Where to Eat in Canada’s Pint-size Culinary Capital

Skip the big cities and head straight for this island

Where to Eat in Canada’s Pint-size Culinary Capital

Blue Mussel Café

Courtesy of Blue Mussel Café

Prince Edward Island, a 139-mile long slice of land located north of Nova Scotia, is small but mighty when it comes to food. The island is known for its seafood and for being home to the Culinary Institute of Canada, where the country’s best teach and are taught the rules of the kitchen. Many graduates stay in the area, enamored with the island’s fresh ingredients and rich soil. Add in that PEI’s latitude—hovering around 45 degrees north, just a few grades off of the latitude of Rome—makes for near-perfect wine grape-growing conditions, and the island could be plucked straight from a foodie’s dreams.

Attack this food scene starting with the basics. That means Atlantic lobster from Water Prince Corner Shop and Lobster Pound in the southern town of Charlottetown, mussels from Blue Mussel Café in North Rustico, and shucked-to-order oysters from acclaimed chef Norman Zeledon’s food truck, The Galley (also in North Rustico).

Once you’ve had fresh-from-the-ocean seafood without the frills, try PEI’s more modern stops. The Table in Kensington hosts 24-person family-style dining experiences on Mondays and Thursdays, and cooking classes on other days of the week. Meanwhile, chef Chris Colburn puts innovative, seasonal spins on PEI blue mussels at Dalvay-by-the-sea, serving them steamed in vermouth and chorizo broth alongside sweet peppers. Charlottetown’s Local 343 focuses on healthy bistro-style dining, and at Fireworks—located inside the new chef-owned Inn at Bay Fortune—the menu changes daily and sources ingredients from the wharf’s fishermen and the Inn’s own organic farm.

Finish your meal with wine from Matos Winery, a PEI vineyard that traffics in sweet varieties like strawberry chardonnay and wildberry gamay, or sip on the famous fruit wines of Rossignol Winery in nearby Murray River.

Finally, if you tire of seafood and just want a burger and a beer, The Brickhouse is the place to go. PEI’s beef is known throughout Canada for its tenderness, and The Brickhouse cooks it up to perfection—order the Brickinator, a massive burger topped with candied bacon and Gouda cheese, and a bottle from local company Gahan Brewery.

Sarah Purkrabek is a Los Angeles-based travel writer.
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