As you may have guessed, one of the reasons why we went to Halifax was to enjoy fish and seafood that hasn't spent hours or days in a freezer or on ice on the way to Montreal. After spending a whole afternoon on the Waterfront Boardwalk, we decided to grab something to eat before heading back to the motel.
Though Halifax has a few fancy restaurants, we wanted to keep it as simple and rustic as possible. We also didn't want to spend too much and risk being disappointed. I had seen reviews online about Phil's Seafood and Phil thought "Well it's Phil's, it has to be good, obviously." That guy.
We got there slightly before actual normal people's dinner time so it was only us and a couple. The place is quite big and clean, with no feeling of pretension at all in the decor.
Their specialty is obviously seafood and fish. Apparently chowder is a thing to try while you're in Nova Scotia. Phil decided to go for the fish chowder, made with fresh haddock.
For my part I went for the seafood chowder, which contains shrimp, scallops, and lobster.
We were quite surprised with the portions we got and thought we should have went for cups of chowder instead of bowls. The broth was light and very flavorful and fragrant. However I think the texture and the presentation would have been more interesting it they used bigger chunks of fish and seafood. Served with some crackers and a roll of white bread, we soon realized we were going to have trouble eating the remaining of our order.
Speaking of which, we also ordered deep fried clams. As weird as it may sound, it is a legit thing in Nova Scotia. We decided to try out this specialty and see for ourselves if it really is that amazing.
Those were lightly breaded in flour and then deep fried and served with a slice of lemon. Clams have a chewy texture outside and a mussel-like texture inside. Deep frying them made certain parts crispy so the whole thing was sort of a game of textures. Phil wasn't exactly a fan of them because he thought it was kind of weird but I thought that was an interesting way of eating clams. The breading was light and seasoned just right, and a fresh squeeze of lemon with some hot sauce was all it needed.
As if that wasn't enough, we also ordered a seafood platter : shrimp, scallops, and a piece of haddock, all breaded and deep fried, and served with hand cut fries. It was served with a side of cocktail sauce.
Unlike what I'm used to when I order fish and chips, theirs was breaded in flour instead of battered. It gave it a much lighter texture, the fish surprisingly still moist without being wet, and the whole thing was tender enough so we didn't even need to use a knife. The shrimp were quite big and the scallops were juicy, though a little bit overdone because they had a slight rubbery texture. The fries were rather disappointing (but I'm difficult when it comes to fries), and I'm thinking it's probably because they had been cut too much in advance, so the time spent in the fridge removed a lot of crispiness.
Overall we had great service and the portions were huge. We actually took a doggy bag for the clams because we couldn't finish them and barely touched the fries. For a restaurant that's not trying to prove anything in a pretentious way, we thought we had a good deal for our money, but some items could have been better. At least the fish and the seafood were fresh, which makes a difference, but there is a little lack of fineness in the execution.
Don't worry, because this place has great potential, but some things need to be worked out a little bit more. And so that's it for today. Until next time!