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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