Food Lovers Guide to Prince Edward Island
Food and Drink, Canada,
Canada is replete with many wonderful destinations, but for incredible natural beauty and picturesque views, visiting Prince Edward Island during your is an absolute must. Lined with beautiful beaches, fascinating wildlife, and plenty to see and do, Prince Edward Island is a wonderfully inviting place. What’s more, there is a whole host of restaurants, cafes and eateries waiting to be enjoyed, making for a delicious holiday adventure. So, to help you discover the best places to eat and dine, we’ve put together a food lover’s guide to Prince Edward Island. We hope that you’ll enjoy one or two of the below during your visit.
Boasting the most comprehensive collection of craft beer on Prince Edward Island and a top menu of delicious bar food to compliment this, is a brewery you will certainly want to visit on the island. Home to one of the most renowned chefs in the region and an ever-evolving menu, HopYard is a great spot to enjoy with family and friends. Speaking to us about the bar’s many virtues, the team at HopYard said:
“The best part about HopYard is that it is a different experience every time you come in. Executive Chef Jane Crawford changes the menu every two weeks. She chooses a theme for the menu and then creates the dishes accordingly. In the past we have done Mexican, lots of Asian-inspired menus, southern comfort, Italian, it is always changing and it’s the reason people come back time after time.
“The menu is made up of seven vegetarian and seven meat options, all eight dollars or less. It’s a fantastic place to come with a group of people to share and try a little bit of everything. We also offer ten beer taps that are always rotating, a great mix of PEI local beer as well as from the Maritimes and Ontario.”
And to complete the experience, HopYard also add: “We have an extensive vinyl collection which the customer can choose from to put on our record player music system!”
Blue Mussel Café
Image credit: AlexBrucePhotography.com
Seafood really is the expertise of this lovely island community and is a prime example of the brilliant ocean-themed food available. This seasonal seafood restaurant in North Rustico Harbour offers a great variety of wholesome meals and is a truly authentic PEI dining experience. Steve from the Blue Mussel Café revealed the restaurant’s secrets to us and the joys of the PEI food scene:
“PEI has the makings of everything you need to be a great food province. We are a small island, so the distance from farm to fork is one of the shortest of anywhere in North America. We have a long history of farming and fishing in an environment that is known for growing abundant fresh product and all of that is combined with a local and highly rated culinary school.
“We make a point of only using products that are harvested, caught or raised within hours of the table, not days. This is possible because of the availability of great products all within a short distance. We make everything from scratch, we pride ourselves on knowing every ingredient in every dish, we even know most of the fishermen and farms by name that produce our food. We then have a team of local, trained chefs led by Jamie Power and Ben Smith that have been working with these products their whole lives.”
With Blue Mussel Café being located in North Rustico, Steve says: “We are lucky enough to be located in an area where you can sit and watch from your table as our oysters are being harvested in the Rustico Bay or watch as the halibut boats arrive back into the harbour after a long day on the water and then have that food prepared by chefs who really have a passion for using local and fresh ingredients. We truly try to live up to our tagline of ‘An Authentic PEI Seafood Experience’ with each time you visit.”
Image credit: @ivoryorphan
Speaking about their tantalising menu, Steve told us: “We have a compact menu of both land and sea offerings. We serve these dishes in a rustic on-the-water type of shack that has been part of the fishing community of North Rustico Harbour for close to 25 years. Our most popular main dish is our halibut. It is brought in every day and seared perfectly with a light seasoning. You can’t help but taste the freshness. It is topped with our fresh mango salsa and served with seasonal vegetables and roasted PEI potatoes.
“Our most popular appetizer is our PEI Mussels. I go down to the dock at least twice a day to in North Rustico Harbour to ensure they are fresh for each service. We use a very simple recipe of nothing but local mussels, garlic and wine. When the mussels are that fresh, you don’t need to cover them up, you can let the mussels be the star of the show.
“We also sell a tremendous amount of desserts. Our Pastry Chef, Helen, bakes all of our desserts fresh everyday using local in season ingredients in our in-house bakery. The desserts have been quietly stealing the spotlight for a couple of years now.
“So, if people are planning on coming to see us, they should be ready to experience a true farm to table (in our case it includes sea to table) experience in a setting that is unmistakably the heart of PEI culture and see for themselves why PEI is known as ‘Canada’s Food Island’.”
Claddagh Oyster House
While enjoying Charlottetown, the picturesque capital of Prince Edward Island, be sure to stop by , a restaurant that loves to serve up seafood-heavy classics to hungry locals and visitors alike. Oysters are of course a feature of the menu and a delicious option should you be in the mood, but the Claddagh Oyster House has, even more, going for it, showcasing premium PEI beef, seafood, chicken and pasta dishes in their classy but comfortable establishment.
Speaking to us about the restaurant, the team at Claddagh Oyster House said: “When visiting Prince Edward Island, one of the things you look forward to is a wonderful meal made with fresh seafood. The Claddagh Oyster House, located in the historic downtown district, has been the restaurant of choice for over 35 years. The oldest continuously owned restaurant is also the best restaurant in town (according to TripAdvisor and the local residents).
“Entering the comfortable 60 seat restaurant it’s almost impossible not to notice the water wall feature that covers the whole back wall of the restaurant. It complements the atmosphere to a tee. The bar is made from local oyster shells and seashells that have been placed in the bright red sand that P.E.I. is famous for and epoxied over to seal everything in.
“What everyone comes for though is the food. Focused on local and freshness, the Claddagh Oyster House delivers a menu that will satisfy your whole group. The oysters served are all from Prince Edward Island. From the south shore to the north shore and from east to west, the whole Island is covered in them. Oysters from Malpeque Bay, Raspberry Point, Colville Bay and Bedeque Bay are just a few that are featured. (Just a hint: The located in the same historic building offers a cocktail oyster for $1 – a buck a shuck – every day from 4pm-6pm).”
For some specific dishes to look out for upon your visit, Claddagh Oyster House recommends: “Besides great oysters, the menu at Claddagh Oyster House focuses on fresh local seafood, beef, vegetables and more. You will find dishes like PEI butter glazed halibut, lobster risotto, fresh maritime lobster, lobster and crab cakes, shrimp tempura, jerk spiced crab legs, oyster Rockefeller, pickled beet salad, and more. One item that has been on the menu since the restaurant opened in June 1983 is the Galway Bay – pan seared scallops and tiger prawns are sautéed with butter and cream, mushrooms and green onions are added, then a splash of Irish Mist completes the dish. The restaurant’s owner, Liam Dolan, says the dish reminds him of the tastes from Galway Bay, Ireland – his hometown.”
New Glasgow Lobster Suppers
Situated in the New Glasgow area of PEI, excels in serving up delicious lobster with all the trimmings. With a casual vibe, this classic Prince Edward Island dining experience is the place to be for those wanting to indulge in a substantial meal during their time away. All meals at New Glasgow Lobster Suppers include appetisers (such as seafood chowder and freshly steamed island mussels), salads, and desserts; with the main course – and key attraction – being delicious lobster available in a variety of sizes. Lobster isn’t all that’s on offer, however, as this family-friendly restaurant also includes tantalising options from both land and sea. So no matter if you’re in the mood for Atlantic scallops or 8oz island strip loin, there’s plenty to savour!
Clam Diggers Beach House & Restaurant
With a motto that reads, ‘come for the view, stay for the food’, one can get a pretty good image of what is awaiting visitors to this popular PEI restaurant. Set in the picturesque location of Cardigan, right on the water, is the right place to be for top seafood fresh off the docks. With a lobster and mussels menu that match the very best, and of course a plethora of delicious clams, visitors in search of a seafood extravaganza will not be disappointed. The team at Clam Diggers told us a little more about what diners can expect:
“We like to think of Clam Diggers as an island experience, we try to make each person that comes through our doors feel welcome, as is the PEI way. In addition, our goal is to provide great local food, friendly fast service, and a fantastic view of the Cardigan River helps to complete that experience.
“We are known for our clams, deep fried soft shelled white whole clams – we are at clam diggers after all! Overall, our menu is primarily seafood with favourites like the fried clams, fish and chips, lobster rolls, and seafood chowder. We also have an array of options for the land lover like top sirloin, stuffed chicken breast, and burgers – just to name a few. We also have over a dozen gluten-free options available.”
Leonhard’s Café & Restaurant
Found in Charlottetown, is an establishment that has made it their philosophy to source quality and natural ingredients to present customers with healthy and delicious meals. Hoping to provide guests with a dining experience akin to home cooking, the meals served at Leonhard’s are made from scratch on a daily basis, and are able to offer a menu comprised of such delights as gluten-free soup, sandwiches made up of hearty bread and mouth-watering fillings, and quality healthy cuts of meat straight from the farm.
To provide a sense of why locals love this PEI spot so much, we are delighted to bring you some comments from one of Leonhard’s very satisfied customers. We were able to ask him what it is about Leonhard’s that makes it such a must dine at location: “It’s the details. I’ve been coming to Leonhard’s for years and I’m always discovering something fresh about it. Whether it’s a quiet corner with a different view or a bright window seat looking out on the street, there always seems to be something new about the place. But most of all it’s the food, which is always fresh and is presented to me like it’s a gift from the kitchen.”
If you’re convinced by this bite-sized review of this Prince Edward Island favourite, make sure you stop by during your time in the area.
The Pearl Eatery & Oyster Lounge
is located in between the charming fishing village of North Rustico and Cavendish Beach, and is a PEI dining destination that you will absolutely want to add to your holiday checklist. With an ever-changing collection of original artwork lining the walls, complementing the always evolving menu, this award-winning restaurant has an atmosphere to rival the fabulous food served up to their guests. Utilising local ingredients from PEI farmers and fishers, The Pearl Eatery & Oyster Lounge currently boasts mouth-watering dishes such as braised lamb shoulder, apple cured halibut, and pork loin and belly. And in their lounge, guests can indulge in their must-try selection of oysters, and perhaps even enjoy a liquid dessert to cap the night off.
Found in the attractive fishing community of Victoria by the Sea, the is the home of top-notch casual dining, fresh seafood and a great variety of vegetarian and meat dish choices. A must-visit setting for a relaxing lunch with friends and family, or even a romantic meal for two, this warm and friendly spot has a dedicated base of customers that visit them time and time again, both from near and far. If you’re heading to PEI this summer, stopping by this fantastic location is highly recommended, and we spoke to Eugen Sauve of the Landmark Café in order pull back the curtain a little further on what the experience entails:
“To start, I would say that eating at the Landmark Café begins with arriving in Victoria by the sea. Victoria is a small fishing and agricultural community on the south shore of PEI, it is also home to the Islands longest running summer theatre, the Victoria Playhouse. That’s what brought me to Victoria in the first place, I had worked in theatre and with dance companies in Charlottetown for 10 years when in 1987 I was hired to work a summer at the Playhouse. I immediately fell in love with the village and bought my first home here the next year, a five bedroom Victorian home for the total sum of $15,000 – a huge investment for a struggling theatre worker.
“Two years later I bought the old post office, grocery store, and that was the start of the Landmark Café, this summer will be our 29th season, the restaurant specializes in seafood, as fresh as you’re going to get. Our biggest sellers are haddock, which we pan fry in garlic butter, bread crumbs, pan Ko, tarragon, pepper, with Cajun seasoning. Cajun scallops and shrimp is another popular dish. We also feature fresh dill panned scallops. All served with a seven-grain seasoned rice or mashed potato. Of course, we feature fresh lobster (served hot or cold) and the inevitable lobster roll served on a whole wheat roll. We also serve lots of salads, home dressings, a daily quiche, lasagne, meat pies, chicken dishes, and prime rib once a week for the meat lovers.”
Delicious food and the best Prince Edward Island restaurants
This was but an introductory glance to the wonderful cuisine available on Prince Edward Island. This popular Canadian destination has a plethora of tasty options available and we believe the above are some of the very best, and certainly must tries during your visit. If you want to note them down for quick future reference, our food lover’s guide to Prince Edward Island restaurants has included:
- Blue Mussel Café
- New Glasgow Lobster Suppers
- Leonhard’s Café & Restaurant
- Clam Diggers Beach House & Restaurant
- The Pearl Eatery & Oyster Lounge
- Landmark Café
- Claddagh Oyster House