We spent a week on the Island and discovered many very good restaurants. Again a pleasant surprised, here on the mainland where restaurant food is dominated by formula type big chain restaurants you forget how good food can be when it is not trucked in from a factory owned by a big chain. What we also did not see is a lot of fast food outlets, they appear to be few of them and none in the centre of towns. The fact that the population is low at 140,000 total for the Island may very well be a blessing. Restaurants also appear to stay away from cuisine interpretation of famous TV Chefs or New York style cuisine which is not to most people’s liking unless you are a shopping mall Food Court addict or worse yet Fusion cuisine which to my mind is totally meaningless.
We first went to a small place next to where we lived in Charlottetown on Water Street, the name of the street makes it clear we were on the water of the old harbour, now a pleasure boat marina and park dedicated to the history of the city.
Local 343 is located in a saltbox type house dated to 1831 at 98 Water street, the name of the restaurant refers to the telephone number which was originally Local 343 in 1914. The Chef is Emily Wells and her partner is Scott Campbell. The restaurant has its kitchen on the main floor and a bar and dining area on the top floor, there is also a leafy patio at the back, the food is wonderful and the service very friendly and attentive. People are friendly in PEI and its typical island culture to be nice and welcoming. We tried their Crab cakes which is all crab and no filler, usually you find lots of potato in the mix, not here. They are also made fresh daily, I saw them do it and simply served hot with a beautiful mix green side salad.
We also had several times their Seafood chowder it is an improvement on Clam chowder which is again usually a few clams and lots of potatoes. The Seafood chowder was rich and delicious, full of seafood in a nice creamy tomato basil broth, no potatoes.
I also had the rice noodle and lobster salad, an asian salad just a little spicy and very nice on a hot day. The lobster was generously served in big chunks. They also offer non fish or seafood items, one day I had for lunch their Vegetable quiche, made by the mother of the owner and her blueberry bread pudding, both were excellent.
98 Water Street, Charlottetown, PE
Claddagh Oyster House, 131 Sydney Street, Charlottetown, PE.
The name is Irish many immigrated to PEI at the end of the 18th century when things in Ireland were not very good. The Dolan Family owns the pub & restaurant, their chef is Mitchell Jackson who use to work at Whalesbone Restaurant in Ottawa.
We made dinner reservations for this Irish pub restaurant, the decor is dramatic, all stone and a mirrored wall of water, very nice atmosphere and great ambiance. You can sit at the bar to have fresh oysters or you can enjoy dinner in their restaurant. The service again was excellent, very nice waiter who knew the menu. The specialty is oysters, they have several varieties, all of it from the Island. This is what is nice about seafood and oyster in PEI all of it is very fresh. We had a very good meal, oysters Rockefeller and a wonderful fish dish. We also were introduced to PEI Wineries, very nice wines. The restaurant also has steaks on their menu, beef from PEI is excellent I had a steak and it was like butter.
We also went to Dave’s for a Lobster roll, you cannot come to PEI and not have lobster. Dave is located in the Founders Hall which is an old brick warehouse on the wharf, now turned into a museum and park area. Dave has a simple menu, either a lobster roll, which is a bun stuffed with wonderful lobster meat or a grilled cheese sandwich made from the great PEI Cheddar cheese. Either way it is very good. http://www.daveslobster.com
A friend of ours in Charlottetown who has a duplex apartment in a stately old building, I thought we were on Pall Mall in London, suggested we go to Water Prince Corner Store and Lobster Pound for dinner. It is located at 141 Water Street, Shane Campbell is the owner and they specialize in seafood, they also ship within Canada.
It is a very simple place with about 12 tables inside and 3 outside. Menu is all seafood and very good. We had Fish and chips, Seafood Chowder, Oysters and Scallops dinners. Something funny happened while having dinner, we had made reservations which is a must, we had ordered wine and we waited maybe 5 minutes, suddenly our waitress comes to us and says, Oh I forgot about your wine, it’s on the house because you had to wait. We were so surprised I did not think that waiting 5 or more minutes was a long time. We got talking with the waitress at the end of the evening around 09:30pm and again friendly people with a sunny disposition.
Terre Rouge Bistro, 72 Queen St, Charlottetown, PE
Téléphone :(902) 892-4032
The symbol of this restaurant is a Red Beet and Terre Rouge refers to the red earth of PEI and its famous red sandstone.
It is in my opinion one of the best restaurants in PEI. The menu features PEI beef, charcuterie, PEI Cheeses, Fish and Seafood, pastries and gelatos. They bake their own bread, all their suppliers are locals in PEI including the vegetables, it is a very good restaurant and the service is great. You will need reservation and you should try to have one meal there while in Charlottetown.
John and Dave are the two chefs at Terre Rouge. Read their philosophy about the restaurant and I would say from experience that they live up to it.
Terre Rouge is all about our small local producers.
Not because it is trendy, but just because it’s right on every level. …We know exactly what we are getting and how it’s been treated. It’s straight from the producer to the table, often in just a few hours.
Equally important, we are supporting the actual people who provide us with this great product. There are no middle men or supply-chain logistics, which means less carbon footprint. But all this aside – as chefs, what really gets the ‘twig and berries’ jumping is that all this super fresh product is really delicious!
When we set out to open Terre Rouge, there were a few basic philosophies we agreed would never change…
#1 A Farm to Table focus.
#2 ‘No’ does not exist in our service vocabulary.
#3 Make everything from local product.
#4 Terre Rouge has to be fun, hip and never stuffy.
and #5………….The food has to kick-ass.
Finally for breakfast in the morning open only from 7 am to 2 pm
Linda’s Coffee shop at the corner of Queen and Water Streets.
Great food and good coffee. The breakfast menu is great, lovely Western Omelet sandwich, nice staff what else can you ask for.