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Vegan in Halifax, Nova Scotia

I never realised (until we booked our holiday!) that the town of Halifax, Nova Scotia is only six hours  or so away from London. If I knew that, I'd have gone there a lot earlier.

It's not a huge city, but the people are lovely, there's a fair few vegan restaurants (including one that served me the best meal of our trip to Canada), and there's all sorts of beautiful places you can walk around within an hour or so.

There's Peggy's Cove, a dinky little village with a well photographed lighthouse:


But you want to hear about the food, right?

So, if you're strolling down around the Halifax waterfront - and why wouldn't you? if there's not a cruise ship coming in, it's a nice walk - you can stop in at the Seaport Farmer's Market, where you'll find Springhouse.

Springhouse is an all-vegan place, mostly takeaway but with a couple of seats if you're of a mood to idle. The food's mainly salads and bowls of a healthy nature, there's also drinks and raw desserts.

I took one of the caramel brownie bars out for a walk around the harbour:


The crunchy base and caramel layer were gorgeous, but the chocolate on top was a bit heavy on the coconut oil. Still, it's great to see a vegan place in the middle of the main tourist area (there's also Heartwood by the Sea, which is veggie but with lots of vegan options), and I'd like to have tried one of their lovely looking bowls.

And now onto one of my favourite meals from Canada, and in fact, one of my favourite meals I've eaten anywhere recently.

Said amazing meal came from EnVie, an all-singing, all-dancing vegan place in Halifax's North End that I've been dreaming about ever since we visited. If this place was in London, I'd have a loyalty card and every time I stepped through the door they'd greet me by name, because they'd have seen me so often.

The reason for this outpouring starts with this:


That's a plate of mac and cheese.

But it's not just any old mac and cheese, it's delicious, vegan, mac and cheese with broccoli, tangy tempeh bacon, marinated mushrooms and crispy breadcrumbs. There was beetroot ketchup and mixed greens on the side.

Everything was beyond good. The tempeh bacon was smoky and incredible, the broccoli was cooked to have just the right bite, the breadcrumbs offered a different texture - a bit of crunch to act as the foil to the soft, yielding mac and cheese.

It was one of those rare meals where I found myself slowing down to eat, making every last mouthful last as long as possible because it was just so good.


Dessert was also on the lovely side - a chocolate mousse on a little sponge with black cherry coulis. It was deep and rich and chocolaty, with sharp fruit to cut through when it all got a bit too cacao heavy.

The reason I loved EnVie so much was not that it was good, but that every bit of it was good. The food, of course, was incredible, but everything else was done as well as you could ask for. I finished off the meal with a cup of tea (a London Fog, in fact) and Mr FtVs got himself a coffee, and both were fabulous. You know if a restaurant has put that much effort into the tiny things, then it's got a lot to recommend it.

Another place with a lot to recommend it, though in a different way, is Blue Apples

Blue Apples is an arts and wellness centre with natural products. Once you go in, the bottom floor is dedicated to herbal remedies, so skip on up the stairs to get to the cafe. 

It's a welcoming place with a good alternative vibe and community feel, and it wears its politics on its sleeve. The food its good, affordable, and all vegan.

It's a bright space where you order at the counter, and one of the cheery staff will bring your food over. I was having a craving for the vegan trinity of rice, tofu, and veg, and so I fell upon the Ginger Garlic tofu bowl.


Mr Flicking the Vs, being a smart chap, went for the grilled cheese sandwich with some roasted potatoes on the side.

Blue Apples makes its own 'notzarella', which comes in the grilled cheese with hot peppers and tomatoes. It strikes all the right cheesy, comforting notes that a grilled cheese should, but with heat to balance the richness.  If I could have bought the notzarella on its own, I would have gone in with an empty suitcase to see just how much of it I could have got back through customs.


During our stay, Halifax was having some amazing weather, so imagine how happy I was to stumble on not one but two vegan ice cream options within steps of each other.

The first was at an ice cream kiosk by the rather unfortunate name of Dairy Bar. As that rather unfortunate name suggests, the kiosk mainly sells dairy ice cream but it does also serve a vegan scoop too.

What that vegan flavour is depends on the day you go, and when I dropped by it was mint choc chip:


The servings are generous and it zinged with fresh mint, but there was a grainy texture that got in the way of total icy enjoyment. I'm guessing it was cashew ice cream where the nuts hadn't been ground down as much as they might need, but there were no faults on the taste.

Humani-T down the road, however, nailed it on both taste and texture, and gives equally generous portions:


This was chocolate and peanut butter and was heavenly. There was also more than one vegan ice cream choice - I think there were about four - but I'd have gone back for the chocolate and peanut butter time after time.

They also serve vegan wraps and pastries, including this morning glory muffin which escorted me down to Point Pleasant Park (I recommend both the park and the muffin).


Wild Leek is another vegan place in the North End that we stopped in for tea.

I ordered a Bliss Bowl, and this was what turned up for us:


The tofu was great, if a bit salty, but the rest of the bowl was a bit confusing. There was meant to be brown rice, carrots, bok choy and daikon with spring onion and almonds. Instead there was kale, roasted potatoes, white onion and sesame seeds. So, a completely different bowl then.

It wasn't that it wasn't good, it just wasn't I ordered, or was expecting, and no one mentioned the subs. It would have been handy if someone had said there'd be a different dish - I might have had an allergy to one of the ingredients or just a general phobia of kale, and so I could have changed the order.

Mr FtVs' donair wrap however was spot on: loads of lovely seitan with salad and donair sauce, and some excellently cooked chips.


Donair seems to be a very Halfi dish and the correct way to make one was a matter of much debate among the Halifax locals we chatted to. How authentic or otherwise this donair was, I don't know, but it tasted good.

We were pretty full after all that food, so we grabbed a cookie for the walk home. That cookie was biscuit perfection, so I'd pretty much forgive the Wild Leek that Bliss Bowl mix up. Also the service was sweet and friendly, so definitely worth a visit.

Our last vegan-friendly stop on the way was Indochine, an omni place that does a few Vietnamese and other staples, including bahn mi and bun.

Some things are marked as vegan on the menu, others you'll have to check - some are vegan or can be made so with a few tweaks.

The bun with tofu and vegetable spring rolls is one of the straight-up vegan options, and while it didn't rock my socks, Mr FtVs was a big fan.


So, in short - Halifax: beautiful scenery, lovely people, cracking food. I can't wait to go back.

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6 comments

  1. Not only is Nova Scotia absolutely beautiful (I could frame the first photo!), but the food looks amazing! Holy mac and cheese! Ice cream! It's too bad about the bowl and tofu bun and rolls weren't top notch, but it looks like a decent trip!

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  2. So pretty - the view and the food. Especially that grilled cheese, love it whenever the restaurant takes the time and effort to make their own version. :-)

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  3. I am envious of your overseas vacation, but happy for you - you deserve it. I am amazed at the vegan food selection and the super generous quantity too.

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  4. Wow, EnVie needs to be on my must visit list. That mac and cheese looks so creamy and perfect and the little mousse dessert sounds amazing. I'd definitely go for a scoop of the choc PB ice cream at Humani-T too.

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  5. Nova Scotia was never on my list of vegan destinations - you've officially changed that! The mac'n'cheese looks so good, I'm not surprised you're still dreaming about it!

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  6. that mac and cheese sounds really amazing - though that Blue Apples looked like it would give it a run for its money! The bliss bowl mix up is odd - sounds as though they think a vegan will be happy with anything. BTW I can't think of halifax without thinking of a song by one of local bands Weddings Parties Anything called Knockbacks in Halifax.

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