips and very little fish. The entire container was full of french fries with a little piece of fish on top. Restaurants who pad meals with fries are a common complaint with many restaurant-goers (see our Focsle review here to see how it should be done). On top of that they only gave ONE Ketchup packet, which isn’t nearly enough if your going to load on the fries. Liza and little man both enjoyed their poutine with extra cheese.

The food itself was bland and generic tasting with nothing special about it at all. I’ve also had burgers there before that just tasted like frozen packaged beef (see here for what a GOOD burger is like). See, to me, the point of recommending a restaurant is that there is something special about it, such as having the best seafood, or awesome homemade pies, or a really cool decorative vibe. This has none of that. The food is non-descript, the decor is non-existant, and there is no place to go to the bathroom after you eat to wash up or anything else.

The prices were ok and average for a takeout eatery and the ice cream was good (not great, but not bad either). I like their chocolate dipped soft serve cones.

Tastee Freeze Rating: 6/10 (NOT recommended for the food, but ok to stop by for a dessert treat AFTER you’ve eaten a proper meal, requiring full facilities, somewhere else)

Review written by: Henry

Jerry’s Diner Review Bridgewater

I have a simple question for you. Do you like “trucker food”? If so, then read on!

While there are many people who like the idea of a dining experience, with a fancy table, well-decorated washrooms, maybe even a fireplace or chandelier….and others who just want a quick meal of great food and then be on their way. Well, Jerry’s Diner in Bridgewater, NS, is the place for you!

jerrys-diner

It’s basically just a few tables and stools inside an ESSO gas station, but they have all the truck stop staples on the menu, including fish n’ chips, hot sandwiches, burgers, fries, and even fishcakes and beans!! I had the fish and chips and my better half had something called Newfoundland Poutine. I admit that had me curious…

Turns out it was poutine with real stuffing in it! I tried a bit and found the gravy sauce to be a bit strong for me, but she quite liked it. My fish batter was golden brown and the portions were a good size. The fries were crispy and not lifeless. We both enjoyed our meals immensely.

The waitresses on duty were friendly and joked with each other and the customers while they made the meals, which we could see, as everything was open with no walls separating the staff from the customers.

The washrooms were surprisingly clean for a service station, although if they weren’t I would not mention here, as they were not maintained by the restaurant staff. I’m adding it as bonus to the overall experience.

jerrys-diner2

The prices were reasonable, with most items being around 10 bucks or less, as well as daily specials posted on the sign outside for things like cheeseburger platters or fishcakes for under $10, so it didn’t break my wallet to feed 2 people. Yay!!

Check out Jerry’s Diner at 2 North St., Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Recommended!

8.5/10

Turkey Burger Cookville Review

Hello! Henry here!! This is my review of the Turkey Burger restaurant in Cookville, NS.

I’ve lived in the Bridgewater area most of my life and I remember this particular restaurant being around when I was a kid decades ago and how my Mom used to take me there whenever we went on the highway to New Germany. They always served good food, even though the place was cramped inside with only a few tables, and never looked like much on the outside.

turkey-burger

Well, I’m now 47 and the place still doesn’t look like much on first glance when pulling up in the parking lot. However, I noticed a LOT has changed as we walked through the door. It’s totally different inside from what it used to be years ago, with a spacious dining area featuring several tables and renovated washrooms that are roomy and clean.

We both sat at a table by the window with not much of a view, except the highway, but it was bright and cheerful anyway. The waitress was friendly and served us right away. I was tempted to order an actual turkey burger, but I settled on the all-day breakfast special instead, featuring eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast. Liza had poutine and tea and we both only had to wait a few minutes before chowing down.

I LOVE a good breakfast meal in the evening, but I find it’s difficult for most places to get right because of all the elements involved. The eggs can be made in many different ways, the toast shouldn’t be tough and burned, nor should the hash browns be soft and lifeless, and don’t even get me started on the ways people want the bacon…aye carumba!!!

For me, I like my bacon to be crispy, not stringy like chewing on a stick of fat, and this is where they missed the mark. However, it’s minor compared to how great the rest of the meal was, so I’ll just make a mental note for next time to ask them to fry it a bit longer. No biggie.

The prices were fairly average, and mine was a good deal at only $6.95, plus the cost of a drink.

turkey-burger2

Overall, the experience was pleasant with a friendly atmosphere, clean tables, roomy washrooms and good company (Liza!). Don’t let the plain look outside scare you away…the Turkey Burger restaurant has yummy food!!*

Look for them at #1671 Hwy 10, in Cookville, just a few minutes outside Bridgewater, N.S.

8.5/10

*Not one turkey was harmed in the making of this review…

The Stretch Diner Restaurant Review

spotlightns-thestretchdinerAs Henry and I was driving the scenic route from Halifax back to Bridgewater today, we decided to try out the Stretch Diner in Chester. We were both starved because we didn’t have anything to eat since breakfast this morning, and we have heard from locals just how great this restaurant was.

To be quite honest, when we pulled into the parking lot, I wasn’t sure how this was going to pan out. I sat in the car looking at the front of the building, and thought it was rather small to be a good Diner.

spot-light-promotions-the-stretch-diner-patioOnce we got out of the car and made our way in. I took note of it not being wheelchair accessible, as I didn’t see any ramp, only stairs. We thought the nice picnic tables outside on the big deck with lawn chairs and pretty plants surrounding the veranda was a great touch. If it wouldn’t have been so cold out today, we definitely could have eaten outside, but the chilly air took us inside where I was pleasantly surprised.

nova-scotia-spotlight-fifties-stretch-dinerThe theme of the Stretch Diner was set back to the fifties, as it had the comfortable chrome chairs and tables, pictures of  celebrity stars with many old fashioned model cars displayed for viewing. My first impression when I walked in was “Awesome”, however I was very disappointed, because the oldies music was non-existent; due to this, it unfortunately lacked the full nostalgic experience. This licensed Diner was clean, and had a very tidy, sleek look. I was anxious to check out the menu.

nsspotlight-fifties-diner-the-stretchHenry and I quickly found a seat  by the Marilyn Monroe and Elvis pictures. Once settled the friendly waitress provided us with the menu, and wrote down what we wanted for drinks; large milk for me and Lime “Pop Shop Pop” for Henry. The menu upon first glance was short, as it had one page for breakfasts, one page for the main meals, and two other pages with soups, children’s meals and beverages. All of the meals available were very affordable, and wasn’t hard on the pocket book.

Though The Stretch is known for their fabulous Fish ‘n’ Chips, neither one of us felt like eating it, only because we had Fish ‘n’ Chips yesterday. So, I went for a BLT on wholewheat with Cesar Salad on the side, and Henry ordered a Cheeseburger with fries and gravy. Yes, I realize our last review was very similar, however I can assure you, it was much different at this establishment.

spot-light-promo-chester-stretch-cleanlinessAs we waited for our meals, we both decided to use the ladies and boys room. The washrooms were easy to find without asking staff. The space was  small but nicely kept. There was even a little wooden stool present for when “independent” young ones visit, so they can wash their own hands.  The door swung inward, which also confirmed it’s not a wheelchair accessible restaurant.

Soon after we sat back down our food had arrived. What scrumptious looking dishes we had. Henry’s first comment was how great the dark brown gravy was. It was beautifully thick and had little beef bits in it for the extra oomph of flavour, and went well with the no-skinned fries.  Though the hamburger bun wasn’t toasted, the burger was cooked all the way through, and was well seasoned. I asked Henry to describe his burger, and he stated “Best Diner burger I’ve had in a long time!”.

Having a particular liking to Cesar Salad, I found it to land on my list of the top 3. It didn’t have loads of croutons in it, which was a plus for me because I don’t like lots in my salad. The romaine lettuce was nice and crisp, but an important factor I’m going to add is, it was a perfect ratio of dressing to salad. I don’t like having too much of one and not the other. It was just right for me. An added touch, which popped my taste buds, was the thick shredded mozzarella cheese. 🙂 My BLT was toasted perfectly! The tomatoes were fresh and not soft, because the juice wasn’t running on my plate or down my arm. The bacon wasn’t chewy or too crispy either.

Even though we both had plenty to eat, we decided to share desert. Coconut Cream Pie is a combined addiction we both have, and as soon as we got it, we dug in. Pieces of coconut was sprinkled over the top of the whipped cream topping, which gave it the extra flavour and texture, however the filling wasn’t as  rich and thick as we would have liked, but the homemade crust was marvelous. It was light, flaky, and the edges wasn’t even burnt.

As we went up to pay the bill, I seen how neat and organized the counter top was with some of the baked goods in the various jars and dishes. But what I found really interesting was what was INSIDE the counter top! Little round gum balls, were in-cased with a long piece of  plexiglass covering the top. I thought that was one of the coolest simple things I have ever seen inside a restaurant!

nspromo-thestretchdiner-chester

Our combined rating for The Stretch Diner was 8.5/10. We highly recommend them! We’ll be visiting again!

Recommended changes: More oldies music… PLEASE!!! 🙂

Check out their website by clicking HERE for further Diner details!

For those who are interested, they encourage anyone who has a spiffy ride to show it off at the Stretch Diner every Wednesday night at 6:30pm.

Be there or be square!!

 

Fo’c’sle Pub Restaurant & Bar Chester Review

spotlight-ns-focsle-pub-restaurant-chesterReported to be Nova Scotia’s oldest rural pub, the Fo’c’sle (Focsle is pronounced as “folk-sill”), was once a stable and grocery store and is now home to a large restaurant and bar located in lovely downtown Chester.

During this review, we were in a party of 4 people for my parent’s anniversary celebration held in the dining room, separate from the pub area. We collectively ate Digby clams & chips, the signature burger platter and Fo’c’sle Clubhouse with ceasar salad. Our reservations were held on time and the atmosphere was very pleasant with a nautical theme and quaint fireplace.

The dining area was clean and roomy with about 8-10 tables seating 4 people each. The only complaint there was that it did get noisy was they were all filled, as sound bounced off the hard walls and wooden furniture. I also visited the pub area, which looked like a typical pub with pub chairs and tables.

The food was good, but slow, as they seemed to be short staffed, with only one waitress serving the entire area. After what seemed like a long wait, our meals finally arrived and everyone was happy. Everything was cooked well, not overcooked, and was very tasty!

One thing that caught my eye was that the clams weren’t buried by fries, which is common in many restaurants these days where they pad the meal by making it a plate of mainly fries with just a handful of clams. The opposite was true here with a good portion a seafood to chip ratio, which was a pleasant surprise.

My Mom and I had the same dish, being the burger platter. Both of us enjoyed the burger, as it was well cooked and the grilled flavor was tasty. Since I don’t like anything green on my burgers, I made up for it with gravy. Though the rich dark brown sauce was nicely seasoned, as it tingled my taste buds; it lacked in texture. It was thin like water, practically running off my crispy potato skinned fries.

Liza always enjoys a tea before her meals in a restaurant. Once her supper arrived, she absolutely devoured her Fo’c’sle Clubhouse. The chicken, bacon, lettuce and tomateo complemented each other very well on whole wheat. The Caesar Salad was very fresh and crisp. It all went very well with her large milk.

Both Liza and I love pub food and The Fo’c’sle has good food…yummy!

I also used the washroom during my visit and it was clean and well supplied. I noticed they have a weekly trivia night and live music there too. Cool!

The prices were quite reasonable and they even have daily specials, so my burger platter was under 10 bucks that day. Nothing on the menu seemed overpriced, which is unusual in a tourist town like Chester where high prices are the norm.

Overall, it was a great experience and we all said we would return again.

Rating: 8/10 (Recommended!!)

The Fo’c’sle
42 Queen Street
Chester, NS

Review written by: Henry :):)